Thursday, December 30, 2010

Three Days of Illness - My Billy Goat, and I.

Today, I ventured out.

Had it really been THAT long since I had stepped outside into the vast,
     winter world,
breathing in the fresh, cold air,
squinting my eyes at the brightness of the massive,
                  cesious colored sky?

LONG ENOUGH.

As I looked up at the high-reaching, tawny-brown trees;
     their naked limbs, unprotected, beneath the pale, shapeless clouds . . .
I thought to myself,
       didn't those branches still have some of their leaves intact?

Today is WEDNESDAY,
     and the last time I left my house was FRIDAY (Christmas Eve).

Saturday, of course, was Christmas, and Sunday morning . . .

                                              BAM! 

THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENED. 

Like an unexpected, heavy object falling from the sky.

I woke up feeling miserable.

Me, and my four boxes of tissues spent
    Sunday, Monday, AND Tuesday

                     IN BED,

watching one movie after another (after another).

   Some, good.

   Some, not so good.

During this time, my 16 month old puppy
     (who, according to the dog experts,
                                      should no longer be BEHAVING like a "puppy"),
transformed into a desperate, attention seeking "little devil",
                                      who attempted to eat all of my used-up tissues.

GROSS.  

While that could be considered a very efficient and convenient,
     as well as environmentally friendly way of disposing of the SNOT RAGS,
I am sure that, had I allowed him to consume all four boxes of tissues,
                             it would have resulted in an emergency trip to the Vet. 

Not to mention, he did not just EAT the tissues,
     he SHREDDED them,
leaving little pieces of confetti . . .

                  ALL OVER THE HOUSE.

I do not own a dog, I said to myself.

I own a billy goat.    
   
And, did I mention his constant need for "field trips" to the backyard?

AND, his constant demand for a playmate?   

Not just ANY playmate; the "chosen" one - ME.    

DID HE NOT KNOW AND UNDERSTAND        THAT I WAS SICK????

Now that I am out of bed, dressed, hair and make-up done,
     sitting upright at the table . . .
he rests, calmly, in a nearby chair. 

Oh well.

I still love the little guy.

Even thought he IS a billy goat, in disguise.  

















Monday, December 27, 2010

One Sick Poem



Dizzy, Sniffy, Sneezy, Drippy, Achy, Chilly, and Red.

These are symptoms, NOT the Seven Dwarves.

Oh yeah, and my POUNDING HEAD.




Thursday, December 23, 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Wow.

Can it be THURSDAY . . . ALREADY?  

I have so much to write about, but I have had very little time, lately.

All the SHOPPING, WRAPPING, DECORATING,
     RUSHING, and WAITING . . .

'Tis the season.    

As we speak, I am frantically searching for a dessert recipe
     to bring to a dinner party. 

Okay, wait.

That sounds so formal. 

Dinner.  With friends.

Better.     

I am not a "baker".

I like to cook, but baking takes way too much planning and patience.

I like to find recipes that require only a few ingredients.

This usually involves a little help from my local bakery.

Combine this with a few additional ingredients (to give it my own "flair"),
     and the result is . . .
                          what is the French saying?

Je ne sais quoi.

Something that cannot be adequately described.

Oui.

Anyways . . .

     I'd better get "baking".

Even the simplest desserts takes time.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Days


Snow days.
I miss snow days, when the kids were little,
when the smallest of hills was a thrilling, exhilarating, GIANT sled ride adventure . . .
   when taking a walk in our overstuffed snowsuits was like going on an expedition,
listening to the sound of the crunch, underfoot,
     as each boot landed, brusquely, on the moon . . .
leaving our crusty, astronaut footprints behind,
                     as we navigated along the uneven surface.

And, as we walked along, our bodies blanketed up and protected by the bright,
     winter white world, we might have stopped, along the way,
to pick up a handful in our mittens - feeling the softness, the wetness,
                             and the cold against our faces . . .
sticking our tongues out to catch the fluffy, white, powdery wonder.

We would make snowballs for throwing,
     snow forts for protecting,
snow jumps for soaring.

And, snow angels,
   for . . .  creating, imagining, smiling -

                        BEING.

Then, back down to earth, where we would journey together for shelter -
   a place to rest our weary feet.
And, what a sight to behold!
A cozy little cabin . . .
   the smell of hot chocolate, inviting us in.  
Sweet magic in a cup, to warm our insides.
Snowman poop . . . floating on top.

Sometimes, I still refer to mini-marshmallows, as such.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Be Patient, My Child.

Dear Blog,

I am sorry if it seems that I have been neglecting you. 
Maybe it is the distraction of the holiday season. 
One would think that would give me plenty to write about,
     but alas, it does not.

I am sure that something 
             will come to me soon.

In the meantime, I offer you the same advice I just gave to my eleven year old son,
     who was having difficulty waiting for the
molton-y, gooey, chocolate-y, yummy . . . souffle,
                          baking in the oven, just moments ago -

"BE PATIENT, MY CHILD.  Good things will come to you soon".  

Sincerely,
Leslie Ellen Wynn (Morrissette) - aka "Becoming Me" 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow Makes Me Smile

Soft and white.

