Saturday, December 31, 2016

Favourite Photos of 2016

With my mate Sue and her son Noah in the Hall of Mirrors
Best PTA in the USA
The original dinner club friends. Two have moved away, two have passed way, one has joined.
Jack and his cello
This man won an award for his hard work for the Cub Scouts
The pop-up camper. We love this thing!
In 2016 we celebrated 20 years of marriage
Little rebels at Mohican State Park

Sun kissed and happy 

A great holiday with Leanne & Dean

My dear friend Darian, who died much too young
My cousin Kay with Danny. They are kindred spirits.
Danny playing soccer
Hiking in December
Hiking in December
2nd Grade Picture
5th Grade Picture
My lovely cousin Julie, in Birmingham.
Dad, Jen, Sheila and me in Southport
My lovely mum. 
Annual picture with Santa
Char & Jan
Visiting Linda
Walking Ben
Cub Scouts has been a great experience
My handsome boys

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Living with people I don't agree with

I was dreading going to my work conference last week because I knew it was going to be a Trump love-fest.  My industry is 97% men, 3% woman. Of the 97% men I would bet that 99.9% of them are white and conservative (this year, the only black man there was the keynote speaker). This is how bad it is - I met a woman who's job is to introduce woman to the industry and when I asked about minorities she looked completely blank.... **crickets**  Our industry has a LOT of work to do.
I can literally count on one hand my secret allies I've met over the years that are liberal.

As I've said on here, since Nov 9th I have completely separated myself from people who voted from Trump. It's been a self preservation thing. If I hear one more GODAMN uninformed nasty thing about immigration, women, Mexicans, abortion and gay rights I mights just lose my mind.

So back to my conference, which I have loved for 17 years and I consider these people (white men) my "family".  I was dreading it. I didn't want any of these men getting in my face.

The first day I could see in one of my friend's eyes that it was a big elephant in the room. I saw it in his eyes. He knew I was mad, I knew he voted Trump. Eyes are the window's to your soul!  What brought us together was our friend that died, Darian. He was going to give an award in Darian's name the following day and he knew he'd cry and was worried. We talked, we both cried. I laughed with his fabulous wife, like I always do. I was reminded that I love these two people. I have no bloody idea why they voted for a moron, but they did, and it's not going to stop me loving them.

Next up, a longtime friend who confided that after 17 years of marriage he's separated. Heartbroken, missing his kids, at the lowest point of his life. I'd do anything for this friend. He voted Trump.
Tonight I sent him a message asking how he is and we chatted. I consider this guy one of my closest friends and feel like we can put politics aside.

So my conference was cathartic. I felt like I ran headlong into a wolf den and came out realizing that most of these wolves are still my friends. Yes, there are a handful that are NOT my friends, but they have always been that way.

I learned 2 things about the experience:

  • I still like most of my friends, even though they voted for him
  • I got my courage back, and did not let anyone there tell me bullshit

Friday, December 09, 2016

Still Grieving but Mad

I don't hate Trump, I really don't. He's a celebrity, a thin-skinned ass, he's never lived in our world and doesn't know how it works. I don't like him AT ALL,  but I don't hate him. He saw an opportunity and he took it. I consider him a tangerine ass.  Not kind, not educated, not liked.

What I'm still grieving about, still mooching, still sad about - is that Americans voted for the tangerine ass.

Senator John Glenn died today - what a class act.
President & First Lady Michelle will leave the White House - what a class act
All the Presidents from 1789 until 2016 -  what a class act

How did we, as people, elect a reality TV star with no experience, to the greatest job in the world

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

October 2016 - 1 Second a Day

I got out of the habit of doing these, but will try harder to make sure I keep going. Looking back and seeing the boys in old videos makes me realize how quickly they grow.

October 2016 from Pam on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Well Visits: Year 10 & 7

Playing Hooky at Wendy's
The boys had their annual well visits at the pediatricians this week. Here's the stats:

Jack  - wt. = 101 lbs.,  58" tall (85th %ile)

Danny - wt. = 61 lbs.,  53.5" tall (95th %ile)

Both had their flu shots. Danny begged for a mist but they don't make them anymore. He was persistent and said "If you have just one left, please give it to me!" I had to hold him a little during his shot, but he was a trooper.  We don't have any major issues going on with either of them. Jack's probably lactose intolerant so we chatted about that, but they are healthy overall. I'm very lucky.  Afterwards I took them to Wendy's for brunch as a treat.

They are both growing up to quickly. Gaining independence and questioning things.

Jack is playing the cello again (he ditched the loud blustery trumpet, thank goodness) and likes video games and soccer and hanging out with his friends outside. He's constantly pushing me on that, wanting to venture further out than I'd like but I know I have to give him a little freedom.
Danny loves Pokemon and his iPod and soccer and also hanging out with friends.

