Because it really is personal…

I did something I’d never done before.
June 8, 2011, 9:47 pm
Filed under: *eep!, Awesomeness, Good grief, Hooray!, La de da, TMI

I did something today I’d never done before, or ever even thought I’d do. It just wasn’t on my radar or bucket list or anything remotely important. however, I had time. My car needed some work done before we went on this trip, and it was going to take most of the day, and the service place is an hour and 15 minutes away SOOO…I dropped off the car and had their nice guy drive me to a mall.

Understand that I generally hate malls. My idea of shopping is very hunter-like. I think “I want a white shirt that buttons up, has no pockets, ruffles or fancy shit” then I go find one in 15 minutes, buy it and leave. I couldn’t do that today. Today I had about 6 hours to kill, in a mall. So I pretended to be Loaner Girl and investigated every store that carried my size, scrutinizing the items that caught my attention, revisted a few outfits, pondered shoes to match, looked at hats, purses and scarves. As I was in Dillards looking at underthings, frustrating myself with their lack of cotton bras, a perky young woman with a tape measure around her neck asked if I’d ever been properly and professionally fitted for a bra.


“What size do you think you wear?” she asked.

“um…40B” I answered.

She looked at me and said “is that comfortable?”


“C’mon” she said, “let’s figure out what size you really wear.”

I thought to myself…I have tons of time, what the heck.

So we went back into a private room and she had me take off my shirt and bra and commenced to measuring 90-11 different ways and then announced

“no wonder you weren’t comfortable. You should wear a 38D”

“the heck you say!” I was sceptical. a D? The heck you say.

So she disappeared for a minute and came back with the world’s second most expensive bra and said “put this on” and I was looking at the boulder-sized cups thinking “no way”, and she fastened in the back and said “ok shift the girls around a bit…”

The world's most expensive bra. Mine is more comfortable than this. It fits better, too.

and hoeeleee crow. Not only did it fit, but that underwire bra (which I’d always avoided like a bobwire fence)was…COMFORTABLE. The ladies were, dare I say it after 4 children…PERKY. My shirt fit better and the underwire was…well…COMFORTABLE.

So we discussed styles, I asked about cotton, maybe sports bra type things since I’m outside alot and tend to sweat but didn’t care for the typical sports bra UniBoob look, and she disappeared again and came back with The World’s Second Most Expensive Sports Bra and i put it on and…good lord that thing is comfortable.

World's most expensive sports bra. Mine didn't come with gold and diamond skulls on a zipper pull. Alas.

Yes, that’s right. I said Is. I had intended to use this bit of money to buy a new outfit for our trip. Perhaps a skirt and top, something easily packable. Maybe some shoes to go with. Instead I bought an undergarment that no one will ever see, but is so incredibly comfortable that they’ll notice my smile and think I must have gotten a boob job because damn, they’re perky.

June 3, 2011, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Awesomeness, Hooray!, spouse

I’ve tried hard to keep unpleasant situations out of here. This place is as much about reminding myself of the good things as it is telling you-all about what’s going on in the Toot household. Honestly I don’t remember how much griping I’ve done about Terry’s job. I know there has been a lot of it in my head. His hours have been brutal- 12-14 hour days, 6-7 days a week, for the past 6 years. I KNOW I’ve griped about that.

But that’s all about to change. Due to events I won’t discuss, he has been moved from where he’s been for 6 years into another realm, a bigger realm with a broad scope that, however, will result in happy things like WEEKENDS OFF and NO PHONE CALLS in the middle of the night!

I cannot express adequately how happy this is making me. WEEKENDS OFF. What a concept. People take it for granted that they’ll have 2 days off every week, maybe not Saturday or Sunday, but 2 days somewhere in there. It hasn’t been that way here since 2005. He has had off 1 weekend a month, one day on 2 of the other weekends, and worked 14 days straight every. single. month. There have been periods where he’s worked 2 months straight with no days off. 12-14 hour days. He’s gone from Christmas to Easter with NO DAYS OFF.

So, to look at this new position, and to see that he is going to have off EVERY WEEKEND…well, you can see how that’s making me feel. Giddy, like Christmas and the 4th of July all rolled into one big glass of watermelon lemonade. With vodka.

We’ve talked about it, and he is going to take the first couple of WEEKENDS OFF, and indulge in egregious slackertude, with a hammock. I’m talking possibly not even GET DRESSED. Just boxers and a hammock. And I am fine with that!

