Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank you!

Just wanted to wish all of you out there a most happy Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for all of you who read this post and especially those that comment. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

We are headed up to Jen's for Thanksgiving tomorrow ~ I will post pics when I return.

Things are coming along with the "Night of the Arts" at Julianne's school. Looks like I might just pull this off. Also seems we may have the superintendent of schools as well as the press in attendance and I've got to give a welcome speech. Not my favorite thing to do but like the president, I've appointed someone else to write my speech for me! Not sure how much I'll get posted this coming week but after Dec 4th I should be back. So much to show you. I've been sewing my little fingers to the bone. Lots of screen bags, wallets, busy books & travel pillows.

And just because I don't like to post without pics ~ here's one of my very strange and deformed son ~ showing off how far his shoulder blade can come out ~ Gross!DSC07543

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Soccer season is over

Can I get a hallelujah? Maybe an Amen? It was a terrible season. We didn't win a single game. We only scored twice the whole season. It was so painful to watch. Great bunch of kids ~ but they were terrible players. They just didn't want it bad enough. They were out run, out maneuvered, and just outplayed. If it had been me, I'd have quit. But the kids, they had a great time anyway.
It was really hard for Nate since last year his team only lost one game all season. He's a good player and one of the strongest on this years team ~ but last year they were almost all really good players.. and they played well together.

This year, not so much. But as they do in this society... they all got trophies

I may be a bad parent for saying this but I think it's wrong. I think trophies should be a reward for winning. Now you get a trophy for playing and they really don't mean as much. I know, they are supposed to be rewarded for playing but seriously???

In any case, Nate is not discouraged and has opted to play soccer again in the spring. Last year he played baseball in the spring and did well but he really likes soccer more. Our coach has given them the option of playing on the same team but I'm thinking we'll be looking for a different team next time!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My littlest is now famous

Well, not really but she has now been on TV. Public TV anyway. The chorus from her elementary school sang for the School Board at their last meeting ~ and I believe all their meetings are televised.
In any case if you click on THIS LINK it'll take you to the site. Click on Part 1 Entertainment and you'll be able to see her. They show her close up quite a bit ~ partially cause she's the most beautiful child there but mostly cause she was right next to the music director when he is making his announcements.
I mostly posted this so family could see her cause I will warn you, it's bad. Our chorus can't sing and really only a parent (or maybe a grandparent) could sit through this.... but if ya'll want to see her ~ there she is.

Skipping ahead to the present

I was going to wait till the end of my "Story of Me" posts for this one.. Remember the surprise ending I promised? Well I just can't wait anymore so we are gonna skip ahead in my life to right now.

My life so far, with all it's ups and downs has been a wonderful life. I wouldn't trade it for anything and I plan on having lots and lots of adventures to write about in my future.. which brings me to the inspiration to write all this stuff down... the next chapter of my life.

I'll bet you can all guess what this is..
Baby Cox
That's right ~ It's my GRANDCHILD!

No, we don't know whether it's a boy or a girl. Jen & Jeremy have chosen to wait to find out. Yes, it's driving me absolutely insane ~ but I completely respect their decision to wait. Jen is due in the last half of April and I couldn't be more excited.
I know some soon-to-be grandmothers freak out and think of it as a sign of aging ~ but me, I've always wanted and looked forward to being a grandmother. Being a mom is hard ~ being a grandmother is the reward for all that hard work.

I completely look forward to this next phase in my life and promise to keep you updated on Jen's progress. I went up to Jacksonville on Thursday. Jen invited me up to go to her ultrasound with her. It was so amazing. The little jelly bean was waving at us all. After the ultrasound she went into the other room for her check up and even though it wasn't scheduled, they let us hear the heartbeat since I had driven all that way.
Jen thought I would cry and I did get a bit choked up when I heard the baby's heart beat but mostly I felt completely calm and serene. I knew this was what I have been waiting for, for a very long time.

I'll leave you with a pic of the expectant mom and dad, waiting to go in for the ultrasound. DSC07530
No belly pics just yet cause even though she's almost half way there, she's not really showing yet. She has been feeling the baby move for a few weeks now. Boy, is she gonna have her hands full!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Story of Me ~ Part 3 ~ A Bumpy Road

When I left off last time, I had just lost my mom. I've got a few more "bumps" ahead in my life road but then it gets better, I promise!

