Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wrapping Up Another One

I'm sitting here in my living room this New Year's Eve doing something I haven't done since college. I'm typing on my own computer!

Since we first got married and pooled our money to pay for a "refurbished" piece of crap desktop computer, I have been sharing. With my husband, with my kids, briefly with my parents. Having my own computer seems absolutely decedent and...liberating!

My husband bought me a very cute HP Mini for Christmas. So far, I am loving it. It is so light and has as much (actually more) power and memory than my husband's laptop. He keeps finding more and more ways to get me to write my book.

Speaking of writing, I have done little of it of late. This last month has been, well, just weird. I'm not even sure how to describe it. I have been very withdrawn from the world, but in a very nice way. I'm not depressed or sad or anything. I've just been in my own little world, taking care of my little family, reading and thinking. A lot.

2010 has the potential to be a very dynamic year for us. Or it could be business as usual. I'm just not sure.

I have been looking for a job. Job searching sucks, by the way. I'm not just looking for something to make money or fill time. I want a writing job or a part time job that actually sparks my interest. Frankly, I don't want life to change for my kids in the least. If I can't do a job while they're in school, I won't do it. and since I don't want to pour coffee or sell anything, it's been a challenge.

Three months later I've found exactly one prospect.

I've applied for a part time job in the development office of our local symphony. I think I would be a perfect fit for this job, but now it is up to the symphony folks to realize it too. I'm hoping that the fact that we've been subscribers and donors since we've moved here will help my case.

If I get this job, 2010 will be vastly different, especially with a deployment looming in May.

If I don't get it, I think I'm going to stop looking for a while. I certainly have plenty of things to do that I won't get paid for.

So I am looking forward to the new year with hope and excitement. It's funny, it seems like so many of my friends have hated 2009. even my horoscope mentioned how awful my last two years have been. (So does my husband's and my son's.) But I found 2009 to be, well, perfectly fine. 2009 is the year I got my kids settled in an awesome school It doesn't take much else to make me happy.

This year I resolve only to bring more love to my house on a daily basis, no matter what it takes or how much I have to bite my lip.

I hope you have a love-filled 2010 too.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Chemical Imbalance

I am in an excessively bad mood today. Seriously, I am unreasonably angry and annoyed. At everything. And more to the point, everyone.

I know it is hormonal. And so I thought that the knowledge of the reason for my horrible mood would help me lessen its impact.

I even said it out loud to my empty house before I picked the kids up. "Knowing that your bad mood is just hormones, you can control it."

Bullshit.

Bullshit!

It doesn't help that most people are stupid or rude or mean or some combination of the three. It also doesn't help that the garage is such a freaking mess that I can't find what I need. It also doesn't help that my usually responsible child is trying to take shortcuts with his homework.

My husband should be very glad he's a bunch of states away today.

Not even the King-sized Snickers is helping. That's what I call a lost cause.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So, I've been thinking...

There are three little words that when spoken by my darling husband strike fear into the very core of my being.

"I've been thinking..."

I can only reply in one simple way.

"Uh, oh."

So, he has come up with some variations on the theme like...

"I have an idea."

The other day he hit me with a "So, I've been thinking and I have an idea."

That deserves more than an "uh, oh". That deserves an "Oh, shit!"

And what was his idea?

*shaking my head*

You know, I love that man. I love that even though in the twenty years that he's known me, I have never been successful at anything even remotely career related, he still thinks that I can do anything.

Sure, I've managed to keep two kids alive and plump (and not disturbingly messed up) for a number of years. And even I'll admit that I was a very good student once upon a time. But when it comes to jobs or work, I suck.

But he still believes that I can do anything. Anything! Really. Like...anything.

His brilliant idea is that I should start my own business. He thinks I should start a marketing firm. He even did a bunch of research to get me started.

Never mind that my fifteen year old degree in marketing is next to worthless now. I mean, think about it. The Internet hadn't even really gotten off the ground back then. But I don't even want to run a marketing firm.

Generating clients and pitching marketing plans is the very last thing in the world I want to do right now. That would involve actually talking to strangers.

That husband of mine has had a lot of "uh, oh" ideas over the years. He's thought of everything from planting a garden to having a baby. But his ideas--the things that he thinks I can do, and the things that he thinks we can do together--they're one of the reasons why I love him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Light Dawns on Marble Head

My daughter wrote a letter to Santa with a wish list. It's all American Girl stuff, which she assures Santa is her favorite. She even starred the things she wants most.

Then she left her letter taped to my computer monitor.

Me thinks the child has finally figured something out.

At least I don't have to steal the letter from under her pillow anymore.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cookies Fix Everything

Note to self:

Hey, crazy! There are people out there with real problems. Now quit your bitchin' and go shave your legs.

And make a dentist appointment.

And eat a cookie.

All the best,

Me

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just call me Nelly!

Like 99.9% of the people on the planet, I care too much about what others think of me.

I think that's why I'm so very shy. I know that first impressions are everything, and I dread having to make one at all. (We have talked about my fear of failure before, right?)

This fall I decided, shyness be damned, I was going to go out and do something I've been wanting to do for years. So I started taking piano lessons.

It's been going pretty well. I'm learning a great deal about myself, things I should have known a long, long time ago but that I've likely been ignoring in order to live with some illusion of coolness.

Lets' see. Like, for example, I'm a complete nut ball. I like to do things perfectly right from the beginning. I hate to not be the best at something. I think way too much. And...oh! My fingers like to stick out at odd angles like I'm forever clutching a tea cup before the queen.

Yesterday at my lesson, I was feeling strangely nervous. I don't know why. Possibly with our Nor'Easter, my husband being off work, the kids being off school, and my cleaning frenzy to prepare for our home concert, I didn't feel prepared for my lesson.

Now, my teacher is a very nice guy. He's primarily a jazz pianist, but he's the music director at his church too. (He inadvertently made me admit that I don't go to church last week. I wonder if he hates me now.)

He's never been anything but positive and constructive, yet I worry.

When I flub the music all up, I don't want him to think I'm not practicing. I don't want him to think that I'm wasting his time. I don't want him to think I don't respect him as a teacher.

My husband tells me I'm nuts. He says that I pay for the time, it's mine to do with as I please. Cynic that he is, he says that my teacher really only wants to get paid. As long as my check clears, he doesn't care about anything else.

But I think my teacher likes me. We laugh a lot. He's got me playing music I have no business playing after only two months.

But yesterday, as I flexed my fingers to get ready to play, I had to stop and look at him.

"I'm nervous today" I told him. "I don't know why."

"I can tell," he told me. "I'm the most laid back guy around! You don't need to be nervous. But let's warm up with some scales."

So then halfway through the lesson, when I finished up a song I thought I had done pretty well on, he remarked, "Yeah. It's hard to play when you're nervous."

What the...? Do I suck that bad?

He went on to tell me that the first time he met me he could tell that I was a really nervous person.

"I made a note to myself to be as calming and encouraging as I could," he told me.

Seriously? I'm a person that people have to treat with kid gloves? Seriously!

I made a great first impression. And now I won't believe anything positive that comes out of that man's mouth.

Here I was thinking that I'm all strong and courageous, and shy for sure, but gregarious and confident for all that.

Apparently I was wrong.

I feel like I should have just stayed home and never tried something new. I'm embarrassed. And while I sat before my teacher and felt my face flame with a hot blush, I was mortified.

This has affected me more than I like to admit. Probably because I'm such a weak, nervous Nelly.

I won't quit because we all know how bad I am at that, but I am starting to fantasize about the day the kids get out of school when I can tell him that I won't be able to take lessons over the summer because I don't have a sitter.

I've decided to start my own practice challenge. I have next week off because of Thanksgiving, so I am challenging myself to practice every single exercise and song, every day for two weeks. My plan is to be so comfortable with my music that I couldn't possibly be nervous.

There is nothing worse than people who reflect our true selves back at us. Illusions are so very comfortable. They don't make me nervous at all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Energy to Nest

Have you ever wanted to have sex really bad? I mean really bad. Bad enough that you kept thinking about it at inopportune times? But, you were so bone-deep weary and tired that you just couldn't make it happen?

Yeah. That's how I feel about blogging right now.

I've had tons of things to talk about and keep composing posts in my head, but I just haven't had the time or energy.

I have been in a major nesting mode lately. My husband took a few days off of work and we finally, finally, finally got this house decorated. Or at least the ground floor of it, anyway.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me!

It's about time. We got a new chandelier to replace the 1990's brass monstrosity that we've been pretending isn't actually hanging in our faces for a year and a half. We replaced kitchen cabinet knobs and door knobs. We hung pictures and curtains.

This all makes me unaccountably joyful!

I guess I just needed an impetus.

A few months ago I volunteered to host a home concert for our teacher's violin studio. I did it purposefully knowing that it would finally push me to make the house presentable. I guess it worked.