It makes everything bright -

     Snow makes me smile.


It wakens the world.

On a breeze, watch it swirl -

     Snow makes me smile.


It tickles the nose.

Tingles the toes -

Snow makes me smile.


Magical glitter.

Our hearts, all a flitter -

     Snow makes me smile. 


Winter stars falling, drifting, dancing,

Whisper- soft landing,

Wide-eyed child, wondering -


     
 Snow makes me smile.





If My Car Had a Bumper Sticker

If my car had a bumper sticker, it would read something like this:

I have kids. 
I am proud of them
(when they're not pissing me off). 
They go to school; they play sports. 
We go on vacations.
But, I'm not telling you where. 
Oh, and I have a yappy dog. 
Proud of him, too.  
And, he probably yaps louder 
   than your whiny child. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Caveman Goes to College

My daughter is a junior in high school, and so begins the "hunt" for college.

AND, much like during the caveman days, in addition to hunting, there is also searching and gathering. 

Recently, she and I spent an evening at her school, listening to several "experts" speak and give powerpoint presentations on how to go about the process (gathering). 

Imagining that we were all cavemen, sitting in our modern, plastic chairs (like in the Geico commercials), somehow, made the evening much more amusing to me.

Like a young child, I try to create my own entertainment in my head, if it is not provided for me. 

Fortunately, I was born with a pretty wonderful imagination. 

During the hour and a half presentation, there was ONE comment that made an impression on me.

One of the speakers was the spouse of an assistant dean at one of the local colleges. 

In pointing out the importance of ALLOWING OUR CHILDREN TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE COLLEGE SEARCH PROCESS, she mentioned that, from her husband's perspective, one of the BIGGEST RISING PROBLEMS WITH COLLEGE STUDENTS in recent years has been the INABILITY TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS AND PERFORM SIMPLE TASKS.   

While they carry with them, through the "prestigious university" doors, all of the necessary grades
and test scores, THEY LACK THE ABILITY TO PERFORM BASIC LIFE SKILLS,
such as: 

Managing their own money,
Doing their own laundry,
Cooking a simple meal,
Plunging a toilet,
Organizing their time (and their rooms),
PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS,
and yes,
Making even the most simple of decisions.

AKA - CAVEMAN SKILLS. 

I smiled, and nodded because, I have been well aware of this growing problem since my children were little,  by observing those around me. 

While I was busy raising my kids to be independent,
understanding that through autonomy, grows confidence,
I would watch other children their ages constantly depending on others to fulfill their needs -
children who were well above the age where they should be tying their own shoe laces,
cutting their own food up, making their own lunches, etc. 

Having said that, my daughter, especially, made it easy for me, as she was born with an independent spirit, and many times, though I wished for her to "need" me a little bit more than she did, I lovingly gave her the space that she required, while always keeping a "watchful eye" over her.

Of course, that never ends.  That applies more than ever, now that she is seventeen
 (and doing her own laundry). 

Borrowed from the words of a two year old ( "I do it!"), I have always tried to raise my kids with the philosophy - "YOU can do it!"

Now, while this may seem like a push for "mother of the year", believe me when I tell you, I am FAR from the perfect parent.  I am sure that my children will contest to that. 

BUT, I do know that when I send my kids off to college, they will be self-sufficient. 

At 17, 14, and 11.......................they already are.

I think that is worth more than a few extra points on their GPA.

 Don't you?      

Monday, December 6, 2010

A "Toast" to Mr. Scrooge - A Holiday Story

Once upon a time (on a recent Saturday),
I bravely and boldly (and stupidly), attempted to go to the DMV. 

Why would I go to the DMV (located in the mall) on the FIRST SATURDAY of the MONTH in DECEMBER during PRIME HOLIDAY SHOPPING TIME?

Because I'm an idiot.

Somehow, I did not realize that my plates had expired on my vehicle, and every second that I spent out on the road, felt like a ticking time bomb. 

At any moment, one of "Fairfax County's Finest", could pull behind me and notice the NOV 10 tattooed to my car.      

This is how it went down.

The mall was crowded because...............well, as I mentioned, it was the first Saturday in December,
so I parked in the "overflow" lot, requiring me to walk across the busily traveled
four lane road that circles the mall. 

I waited for a break in the traffic, then quickly ran across to the other side.
My foot was almost touching the curb, when the driver in an oncoming car blared his horn at me,
while giving me an ANGRY look, and throwing up his arms, as if to say,

     "What the hell are you doing, crossing the street?"

Startled (to say the least), I stopped and looked at him in disbelief,
and threw MY arms up in the air, as if to say,

     "What the HELL is your problem?"

A nearby car full of people gave me sympathetic stares, shaking their heads at the
     "unpleasant person" who practically ran me over.

     "And HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU, TOO, MR. SCROOGE!" I said (in my head).

With that, I continued onward, towards the mall, and to the DMV. 

Just as I thought. 

THE LINE WAS LONG.

REALLY LONG. 

Actually, a LOT longer than I realized, for as I stood at (what I thought was) the end of the line,
I looked to my right, and realized the line extended
ALL THE WAY DOWN THE SHOPPING MALL CORRIDOR.