Then he’ll be ready to do stuff, all that stuff that hasn’t gotten done in 6 years because he was tired and didn’t have the time. Moldings, a little cabinet for the bathroom, and dare I say…even…(I am scared to say it almost)… A HOBBY! Maybe he get back to playing golf with his sons! Maybe he’ll find him a 1957 Chevy truck that needs TLC and a new engine! Maybe some furniture for the house! WHO KNOWS! O the possibilities…

I could see him and me,driving the backroads, sitting close and complaining about the price of gas, drinking Cokes out of a glass bottle...

Making plans: on the road again

I love making plans. Half the fun of a trip is in the planning, the optimism…it’s like planting a garden, you just know it’s going to be fabulous!

So anyway, when we were in Atlanta last weekend (and I am considering that small adventure to be a sort of traveler’s snack, the antipasto of journeys, just enough to whet the appetite), we started talking about Where To Next. Terry has 10 days off in July, and by golly we are NOT going to waste it sitting around watching war movies and complaining about the weeds.

So we started tossing around ideas. The Blue Ridge Parkway? A Low Country tour up to Kill Devil Hills and Ocracoke Island? What if we just got on Hwy 301 and drove to Delaware and back? None of it felt right. Then Terry said “you know, I’ve always wanted to see the Shaker Village in Kentucky” and That Felt Right.

So yesterday I got online. There is a perfectly lovely non-interstate route to Kentucky, on a road that we can get on mere yards from our house. Through the mountains, up into Kentrucky horse and bourbon country…gorgeous stuff, folks. So I plotted a route, planned stops, and made us a reservation at the Inn at Pleasant Hill with plans to stay there for a day and a half, then a short trip an hour north to Frankfort, where there are 3 bourbon distilleries that offer tours.

Terry is a HUGE bourbon afficianado. You know how people collect fine wines, and know what each one is good with, and the history of them and all? Terry is like that with bourbon. He knows which kind goes with what sort of cigar, which one is best suited for drinking during a NASCAR race, and which one is best savored slowly as a delicious after dinner or late evening celebratory treat…he knows all that. So I thought a tour of a distillery that makes one of his favorites would be quite The Thing.

After that, we’ll turn back to the South, and head toward Knoxville, which is right next to Oak Ridge, where there’s SCIENCE! And HISTORY! And COOL STUFF! I admit to getting my geekitude jumping when it comes to stuff like this, all girlish and squealy and handflappy…well ok maybe I don’t squeal or flap my hands, but this stuff is FASCINATING, and is my equivalent of a bourbon distillery tour. So anyway…

After seeing Oak Ridge, and I am wondering if it would be possible…would they have any…unranium glass? I have no idea…I am sure we’ll be ready to sleep in our own bed and head home.

The trip 2 (or was it 3) years ago, on Route 66, taught us how to travel efficiently. A cooler full of cold drinks so we don’t stop and spend $$ at convenience stores. Load up on fruit and such at the continental breakfast bar in the hotel. Brunch at a Mom&Pop restaurant (the one with all the cars parked out front), snack on fruit midday, and an early supper. Brunches tend to be cheap, and that allows for a nice dinner if we want. Cheap hotels (Super 8 has been quite acceptable in our experience), and a loose agenda. There are things we want to see, but none are so Important that the trip becomes more about the destination than about the journey.

Where it all starts to fall into place

Ok, over the past few years I’ve written about the drama with my kids. I haven’t put everything out there, but enough that you know there’s been some real head-banging and gut-wrenching things going on.

It’s settled down a bit. Will (23) is holding his own and has started welding school at the local vo-tech college. How that will play out remains to be seen, but I am hopeful. It’s a useful trade that pays well, and he will be able to use it to pursue artistic endeavors as well.

David (21) has moved back in with us,after a rocky couple of years. I haven’t gone into that in detail and probably won’t. Suffice it to say he’s alive and will start school in a month at the local university. I think he’s learned his lesson, sowed his wild oats, and played the part of the Prodigal Son, now he’s ready to get to work.

CJ…well…ok. Drama Queen that he is…graduated High School, and has been working full time as an inspector at the place Terry works. I am proud of him there. He also went to the Vo Tech college and got some welding training, proud there too. This morning he is interviewing with a welding contractor to get his first Real Career Type job. Proud Mama much? YAH YOUBETCHA! Ok time to brag. They guy wants him, bad. Bad enough that he has talked about wanting him to start TODAY. At $15 an hour. People. That’s $30K a year. For a 19 year old. More really, because during busy times there will be a lot of overtime. We had 3 kids and a mortgage by the time Terry was making that much. Not only that, the kid looks like Luke Duke from Dukes of Hazzard (the old one, not the new one). We talked a bit. He said if he gets this job, he’s going to trade his car (a 2001 Jetta) in and get the truck he wants (a Colorado 4×4), and move out…he knows of a little house for rent down a dirt road, and has a friend lined up to share it.