As it turned out, we had to host two back-to-back concerts because our teacher has so many students this year.

I was nervous about the whole thing, but it was a blast. I even had fun moving out our furniture to set up the stage and chairs. Oh, and my piano was extremely happy to be played by the professional accompanist we hired. She was awesome.

The design of our house does lend itself well to a concert setting. I have a feeling will be hosting a few more concerts in the years to come.

Now, there. I did it. I blogged something.

Now if I can just get myself to seduce my husband (when he gets home from D.C. this weekend) I'll really be getting somewhere.

In the meantime, enjoy some pictures.











Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fill 'er Up!

Last year I was bored and miserable.

I didn't have anything in my life that I found interesting. I'd lost my (poorly) paying writing job when I moved. I'd lost my zero paying volunteer job when I moved. And I lost the friends I spent the rest of my free time with when I moved.

And so I wished I hadn't moved.

But, hello! I live in a beautiful place with a way better quality of life.

So once I met my most important goal and got the kids accepted at their new school, I decided to take definitive steps to fill the rest of my life with interesting things.

I looked for a steady writing job. (Ha! What a joke. People expect you to give your writing away for the honor of being published.) When that didn't work out I considered going back to school and making a major career change.

And then I remembered how much I hate work.

So I signed up for piano lessons. I started a parent group. I volunteered at the new school. I volunteered for the soccer program.

And now I'm so overscheduled and busy it is ridiculous.

And I don't have the time to enjoy my beautiful new city. But I'm not bored anymore. And I'm not miserable.

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

"Rest if you must, but just don't quit."

I'm a bad quitter.

Once I start something, I hate, hate, hate to quit. I've always been that way.

Unfortunately, it means that I sometimes end up staying in situations that aren't good for me (like crappy jobs) just because I am too prideful to quit.

It also mean that I will sometimes take years to start something I'd really like to try. I'm afraid that if I don't like it or it doesn't work out, I'll be stuck.

Because god forbid a quit.

That goes for everything from piano lessons to writing a book to decorating my damn house!

What if it is too hard? What if I fail? In my fucked up brain, I won't be able to live with myself.

That's why it took me years to try NaNoWriMo. And why it is now almost impossible for me to admit that it was bad timing. That I bit off more than I could chew in an incredibly busy month.

For now I'm going to do what generations of parents have done.

I'm going to live vicariously through my kid. She's kept to her NaNoWriMo Youth Program word count goal. She's written with utter abandon. She's having fun.

Hey, my kids aren't ever going to be pro athletes. Believe me. I have to live my dreams though them somehow.

(At least my piano lessons are going okay.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In Honor of The Demon Dog's Birthday

Dear Buffy the Wonder Puppy,

if only you didn't defecate
or urinate
you would be so great

The End

Friday, October 30, 2009

And it Begins

I came home from dropping the kids off at school Wednesday and found a piece of notebook paper on the floor. I figured my daughter the princess of disorganization had dropped a page of her homework.

Nope.

It was a MASH game.

My husband had no clue what I was talking about when I mentioned it to him. Please tell me that you all know what I'm talking about.

You know...

Mansion
Apartment
Shack
House

This kind of thing is extremely new for her. But she has a new best friend who has a sister who is in Middle School. So it begins.

I'm actually thinking...well...it's about time.

We had the kids' teacher conferences yesterday.

Side note: Both kids are doing really great at their new school. They are both a little behind in specific disciplines of language arts because of the crap schooling they got last year, but both of their teachers couldn't say enough good things about their personalities, work ethic, or manners and that's the most important thing. (Yeah!) Plus, both of their report cards were very good.

(Why does every fucking blog post devolve into me bragging about my kids? Remember when I blogged about other stuff? Yeah. Me either. Oooh! And remember when I hated parents who could do nothing but brag about their kids? Yeah. Me too.)

But anyway...

My daughter's teacher assures me that this is the best group of kids she's ever worked with. Not a Mean Girl in the bunch. And she sees my daughter in a way we never had. Outgoing. Gregarious. Theatrical (well okay, we see that one, but usually we're the only ones). Competitive.

She said, "You daughter is exactly the kind of student this school serves best."

Yeah, we know. Hence my desperate need to get her in the place.

She also said that she's never seen a new child adapt so quickly. And as happy as we are to be a part of this new school, they are just as happy to have her as a part of their community.

This is an incredible load off of my mind and soul.

Plus, the girl hasn't cried at school once this year. Not once! Last year I was looking for a good therapist to diagnose what I thought might be an anxiety disorder. And this year I never even have to look over the kid's homework. Or drill her about what went down at school. Or beg her (and yell at her) to please, for the love of god, tell me why she is crying AGAIN!

She's found a place where she's comfortable enough to play MASH and hang with a whole gaggle of nice girls who tell her they like her clothes and can't wait to see her in the play.

All is right with the world. Even if we do start having to worry about boys calling.

Sometimes "normal" is the most beautiful word of all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If this is wrong, I don't want to be right.


I feel really, really wrong and sick for checking out the president's ass.

But not wrong enough not to do it.

Keep on keeping on, Big B.

p.s. Are those shorts from Target?

p.p.s The picture is blatantly stolen from darling Nicky.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Star Isn't Born

My son very seriously wants to be a movie star when he grows up. He doesn't understand why people laugh every time he mentions it.

He was just telling us the other day that he wants to live in New York after college because he thinks there are lots of acting jobs there. My brilliant husband told him that if he wants to be a movie star he really needs to move to Hollywood. So, now that's what he wants.

Thus far our declarations that our kids can do whatever they like, as long as they go to college first have been completely accepted. But my son had a sudden realization today.

"Hey," he said out of the blue. "There are kid movie stars too. Why can't I be an actor now?"

Oh, man. Here it comes.

My daughter is enthusiastically involved in the Young People's Theater Program at school and she absolutely loves it. She was cast as "woman" in The Pied Piper. This cracks me up. She is actually playing the comic relief townsperson but she tells everyone she is playing "woman".

I'm pretty proud of her. Her teacher says that it takes someone special to play comedy. It takes timing, of course, but also a complete disregard for looking stupid.

She has no problem looking stupid.

But it is my son who has the highly developed sense of humor. So far it is the kind of sense of humor that teachers and adults enjoy and occasionally goes over other kids' heads. I'm very okay with that.

So I think I have him convinced. Wait until third grade when he can participate in the theater program at school. Wait until he graduates from speech therapy (for god's sake). And then we'll talk about acting professionally.

I don't have it in me to be a stage mother. (Has anyone read Hell is Other Parents?) I'm hoping he'll forget it by then and decide to be a doctor or something.

What? A mother can dream.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Too Bad, So Sad

So, last May 38 kids tried out for the super fancy travel soccer program. 36 kids made it. My kid wasn't one of them.

Now, their goalkeeper broke her arm, and all of a sudden they want my kid.

Ha. We might say no just out of spite. *Harumph*

Friday, October 02, 2009

Well, hello there!

Well, hello, October! Don't you look smashing.

The last couple of posts I wrote here on the ole' blog were so negative, I've been meaning to write something, just to move them down a bit.

I was down for a little bit. But I'm fine now. Well, I'm cranky and moody and sleepy and nuts, but, you know...fine.

I've decided I won't worry about the future and just live in the moment. It's how I made it through the last twenty years. Why change now?

In the meantime, I have been busier than I've been in years. I've been volunteering at the kids' new school. I've founded a parent group for violin moms and dads. I'm learning to play the piano. And I'm shuttling the kids around to a ridiculous number of activities.

Those damn kids keep getting better and better at their stuff, and so their stuff keeps getting more and more demanding.

This weekend I'm taking my daughter to the Shenandoah Valley for a fiddle camp and violin performance. I was supposed to take my son too, but I decided that he and daddy just needed a weekend to chill. They'll be chilling at the hockey rink being all manly man together.

Now I'm off to come up with an art project for the second grade boys to auction off at the school's big gala. Because I'm good at that. Yeah. *ahem*

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crappy

Resentment is a crappy, crappy thing.

My husband has been home from a TDY less than a half hour and we already had a fight.

I felt like he was yelling for no good reason. But it all ended when I said, "Don't worry, I'll take care of everything. Just like I always do."

What a crappy thing to say.

He went upstairs without a word.

Sometimes I feel like a failure as a military wife.

This sucks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Give Me Strength

I drove my husband to work this morning so that I could pick him up after work and not leave his car stranded. He had his promotion party this afternoon.

So, as we were driving across the bridge this morning, my dear, dear husband said, (and I quote, for the record!) "I can't wait to retire."

It was his plan when we moved here to do whatever it takes to stay put and retire here. He says things like, "My family is more important than my career." And, "I love it here." Jesus, just last week he was wondering how everyone would react if he kissed the kids' new headmaster on the mouth. That's how much he loves the kids' new school. (We all do.)