I wish both of them read more, sat down and drew or wrote more. But they are both so active that it's hard to reign them in and force them. But I know I need to do that more. Maybe when the weather gets colder.....

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

In Control of MY Happiness

I'll always be #WithHer
I'm crushed by the election result. We watched it at Erika's house and even had the audacity to wonder what time we could relax. "Think it'll be speeches by 11pm?"
I went to bed at 11pm still in denial, thinking I'd wake up this morning and it would be okay. But no. Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.

He's not my President and if anyone tells me to buck up and come together, I'll tell them no. No I won't. I won't come together with a misogynist and a racist and someone who mocks the disabled.  No. And if anyone wants to know more about why I feel like that, I'll tell them to read this.

Today I was sad and I cried when I got up, in my car, and a little at my desk. I texted with friends and loved ones. We consoled each other at work and I hugged my kids a lot and told them not to be scared (yes, they were both scared). But a feeling of grief and sadness has hung on all day. I have literally felt sick and sad all day long.

But thank goodness for Pantsuit Nation! A secret Facebook group that is 3 million strong and full of women and men of all ages, colors, abilities and religions with one central connection - our love and support of Hillary Clinton. Today we cried together, shared stories, offered support, and so much more. The unique thing about Pantsuit Nation is that ALL members share the same sentiment. There's no arguing, no trolls, no nasty comments. Just us, all together.

And so today it felt like a penny finally dropped and I realized I CAN DO THE SAME THING WITH MY FACEBOOK PAGE! Why didn't I do this before? Why does my personal Facebook page give me anxiety and stress and sometimes make me feel bad because people post things that are rude or hurtful or against my values? Why am I allowing these people to have a negative impact on my life?  I'm in control of my happiness and I feel stupid that I let it go this long.

I'm not keeping score, but today I cleansed my page of a few toxic people. I blocked, I unfriended and I unfollowed and it felt GOOD. Not in a retaliatory way, but in a soothing way. A couple of times I actually hit the unfollow button, sat back in my chair and let out a big relaxed sigh. How amazing will it be to have my Facebook feed full of love, kindness and positivity from now on? It will be a beautiful thing.

Of course I'm mostly unfollowing, so people don't know and therefore won't have their feelings hurt (British to the end), but it's already helping me heal and feel good about life.
I wish I'd done this years ago.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Warm Buns

On the way home from scouts tonight, Danny sat in the front seat as it's just a short drive to our house. He put his heated seat on high and said "I like it on high Mom, it warms my buns".
As I laughed I reached across and held his hand all the way home. He looked at me and gave me his usual shy & genuine smile and said "Love ya mom" at least two times.

I'm only just realizing (duhhh) how important, how wonderful and how fleeting these moments are.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Need a Good Rant

Why do women do it all?


Kitchen cleaning & coffee
Doctors appointments
Dentist visits
School communication
School parties
Sports sign-ups
Summer camp sign ups
Vacation planning
Vacation bookings
Vacation packing
Sorting out babysitters
Sorting out pet sitters
Communicating with neighbors for their baby/pet sitting needs
Pet care & vaccinations and medicines
Sending thank you cards or messages for gifts
Buying gifts
Remembering people's birthdays
Buying furniture
Initiating house projects: painting, building, repairing, replacing.
Organizing social activities with friends

And then we work 40 hours a week.

I used to think I could do it all but I can't, Goddammit.   Maybe I should meditate.

What do other woman do?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Election Sickness

I can't wait for the election to be over. I've voted and I'm DONE and ready to party! Bring on November 9th and let's all try and not hate each other.

I've lived here 17 years this year and never known anything like this.  I don't mean the American public - there's always been far right, far left, & middle people. I've come across nut jobs from all across the spectrum here. But I'm pretty sure they are in every country.
What makes this election different is Donald Trump. He is not the normal candidate as he brings a fresh non-politics approach to the stage and he says what he thinks and he's real.
Let me write that sentence again. He is not the normal candidate (he's fucking completely, stark raving bonkers) and he brings a fresh non-politics approach to the stage (he has no idea about national or foreign policy) and he says what he thinks (he's racist and hates women and gays) and he's real (he's a narcissist who can't see his faults).

I remember November 8th, 2008 so well. I blogged about it, of course. Craig and I held hands in bed and had a little cry of relief and happiness that President Obama and First Lady Michelle got in. Hopefully I'll do the same for the first female President! If we take a step back in evolution and have a President like Trump I'll weep and probably go drinking with my nasty women friends for at least a week. He's too awful.

A 9-month abortion? That's called birth you moron!  And you will ban abortion.

You will de-fund Planned Parenthood who do cancer screenings, pap smears, STD screenings and birth control. Yes, and abortions.

You said you want to "punish" women who have abortions.   No words.

Mexicans are rapists? Bad hombres? Build a wall and make them pay.

Deport Muslims.

Don't allow refugees in.

Stop & frisk.

