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A little college visit February 9, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in College, Kids, parenting, snow.
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I’m back home from a college visit trip downstate with my youngest son. One would think that after four children I’d have this college search thing down pat but nope, this is a first for me. My oldest two started with Community College, and for one, that was enough to meet his needs. My middle son wasn’t interested in college right after high school — maybe sometime in the future, but not now. We’re in the middle of short visits, auditions (he wants to major in voice), comparing options, considering offers, thinking about finances… it’s all very exhausting.

I live a little over an hour north of my son and planned to drive down after work to spend the night at his place on Thursday. What happened was we had the worst storm of the winter start Thursday morning. By one o’clock we had at least two inches of snow so I asked my boss if it was alright if I left early as long as I made up the time over the weekend. Thankfully she agreed. As I posted Thursday evening, that was without a doubt, one of the most stressful drives in my life. The snow was wet and heavy and slushy. Plows were running, but the snow was coming down fast so unless you were right behind a plow (and I was not), you were driving in slush. At times the snowflakes coming at me were the size of fists. The drive took a bit more than twice as long as normal, but I made it… exhausted but also rather proud of myself. It wasn’t too long ago that I was afraid to drive in even the lightest snow and a storm like this one would have had me in tears.

By morning the snow had stopped and streets were very clear. Bright and early we headed out on our three hour trip downstate. Marc and his friend explored the campus, felt great about their auditions, and dreamed about being college students. We were given tickets to hear the University Symphony (Awesome!) and didn’t get back on the road until late. I stayed another night in Chicago as it was just too late to keep driving.

The drive home today was beautiful. The trees were still covered in thick snow and were absolutely breathtaking. Every once in a while I would see a clump of snow fall from a branch so I know this beauty won’t last long, especially if we get the freezing rain predicted for tonight

Antioch Snow

The cat was not pleased about my absence.Kitty Face

I’m happy to be home and sleeping in my own bed tonight.



Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman February 6, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Books, Kids, Neil Gaiman, reading.
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Chu's Day

Neil Gaiman says adults can’t read Chu’s Day… unless they are reading it to a child. I don’t have a small child handy so I cheated and read it to my cat. I’m not sure she appreciated the humor but I loved it. This is a simple story about a small panda with big sneezes. When Chu sneezes, bad things happen.

I borrowed the book from the library but I’ve also added it to my Amazon wish list. This would make a great gift for a young child’s birthday… as long as you’re prepared to read it over and over.

What’s one of your favorite read aloud books?

My Day January 13, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Kids, Knitting, life, teens.
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Today this happened

PadKeeMaoTofu Pad Kee Mao at Siam Cafe. Every time I go there I think I should try something new but when I do, I always wish I got Pad Kee Mao instead. So I stuck with what I know I love. Of course we had our favorite Sticky Rice with Ginger Garlic Sauce as an appetizer. Lucky me! I have leftovers in the fridge!

And this happened

ShoppingBagNew shoes from Target. (“What? You want to take a picture of my shopping bag? Why would you want to do that? OK. Whatever…”)

My companion for the day


Claims that we weren’t really here

TheVoiceAudition“Um, mom, why are you taking that picture. You aren’t going to put that on Facebook are you?”

Nope, not Facebook…

But if we weren’t there, waiting for hours and hours and hours, where did I find all the time to do this?

MittenWhen I started the day it was just sticks and string and now look, it’s almost a mitten… or a glove… or maybe both. (I really need to learn to take better pictures of my knitting.)

I think we had a great day.


Christmas in April April 22, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Christmas, Holidays, Kids, marriage, Procrastination, thoughts.
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Why is it so freaking difficult for me to box up and put away the Christmas stuff? Here it is the end of April and the stockings are still hung on the bookcase with care, the few ornaments I used last year and other items are still piled on the coffee table and all the boxes of decorations are sitting in plain view to the right of the TV where I put them weeks ago when I was filled with good intentions.

I know at least part of the answer is that I’m a procrastinator and a clutter-bug with selective vision. I simply don’t quite see what I don’t want to see. It’s rather easy for me to think and say I’ll get to that next weekend. And yet, how many weekends since New Years Day? I don’t think I’ll count them.

Bottom line, I just don’t want to address the memories. I’ve had quite a bit of success cleaning my life of the junk from my marriage. I have new furniture (especially a new bed and everything that comes with it), new location, new music, new friends, etc. I’ve gotten rid of or avoid the things that hold bad memories. If it makes me uncomfortable, I’ve moved on. But the Christmas stuff involves more than just me. These boxes also hold my kids’ memories and so I can’t sweep them into the trash.

Christmas is a time set apart from the rest of our life. The memories found there are segregated from the rest of the memories. It should be a magical time and opening the boxes of decorations each year should be a time of anticipation and joy. For me, the past few years opening these boxes has brought so much dread that for three years I avoided it completely and left the boxes buried in the garage. I’m reminded not so much of the bad times but of the bad man. My memories of Christmases Past are intertwined with memories of my ex. It’s like an inoperable tumor — I can’t cut out the bad memories without cutting out the joyful ones.

I may be dealing with selective memory here, but I don’t have many bad memories of Christmas.  Oh sure, there was stress and expectations, trying to do too much, trying to meet everyone’s needs–but I don’t remember many fights or much anger. Too much alcohol and dealing with a drunk guy– that I do remember that but then again, that was all the time, not just Christmas.  There are ornaments that remind me so much of my ex that I want to burn them, but I can’t get rid of them. I wonder what they might mean to my kids, if they have good memories attached that I have no right to erase.

In the eight years since he has been out of our lives I have spent little time facing the memories with my kids. I’ve come to terms with many things on my own and listened to them when they have wanted to talk, but rarely have we discussed it together. I’m still guarded, careful not to influence memories of their father. They know little of the details about what it was like to be married to him. I tell myself it’s not appropriate or important to share the indignities, the awful things he said. They know how he treated me at home and in public but don’t know what went on behind closed doors or how it all affected my core.

Today I am again choosing to delay dealing with the memories  However, I do have a day off work and my other plans fell through so I will finally get those boxes out of my line of sight. No sorting, culling, organizing or embracing the memories, simply box them up and put them in the closet. Maybe it’s denial but I prefer to think of it as healthy postponement. I’m not pretending this part of my life doesn’t need to be examined, I’m just not ready to face it. It is a difficult job to look my past life square in the face and I’m simply not up to it yet again.