But around lunchtime I got an e-mail from him saying, "We need to talk!"

When a military husband e-mails home those four words, it is never good.

But we never connected before his party. And by the time the kids and I got to his party he was slurring drunk. Slurring and happy drunk.

Once we got home and got the kids to bed, and had ice cream, he wanted to talk. He got a few e-mails today. They were asking him to come work deputy positions in North Florida. Which would hopefully lead to commanding positions, most likely in glorious places like Alabama, North Dakota or Louisiana. He also found out he is eligible to put in for a command position.

So he went from, "I can't wait to retire," this morning to "I want to be a commander," this afternoon.

Oh, oh oh! Never mind that just this morning I asked him why he didn't get selected for a certain something and he told me that he chose to spend his time with us before a deployment over studying for the required tests. He insisted it was a good choice that he had freely made.

We can't stay here if he really wants to push his career. If he pushes to be a commander, we'll move a lot. A lot.

He wants to know what I think.

I don't know what to tell him.

I want him to be happy. Faced with the reality of fulfilling the dream he's had since he was...oh...about 19, he can't pass it up. He's too proud to tell people he just wants to quietly play out the last few years of his career for his family's sake. The allure of finally having the chance to be in charge, run things his own way, and probably get promoted to colonel is just too irresistible to resist.

I don't want him to regret not going for it.

But I am extremely happy here. The kids are extremely happy here. We are incredibly lucky to have them accepted at one of the best schools in the country. And we are even luckier to be able to afford to send them there.

I don't want to move to a place where I'd have to put the kids in public or church school. Where I can't even find a violin teacher. Where we've lived before and know we don't love.

He asked me, "What would you do if you were me?"

I can't answer that.

I am a woman who gave up a very promising career to marry a military man. I've sacrificed a lot to give my children everything I thought they needed. I love being "just a housewife" and a stay-at-home-mom, but it has come at a personal price.

When it comes right down to it, at the very core of me is the instinct to sacrifice myself for the sake of those I love. That's not good or bad. It just is.

I can't ask him to make the same sacrifice of personal fulfillment that I would. He doesn't know what it is to give everything up for his family. And I don't know what it is to have to provide for that family.

Without him there would be no violin lessons, private school or stay-at-home mom, because we wouldn't be able to afford it.

When it comes right down to it, I just want him to be happy. And he just wants me to be happy. And for the first time, those two things just can't line up.

So he joked, "Maybe I'll be divorced by then and I can just go on my own."

And I told him, "We shouldn't talk about this while you're drunk."

But he insisted he was sober. And he went on to suggest that maybe we could just live apart for a few years.

I maintain that no school can trump having a loving father in your life. He maintains that a great education is more important than anything he can give them.

I just don't know. Two years ago when he was in Iraq he was ready to get out of the service. I think is his excitement over advancement he has forgotten just how miserable he was. We'd be moving to the armpit of America again only to be separated from him for six months out of every eighteen.

I have no answers for him. I don't know what to say. He knew this decision was coming, I just don't think he thought enough about how he was going to feel about it.

I've always taken the same stand when these kinds of decision come up. I tell him, "Do what you need to do. We'll be fine. I'll make it work."

It's the stoic answer. The strong one.

I'm not sure how much strength I have left.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pay Raise, Baby!

Today my husband found out that he's getting promoted to Lt Col.

Woot! Woot!

It's a pay raise, baby!

I'm really proud of him. But it is hard for me to imagine anyone referring to him as Colonel. We're not old enough for that! Wasn't it just last week that we were pegging our jeans and bagging groceries for four bucks an hour?

He brought me home roses and congratulated me on "our" promotion. How sweet is that?

Doesn't seem very Lt Col-like to me.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Mouthes of Babes

A friend and I were expounding on and on about money and the haves vs. the have-nots when I spouted off, "Money makes the world go 'round!"

Overhearing this, my son felt the need to object. "Money doesn't make the world go 'round."

"What does make the world go 'round, buddy?" I asked him.

And he answered simply and matter-of-factly, "Love."

My friend and I then fell into the black hole of his sweetness.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

No Yarn in This House

"You homeschool, right?"

A new friend asked me this quite casually the other day.

Assuming that she was asking because she is a homeschooling proponent, I curbed my instinct to cry out, "Oh, dear GOD NO!!!"

I've always known a lot of homeschooling families because so many of them are involved with Suzuki violin. I don't think it is fair to categorize them all in one fell swoop (although I'm probably guilty of doing exactly that). I've known a couple of really great homeschooled kids. And I've known a couple of nutso ones. But like any group of people, most of them have at least something in common, or they wouldn't be a group.

Homeschool kids all have one thing in common. Homeschool moms.

I am so not a homeschool mom.

And as I talked to my new friend about her plan to try homeschooling her five-year-old, I pretty much said just that.

"I think there are probably a lot of great things about homeschooling, but I know that I couldn't handle it."

There is no way in hell I could handle it.

I think homeschool moms tend to be more "supermoms" than most others. And that is neither positive or negative. It just is.

I am so not a supermom.

The list of supermom things that I don't do could line the dog's pee place for a year!

I don't knit.
I don't quilt.
I don't cook.
I certainly don't cook organic or vegetarian.
I don't craft.
I don't like kids.
I don't like pets.
I don't laugh at children's antics.
I don't think my kids hung the moon.
I don't moon over my kids.
I don't go to swap meets.
I don't collect anything.
I don't have patience.
I don't comparison shop.
I don't even clean.
I don't do any of the things people think of when they think of good moms.

Seriously.

Plus, I do do a lot of things that a supermom would never do. (Like write "do do"!)

I swear (but not in front of the kids).
I write about sex and masturbation for the world to see.
I yell.
I use sarcasm. With my kids.
Mostly...I yell.

About the only supermom-type thing that I do is insist that my kids use good manners.

That's it.

So, I have to wonder, why would my new friend mistake me for a homeschool mom?

And is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I do have to admit though, that I often wish I could be more supermom. Oh, not the vegan, crafting, moony kind. But the patient kind. The kind who does "projects" and doesn't send the kids out to play so she can watch an old CSI:NY on TiVo.

I need to show my kids more love. Without getting all moony about it. Because that is just not my style.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Old Men and Their Toys

In all of the fervor of Back to School (my most favorite holiday of the year!) I forgot to mention my dear husband's birthday.

The old man turned 37 yesterday. Damn, how did I end up married to someone so old?

Buying gifts for my husband is one of the fucking hardest things in the world to do. Why is it so hard to buy gifts for men? Oh, that's right. Because they're all incommunicative bastards who won't answer a simple question like, "What would you like for your birthday?"

As he put it, "It is more fun and meaningful to see what you come up with on your own."

This makes me feel like he’s just setting me up to fail.

Considering that what he really wants is new rims for his car, I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell.

So I did what I always do when I have no idea what to buy him. I throw a bunch of shit on the wall and see what sticks. If I buy him six or seven gifts, at least one of them will be acceptable, right?

For our anniversary I got him a small wine fridge and a pretty decent bottle of wine. For his birthday I got him Swedish Fish, two different clip boards (for coaching), two books on goalkeeping, a humor book on coaching soccer (yes, I know he's not a big reader but he's almost finished with the second Harry Potter book and I want him to keep at it), brownies, a barbecue set with LED lights, and at the very last minute, Guitar Hero.

Guess which gift was a hit.

The good news is that while he struggles at Guitar Hero I get a sudden compulsion to practice the piano.

The next gift I'm buying him is a set of headphones.

Honestly, I am ecstatic to have this man in my life and (bonus!) home for his birthday. Happy birthday, Tuna Man! I love you.

Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of School!

My, how time flies! The kids are so excited to start 5th and 2nd grade at their new academy. And that makes me deliriously happy.






















Saturday, August 22, 2009

Where, oh where has Tuna Girl gone?

For what seems like the first time in a long time, I have tons of stories to share. I have things I'd like to write, memories I'd like to preserve before they fade away. But I'm busy. So, so busy. Too busy to write. And that sucks.

But here is what is up with me...in a condensed CliffsNotes version.

1. We went on the Nickelodeon Family Cruise and Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. It was a blast and really a celebration for the kids. But we probably won't ever go on a cruise again. This was definitely a once in a lifetime thing. We're just not cruising people. I'd rather go to a destination and spend lots of time exploring.

Besides, by about midweek, most of the other parents caught in Nick-hell-odeon had lost their fucking minds. I mean, people seriously lost their shit.

It was all smooth sailing for the Tuna Clan though. Everything worked out really well. Oh, and we got slimed! And swam with dolphins, which was amazing. My son said it was "better than Disney World" and he might be right.

2. I started taking piano lessons. I'm so excited. And a little anxious. Even after only one lesson I can really understand my kids a little better now. That shit is hard.

