Welcome to my world!

My life's been crazy since my Daddy moved in with me immediately after my mother's death in October 2010. My one and only kiddo headed to college at Carolina at the end of August. So...I lived on my own, for the first time in my life, for a total of a blissful six weeks. Then, I started the parenting gig with my dad. He's a combination of a grouchy old man, a surly teenager and a temperamental toddler. Needless to say, I get very close to the brink of insanity sometimes. I get through life by finding the humor in difficult circumstances. And for some reason, I wind up in the weirdest situations. I couldn't make this stuff up. So I wind up having lots and lots crazy adventures which make great stories to share with my friends. Writing about my life is so therapeutic. My ramblings range from funny to sad to angry (full of cuss words) to sweet. While my focus is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a parent to my Daddy, I have lots of random, totally unrelated posts. Whatever's on my mind. I love to make people laugh, and I'm happy to think my readers will get my strange sense of humor. And maybe, people who are in my situation will be encouraged. That's all I can hope for...

Sunday, November 27, 2011


...they're on my horizon.  After waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning with a terrifying, sweaty, heart-pounding nightmare about my difficult client, I decided it was time to cut my losses and follow the yellow brick road.  Something like that.  Anything to get a good night's sleep.

I had a very, very sad Thanksgiving.  Mother died on October 21st last year.  You'd think that would've been the worst.  I think I was numb.  This year was excruciating.  So very lonely.  Extenuating circumstances, but still, there's no avoiding the pain.  I wallowed in it.  Spent about 36 hours in a close-to-comatose state.  The one bit of relief was watching Elf on TV.  I really identified with him.  Crazy, huh?  I can think of worse characters to be like.

Ok, somehow, I've listened to some Reggae song called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego 15 times in a row now.  In case you're wondering, it's not the same one we learned in Vacation Bible School.  Or was that called "Daniel in the Fiery Furnace"?  Heck, it's too confusing.  I'm just hoping Desperate Housewives is new tonight.  November sweeps - should be.  I should check my DVR for last week's episode.  Antiques Roadshow is a good bet, too.

The Daddler's had din-din.  Vegetable beef soup - the broth was "too thin", but otherwise, it was "all right."    He's a regular James Beard.  Kiddo is back at school.  I'm biding my time until the holidays are over.  My Black Friday just involved a trip to Walgreens for an overdue prescription.  From what I hear, though, the retailers did ok without me.  Let's hope the stock market reflects it tomorrow.

Stick a fork in me.  I'm done...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Out of the Frying Pan...

...into the fire.  Hmmm, it just hit me that my newest gadget is the Kindle Fire.  Maybe that's a coincidence.  Or not.

I have a 7:00 flight in the morning.  I won't go into details except to say that I'm more than a little anxious about it.  Besides the fact that I need to pack my bag, clean the toilets, get Deb situated (she's subbing with The Daddler), figure out how I'm gonna get to the airport at 5:00 on a Saturday morning (JoJo is out of town, or I'd make her do it - she owes me big time in Airport Shuttle points), be sure I'm back in town in time for Deb's surgery at 6:00 Monday morning,  and change purses.  Changing purses might be the biggest undertaking of all.  Except for the surgery, of course.

On that note, I need to go change purses.  Pack bags.  Check cab fare.  I have a feeling I won't get around to cleaning the toilets.  First things first...

Hopefully, my next post will be joyful. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feeling Better

And once I make it through the next few days, I'll take a huge sigh of relief.  So much to do, but I'm having a surge of energy.  I've been able to focus on getting my life in order and I've made profound progress.  I'm even sleeping through the night.  I did, however, wake up at 4:00 this morning, but I went to bed at a crazy early hour.  I love my new sound machine.  I did the meadow sound last night, complete with chirping crickets.  The rainfall setting is good, too, but sometimes it makes me need to pee.  I'm reading my second Kindle book - You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney (I added a link to his blog at the right.)  Unfortunately, it's precipitated some strange dreams which I can only interpret as a reflection of my insecurity.  I'm happy to report, though, that I'm not the average person when it comes to the way I think.  Who knew?  Not to say I am so smart, just different.

I'm not sure if the book has triggered this, but I've had some really creative ideas for great inventions.  I just need to work on some prototypes, then a biz model/plan, do a capital raise, and get busy making my ideas a reality.  Hint, I have two really good ideas.  I've decided not to research them in case they're already out there because, like my art, I don't want to be influenced by others.  Not yet, anyway.

