Monthly Archives: January 2009

My Brother’s Byline

So here is my brother’s first byline.  He is finishing college and writing for a local newspaper.  I’m going to forget it’s about hunting.

I pull it up, I read it, I see his name next to the words staff writer, and let out a big whoo-hoo.

Ems walks in with a deep purple smoothie moustache and says matter of factly, “I’m a man”.

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I fall out in hysterical laughter.

It’s going to be a good day.

Congratulations, Calum!

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New Books, Farm List and A Random Thought.

I have an hour for lunch on Friday’s and with not much to do am heading to library on a weekly basis, so you will see the girls and my book pages getting updated on a weekly basis.  You’ll also see that I have started listing the illustrators on the children’s books because so often it’s the pictures that so much make the book, even more so than the words.

When I’m not obsessing over “Eclipse”, damn that Stephanie Meyer, I am currently reading a book by Gene Baur called “Farm Sanctuary”.  Gene started the Farm Sanctuary after a sheep left for dead on a large farm, raised her head and looked at him.

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 If you’ve been reading my blog you know about my search for natural and local foods.  I’ll start out by saying  I became a vegetarian for three years after passing the same cows standing by the road each day on my way to work and this was a small, local, family farm, with blue skies, green fields and a running stream. (I have a great and endearing story about my ex husband and this cow, but that is for another post).  I have always had a fondness for bovines. I think it’s their eyes.  But, then I have a fondness for beef too.  In fact, my vegetarian streak was ended by  my pregnancy with Ems.  I had insisted to my doctor I would maintain my strict vegetarian diet throughout my pregnancy then kabow, my husband came home one night to a full blow turkey dinner, then a cheesesteak.

So I have had to come terms with my love for these and all animals and my love of cooking and eating.  To help with this I researched and found a lovely family farm less than 1o minutes from here that raises beef, poultry and pork in a natural environment using humane methods.  No antibiotics, no hormones, no scary feed, no scarier cages.  Add about 10 farm kittens the girls begged me for all summer, a family that loves what they do and loves to share it with us, and fresh, local, cheese, butter, eggs and honey and I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot.

Down the road is another farm that makes their own ice cream and we LOVE it in the summer, we fetch our favorites from a rotating mix of flavors and then the girls hit the playground next to the shop and I head up to visit the calves.  There I can get my fill of their sweet bovine softness, their soulful eyes and their tongues wrapping up and down my arms. The last trip before the winter, the girls and I got to bottle feed one of them and yes, it took all three of us, what a hungry girl.

The girls have learned a lot this way as well.  They know the differences between organic and no-organic food.  They see the faces behind their food instead of a blank plastic package, so that when Ems says “I had a chicken arm for dinner” or “our dinner came from a pig, Boo” she knows exactly what she is talking about.  Ems hates chicken and pork, minus the odd “chicken arm”, I still cannot even swallow meat with a bone in it or any type of skin or fat, and Boo will gnaw a chicken leg down to the bone.  We are an odd bunch.   Vegetarianism may lay in my future again someday, but for know we know where our food comes from and to me that matters.  

I try not to preach too much, but I do urge you to check out your local options at Local Harvest, read more about industrialized farming and introduce your kids to a cow or two.

So my random thought today:

With Boo feeling better with antibiotics for this sinus infection that has plagued her for a week, the girls and I headed to their elementary school for BINGO night.  Ems quickly ran to play with two of her favorite friends and Boo and I got her cards ready.

I look up and I see a girl I know.  Then I realize from where.  She was one of the older girls in a summer Theatre Camp I taught while I was in college.  She looks exactly the same.  She and another girl used to love to hang out with my friend Anthony and I, two of the cool teachers from the college.

Wow, then I look and see she is walking with her son!!!!!!!!!!!!!   AAAGGHHH!  Sudden realization that I am old and that summer was fifteen years ago.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday….

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The Hearing

Had me filled with anxiety.  Not that I didn’t feel qualified, but over the fact I would have to testify in front of him (and his mother as it turns out) about all the goings on in the last eight months.

It felt good though to be sitting there by myself (with my lawyer of course) and stating the facts and my intentions.