But apparently, I rock! I was really nervous about my first lesson but my teacher was psyched by how much I already knew. And I didn't even know I knew it. He even asked me if I was really a beginner. Toot, toot! (That's me tooting my own horn.) Toot, toot.

It's all good. Once I get past Ode to Joy and the same variation of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star my kids learned on the violin when they were four...well...we'll just see how much I rock then.

3. Speaking of...Our anniversary is next Thursday (14 years!) and my husband bought me a piano. It is my new baby! I love it and am so excited. I can't keep my fingers off of it.

4. I'm going to have a full house this next week. My parents are bringing all three of my nephews (twin nine-year-olds and a five-year-old) for a week long visit. The good news is that this inspired me to finally Spring clean my house. I still call it Spring cleaning as long as it isn't fall yet, right? The bad news is that...well...my parents and nephews will be here for a week. I'm not good with children, or guests, or my parents. Whenever they visit I both look forward to it and dread it. I probably need therapy.

5. The kids school starts August 31. I am beside myself with happiness. This next year looks very bright.

6. And last but not least, all those little mouth breathers on the cruise got us sick. Luckily we didn't start feeling it until after we got home. But, ugh. Now we get to pass it on to my nephews and have them bring it home to my sister-in-law. Happy Back to School to her. *cue evil laugh*

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Great News!

My husband got a call at 4 o'clock this afternoon.

They canceled his trip. The whole thing is called off!

We are ecstatic! It's funny because this is the best news we've gotten in a long time and we want to shout it to the rooftops. But nobody knows that he was supposed to be leaving. Except you guys and the kids' violin teacher.

As far as everyone is concerned things are pretty status quo for us, but we feel like celebrating!

I keep thinking of all the things he'll be able to do with us these next six months.

We are so lucky. I am so happy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good News, Bad News

The good news:

They're pushing back my husband's TDY report date until after our cruise. Yay! He can go with us.

The bad news:

They're extending the TDY from four months to six months. So he'll be away until February.

The good news:

He's not going overseas! He's going back to our old base. (But it's a TDY not a PCS so they won't pay for us to go with him.)

The bad news:

So this six-month-long TDY doesn't count toward his AEF (too hard to explain) so he's still due to leave for Afghanistan in May for four to six months.

This is killing me. Six months ago I would have killed for him to be sent back to our old base. If we were still at that school I hated I would have gone with him whether they paid for it or not. But we can't duck out for six months right now.

He's mostly upset because he was all set to coach my son's soccer team and assistant coach my daughter's team. It's funny the things he worries about the most. He's also worried about telling his mother. Funny. (It would have been nice to have him coach again though. It helps my scheduling conflicts.)

Oh, I know that it could be a lot worse. He could be going to Afghanistan for a year. But honestly, I think we'd both prefer that. As he put it, "I'd rather be doing something that really needs to be done. I'd rather be making a difference!"

What will he be doing? Well, as he put it, "...sharpening pencils."

Yes, it could be a lot worse, but this sucks too.

At least I'll be getting back to our old base and visiting my old friends. That will be fun. Hell, we'll be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with them.

Monday, July 27, 2009

If you don't have anything nice to say...

I have absolutely nothing good to say about our branch of the military today. So I'm trying really hard not to say anything at all.

We got crappy news this weekend. Looks like I'll be starting another school year at another new school without my husband around. I can't say more until it all actually happens (which is supposed to be by Monday).

Damn it.

This is complicated and it sucks.

I've always said that I really love being a military wife. And once upon a time, I did. But lately, I'm starting to wonder just how much damage this is doing to my kids. Is it worth it?

My husband is wondering the same thing. But when he started muttering the "s" word (i.e. "separating") at work, the guys all jumped up and told him to cool off and not make any hasty decisions.

It's not like my husband hasn't done his duty. He's done his fair share for fourteen years. Like, I said, it's complicated.

Just when I was starting to feel settled and happy. Damn it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Better than my Colin Quin Autograph

Today my daughter got a letter from Michelle Obama. It's pretty cool.

Back when the first family was trying to pick a dog, my daughter wrote a letter to Sasha and Malia telling them why she thought they should choose a daschund.

It's nice that she got a reply back. Although it was a form letter that was probably sent to every kid in America who wrote the family about dogs, it is still signed by Michelle Obama.

My daughter thinks it is totally awesome.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Speaking of Magic Wands

My daughter currently has about $1200 worth of violin bows sitting in her room.

I once heard a bow described as the magic wand of the violin. I didn't realize how true that was. Most instrument companies will send you a few bows to try and choose from. There are so many variables in a player, a violin and a bow that getting the perfect fit between the three is a lot like magic.

So my daughter's bedroom currently looks like a scene out of Ollivander's Wand Shop.

The artist does not pick the bow. The bow picks the artist.

It's time this young artist picked her bow so I can send the others back. I keep threatening her, "You take care of those bows or you'll be getting a job to pay for them!"

A little bit of magic is damned expensive.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Read the Book

We have a rule in my house. You can't see a movie until you read the book first.

I mean, let's face it, there has never been a movie that was better than the book it was based on. Never.

This rule, however, generally only applies to my daughter and me as my son is just starting to read chapter book and my husband doesn't read at all.

Seriously. He has never read a book for pleasure. Ever. (How I married a man who doesn't read, I'll never know. Maybe it was fate's way of making sure our family didn't go poor from buying books.)

However, after seeing the Harry Potter movie last weekend, and listening to my daughter and I go on and on about how the book was different, and listening to me go on and on about how books are better than movies he asked me if I still had the first Harry Potter book in the house.

Of course I do!

But I had been planning to start rereading the series over again from the beginning (maybe with my son). Still, there was no way I was going to tell him that and keep that book out of his hands.

So he got it out and put it on his nightstand. And there it has sat for four days. I've actually reread it while he was asleep and have started on The Chamber of Secrets.

God, I hope he reads it. I can't even tell you how much. As the only one on our family who doesn't love to read, he has always been a bit of an outsider. I want to bring him into the book-loving fold.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good Fences

Before I write anything else, I should first say that I have spent the last six months of my life, changing my life outlook. I am all about being positive. I've been slowly but surely eliminating the negative people in my life and slowly but surely tuning into the happier side of myself.

That being said...

*sigh*

*ahem*

Good fences really do make good neighbors.

Some people moved into the house next door. The one that used to be occupied by, and is still owned by a lovely German family. My kids were devastated when the German family went back to Germany as their kids were great to play with.

They never came over uninvited or unannounced. They were polite. Their parents were on top of everything they did.

Now, well, there are three boys "staying" in the house next door. The puzzle of ex-wives, girlfriends, and parentage is impossible to figure out.

The "dad" seems nice enough but he was really over eager to get our kids to come play with his assortment of future criminals. (Do I judge a book by its cover, or a kid by his mohawk? Apparently I do.) Now I know why. He needs distractions.

I stupidly allowed my kids to play with the juvenile delinquents. They've been waiting for kids to move in since Christmas. How could I deny them? But it has turned into a total cluster. ("Cluster" being fly boy short speak for "cluster fuck" which is slightly worse than "goat fuck"!)

They come over all the time. They bang and bang and bang on my door if I do not answer it right away. They are constantly pushing over the threshold. They fight and wrestle and hit each other with sticks (All of which may be cool with lots of families, but not with me!) They fucking argue with me. A kid! A fucking eight-year-old kid. A fucking kid who isn't mine!

Today I had to use my mean voice. I am so over it.

I find myself hiding from them. I won't let the kids swim in the pool if I know the boys are home, because they'll be over faster than flies on shit. I take the kids out to eat, just so our meals won't get interrupted.

I'm home alone on a fucking Tuesday morning and I can't even fucking masturbate because a fucking eight-year-old kid is literally kicking my door.

I'm done. They are on a two day probation from knocking on our door which will turn into a permanent probation.

*ahem*

Like I was saying, I'm really looking for the positive in people lately. Sometimes I just have to look really fucking hard.

Oh, and I'm positive I can talk my husband into installing a new privacy fence.

Monday, July 20, 2009

RICE, RICE, Baby!

You know what's not very smart? Wearing sandals when you have a badly sprained ankle.

Last weekend I met up with local bloggers Misty and Dena...

Okay, wait. Major side note here. When I was moving here, Misty gave me tons of help. We e-mailed and talked on the phone. It was always my intention to meet up with her within a few weeks of arriving, but it just never happened. I don't know why I get so nervous meeting bloggers. It always turns out fine and every blogger I've met has been really great. Misty and Dena were no exceptions!

Anyway...

Last weekend the kids and I finally met up with local bloggers Misty and Dena and their kids at the beach. We had a very nice time, but as we were walking back to our car, I missed a step on the little walkway and wrenched my ankle pretty bad. Again.