I'm taking a quick trip this coming weekend.  I'll be back in time for Deb's surgery early next week.  I'm way more worried about this than she is.  She's still mourning Mufasa Henry Waffles (poor dead cat.)  She can't even talk about him.  She'll be staying with The Daddler and me, and I've told him he's going to have to help me take care of her.  And he will.  I remember the time I was flat on my back with the stomach flu.  He brought me jello several times.  So sweet. 

He's been so much sweeter lately.  Of course, I spoil him rotten.  And it's been over a year now since Mother died.  He loves his church and they love him.  They had their monthly fellowship lunch yesterday and Deb went.  I was so sore from my manic raking Saturday, and when the church members asked about me, she told them that I had strained some muscles from raking leaves.  Genius.  With any luck, some of them will show up to help!  I know, I know.  I'm an opportunist.  Actually, the leaves aren't too bad here at the Good House.  Oaks are slow to change colors and fall.  The old house, however, has leaves so deep that the yard chemical people couldn't spray pre-emergent.

I need to do some major work on that house so I can get busy trying to rent it.  I got one quote for a new roof and it was $7,000.  I was shocked.  I'm gonna get a couple more.  And check Angie's List.

Christmas and tuition are coming up.  I think I'm going to be cranking out watercolor paintings for Christmas gifts this year.  And recruiting friends to paint (walls, not paper) in exchange for beer and pizza.  The 2 for $10 kind!  Why do I have a feeling they're all going to be busy.

Oh, I did keep the client I was on the verge of dumping.  Even got an apologetic email.  Not from the PAW (Passive Agressive Wi... er, Woman) but from the author who wrote the original scathing email.  It probably helped that I resigned.  There's nothing like being ready to walk away to shift the balance of power.  I'm not done though.  I'm going to have a little sit-down with Ms. Emailer (who thinks she's the boss of me, and happens to be buds with PAW.)  I will be very diplomatic, calm, and professional, but I am going to explain that I need to be able to expect cooperation from all staff members, because my only goal is to protect the assets of the organization and to provide accurate and timely information to the leadership teams.  That I will not tolerate disrespect in the form of stonewalling and passive aggressive behavior.  And that if someone has a problem with me, they have an obligation to act like a professional adult and come to me directly before filing "formal complaints."  That I refuse to play games in the form of political manuevering.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I took this photograph in April.  It's so much more beautiful than anything I could paint.  I didn't have a fancy camera or special lighting.  It was all about the subject.  Beautiful plants nurtured by a beautiful person.  Someone very dear to me.  Somehow, though, I want to capture this perfection through the imperfect, distorted lenses of my eyes and brain and brushes.  But that's another day.  For now, though, I'm exhausted.  Content.  Weary.  But not unhappy.  I couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thin ice

I'm the ice.  And I'm thin.  Figuratively, just a bit.  Because I had a colonoscopy last week (that's good for 3 or 4 pounds)  and I've started back running this week.  I had my personal best today.  Two miles in 17.5 minutes.  There's a reason for that, but that's another post.  Five pounds in a week - not bad.  Especially since I've put on ten this summer.  Luckily, I'm not a stress eater.  I'd be as big as a barn.  Fortunately, when I get stressed, I lose my appetite.  And when I'm frustrated or angry or anxious, I want to run.  So I dig my dirty socks out of the laundry basket, search high and low for my running shoes, scrounge up some shorts and a jog bra and a top, find my MP3 and hope the battery is charged, debate about leaving my phone at home, find a water bottle, and hit the pavement. 

Today, I was looking for a bracelet I lost yesterday.  So instead of thinking about how much farther until the top of the hill, or how thirsty I was, or how much my legs hurt, I focused on finding my lost treasure.  I didn't find it.  But what I found was a revelation.  I'm not sure what it was.  Maybe this:  Figure out what makes you happy.  Don't run because you want to lose weight, or avoid a heart attack, or whatever the hell motivates you.  Look for a treasure.  This summer, when it was 190 degrees, I saw a squash plant growing on the curb.  Crazy.  A treasure.  I meant to go dig it up and hope for squash, but I didn't follow through.  So what.  Daddy and I planted tomatoes and cucumbers and beans and peppers and we didn't get anything. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I hate cliches, and it's so worn out, but there's so much truth in this:  It's not the destination, it's the journey. 

And what a journey I'm on.  I couldn't have imagined my life a year ago.  It's crazy.  Hard.  Painful.  Beautiful.  Rich.  Perfect.  Flawed.  But most of all, real.  Thick and rich and deep and delicious.  I'm thinking bernaise.  Wow, I think I'm a little hungry.