Well, remember when I said my (then) husband and I were doing well and had even decided to have another child? Also remember that I felt my body go in to shock at being told that my mother was not going to survive? Well these two things collided big time. Turns out I did, in fact, get pregnant right around the time of my mother's passing. Unfortunately my body didn't deal with it in a normal way. All pregnancy tests (both urine and blood) were coming up negative and there were weekly trips to the doctor to try to figure out what was wrong with me. I was given meds, injections and all kinds of stuff before the doctors AND my body finally registered what I had already known. I was "with child." Unfortunately the meds and the injections and everything else my body went through were quite harmful to a fetus and this new life didn't survive. Consequently, neither did my marriage.

I'll take most of the blame for this. In reality, we were just too young. We should have never married in the first place. I don't, for a minute, regret it though. I wouldn't have my amazing Jennifer ~ and for her, I'd go through hell and back again. Anyhow, I messed up the marriage. I really did... you see after the loss of my mom and then the loss of the pregnancy I was in a really bad place mentally. I decided that the more you love someone, the worse it will hurt when they are no longer there. My solution was to push everyone away. If I didn't care, it wouldn't hurt. The closer I was to someone, the harder I pushed.

I think a lot of my family really didn't even notice. I mostly acted normal on the surface. My dad certainly didn't notice. He moved on rather quickly although I think the "moving on" started before my mom was gone (that's a story for another day). My sister Joey didn't notice ~ she had her own life and her own problems to deal with. My other sisters and brother lived out of state so they really didn't notice.

Jennifer was fortunate to be young enough not to notice that Mommie was staying later and later at work and that a lot of the weekends she went with Daddy to see his family while Mommie stayed home. My husband did notice. Everything with us was now a fight. There is a part of me that always knew we shouldn't have married and now I wanted out. I wasn't quite strong enough or maybe aware enough at the time to just say "enough." My solution was to pick fights. If we fought enough surely he'd do something or say something bad enough for me to have a reason to leave. I needed it to be his fault. It wasn't a pretty time and while my ex is certainly not without fault, he had the calmer (and at the time saner head) and he sat me down and we decided to end the marriage before we wound up hating each other. It was as easy of a divorce as you can get. One lawyer, lenient terms and it was done. We remained friends for several years ~ until he started dating his current wife. She was not comfortable with our level of friendship. I can't say I blame her but it caused the kinds of problems that normally happen in a divorce. It just took a while longer. Years later, we all get along for the most part. We are both now happily married and Jen has 4 parents who love her and could show her what a marriage should be. So while I still mourn the loss of a child I will never know, things really turned out for the best I think.

Of course while all this was going on a few other things were happening as well. Since my mom was not here to watch Jennifer, we put her in daycare. It worked for a while but about the time she turned 3 we had some issues with her daycare provider and enrolled her in private school. University School in Broward county is a wonderful school. It actually starts with preschool at 3, preK at 4 and so on until you get your PHd! It's all part of Nova University. It was a difficult school to get into but between Jen being very "gifted" and the fact that my sisters best friend worked there (eventually becoming principal), we were able to get her in.
When my ex and I first split, I stayed in the townhouse we owned and he moved in with his parents. I was able to make the mortgage payment and take care of Jen and I. His child support went to pay for her school and helping out with some of the other stuff. It was all working out well until the next bombshell dropped.

I lost my job! I worked for a very large worldwide company and I guess times were a bit tough for them. They had just gone through a merger and technology was changing. Our department had to let someone go and even though I had seniority I was the one gone. There was some bullshit reason given I'm sure but the reality of it was that I knew too much. My boss's boss was doing a lot of things he shouldn't have been and I knew about it. I won't go into a lot of details but I could have made him lose his job as well. The coward didn't even come into work the day of the layoff. I even had physical evidence of his wrong doing and considered turning it in, but I just didn't have it in me to be that vindictive and in the end it actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.

This layoff, of course brought about some other changes. Jen and I ended up moving in with my sister Joey while my ex and his brother took over the townhouse. Financially it was the necessary thing to do but it was quite an adjustment for all of us. As I said though, it turned out to be a good thing. I ended up getting a job for a computer sales company. Turns out one of my former bosses at the big ass electronics company was now working for this company and when he found out I had gotten laid off, called and pretty much offered me the job on the spot. It was a good job. We were a small branch of a larger company based in NY. I learned a lot working there ~ had a lot of fun ~ and ended up meeting a really cute future software engineer named Richard. But that wouldn't happen for a few years to come so you'll have to wait a bit for that story.