The judge was not thrilled that he was in no way prepared.  In fact he asked for a last minute postponement which was why I was in such a dither yesterday.  He got a sincere tongue lashing from her for not doing anything the court requested which set the tone that I might be okay.

I have to thank my excellent lawyer because really he did the work, that court stuff I don’t understand, and it felt good to be sitting there next to him who has been advocating for me all this time.  

So in a nutshell I was awarded sole legal custody.  The judge did not see that he was currently fit to warrant joint custody, but in a manner that I was quite proud of, she reminded him that this does not mean this decision cannot be revised in the future if he pulls himself together.

I won my request for supervised visitation with my own or supervised transportation.

I got child support made retro to our filing date of July 2008.

I also won alimony and court costs, though I doubt I will see these.

In addition, the judge requested that he comply with the requested drug testing today.

He has 10 days to file an exception to the judge’s ruling.  Which he will probably do and will then postpone the officialness of all of this another couple of months.

I’m a bevy of emotions right now and there are things I wish to say to him, that I know I can’t and so many other things to drag out this post.

The man that sat across from me today in the judge’s chambers is a shell of the man I was once married too.  Though I know he puts me to blame, he needs to know that he is the one accountable for the actions he takes.  He is the one who has lied. He is the one making judgements that impose criminal penalties.  He is the one who doesn’t show up, doesn’t call.  This was the message that was given to him.

I hope the loss of legal custody will be enough to set him in a new direction.  That maybe one day he will have it together enough to make wise choices and make the effort to make the most of the time he has with these girls.  Somehow, I doubt this.  In all honesty, I would much rather see a healthy relationship between us all (even apart) where I felt confident in a joint arrangement than the pain we have all been subjected to.

I stared at the man who lied to me for years.  Who told me he loved me long past the time when the manipulations had been growing.  Who said that the girls were the most important thing on earth to him.  Who I pleaded with on the phone time and again that he  needed to get it together for our girl’s sakes and who fails to do so at every turn.  Who recently disappointed someone from his own family who I know loves him but like me, cannot afford the betrayals.

The sounds of his words to me at the end…..you’re crazy, you’re weak, you’ll never make it on your own, it’s all your fault, they have softened to a whisper in the back of my head.

Today I am filled with the  three phone calls and fourteen emails this morning wishing me well.  Not luck, they said, justice.  You are strong, you are a good mother, you deserve this.

I am the woman who sat nervously in the courtroom hallway chatting To Kill A Mockingbird with her lawyer.  Who sat in front of this man  and stood strong.  Who raised her voice though not probably loud enough, loud enough to be heard that she will not stand for her or her children to be hurt any longer and that he must do what is right.

I am the woman who while struggling to make time, dollars, love and support stretch to fill what is asked of me will always manage to find enough to fill these beautiful young girls that I came home to today.

Today, I put him in my past.  That today, it would no longer be about him.  Though he may always be a significant part of my children’s lives, he is no longer a significant part of mine.

To my family, Mommy, Daddy, Steve, Grandmom, Grandpa, Karen, Kevin, Calum who saw me through panic and tears to get to this point, I would not be here without you.  If not for the fact that when I thought you would be ashamed or disappointed in the turn my life had taken, you instead picked me up and gave me confidence back.  Your physical, financial and emotional support is what gets me through everyday.

To my friend Lisa.  Other than my family, you are the one person who got me to this point.  You were the one who assured me that there would be a right time to leave.  That it would be hard, but I would be better on the other side of it.  That I could and would manage to do it even if it seemed impossible.  Now that you are facing your own share of tragedy, I want you to know I will always be here (if a bit far away, but never too far away) for you should you need me in return.

To my brother and sister in law.  Though in a few short months we will no longer officially be family,  you will always be close to my heart and I hope will remain there.  I am so sorry for the drama and the pain that this relationship has caused your family.  You stood by me and believed in me when no one else in your family did.  To that I will always be grateful.  And though you face your own obstacles right now I want only happiness and peace for all four of you and for you to know my door is always open for conversation, or a cup of tea or a bottle of wine.

To my little group of online friends, you have no idea how far your encouragement has brought me. When I felt I had no one, you were always here waiting.  You listen to me whine and never failed to respond to my despair with words of support.  