I've been searching for a long time.  I've been questioning all the things I accepted as truth.  Religion, politics, social conventions, but most of all, the meaning of life.  I don't know the answer.  I'm sure I never will.  But what I know is that I have to find a way to reconcile my own satisfaction and happiness with the consequences of my behavior and the effect I have on the people I love.  And I have to find a way to let go of the anger and bitterness that invade me by people who are insecure and hurting and just plain messed up.  And to stop missing my mother so much.  Every time I manage to make my daddy happy, I'm comforted.  I'm following through on my promise to her to take care of him.  She loved me and trusted me.  And I've honored my promise to her.

So, at this very moment, I just want to paint and run and take care of Daddy and salvage my business relationships.  I'm so blessed that my clients, for the most part, are compassionate and kind and patient.  They're honest and direct and they're so intuitive that they can appreciate my gifts and see my limitations and be completely honest with me.  I respect that so much.

Even though I've been an accountant and an auditor for most of my career, what I really want now is to take care of my daddy, to paint, garden, rent my other house, do a little wheeling and dealing for a select few clients, and maybe, if I'm lucky, find the love of my life.  I'll be happy with four or five out of six.  For now, blogging and painting comfort me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No Great Shakes

I've decided to use a nautical theme for this post.  And in case you didn't know, my title is derived from this:  "When casks became empty they were 'shaken' (taken apart) so the pieces, called shakes, could be stored in a small space. Shakes had very little value."  This is from http://www.fortogden.com/nauticalterms.html.  I'm so fascinated with idiomatic expressions.  It seems to me that baseball, sailing and the bible are chock-a-block with phrases we've turned into cliches.  Have you ever tried to go a day without using one?  A cliche, that is?  I have.  It's not as difficult as refraining from gesticulating.  Today, a client told me I should be an interpreter for the deaf.  That I'd look great standing at the front of a church, signing the sermon.  Obviously, she hasn't watched Four Weddings and a Funeral.  My favorite movie.  Google it.

The only thing harder than not gesticulating or using cliches is to stop saying "You know."  OMG, I had no idea.  And when I try to stop that, "ummm" proliferates.  If I manage to squelch all my annoying habits (with regard to verbal and nonverbal communication, anyway), I am rendered utterly speechless.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

It's been a rough coupla weeks, so I'm going to have to buoy up or cut and run, or maybe both.  I'm gaining clarity and figuring out what's really important.  Funny how hard times do that.  When someone takes the wind out of your sails and you're taken aback, you just have to start over with a clean slate.

Ok, I'm beyond annoying now.  I do love a theme, though.  And since I created the beautiful masterpiece shown at the top of this post, I just have to indulge myself.  By the way, that's only part of it.  My scanner wasn't big enough.  But actually, I like the composition as it is.  A happy accident.  In case you don't recognize it, it's the USS Constitution.  FF and I saw it in Boston this summer.  We had a wonderful day, complete with Legal Seafoods' crabcakes.  Unfortunately, I've discovered their mail order service.  I've abused it.  So unless I have a windfall, if I keep it up, I'm going to be over a barrel.  I'm sorry.  Really.  I am.

No more.  I fixed a nice din din for The D.  He actually said it was "Good."  After I ribbed him about it.  My sweet niece called to say she's going to visit Thanksgiving weekend.  I've had more than a few bittersweet moments today, too, (really, very sad ones), but ultimately, I know it's gonna be ok.  Because I'm loved.  What more could I want?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mufasa Henry

I called Deb this morning to see if she was coming over to take Daddy to lunch - her usual Saturday thing.  When she answered, she was crying hysterically.  I couldn't understand what she was saying.  I made out something about someone being hit by a car.  When I realized it was her cat and not one of her kids, I was relieved, but I know how much she loves animals.  I was with her when she got the news that her blind cat, Wilson, had gotten run over.  I can still remember how broken-hearted she was.

I went into the living room to tell The Daddler that Deb wouldn't be over in time for lunch because Mufasa had died.  I told him she was really upset.  He said, "She's got four more."  Very matter-of-factly.  When she came over later in the afternoon, he told her she could have Mia Hamm (a/k/a Bulimic Cat).  That is such a man-thing.  They just want to fix things.  But he loves that cat.  Just doesn't show it.  Another man-thing.

Speaking of trauma, I had the week from hell.  I wound up getting caught in a nasty web of organizational politics at one of my clients.  Let's just say that someone there doesn't like me (I know - that's hard to believe), and she is a master of passive-aggressive power plays.  I'm a pretty direct person.  If something is bothering me, I usually just say it.  Generally, in a calm, rational manner.  So I have very little tolerance for passive-aggressive crap.  I try to ignore it, because there's really no good way to deal with it.  A wise friend once told me never to play games with a game-player, because you'll always lose.  So true.