I hurt my ankle last Fall and again in New York in November. This time I really messed it up. It's all RICE for me for a while.

Except, like I said, I stupidly wore sandals to run errands this morning (dropping the kids off at soccer camp and running to the doctor's office). And I even more stupidly went to a water park on Saturday!

Every year we give the kids the choice of having a party or going on a day trip for their birthdays. We always secretly hope they'll choose the day trip. This year my daughter asked to go to Water Country USA and bring a friend. So we did.

But man! All that walking killed my ankle. I'm so glad we rented the cabana. It was totally worth it.

Another side note. Taking care of three kids is exponentially harder than taking care of two. I don't know how other people do it. Although, taking care of someone else's kid is much more nerve wracking. If something happens to your own kid, you can say, "Eh, oh well. You should have been more careful." But I don't want to bring a broken child back to her parents. "Oops, sorry!" just wouldn't cut it.

In conclusion: I sprained my ankle. Then I made it worse. Then I wrote side notes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lucky 13


Today is my daughter's birthday. She is ten-years-old.

I won't say that I can't believe she is hitting double digits, because it just wouldn't be true. Actually, I feel like it has taken forever for her to be this old. She's finally ten. Finally.

Unlike most parents, I am perfectly happy to trade my little girl for a big one. She may be hitting the angst of puberty, but she is finally finding some independence. She is finally finding herself and her self confidence. It is so very good.

I've had to push this one screaming from the nest. But they've got to fly sometime. And in two years she'll be able to babysit.

She's a great kid. She's as sweet and empathetic as a child could possibly be, and creative, imaginative, and talented to boot.

Happy birthday, sweet girl! I know this next year is going to be a great one.

Man, I've been a parent for ten years. That's the longest I've ever done anything.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sarcophagus

Last week, the kids dragged a big moving box out of the garage to make a sarcophagus for my son.

Um, yes. They were making him an Egyptian coffin. Okay.

So they've been playing with it all week.

Last night when my husband came home from work he asked me, "Where's the boy?"

"Playing in the family room," I answered.

But we couldn't find him. Just as I was really starting to worry we heard snoring.

From the sarcophagus.

He had climbed in, closed the top and fallen asleep.

What's the scariest noise for any parent to hear?

Silence.

Even in Ancient Egypt.

Monday, July 06, 2009

What Ten Years of Motherhood has Taught Me.

Being a mom has taught me a few useful things. Just a few, really, but sill.

My favorite SuperMom skill is the ability to find a public restroom in the most impossible circumstances. Times Square? Bourbon Street? I can find a decent bathroom anywhere.

In fact the only time in the past ten years that I haven't been able to find a bathroom was at a gay beach that was a freaking ten mile hike from civilization. Through sand! Uphill! (Every time I tell that story I add a mile on principle.)

This Fourth of July I was SuperMom again when I decided that the kids might enjoy the fireworks better if they had designated seating, pre-fireworks entertainment, plenty of food options, and...of course...bathrooms aplenty.

We bought tickets for the local Triple-A baseball team and enjoyed the postgame fireworks (which were awesome), stadium food (which was expensive), a run around the bases (which the kids loved), and bathrooms aplenty (which were surprisingly clean).

By the way, SuperMom scores big by smuggling in glowing necklaces and bracelets bought for a buck a dozen months ago. (Next year Supermom could smuggle in more and make a nice little profit.)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Rage Against the Smallest Damn Thing

I am amazed and appalled by the amount of anger I am carrying around these days. It's starting to leak out all over the damn place.

I think, in an effort not to be a bitch, to keep the peace, and mostly not to be accused of being a hypocrite, I have buried an enormous amount of anger. I just haven't buried it very well.

That hasn't always been my style. In fact, that has been the complete opposite of my style for the majority of my last thirty-six years. But when you're trying to be all things to your family all the time, you start to change.

I'm not used to having unresolved issues in my life. I'm not used to carrying around hurt and anger. I'm not used to all this residual rage. I'm not handling it well.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Immersion

I'm finally back to the real world. I'm somehow surprised to find that not everyone plays a string instrument and I don't have to attend parent lectures every day.

Taking the kids to a Suzuki violin institute was well worth the time and cost. It was quite an interesting week. Not only were the kids inspired but I was reminded of the very important reasons why we started all this violin stuff in the first place.

It was a week of immersion. I haven't spent a week of pure immersion like that since my days of spring training for softball. It was...kind of freeing. There were no computers. I didn't take any phone calls. I didn't watch any television.

It was just me and my family. And it was good.

My mom met us there, to help me get two kids through four classes a day. She loved watching their group lessons and play-ins. Unfortunately she missed their solo recitals and concerts.

In the middle of the night on Wednesday she got a call from my father. My father lost his sight in one eye this past year due to diabetes. That night his other eye "blew". He had to have emergency surgery to try and save his sight, so my mom took off for the ten hour drive back to her home.

She was a wreck and the kids were sad.

My father is going to have to wait about three weeks to see if his eye heals at all.

But I'm back with a new sense of purpose and lots of decisions to make. And a weeks' worth of reflection to help make them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Violin Mom

I'm off for a week of violin camp with the kids. I'll see you next weekend...with enough violin mom crap to make you puke.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Every Day for a Year!

I am absolutely riding high tonight. What a great day.

First of all, as of this morning, my children and I have practiced violin every single day for an entire year.

Can you even believe that? My own mother can't believe it. When I told her I was getting up at 5:45 a.m. every morning for violin practice, she was speechless.

But, man has it paid off.

First of all, tonight my son graduated to the next level of violin training. We celebrated with a graduation recital and reception with his four fellow graduates. He played five solo pieces. He's been working his butt off to perfect them and he sounded great tonight.

The compliments were flying after his performance. There is something about my son...I don't know. I can't explain it, partly because I don't really see it myself. But people love him.

Yeah, sure, he played better than the other kids (ahem), but people just love his spirit. One mother wants to get him an agent and put him in movies. She went on and on about him. To me he's just my kid. My great kid, for sure. But I expect him to act and look and live the way he does.

People were also complimenting me left and right. To the point of embarrassment. But you know I love it. I took the initiative to organize the reception and people acted like it was a huge deal. All I did was send a couple of e-mails.

So I was feeling pretty positive when we got home. But then my daughter got the mail and things got even better.

My daughter was accepted into the orchestra she auditioned for! This is a huge deal. She'll be one of the youngest kids in the group. I'm so proud of her!

The audition was not an easy thing. For her or me. She worked for hours and hours on scales, sight reading and a solo piece. She was ready but she was nervous. Watching her walk out of the warm up room and into the judging room was a profound parenting moment for me.

She was all on her own. I had done everything I could do for her. She was all on her own.

Sure, she's performed solos in huge concerts, but I was always in the audience, watching and cheering her on. And helping her process it all in the aftermath.

This time she was all alone in that room. Just two judges, her, and her music.

She is very proud of herself tonight too. She was beaming!

Practicing together every single day for an entire year has made a tremendous difference in our lives. And not just with their violins. It has made us all believe that we can do anything we set our minds to. It has proven to my children that working hard is its own benefit. It has taught them that they can get anywhere they want to go, with enough discipline.

On Sunday we're heading to D.C. for a week-long violin institute. We're all excited. We'll be heading into another year of music with a song on our hearts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Needing Knobs

Oh sure. I get locked in the laundry room and the whole family just laughs at me.

My husband gets locked in the laundry room and has to be rescued by a seven-year-old with a screwdriver and suddenly we have new doorknobs throughout the house.

At least I love my new knobs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Survivor: Laundry Island

Last night I was locked in the laundry room.

The door knob has been acting up for a while, but I still shut the door behind me so the dog would stay with me and I could give her a treat.

Then I couldn't get out.

Between me and my television-watching husband was the laundry room door, the closed bathroom door (our laundry room is off of our bathroom...I didn't want you to think that my husband was watching television in the bathroom...although, I'm sure he would...actually I'm surprised he hasn't asked for a flat screen above the tub yet) and about ten feet.

First I knocked. Then I yelled his name. Then I banged and knocked some more. Then I yelled some more.

Fifteen minutes later when I had dissolved into hysterical laughter, he rescued me.

I had been envisioning myself spending the night in the laundry room. I had even been envisioning my children finding me days from now dead and curled up with the dog.

Okay, that's not true. I'd eat that damn dog long before I'd die. Sorry, but if it was me or her, well, I'd be cooking her in the dryer.

Oh, wait. I suppose I could eat her Purina ProPan before I'd have to resort to that. Heck, between her treats and the water in the laundry room sink, I could have a pretty sweet life in there.

All alone.

Ah. Alone.

And by the time anyone found me I'd probably have lost some significant weight. It would be like a vacation really. A vacation at a health spa!