To those single mothers out there reading this, or blogging about your own struggles, thank you for your posts, as hard as they are, as difficult as the days and the emotions are, it is nice to know you are not alone.  For those of you waiting on your own resolutions and scared about the outcome of your own futures, I hope you too, find a resolution that can bring you peace.

Lest this become a book , or a really bad awards speech, I finish by saying I know there are still difficult times and frustrations ahead, but right here, right now, I am content with this bit of victory. 

and you know the nonsense and whining will be back tomorrow right?

p.s. it’s snowing again.img_0321

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Silly Dog.

I am way too keyed up about testifying at this custody hearing tomorrow and all the drama surrounding it to go into much detail, so I will just post the results tomorrow.

Having been up all night with Ems last night in a vomiting frenzy, I am off to bed early.  Luckily my sister dropped off a copy of “Eclipse” in the nick of time to maybe help me distract myself to sleep.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of my silly Labrador/Husky who thinks she is a 60 pound lap dog.

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Just a Quick Hello!

Things are definitely looking better today.  Boo is up and about, with only a spiked temperature somewhere about 2am.  She ate breakfast and is harassing Ems which is a good sign.

I just got done blogrolling and just went through a variety of amazing quilting blogs, so now I am inspired to finish the three quilts I have sitting here being ignored.  I guess it’s called “make the time”.

Just a few other tidbits:

  • I’m finally going to try the rice pudding recipe from Smitten Kitchen tonight.
  • I’m not sure if it’s normal to stop everything and stare at the television when the Jonas Brothers come on when you’re 36.
  • Though I feel frumpy on a daily basis, I am bound and determined this year to take more photos of me and the girls this year.
  • My sister found a knitting group meeting at the library, so I may actually learn to knit this year.
  • I backslid and let the girls sleep in my bed again last night, well Boo was sick.  I let them sleep in my t-shirts too, such a pushover.
  • My custody hearing is this Tuesday A.M., so for those of you who have been following my madness, keep us in your prayers or meditations for a wise judge, and thanks to all of you who said you already are.  These babies are my life!

 

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Saturday 1.24.09

Sorry I couldn’t come up with a more original title.  

The wonderful part of having the world’s kindest grandparents living next door is that not only did they care for “down with the flu” Boo all Friday while I was at work, but also kept her overnight.

It felt weird to leave her there, ill, but I knew she was in more than capable hands and she is back with me today, the “Dad” who continues his wonderful case for custody, was a no call-no show again today.  

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 So Ems and I stayed up late last night in my bed, her watching The Incredibles in a blue cotton t-shirt of mine and me next to her finishing up “The Tree Sitter”.

I lost my wallet last weekend.  The last remembered place was the movie theatre where the girls and I saw “Hotel For Dogs” which turned out to be very, good.  I despise though the fact that I sit there as a grown woman between two small children crying over a movie like this.  I am pretty pitiful.

So gone is my license, my social security card, all our library cards, my debit card, and my grocery cards….oh yeah and about $180 cash that was to go into my other bank account.

Such is my life.

So Ems and I trekked to the MVA today, discussing the accomplishments of Obama these first few days.  Then off to the library for new cards and a few books and movies for Boo, including our absolute favorite, The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg, which I beg you to read!  Then off to the tea shop to replenish my supply of English Breakfast and Earl Grey Creme, landing finally at the grocery for ibuprofen and Sprite for the little one.  It was a lovely time just the two of us, which seems to rarely happen anymore.

For blah days there is nothing better to me than baking, so I worked on these loaves of white bread, my best ever.  I am gradually trying to become a better breadmaker, warming the yeast, kneading the dough, watching it rise under the cloth and the warmth and smell that fills the kitchen.  I sent Ems next door with a loaf, poor repayment, but….

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Boo felt a little better and then even got herself up and about to care for her own baby, changing her diaper and her clothes and wrapping her in a blanket to come downstairs and sit with us to read books.  After a time her strength was sapped, so I ended up caring for baby.  It’s up and down today, but much better than yesterday.

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So I should be continuing on my path of organization that I started last weekend, finishing the girls rooms, starting mine, but somehow I lack the energy, stamina or willpower.  Maybe tomorrow.

Boo’s calling me to snuggle her on the couch, so again, everything else must wait……

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