In the mean time Jennifer was growing up ~ smart and beautiful. She was well adjusted. Loved living with my sister who's boyfriend (now husband) also ended up moving in as well. We were our own little strange but happy family. Because of our circumstances Jen and I ended up closer than most I think. We really relied on each other and she was much older and wiser than her young years. She was also totally spoiled (completely my fault) although never rotten. In my mind I had a lot of making up to do with her. While I had never really pushed her away, I hadn't really been the mom I should have been while recovering from my mom's passing.

I made the decision not to date. This was partially because I really didn't want to be involved with anyone ~ remember love still equaled loss in my mind ~ plus Jen was all I really needed. I was happy and content in my life. We had our own routine and I didn't have to answer to anyone else. Life was good.

Another good thing happened right around this time although I didn't think it would be good when I first got the news. My dad was dating ~ and it was serious. I didn't know too much about this mysterious person. My ex actually met her before I did because he was still bowling on a league with my dad and my dad brought her to the bowling alley with him one night. All I knew was her name was Patty and she was YOUNG! And now my dad was bringing her to a family get together. I was all set to hate her. No one was replacing my mom. Well the happy ending to this part of the story was that as much as I wanted to despise her, I just couldn't. No one could replace my mom but she didn't try. Have you ever just met someone yet feel like you've known them all your life? That was Patty for me. From the first day it was an easy friendship. I can tell you that I tormented myself over it. How could I be this disloyal to my mom? But over time, I came to realize that the relationship and love she and I would develop was an entity all it's own. They got married in December of 1983. It was a beautiful ceremony with Jen as flower girl and me as the photographer. Her gift to my father was to surprise him by flying my brother in from Texas. At the time my brother Sonny and his wife had Mary had already divorced although they were still in touch. She and daughter Trish actually came for the wedding and they ended up back together and remarried not long after.
I felt after losing my mother, that I had also lost my father because he was off doing his own thing and Patty really gave him back to us. We were a family again.

Life still had another bump instore for us and it wasn't long before we lost my grandmother (my dad's mom) to cancer. It was hard to see her sick because all of her life she was young and vibrant and lots of fun. You never wanted to bend over any where near her cause sure enough your backside would feel the sting of her hand ~ she just couldn't help herself. And you NEVER want to fool around while playing cards with her ~ she took her gaming very seriously. We spent many many fun times as a family playing games ~ usually for $$. She really would be missed by all of us.
Stephanie Pierceall 9/10/11 ~ 7/86

I'll leave you here for now. I will tell you that some exciting days are ahead for me. I will have some crazy times, will find the love of my life, move here and there, and add some amazing characters to my family. You'll just have to stay tuned.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On being 53

It's that time of year again ~ "Go me, it's my birthday..." In any case, it's been a wonderful day. The kids and the hubby woke me with gifts. How many husbands would give their wife the gift of Johnny Depp? Well, not the real thing but the movie "Chocolat" which is one of my favs.

I've gotten lots of phone calls from friends and family along with lots and lots of facebook birthday wishes. And then there were these DSC07519 DSC07520 DSC07521 They are from the one and only ~ bestest friend in the whole world ~ Mary Ann! They are beautiful ornaments that will go so wonderfully on the white christmas tree I got to put out by the pool area.
She even sent this one to Richard DSC07522 Which he just loves. Isn't she just the best?
I also got a beautiful necklace from my mother in law. She came up over the weekend to celebrate. This is me celebrating DSC07517 Couldn't let the last of the champagne go to waste, could I?

While she was here I did some sewing... I made her this set of coasters. DSC07513I love the way they turned out. I may have to make more for me! Oh, and I also made this DSC07514 It's a surgeon's cap for her doctor (she's been seeing the same one for close to 30 yrs) and he's an avid bowler. I think he'll get a kick out of it.

And last but not least this DSC07518 zippered bag for a customer. Julianne hates it when I make and sell stuff from the peace sign fabric. She thinks it's all hers. She will be getting something special for Christmas made from it but don't tell her. It's a secret.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Story of Me ~ part 2 ~ A life begins and another life ends