Excuse me. I'm going to go get the dog a treat again. I might shut the door behind me. Maybe no one will think to look for me until school starts in the fall.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Like Pinned Butterflies

Every year when the kids get out of school, I have fantasies about spending our days sipping lemonade and playing badminton. And every year I am rudely reminded that life goes on and on and on. And responsibilities rarely take a vacation.

These last two weeks have been a bitch! And it ain't over yet, sisters!

Between soccer tryouts, and more soccer tryouts, and even more soccer tryouts (because she didn't make the first team), and a week's worth of speech evaluations, and an audition for an orchestra I feel like my kids have been under a microscope lately.

Oh, and never mind the two violin concerts, solos for each kid, and my son's six solos for graduation recital next week.

I feel like I've been in a ringer. I can only imagine how the kids feel.

One more week and we can crawl out from under the microscope. And soon you'll be treated to more sickening stories of my kids and our domestic life. Because no matter how any one else evaluates these two, I think they freakin' rock.*

*70 to 80% of the time anyway

Friday, May 29, 2009

Time to Celebrate


Today is our last day at this school! Woo hoo!

I'm doing a happy dance complete with back flips! Woo hoo, again!

Yesterday the girl in my daughter's class who is switching schools with us leaned over and whispered to my daughter, "I can't wait to get out of here. Then I'll never have to come back to this place again!"

I had no clue that sweet girl was anything but happy.

My daughter leaned over and whispered back, "I know."

Happy dance, people. Join in with us!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Aim High

This morning I completely doused the kids in S.P.F. 70 sunblock so they wouldn't get burnt out at Field Day. Then I joined them on the field for a picnic lunch.

And wore exactly 0 S.P.F.

Whoops. Thanks to my v-neck t-shirt, I now have an inverted triangle burnt into my milky white skin.

And thanks to the pendent I always wear, I now have a milky white outline of a jet plane embossed on my skin.

So hot. And as close as I'll ever get to a tattoo.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Counting the Hours

My son, who wants to be a movie star when he grows up, was very unhappy with his grade's Spring show last Friday.

As we were walking to the car he motioned for me to lean close to him. Then he whispered, "That was the worst program I've ever been in."

"Why, Buddy?" I asked. I mean, I couldn't argue with him. But I wondered why he felt that way.

"It was just horrible!"

He ain't wrong.

The week before we went to see my daughter's school orchestra. They plucked out a few notes while a recording blared so loud that if you couldn't actually see the kids, you wouldn't have thought they were even playing. (And even then...)

I mean we weren't expecting a lot, but my husband took the afternoon off for that?

Last week my son asked me if I would please homeschool him for the rest of the year. Seriously. The most social child in the history of the world, wants to be homeschooled.

We have four more days. Three and a half now, really. And then we never have to see this school again.

I'm thinking of throwing a party. Academy here we come!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sappy McSapperstein

A while ago, a dear friend asked me to come give a speech at a Military Appreciation Banquet in Louisiana this Friday. While I would have loved to have gone, given my speech, and spent the weekend with my old friends, I couldn't miss all the day-to-day stuff here.

So she asked if I would write a speech anyway and she would read it on my behalf.

I must admit, I've been putting it off. I knew I'd get all emotional while writing it. That's the only way to make a speech poignant, funny or meaningful. You have to really get into it.

I finally got the damn thing written this morning. And now I have a massive headache from all the crying.

My friend said that's only fair since it made her cry too and now she misses me more than ever. That's sweet and I love her, but the bitch made me write this crap in the first place.

Okay, I'm happy to do it. This organization means a lot to me and I somehow became the poster woman for military spouses back at our old base (which absolutely humbled and honored me).

But now I miss her and everyone else back in Louisiana even more too. And my eyes are burning and my head aches.

If I get invited again next year, I'm going.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Craig's Birthday Gift to Me

Oh, sure. Most people think he did this sexy version of "Oops!...I did it Again" for ratings and fun. But I know it was his secret love message to me.

Me. Me. Me.

(Craig Ferguson. Craig Ferguson. Craig Ferguson.)

What does it say about me that I think this is SO HOT!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Five Stars, Baby!

This is kind of weird.

In my never-ending quest to find good babysitters (just a couple more years until my daughter can sit for my son!!!!!!!!) I joined a sitter/parent web service-type-thing.

There are lots of ways to find sitters and to protect both the families and the sitters from danger the site offers background checks and reviews.

So you are supposed to review each sitter you hire. (No problem. Our sitter was awesome.)

But the sitter is supposed to review the family too.

Now, I have been rated and evaluated on lots of things in life. Performance. Appearance. Results. But I have never had a review like this. Our sitter was basically reviewing who we are as people, as parents, and as a family.

It's a good thing I am pretty damn confident or I would have been obsessing and checking the site all day long. Which I didn't. Nope. Not me. Uh uh.

I must say, it is one thing to hear that other adults really like your kids. (We got five stars, baby!) But it is another thing entirely when that adult's comments highlight the very values you have been diligently trying instill in your offspring for ten years.

Score! It all hasn't been in vain. Of course I knew that we were on the right track, but outside validation is always nice.

2009 and has been the Up with Tuna Family year. Go Team Tuna.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

This doesn't make any sense! But I keep checking the math over and over again so it must be true.

I was thirty-years-old when I started this blog.

How could that possibly be? Today I turn 36. And I don't feel one bit older than I did back then.

Last night my husband took me to see Wicked here in town. I really enjoyed it. I had been hearing about Wicked for years and so I was very happy to finally see it. The production was great, but I am mostly impressed by the writing. In a thousand years, I could never come up with a story like that.

This morning my husband left a homemade card for me on the kitchen table. I have to admit, part of me thought, "Oh, that is so sweet!' and part of me thought, "Looks like someone forgot to buy a card." But mostly I thought it was sweet.

But for the lack of gifts (except for the Godiva chocolates that just showed up at my door by Express mail) and cake, this birthday had some serious highlights.

For one thing, my husband and I cleaned the house. He did a major portion of the work. I don't know if he even realizes it, but that is just about the best gift he could give me. I was completely overwhelmed and stressed out because I can never keep up with the work in this house.

We also found a really good, really reliable babysitter. A good babysitter is worth her weight in gold (and we pretty much paid her that much). This one is a high school science teacher with grown kids. She couldn't be more perfect.

And finally, seriously, the best gift I have ever received was an e-mail from an old bayou friend (and my former assistant softball coach). He wrote, "Thanks for getting (our school) started w/ softball last year. If it were not for you we would have missed the whole experience. We finished the season yesterday in 1st place w/ a record of 14-1. What you taught the girls (and me) along w/ (our new coach's) expertise just kept the girls growing the entire season. You should be proud of your softball legacy."

Oh, man. He has no idea what that means to me. Those girls were so special to me. I am so happy and proud to be able to start them off on the right foot in a sport I love.

In response, my husband sent me an email. "Congratulations on instilling the love of the game to another generation."

I think he may have hired a ghost writer. But mostly I thought it was sweet.

So I may be another year older and deeper in debt, but I am happy, in love, and have a clean house. Plus, I have chocolate. And it just doesn't get any better than that.

Friday, May 15, 2009

License to Age

The last time I went to the DMV, someone asked me what high school I went to.

This time? Not so much.

It's been a tough four years.

But next time? Well, the next time I have to go to the DMV will be when my daughter gets her license.

How freaking scary is that?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again

Do you know what's weird?

What's weird Tuna?

It's weird that my husband is TDY to our hometown.

It's also weird that I'm more stressed about this little five day TDY (business trip) he's taking then his six month or year-long deployment that's coming up, but I guess it's just because I'm especially stressed lately.

Anyway, this is the first time that he's traveled for work to the base near where we grew up. He spent the first day checking on our house (it's still there) and going to dinner with his father (long story). And he even took my brother out to lunch yesterday.

To me that's weird. I am so incredibly introverted that I would feel awkward taking my brother out to lunch. I never expected my husband to invite him. But he thinks I'm nuts.

"I'm going to a conference in his office!" he told me. "How can I not meet him for lunch?"

Even if I took my brother out to lunch out of obligation, I would feel worried and sick about it for weeks before. I just wouldn't know what to talk about. It's not that he's a bad guy. I just don't know him that well.

How sad is that?

Anyway, my husband said it was a really nice lunch. They talked about our kids and sports and work. "He's a really nice guy, when his bitch of a wife isn't around," he said.

That's funny. My mother said the same thing last week.

Anyway, it feels weird that my husband took a trip "home" without us. He has a rental car. He'll be in town for the Bruins' game seven at the Garden. (I wish he'd get tickets for himself but he said, "I couldn't do that to you.") He's even staying at the hotel where we spent our wedding night.

I hope he appreciates that my parents our out of town this week, or they would have guilted him into doing something.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

My daughter has started her own blog.

It may be time to pass the torch. Excuse me while I vomit.