Well, I KNOW what a 2 1/2 to 3 hour long DMV line looks like,
and this was at least DOUBLE the wait.

NO (bleeping) WAY.

They are going to have to take me away in a straight jacket.

So, I did what any sane person would do. 

I left, I borrowed a friend's car for the weekend, and I went back on Monday, when the experience was MUCH more feasible.

In the meantime, my faith in humankind and the spirit of Christmas was restored Saturday evening,
with a visit to the quaint little waterside town of Occoquan
(and the location of one of my favorite "watering holes"),
where the store fronts and streets were dressed for the holidays, making everything look and feel.....................................magical.

Driving through the town, embellished in white lights and greenery, and having a wonderful dinner
with "my kind of people" (the ones who GET me, and don't yell at me for crossing the STREET), as well as a NICE COLD BEER, replenished my soul with warmth and peace. 

And as I raised my glass in a toast that night,
     I believe my thoughts were something like............

"Go Scrooge yourself, Mr. Scrooge!"

Fa la la la LA, la la la LA!

The End. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blue Jeans. Blog Worthy?

My jeans and my skin care products. 

That's all I need.

I can deal with losing anything else (non-living, materialistic items)  
   but, when I can no longer find my jeans,
 and if, heaven forbid, they should stop making my skin care products
I JUST MIGHT DIE.

Okay, maybe I won't . . . DIE. 

But, for sure, I will be OUT OF SORTS. 

COMPLETELY.

Well, I can no longer find my favorite jeans. 

Years ago (once upon a time), a company made the most BRILLIANT jeans.
They camouflaged all of my flaws,
   leading the world to believe that I had long, slender, beautiful legs.
Not to mention, they complimented my ass(ets).
Friends would ask me,
 
   "Where do you get your jeans?"

Weeks later, they would thank me, declaring,

   "These jeans have changed my life!"

BUT(T), they are no longer. 

Victims of "fashion pressure", they caved in, they gave up . . . they conformed.
They CHANGED their jeans, giving them names like "SKINNY" and "TAPERED" -
   names that I had always tried to avoid.
They felt tighter around my thighs, made my legs look shorter,
and, most certainly, did NOT compliment my ass(ets).

So . . .

Sadly, I am now in search of a new pair of jeans.  

Maybe not "life or death",
   but definitely "blog worthy".  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Possibilities (An "Outer Banks" Thanksgiving) Photo Album


Possibilities - An "Outer Banks" Thanksgiving

My kids were with their Dad this year. 

Along with divorce, unfortunately, comes letting go of certain traditions.

I could have stayed in Virginia and continued the tradition without them,
     but I felt the urge to step outside my box, and experience something different.

I wanted to go away somewhere . .  ANYWHERE,
   let go of the old traditions,
surround myself with new people,
experience unfamiliar surroundings.

I found a small, pet friendly, condo just steps from the beach.

My "partner-in-crime" and I packed up the convertible on
   Thanksgiving morning, and headed south.
Unexpectedly, some friends, who were staying just north of us,
   invited us to join them for Thanksgiving dinner.

How perfect!    

We had a FABULOUS meal, and the people were wonderful,
   making us feel welcome the moment we stepped in the door.  















For the rest of the weekend,
     my mornings would start with a wake-up whimper from Charlie.
As my partner slept in, Charlie and I would walk to the beach,
   soaking in the fresh, sea air, along the way.  
I could feel it cleansing my pores, and my very existence.

Unleashed, I would allow Charlie to run free.  
With unbridled joy, Charlie took full advantage - chasing the birds,
   digging in the sand, playing at the water's edge, as it teased him . . .  
watching him was sheer delight, and an energizing start to my mornings.



Our days were filled with warm sunshine and sea-filled landscapes.
   
We ate a hearty breakfast at the local "dive"
   where the hand written sign above the cashier read,
"Unattended Children will be Served Espresso
           and Given a New Puppy".




We drove to unexpected places, taking photos to my heart's content,
      filling my art spirit to the very brim of happiness.

We discovered new friends in Lane and Gabriela,
     with whom we sat with for HOURS on the front porch
of Zillie's Island Pantry, on Ocracoke Island.

We raised our glasses in a toast, celebrating their anniversary,
     as we shared the warmth of the stone firepit -
hypnotic flames dancing across the sea colored rocks.
   



We witnessed the ending of yet,
   another day from atop the majestic sand dunes,
watching the sun drop beneath the water colored landscape, just below -
the air, filled with the melodies of Christmas.
Giant kites, lit up festively, were hovering, up above -
   anticipation of the new holiday.

And, while, along the way, I could not help but think about my kids,
     wishing they could share my experience,
I knew that they were enjoying themselves, too.

I knew that they, too, were happy, even . . . without me. 

I guess this is what "growing" is all about.

So, I did the next best thing.
On my way home, I picked up a dozen
     from Duck Doughnuts to let them know that I was thinking of them. 

Will I return to the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving next year?

Who knows.

But, it is nice to know that the possibilities . . . are endless.