Seeing my kids fall into place, get their acts together, when just a couple of years ago my biggest concern with them was that they’d actually survive the weekend…I mean, seriously, I worried every Friday night that I would get a phone call from the hospital, telling me I needed to get there NOW. I worried that they would disappear off the face of the Earth, only for their bones to be identified by dental records because the buzzards had picked them clean. you think I exagerate? I do not. I honestly worried these things until I was weeping. Now I see them, making their ways, heading down paths to productive adulthood,and it’s,frankly, mind bogglingly wonderful.

This mama is not quite sure what to do with herself, now that I don’t have to fret and worry over my children. Yes, there’s one more to go who just turned 12, but he has 3 older brothers who regularly threaten to whup his ass if he pulls the same sorts of stunts they did.

So, people used to tell me that I worry too much, that everything will work out fine with the kids, that I needed to have faith. I suppose I did worry too much, but I couldn’t really help it. I saw things happen to their friends, occasionally someone DIED, for pete’s sake! It could have been MY KID,but wasn’t! How am I not supposed to worry! I don’t regret worrying, it would be like regretting digestion…it just IS WHAT IT IS, and part of my constitution. I will continue to worry about things, not for their lives,perhaps, but for other things. I will continue pray daily, for their safety and well being. Because it’s what I do.

Happy birthday #4!
March 31, 2011, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Awesomeness, kids

Dear youngest child of mine,
you know that song, “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happeeee when skies are grey!”
Well, you are my sunshine. Not the only one, but you get to be a member of a small and select group of people I consider sunshine.

So, you’re 12 today. You’re almost as tall as I am now, and starting to show signs of…y’know…(PUBERTY!). As I flip through the photo albums, and look at the squishy little marshmallow baby, always chuckling, and the little boy in overalls zooming his tonka truck around the back yard, and the dignified 3rd grader in his apron in the kitchen, it seems like you’ve only been here a year or two, and it’s been a real treat.

you scared us a couple of times. Your skin tried to fall off for a year or two, but that got fixed up. You spent a week in the hospital after turning yourself inside out from both ends, but that got fixed up as well, but all in all you’ve been a healthy and happy kid. and I thank God for that every single day.

You’re smart like your brothers, confident like your father, and artistic like your mother. You’re generous and kind, and excel at seeing people as individuals rather than some demographic (that’s a new word you’ve learned recently, and you were slightly appalled that people were lumped into groups like that). Your teachers comment on your kindness with others, and how you are not swayed by peers to do something you know to be wrong.

But what I love about you the most is your straight up sweetness. Every night, even at 12 years old, you want to read a story or just sit on the bed and talk. Every morning you sit next to me and ponder what the day will bring. Every afternoon after school you get home, pop a bag of popcorn and share it with me. Every evening you set the table with commentary about how nice it is to sit down and have dinner together. The good stuff never gets old with you, and you keep me mindful of the amazing blessings we have as a family.

I hope and pray every day that you will hold on to that inherent sweetness through the inevitable turmoil of the upcoming years.

Happy birthday #4! I love you very much!

It would appear that they all survived.
March 26, 2011, 11:57 am
Filed under: Awesomeness, friends IRL, kids

the party went well! By 6:45, most of the boys (one was later due to a soccer game) were in the back yard, pelting each other with pine cones. Who needs video games when you have pine cones? I can hear it, 80 years from now, they’ll be sitting with their great grandkids and saying things like “Holograms! We didn’t have no holograms when we were kids, why, when I was a boy all I had to play with was PINECONES and proud we were to have them too!”

Then they ate, 6 boys, 36 hot dogs and 2 giant bags of Doritos and 48 cans of soda. You do the math. Oh, and 2 cakes that looked like Lego bricks.

And they all recognized them as Lego bricks!

When dusk started in, CJ (he’s 19 and really wanted to be here) took them all into the woods across the road,with flashlights. Other than The Pastor’s Son meeting up with a briar patch (he took it in stride, and so did his father, our church’s youth pastor), and The New Kid getting a bullfrog tadpole dropped down the back of his shirt. The New Kid moved to town about a month ago, and kudos to his mom for letting him come. TNK even got a nickname, “J.Bob” and there’s no surer sign of acceptance into a group than to get a nickname that isn’t derogatory.

By 9 people were coming for their kids, and they all seemed reluctant to leave, which is another good sign. As they trickled out kids were settled in with a video game, driving badly and wrecking their race cars and making any parent watching ponder the wisdom of teaching them to drive in a few years.