The early 80's really were "The Best of Times and The Worst of Times." They started off as absolutely the Best of the Best...
On Jan 3 (after 3 days of labor ~ ugh!) I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Jennifer via c-section. They had to tell me 3 times that I had a girl because for months before hand EVERYONE told me I was having a boy. The question I always get is "why did they let you stay in labor for 3 days?". Well, it was the 80's and doctors were getting criticized for "taking the easy way out" and doing too many C-sections, so they were doing everything they could to NOT do them, which included leaving women in labor for waaay too long. Once they started to lose a heart beat on both Jennifer and I, they decided to finally do the right thing and get her out. Fortunately she was born beautiful and healthy and I was one happy mommie. She has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine ~ and she still does to this day. I loved being pregnant and I love being a mother. It's something I've wanted since I was very young and now, with her, it is so much more than I had ever imagined. She was the best baby. She slept through the night almost right away. She was never fussy ~ always happy. She laughed easily and loved with all her heart. She walked at 9 months and climbed on everything. She was our monkey doodle (and yes, she'll not be happy that I told this to the world!). She actually still has a little stuffed white monkey (named monkey doodle) that my mom gave her! She talked early and a lot (still does) and was the absolute light of all of our lives (still is).

Life wasn't always easy though. I went back to work full time when she was 3 months old and was fortunate enough to have my mom right down the street and she watched Jen for me. My mom, although I didn't know it at the time, was struggling in her marriage to my Dad and Jennifer was the bright spot in her life. She doted on her above and beyond that of most mortal grandmothers... and Jennifer adored my mom. There were times I was actually jealous of their bond but at the same time, so very grateful for it as well.

When Jen was a year old we bought our first townhouse but shortly after that my husband and I started having problems again as well and even separated for a bit with me moving into my parents place for a couple of months. We eventually got back together just before the holidays and seemed to be stronger than ever. We had even decided to have another child.
Here's a pic of the my mom's 5 grandchildren (all girls. My sister Cathy's 3 girls, my brother Sonny's daughter (hi Trish) and my Jen.

In the meantime, my mom's health was deteriorating and she had to be hospitalized several times. While on vacation to see relatives in NY and attend the wedding of Jen's godfather I received a call that my mom was again hospitalized. It was her heart once more. She previously had open heart surgery in the early 70's, which was fairly new in the days of that type of surgery and it unfortunately didn't take care of "all" her issues. She remained in the hospital (being transferred to Miami Heart Institute) in preparation for yet another open heart surgery. My dad sat us down the night before her surgery to tell us that they had talked to the doctors and there was a good chance she would not survive this surgery. Because of her previous surgeries, there was the possibility that they could accidentally cut her heart when the first went in and if that happened, the prognosis was not good.

It's so very difficult, even all these years later, to write all this down but the worst did happen. They did indeed cut her heart during the surgery but it was small and they continued on with the surgery, repairing what they could. When they came out several hours later to tell us how the surgery went, they said the words we did not want to hear ~ She was alive but would most likely not survive the night.
I have to tell you, even though we had been warned ~ I never believed she wouldn't survive. That just wasn't possible in my mind and now, it was happening. I physically felt a numbness run through my whole body. I remember it like it was yesterday. My body actually went into shock. I didn't cry though. My dad broke down into tears, my husband started to shake uncontrollably and asked me to go to the hospital chapel with him. Me, I just functioned.
My mom was a fighter though, and she hung in there. She was not conscious at all and after a couple of hours her kidneys started to shut down and so they were putting her on a dialysis machine and warned us that she would probably not make it through that ~ but she did. Then they decided to move her from the operating room (even though they could not completely close her chest) to the intensive care unit. They prepared us by saying that she probably wouldn't survive the move ~ but she did. This all lasted several days ~ her remaining brothers and sisters flew in as did my two sisters that lived out of state. We were all there, all day, most nights.
They let us in to see her, one at a time. I could definitely see that the part of her that was my mom (her soul) was not there. Then one night before we went in to see her, the nurses told us that she seemed to be somewhat conscious from time to time although they were not sure. My dad went in to see her first and when he came out he said "no" she was not conscious at all. I went in next. It was scary to go in. She was hooked up to so many machines. There was a sign above her head warning the nurses not to move her, even the slightest movement could be deadly. At the other end of the bed was an 11x14 picture of Jennifer. We all knew if she did wake up, that would be the best thing she could see. And then something miraculous happened. She opened her eyes and looked at me! She couldn't talk because she had tubes in her throat and she was so very weak but she tried with all her might to reach for me. She tried as best she could to tell me that she loved me and I babbled uncontrollably telling her how much I loved her and how we were all there for her. I ran and got my dad and they let us all come in... including all 5 of her brothers and sisters ~ we all got to see her ~ and she got to see we were all there.
Unfortunately my two sisters weren't there at that moment. They had gone to the airport to pick up the third sister. We let them know what had happened and they went to the hospital first thing in the morning. They let all three of my sisters go in together and again, my mom opened her eyes and did her best to communicate with them for a few moments. It was just minutes after they left her room that she passed away. She held on until she could be strong enough to see us all, tell us she loved us and then she let go.
Still in shock, I functioned through the next days, calling my moms friends (she left us marks in her phone book on who to call) to give them the news. I went to the funeral home with my dad to make the arrangements. I hosted my moms 5 brothers and sisters. And I made it through her final services. I did break down ~ but it was much much later.
And I am now drained from the telling of this part of my story so here is where I will end, for now.