She has a bunch of homeschooler friends from violin, including the redheaded menace (who my daughter insists is not mean but just doesn't know how to behave), and they all have blogs.

*sigh*

My husband's only comment? "Do you really think that is a good idea?'

Well, no. Of course not. But apparently blogs have trickled down to the under 10 set (a sure sign that they are SO OVER) and I am determined to use the opportunity to teach her about Internet security while she is still young enough to listen to me.

Happy Mother's Day to me. Someone pass the vodka.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Appreciate Me, Damn It!

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. And I almost missed it!

Thank goodness the banner on my bank's web page reminded me. Now can someone call my husband and remind him too. (You might want to remind him about Mothers' Day and my birthday while you're at it.)

A big HURRAH to my fellow military wives today. We kind of rock, don't we?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I Wish!

Right before we left our old school, a civilian friend of ours gave $250,000 to the school to start an endowment fund for military families. Cool, huh? He wanted any military family who wanted to attend the school to be able to, regardless of their financial situation.

He's kind of awesome. He didn't want any recognition or anything so they called it the Military Family Endowment and only announced his identity at the board meeting.

Yesterday, SW (one of my best friends from back on the bayou and the president of the school's parents' association) asked me if I could fly in for a military appreciation breakfast and presentation.

Since I can't make it, she then asked me to write a little something for her to read during the presentation to our endowment fund.

She said, "This year the parent's association would like to make a contribution to the endowment fund your family started. Is it called the Tuna Family Endowment?"

Um, no.

It's not.

Yes, my mother-in-law always makes very generous contributions to the school, but $250,000? Hell, no!

And us? I think we donated 75 bucks last year.

But, apparently, word got around that we started this quarter of a million dollar endowment.

If we gave a quarter mil, I'd want a damn building named after us.

Now I have to write an e-mail explaining this all to my friend and setting the record straight. That could be hard.

Huh. I wonder if I'll still have to write something for that presentation. That could be hard too.

"Dear fellow parents...we're not the generous rich fucks you think we are..."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Why I'm Sucky and Boring

The next time you're sitting in a boring work meeting, think about this.

They say, write what you know.

Do you know what I know?

I know about sitting through an hour of mind numbing presentations by fourth graders.

I've seen a lot of really great school presentations over the years. I'm always amazed at what the teachers can get the kids to do and how creative their presentations are.

Yesterday...ummm...not so much.

Each fourth grader filled out a form about a breed of dog. And then they read the information on the form to the crowd with absolutely no preparation or practice.

By the fifth time I heard about how many cups of food a dog should have a day, I was ready to put a corkscrew in my brain.

Oh! And they handed out questions for the parents to ask. To which each and every kid replied, "I don't know."

I tried to intentionally choke myself with the little slip of paper my question was written on ("Are Irish Setters popular in the US?") but it didn't work. No rescue by EMT for me.

I couldn't even sneak out at intermission because my kid was dead last.

At least she mixed up her question responses with, "I'm not sure, but I think so."

After, there was a reception. I could have been completely invisible. The only people who talked to me, or even made eye contact with me were my daughter and her teacher. (And one very kind woman whose daughter is switching schools with us next year.)

Her teacher thinks my daughter was "amazing". "We saved the best for last!" she told me.

Um, okay.

Next year when she's whipping your school's ass in forensics, or someday when she's giving speeches for charitable foundations or starring on Broadway, be sure to remember that she didn't learn anything from you.

Okay, what was that I was saying about finding the happy? I'm happy I won't have to sit through another presentation like that ever again. There's an hour of my life I'll never get back, all for the love of my amazing kid.



Monday, May 04, 2009

Find the Happy!

At my daughter's league championship soccer game yesterday, one of my favorite girls sort of tripped over her own feet as she was hustling for a ball.

"Her heart was willing but her feet weren't able," I said and everyone laughed. (Yeah. I'm a card.)

But, you know, that could be a metaphor for my life lately. (Yeah. I'm a dork.)

I feel like negativity is completely permeating the world right now. Sure, the economy sucks, loved ones are sick, and some people are hopelessly jobless. I understand that. But I don't think it is an excuse for other people to be meaner, nastier, and more isolated than ever.

I'm trying to stay upbeat. I'm trying to chill. I'm trying to only obsess about the things that are really important.

But I keep getting dragged down into the muck. My heart is willing to be happy and free, but my head isn't able.

I'm just so tired. I'm tired of people. I'm tired of guilt.

You can't just cruise through life and expect to be happy. You have to make happy. You have to work at it. It's like a good marriage or partnership in that way.

I'm going to shift gears, right now, today. And force myself to find the happy.

Who's with me?

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Facinating Story about a Doughnut

Sacrilege!

Yesterday, I almost threw away a doughnut.

I know!

I had picked up two Dunkin Donuts on a whim (along with a hot chocolate because that's how I roll) on my way home from dropping off the kids.

I snuggled up on the couch to watch my crush Craig Ferguson (Craig Ferguson, Craig Ferguson, Craig Ferguson!) ate one doughnut, and then completely forgot that I hadn't eaten two.

I actually thought to myself, "Huh, I ate those awfully fast." And I thought to myself, "Huh, the bag I just balled up to throw away felt awfully full."

When it hit me...hello! There's a doughnut in the bag!..I was flabbergasted.

Who the hell have I become?

So did I unball the bag, fluff up my glazed doughnut and eat it?

You bet your ass I did. Do you know me at all?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Silver Lining

Last week my daughter did something she'd never done before.

Totally out of the blue she started crying that she didn't want to go to school.

In the past, she cried if she had to miss school, even if she was sick.

"What's going on, kiddo?" I asked her. "You've never felt this way about school before."

"That's because I loved my old school. The kids don't behave here. I'm so sick of it!"

She's breaking my freaking heart. I couldn't get any more information out of her, but I ended up calming her down by telling her that there is barely a month of school left and then she'll never have to go back there again.

I was actually starting to feel guilty about making the kids move schools. They'll have to start all over again and we might not even be living here much longer. Plus, their current headmaster keeps sending me letters expressing her distress at our leaving. Even though every time I see her in person she has no idea who I am.

So, the girl may be breaking my heart but at least she's helped me feel better about our decision.

There is exactly one month left of school. I've never been so excited for summer.

Monday, April 27, 2009

You don't know how glam I am.

We are spiraling out of control in our quest to be the most white trash glam family on our block (or in the cul-de-sac). We just bought an above-ground pool. So fancy!

When we moved here we were pretty intent on buying a house with a pool. When that fell apart, we bought a house with a yard big enough for a pool. And then we found out that we'd have to spend about 45 grand to put in the pool we wanted.

So now we have an above-ground pool. And we're six grand poorer. But we're stimulating the economy. Go Tuna Family!

Friday, April 24, 2009

You Just Never Know

Man, there's nothing like hearing the words, "I have good news and bad news..."

Every military spouse I know can identify with those phone calls. I can't tell you how many times my husband has called just to give me a "heads up" on some possibly life changing news.

This time I was hanging out at home waiting for our new television to be delivered. Just as the guy was pulling into the driveway my husband dropped the bomb.

"Is my T.V. there yet?" he asked me.

"The guy just pulled in," I replied.

"Oh, okay. I'll call you back then. I have news."

Why does he say that when he doesn't have time to give me details?

"Good or bad?" I asked. "Tell me quick."

So, the news isn't really a big deal. It's just a possible career opportunity that would require us to move again relatively soon. He was really calling to ask me if I thought he should pursue it.

I don't know why he bothers to ask me anymore. I always tell him to pursue everything.

It's a good reminder. Just as I start to get comfortable and forget that I'm even a military wife, I'm reminded of the tentative nature of this life.

You just never know.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Slippery Slope

I have a love/hate relationship with Drew Barrymore.

Well, it's not so much a relationship, really. It's more that I think it is great that someone so interesting looking can be considered beautiful by so many. But I think the way she talks needs to be outlawed.

Why is she so weird?

We were watching her on Lettermen the other night when I voiced my "weird" opinion of her. To which my husband quickly replied, "She's hot."

Really? Really?

Okay, if you like people who talk out of the sides of their mouths, I guess she's okay. But she has seriously sparked my interest in Grey Gardens.

Grey Gardens is one of the many popular gay culture things that I had no clue about. I heard it mentioned a thousand times, but never asked what it was about, assuming that I should already know.

Now, I'm fascinated by the story. And that of the Collyer brothers in Harlem.

Recently my parents demolished the life long home of my father's two deceased spinster aunts (one of whom always spoke with a British accent for no apparent reason) because it was too dangerous to even try to clean it out.

Since I was little I had heard stories about how the sisters had money stashed away in every nook and cranny because they didn't trusts the banks. They used to babysit me when I was very little and I remember their house seeming like a magical collection of player pianos and antique toys.