And it would appear they enjoyed it enough that #4 wants to do it again, for no other reason than to do it again. Maybe in May, before school is out and everyone evaporates for the summer. If all it costs is 36 hot dogs and 48 cans of cheap soda, I’m ok with that.

ode to the velour track suit
January 14, 2011, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Awesomeness, Hooray!, La de da

I love being 45 and more worried about comfort than style. 2 years ago, with a degree of trepidation, I purchased a hot pink velour track suit. Probably not the best choice of color because with my narrow shoulders and wide hips I resembled a bottle of Pepto Bismol, but Lordy it is comfortable. Then with this year’s resolution to walk 3 days a week (still kept, by the way. GO ME!) I decided that another suit or two would be a good thing. The Jessica London catalog had them for buy-one-get-one-free, so a black on and a dark blue one were added. Yesterday I was in JC Penney to get #4 some jeans (he had the temerity to OUTGROW the ones purchased in the summer!) and ambled over to the women’s department to see wot was wot…and lookee there, a pretty chocolate brown one in my size, marked down from $70 to $30. That’s a sign if I’ve ever seen one. Now I have 4 of them…SO COMFORTABLE…that’s one for each of the 3 days I walk, plus one for my day off when I don’t do anything.

See, I know what the fashion world thinks of velour track suits, or anything with an elastic waist and a zipper up the front. I’ve heard the disparaging comments about ‘settling’ and ‘laziness’ and ‘what will people think’ and I say “Yes, your point would be…?”

Here’s the plus list:
a.elastic waist
b.knit fabric that’s stretchy and accomodates the size variety inherent with being a perimenopausal woman
c.soft on dry, sensitive winter skin
2.Doesn’t have to be ironed
4.comes in a variety of colors allowing one to look a variety of ways a black olive
b. like a bottle of Pepto bismol a bottle of Phillips Milk of Magnesia a brown beer bottle or possibly a full bottle of Coke missing the lable
5.Significantly reduces the need to figure out what to wear (already an outfit with top and bottom)
6.comfort…did I say that already?

Here’s the minus list
1.Dissed by Stacey and Clinton
2.wearer could be accused of “settling”
3.Makes the wearer look like bottles of digestive aids

But, y’know, a comfortable woman is a happy woman. I know it’s not the sexiest thing in the world, but neither is a look of pain or anguish from wearing 4 inch heels or fear of spilling lunch on a silk blouse. NOTHING shows on velour except cat hair. Which is why God invented masking tape. Ok maybe not exactly why but it is certainly a good use for it.

SO YAY for the velour track suit! They’re cheap! They’re comfortable! If you layer them with a long sleeve t-shirt and a scarf, you can even go walking in the 23F morning and not freeze! Who cares if you look like a bottle of gut gripe, it’s not as if I’m auditioning for a job at Goldman-Sachs.

So I decided to google “velour track suit” and apparently they’re not as pedestrian as I thought! Apparently I can spend lotsa money on them and act like I’m fancy or something! I could even get one with Juicy written across the butt or with sparkly things here and there. Alas,no, I do not want Juicy on my butt nor do I sparkle on purpose, but I stand by my plain little cheap velour track suits, and will wear them even until they’re considered Out.

What do YOU like to wear?

January 9, 2011, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Awesomeness, kids

So,#4 had his Super-Regional (I think that translates as “Southern half of the state but there was a group from Cobb County there, so not actually sure) Lego Robotics meet yesterday. Smart, Smart event organizers. Very wise and useful event organizers who totally knew what they were doing.

You had 44 teams, ranging in size from 3 to 15 members, assorted coaches and parents. Sponsors of the event included Chik-Fil-A and Zaxby’s who provided food at a low cost. The thing was held at the Warner Robins Air Museum,so during the copious amounts of down time between events there was something interesting to do. I kept thinking how,if this had been held at a Civic center, it would have been some kind of fresh hell to go to, but no…there were all sorts of exhibits and big ol’ airplanes to look at and flight simulators for the kids to ride in. Granted, I can only look at a B-17 so many times, but there was also a warm and cozy cafeteria that apparently no one knew about, staffed by a couple of cheerful women who kept bringing hot coffee “oh…no charge, no one ever drinks this stuff anyway” and since it was on the 3rd floor with panoramic windows, Terry and I could sit and basically see the entire (well guarded and fenced) campus of the museum, and keep up with where #4 and Andrew were (plus we gave #4 a cell phone so we could call him from the cafeteria and say things like “get off the F-14, didn’t you see the no climbing sign?” and he’d think we were somehow God-like that we knew he was doing that.)