I don't want to relive the whole thing, but lets just say that this, um, person, launched a full-blown smear campaign against me.  I woke up one morning to a lovely email from a member of a committee I deal with at this client.  The message referred to repeated "incidents" (huh?) in which I had "dealt inappropriately" with a staff member.  No specifics were mentioned, but I'm guessing the staff member involved was Passive Aggressive Woman.  Of course, it could've been anyone, because it seems I am unable to speak in a professional manner and have difficulty dealing with people.  According to the email, anyway.  So I can only guess that PAW got mad when I asked her to send a report up to my office for the auditor, and when she said she couldn't do that until two hours later, I stopped what I was doing and walked down to her office.  When I got there and saw three of her staff members sitting at their desks and pasting clip-art or performing some other critical, time sensitive task, I was a little miffed.  I simply said, "You mean you couldn't have spared one of these people for two minutes to run this report up to me?"  That's it.  That's the "incident."  I suppose.

I should probably admit that there was steam coming out of my ears and I waved my finger in a circle to indicate her sizeable staff (I have no one to help me), and I'm thinking I had a little chicken head bobbing action going on, too.  But I did not raise my voice.  I would say that I snapped at her.  So sue me.  Sometimes people snap a little at their co-workers.  And if it bothers them, they act like adults and handle it directly.  But this person decided to tattle on me to her friend, the committee member, who, by the way, is not the boss of me.  But she thinks she is.  Because the email concluded by saying that if "such an event happens again, our relationship will be terminated."  Whoa.  Oh, get this.  She copied two other members of the committee on the email.

So, I did the professional thing, and refrained from shooting back a reply like this:  "You can't fire me, because I quit."  or "Take this job and shove it."  Actually, I thought of lots worse things to say, but I've been trying to clean up my language lately, so I won't go there, but if you've read much of this blog, you probably have a pretty good idea.  And believe me, it would have been less than professional, to put it mildly.

Let's talk about professionalism, though.  How professional is it to send someone a scathing email threatening to fire them and then copying two other muckety-mucks on it without discussing it first, and not giving any specifics?  And wouldn't it be fair to ask me my side of it?  And how about recusing yourself since you're such good buddies with PAW?

Wow, it's just so unbelievable.  And I said I wasn't going to relive this.  The bottom line is this.  No amount of money is worth feeling the way this whole thing has made me feel.  I talked to the one person I consider my boss (he was copied on the email, but didn't know anything about it before I called him about it).  He knows what I do.  He reviews my work, answers my questions, and takes care of dealing with all the political/committee crap.  So we sat down Thursday and I told him exactly what happened.  He told me that I couldn't go around exploding at people.  I told him I "snapped", not "exploded."  Ironically, I came close to exploding at him - I had to catch myself.  I also told him that he was the only one I was responsible to, and he said I had to answer to every one on the committee.  So I told him that I couldn't and wouldn't do that, so I needed to leave.  That I'd stay for two weeks and if they needed me after that to help with the transition, they could pay me on a consulting basis at a higher rate.  Keep in mind that during most of this convo, I was crying pretty hard.  Dontcha know he loved that?  Actually, he's seen me cry more than once before.  The thing is, when I get really angry, I cry.  I hate that.  But can't help it.  It's just me.

Now, in case you're wondering, even though I resigned, he ignored it.  He finished up by saying that he would talk to PAW's buddy at the next committee meeting.  I told him he needed to include the other committee member who got copied on the email.  I told him that my good name is more important than any job and that he can tell them if they have a problem with me, they can handle it with him from now on.  That I refuse to deal with political crap.  I have a feeling he'll do it.  He really does appreciate what I do.  He tells me when there's something he doesn't like (i.e. when I'm six months behind on filing paid bills), and it doesn't bother me at all because he says it in the right spirit.  He doesn't go around gushing about how great I am, but with him, a little goes a long way.  Sometimes, I even make him laugh - no small feat.

The pow-wow is Monday night, so I suppose I'll hear about it Tuesday.  I really don't have a dog in this fight.  Which is to say I don't care if I stay.  All I know is that I don't want to shed any more tears over this tempest in a teapot.

Speaking of tears, I've shed quite a few over some other things this past week.  In fact, I feel like a good cry right now.  I always feel better after.  I hope Deb's feeling better.  Oh, about the painting.  I told Deb to email a picture of Mufasa.  While she took The D to get a haircut and to Sam's, I did this painting for her.  She loved it.  I'm kinda proud of it, too.

Wow, I just realized how late it is.  I fell asleep on the sofa watching the LSU-Alabama game with Daddy tonight, so my sleep schedule is outta whack.  On that note, I'll close.  Over and out...