In the end, after the last sister died last year, my brother braved the decades of trash and decay to case the place for dead bodies and easily accessible cash. When he found nothing, they razed the house and sold the land to a developer.

How do you let things go so far?

You see, I'm asking, because I can understand it all too well.

I'm a little afraid to watch Grey Gardens because I'm afraid I'll see myself too clearly in the Beale women. I'd like to watch the documentary before the HBO movie, but I'm reticent.

I can easily see letting myself get to that point someday. When my husband is gone, and my children are gone...

There is such a small degree of separation between eccentricity and tragedy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Ham

And I keep my streak alive of always being sick on major holidays.

What's up with that?

Actually, the kids have been really sick since last Tuesday or Wednesday. We spent Thursday and Friday night doing the fever dance...you know...that dance of trying to keep a kids' fever low enough so you don't have to take him to the ER, but being ready to head to the ER if you need to.

I've never taken either of the kids to the ER and I don't want to start now.

The problem with my son is that he's so good natured, even when he's sick, that it is hard to tell when he's really feeling bad.

I, on the other hand, let everyone know when I am sick.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to parent when your voice is shot and your throat is on fire?

I did manage to put together an Easter dinner, mostly by just heating up store-bought sides. We had a Honeybaked ham that I picked up last week. It ended up being really good.

But I have to admit, I am so annoyed that after nine years we still can't get through a meal (at least a meal that isn't chicken nuggets, plain hamburger, buttered pasta, pancakes or eggs) without my daughter crying.

As much as I say that it's just too bad if she won't try the perfectly normal (and often bland) food I've provided for her, I still end up avoiding making meals I know she'll cry over. I've made her peanut butter sandwiches too many times before.

This is my major parental failure.

All in all, it was a nice Easter, despite the fevers, hacking and snot. I'll never understand why, but Easter is my daughter's favorite holiday.

Maybe next year she'll try a bite of ham. Before I decide to trade her in.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Only Us

Only I would get a really bad sunburn while wearing jeans and a hooded sweatshirt.

My face looks like tomato. It feels really stupid having a sunburn when it is 60 degrees in April.

Only my daughter would yell out, "Mommy! Look at this giant cock!" in the middle of a waiting room.

She had taken a picture of a really big rooster on her field trip.

I'm so glad the women in my family have such a flair for the dramatic.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Caught Between Two Worlds

Remember what I said about being happy with my son's baseball coach. Yup. I take that back.

The guy's an ass.

No adult should ever tell a group of kids to shut up.

I know my disdain for his behavior is mainly a cultural thing. And I mean that in both an ethnic and a...well...honestly, a socio-economic thing.

I grew up in a working class town with working class people. I grew up around parents who swore and yelled at their kids in public. I grew up where everyone smoked at Little League games and belched in front of ladies. I grew up around racism and homophobia.

So I should feel comfortable in that element. But I don't. I chose to go to a private school and I chose to get out of that town. Even my husband struggled though college and became and officer in the military to get away from all that.

We're trying to give our kids a better life. And yet, here I am, throwing my kid right back in the fray, just because I think he should play baseball.

It's funny, because here I am calling the private school people here snooty. But then I'm turning right around and calling the neighborhood people low class.

But I've got to be honest. I'll choose snooty people who spoil their kids over low class people who demean their kids. Mostly because they're demeaning my kid too, and he doesn't deserve that. I can keep my kids from being spoiled, but I can't keep them from being humiliated.

Now, I should point out something here though. Something I find quite interesting.

That coach today yelled at and embarrassed every single kid on that team. Except my son.

Why? Not because he's a great player (believe me). I think it's because my husband is in his uniform, with his rank all right there on his shoulders, when he takes my son to baseball practice. And the coach repeatedly calls him "sir" even though my husband has asked him not to.

I'm not sure what to think of that.

I have to be honest. I really want my son to quit baseball. And I have never ever ever quit anything in my life. So that's saying a lot.

By the way, I'm venting here because anything I say to my husband (who wasn't at the game today as he had to take my daughter to soccer) he is going to chalk up to me being an overprotective mom. And a former coach who doesn't think anyone can do as good a job as me.

But I'm going to start Googling youth lacrosse and researching our new school's developmental sports program. I can't take this for another season.

Oh, and also. I've already thanked my husband for providing us with this lifestyle I was starting to take for granted.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dark Places

Okay, my friends, I've got to admit something here.

I'm kind of a wreck.

It turns out that our friend who died this past weekend apparently killed himself.

After we had seen on Facebook that he had died, I tried to find out some information about what happened. When so many people you know are pilots, and you hear that someone has died, you always assume that there was an incident.

But we knew that our friend just had his "fini flight" (a celebration of someone's last flight in his/her military aircraft). So my husband was thinking he may have been in Iraq or something.

But no. It turns out that he had just started flying civilian jets. He was doing his dream job.

I couldn't find an obituary or news story anywhere. But we have friends who had been in contact with his wife and were flying down for the funeral. We had funeral home information. Still, no one seemed to know what had happened to him.

"Maybe you should check out his Facebook page," I suggested to my husband. "Of course, if something happened to you, I certainly wouldn't be jumping on your Facebook account first thing, but you never know."

And his wife had posted on his Facebook profile.

She said he had died at home..."self induced"...and posted her home number so people could call and "help" her daughter "who doesn't know yet".

I don't know. It seemed weird to me. What the hell does "self induced" really mean? Yes, it sounds like he had killed himself, but that was just so out of sync with the guy we knew that I had to think I was mistaken.

On Tuesday, his Facebook wall was flooded with, well, mostly words of support for his wife and daughter and words of respect and remembrance for our friend. He was a very well-liked guy. Always was. His daughter is the same age as ours. I don't know his wife at all.

But it certainly didn't seem like a prudent time to start asking questions.

Then early Wednesday morning his wife posted an explanation. She said he had killed himself with rope and used his body to block the door from her. She said he had sent time-delayed text messages. And that his letter to her was lost. There was something about a bird and a shark and her having rescued someone from the train tracks earlier that week.

There has been zero activity there since.

Yes, if my husband were dead, no matter how he had died, I doubt I'd be my most coherent. But I really don't think I'd be on Facebook posting our home number and giving out details. But, we all grieve differently so I won't judge.

Still.

It all seems wrong and strange to me.

And I can't get it out of my mind.

Sometimes I am a little obsessive. If something bothers me, I can't let it go. It's not like we were going to miss this person on a daily basis. It was the circumstances that had me rattled.

I knew he had been posting on Facebook regularly in the last few weeks. And it was all just totally normal life stuff. I went scrolling back over the last year on his wall, just looking for...something.

How can a guy who had just been happily speaking at his daughter's career day turn around and inflict that kind of horror on his family the next? I guess he could have been sick or clinically depressed, but it would have been hard for him to fly for the military for all those years and hide it that well.

I guess PTSD is a possibility. But from what we knew of his career, he had never seen combat.

I just don't know.

Even in my very darkest hours when I know without a doubt that my family would have been better off with someone else as their wife and mother, I love them too much to abandon them and fuck up their lives forever. I know he loved his daughter.

No matter what, it puts things in perspective for sure. Tragedy tends to do that.

I mean, seriously. The worst problems I have are that my house is a mess and I need to lose weight. I can't imagine anything being so bad that there wasn't someone I could talk to about it. I can't imagine anything so bad that I would risk having my daughter discover my hanging body.

It makes me want to call all of my friends and say, "Hey! If you ever want to kill yourself, don't. Call me first and tell me that you've reached that place. Okay?"

Tonight, my daughter is playing a bunch of solos in a violin recital celebrating her graduation to the next violin level. Normally, I'd be stressing out about it. But today I just feel thankful that I have these happy children and a solid marriage to a good man.

I feel like celebrating life. I have to stop thinking about suicide and death before it eats away at me.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Positively Hoops-i-fied Fabulosity

What do you do when you're up late contemplating life, death, suicide, hopelessness and happiness? Why, you escape it all and make your own Hoops & Yoyo video.

This is the most brilliant thing I have ever created.

Hoops & Yoyo always make me feel better.

In the morning I can go back to being...introspective and weary.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lost Friend

I'm sick of calling my husband to tell him that his friends have died.

Today I found out from a Facebook status update that one of his old ROTC friends has just died. I hadn't talked to him in years but my husband had recently caught up with him via Facebook.

The instant availability of information on the Internet is both wonderful and horrible. It allows old friends to reconnect but it reduces life changing news to a few lines of code.

I used to have nightmares about hearing bad news on CNN. Now I have nightmares about finding out I've lost my husband from my Yahoo home page.

We've lost way too many Air Force friends this past year. I still don't know the details this time around but no matter how his wife and daughter lost him, it is incredibly sad.

Whenever his name came up over the last fourteen years, we always said, "He was such a good guy." Today I'm thinking of his wife and daughter.