At the end of the day, there is an awards ceremony, trophies etc. Naturally, I was looking forward to that like a root canal. Wordy people talking about how smart the kids all are and spending 30 minutes thanking Chik-Fil-A and Xaxby’s for the cheap chicken, thanking each and every volunteer by name, all that…oh yay I was looking forward to that. then it started, and the Emcee guy said “thanks everyone, for the cheap chicken and for helping out. Here’s who won what: etc” and 20 minutes later we were in the car and heading out. Boom, just like that.

Anyway, his team didn’t place, so they aren’t going on to the State thing. Part of me is all “rats” because it would be cool to do that, but the other part is all “WHEW” because it’s held in Atlanta on the Ga Tech campus and its 3 days after I am having a painful medical procedure and there simply isn’t that much to do at Ga Tech in between events so the boredom factor is potentially very high.

I was deeply impressed by all the kids that were there. Smart, smart kids,who knew there stuff. Well behaved and good sportsmanship, funny costumes here and there…it was a good thing.

A short list of things I love
January 5, 2011, 12:46 am
Filed under: Awesomeness

ok not LOVE love, but love in that “oh thank you for existing” kind of way.

1. The seat warmers in my car. I’ve been having some backpain for the past couple of days, and they have become my good friends. They can be set on a mild “what’s that on my butt?” warm to a near blistering “oh no I forgot these pants have metal studs! Halp!” and not only does the seat warm, but so does the back, and it’s like this huge long heating pad…needless to say, I found many reasons to be in my car today. Also the seats themselves are fabulously comfortable.

2. Those chocolate truffles my sister in law gave CJ for Christmas, and CJ dislikes chocolate so he gave them to me and not only are they delicious they’re so flamin’ rich I have absolutely no temptation to eat more than one a day.

3. TylenolPM. It’s Tylenol. With PM, so knocks out 2 birds with one stone…gets rid of the pain and puts me to sleep. O how I love a sweet antihistamine-induced sleep. Like being wrapped in a warm,soft blanket,not enough dope-ya-up that you can’t deal with a midnight crisis, but enough that when the crisis is over you can drop right off back to sleep.

4.Half sized portions at restaurants. I never eat that huge platter full of food places feel obligated to serve, and some things like the Texas fajita nachoes at ElSombrero just don’t preserve well for a later meal. So for lunch today, CJ and I split a half serving and it was Just Right. For $7, we got the basket of chips,salsa,a platter of nachoes, and 2 drinks.

5.Ziploc bags. I use them for everything. Currently I am sorting a 20 year long collection of Legos…used ta be Legos came in these little bricks in varying lengths,but just little bricks. then they got creative and there must be a billion different shapes and I’m indulging my winter OCD and sorting them by type, function and size. Rather than spending a couple hundred $$ on plastic boxes, I’m sorting them into gallon and quart ziploc bags. Once that’s done, I’ll figure out how many boxes are needed. There’s so many other things you can do with them- pack stuff for traveling, whatever…

6.Biscuit mix. Today I made a chicken pot pie, and used biscuit mix for the stuff on top. Last week it was chicken and dumplin’s, with bisquick dumplins. Throw in some garlic powder, dried parsley and cheddar cheese, and you have cheese biscuits. Pancakes, waffles, shortcakes…grand stuff, biscuit mix,especially when your back’s aching,you want a good meal, but standing there making scratch biscuits just doesn’t seem like the thing to do.

What’s on your short list of things you’re happy they exist?

buncha other stuff but that’s it for now.

New toys to play with
December 18, 2010, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Awesomeness, Holidays!

So, as an early Christmas gift (which does NOT absolve him of the responsibility to put wrapped things under the tree) Terry replaced my sick and dying old laptop with a shiny new LARGE screen one, and added PhotoShop to it so hopefully soon I can start churning out new headers and other graphics thingies.

“oh Rootie, what a nice gift, how could you possibly expect more”

Because I CAN. Oh sure, I don’t expect stuff like this every year. Mostly I don’t at all, but it’s kinda pathetic to sit on the couch while everyone else is unwrapping their stuff, right? right.

But yeah, this shiny new computer kinda rocks. It’s fast, it doesn’t shut down at random moments or rearrange my bookmarks (or make them disappear for a week then put them back). It doesn’thave a broken hinge or a G button that sticks so you gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggget a whole string of them in the middle of a carefully crafted letter to your ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggrandmother.

And it has a fullsize keyboard,just the right size for the cat to lay on. like right now.saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk;kd;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;sssssssssssssssssssssigh,


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