Nasty women, ugly fat pigs, a "4" at best. You currently have TEN women alleging assault.

The list goes on and on and on.....

He does have views on the economy (don't tax the rich) and health care (repeal whatever Obama did) but then he runs short. No mention of education or social security or anything substantial.

But there's HOPE

Each year my boys' elementary school "votes" for the President as part of the Scholastic learning experience, which is a nationwide vote.  Today they voted. We don't know the answer yet and might not until after the 8th, but the kids across America ALWAYS get it right.   I asked Jack how he thinks it went. He looked at me like I was nuts and said "Mom! Hillary, of course! No one would ever vote for Trump!"

Ohhhhh Jack I hope so.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dear Boys

I'm writing to you both as I have a lot to say and I want to make sure you know these things in life.

So listen..

Be kind to girls, boys, gays, straights, all skin colors, all races, those who are disabled and all religions. Let's just sum this up by saying BE KIND TO ALL. That includes animals. That's my absolute number one thing I want from you in life - got it? BE KIND.

Interact with people. I know how tempting it is to be on devices all day long but please go hiking or do something to connect with people. Skydive, mountain climb, bungee jump, play chess, be a Pokemon champ. I don't care what it is - please be around other people. Your mental health will need that.

Have a challenge in life. Always be challenged, otherwise you die of boredom and your brain dies.

Don't let others dictate your happiness, EVER. You are in charge of your happiness. Your partner in life is in charge of theirs. If you ever end up in a relationship where your partner puts all their happiness in your lap, please run. Find that special person that is happy in themselves.

Travel a lot, succeed and fail a lot, take risks, make yourself smile and laugh (it works, trust me).

Aim to be on your death bed at 100 years old with stories of stupid and hilarious stuff you did with your friends. I definitely will.

That's it boys.
Kindness, adventure, happiness.
Love you.
Mum xxx

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Leanne & Kay

In the last year we've had 7.5 months of people living in the house with us, namely international  students, friends and family. So tonight feels weird because there's just us in the house.  I'm not quite sure how I feel, other than exhausted. I'm sad that my cousin Kay left this morning (who I adore) but also a bit stressed that there's a mountain of chores that I've avoided for so long, like:

  • 4 ft. thistles all over my garden, so we look like an abandoned yard in The Walking Dead
  • Rolling balls of black dog hair all over the house and an out-dated rabies tag (sorry Ben)
  • FILTHY bathrooms. FILTHY. 
  • An embarrassing lack of nice underwear and clothes in general.  This past weekend I wore boot-cut jeans which I'm fairly sure went out of fashion 2 years ago. 

In the year we had all these visitors we lost two dear friends: Eric &  Darian. September 1st was particularly brutal: Darian's funeral and the 1 year anniversary of Eric's death.   I'm ashamed to say I didn't handle either of those deaths well. There was a lot of emotion and crying. Safe to say my male friend who called on a Saturday night to tell me of Darian's death probably won't ever call me with bad news again for fear of having to deal with a hysterical woman saying No No No and crying inconsolably. I told him that and he said "yep, I won't!"  In my defense, I had a friend with me that night who's going through a really awful thing and we'd been drinking wine (yes, really! Not like me at all!). This year my dad has also had some health stuff going on, and his brother, my Uncle John (Kay's dad) has some stuff too. UGH. Can't deal with that publicly.

But anyway, It's ok. I'm a happy chap so let's forge on.

Back to "normal" now, but I'm not sure what that is. When you've been bonkers for so long can you go back to a quiet life, or is it like travel, where you get the bug and then you can't stop? Time will probably help get things back in balance, hey.

In the meantime, I'm going to post a few pictures that sums up the last few weeks .....

Our 20th Anniversary. Great Dinner at The Riverstone Grill (famous from Man versus Food)

Campsite shenanigans

Such a great moment when they arrived at the airport.  Heartwarming.
The amazing Niagara Falls
Yes, he did it. Yes, he hated it. But he did it, with me!

Brave Souls

The boys idolized Dean

Went on this ride 14 times. So long lack of confidence! 

Big sister had a beardie years ago

First day of 2nd & 5th Grade

Walked to school by big Sis.

Mike O' & Leanne,  proof that it's a small world indeed. 

Each Monday they wear them: Messi Mondays!

Dean, getting his Americana fix

These three!

These four!

A toast to Darian after his funeral.

Our Afghan refugee friends. These boys are so great .
Just looking at this picture makes me happy they are here, and safe. 

Statue in NY. I wish it had been in Columbus.
This picture always makes me laugh. The man-child with teeny hands and orange hair. YUK. 

My cousin Kay:
the globetrotter, cave-diving instructor, typist, mother, daughter, sister, friend,  birder, & environmental scientist.

Mansfield Reformatory (venue of Shawshank) was a unique experience.
She left this morning and my heart is heavy for the loss, but happy we have each other.