Dorothy Granger Watson July 9, 1927 ~ February 8, 1982

Monday, November 9, 2009

The story of me ~ part 1 ~ Let's start from the beginning

Feel free to skip these next few posts if you'd like. It's just me chronicling a bit of my life as writing practice. If you'd like to read it, that's okay too. It's definitely the abridged version with a little surprise at the end. So here goes...

I was born in New York City in November of 1956. At the time, my mother and birth father the sperm donor were separated. My mom and one of my sisters (Joey) were living with my Gramps and a couple of my mom's sisters (who were still pretty young at the time).

When I was about 6 months old, I guess, my mom and the sperm donor got back together and we all moved to south Florida, including my older half-sister Cathy. I heard Texas was a close runner-up in places to live, but my mom heard there were snakes everywhere so Florida it was. It's funny to think about how different my life would have been had we gone to Texas instead... or maybe it wouldn't have. The man my mom ended up with ~ the man I call Dad ~ actually lived in Texas as well. Maybe they would have ended up together anyway and since he ended up moving to Florida ~ maybe I would have still grown up there and maybe my life would have been exactly the same. Weird, right?

Anyway ~ I grew up in south Florida. My mom was a switchboard operator for a hotel on Miami Beach.

It was a great place to grow up. I was one of the hotel brats and could work a full switchboard at a very early age.

Most of the people who worked for the hotel were lifers, and it was like one big family. We even lived there for a few months while our house was being renovated (after a flood mishap while the roof was being replaced).

Summers were spent at the pool learning to swim and babysitting guests' children.

Anyway, my mom and the sperm donor didn't work out, and she eventually met my dad. They married, and he adopted me and Joey. By this time, Cathy was gone (she ran away from home at 14 and married a 19-year-old), and my mom and dad's marriage brought a new brother and sister who lived with us off and on for years.

Right about this time, money was tight and my sister and I got to leave Catholic school and move to public schools ~ can I get a hallelujah?

It was a pretty normal childhood.

I did alright in school. I bought my very first car: a Chevy Vega (anyone remember those?)

I had lots of friends and even a boyfriend or two (well, maybe three).

The first boyfriend was the best kind for a young girl ~ gay. No pressure to have sex, he dressed well, liked to go to the mall ~ you get the picture. I ended up dumping him for his best friend. I eventually married the best friend but not before dumping him for another guy who eventually moved to Texas - there is that TX thing again!

I somehow ended up back with the gay guy and again dumped him for his best friend (my ex).

There were a few other boys here and there, but eventually I married just after my 21st birthday.

This takes us up to the end of the 70's, and here is where we end part 1.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I have been a bad winner

Ya know I've been really bad and I owe a big apology to Lola at ..and Sew On
I won these wonderful wall hangings from her back in August when I wasn't posting much and I realized today as I was walking past them (they hang on the wall just outside my sewing studio) that I never did a post about them. I did thank her privately when they came but really wanted to show you all what wonderful work she does. There are so many wonderful and generous bloggers out there and I feel very lucky to have samples of some of their work.

I love doing give-aways and will definitely be doing another one soon ~ hopefully before Christmas so stay tuned!!!

My Birthday Came Early

Thanks to Lisa ~ I won this wonderful wall hanging from her. Looks like it was made for this spot, doesn't it. And her work is just beautiful. Such great tiny stitches. You should definitely check out her blog. Lisa, you've made my day once again ~ Thank you!

I've been super busy working on stuff for the craft sale at the PTO Night of The Arts. It's all starting to come together. I've had people reserve 6 tables so far. I'd like to get 20 or so reserved. I'd like everyone to have lots of cool hand made crafts to choose from. I'm doing my screen bags, coaster sets, the travel pillow cases and my latest addition are these
I'll probably put some in the Etsy shop too. So far my favorite is the circus one. I've got another 11 in various stages of completion including some cute "girly" ones. Julianne is already trying to figure out which one she wants to steal. I think with the economy people are looking for less expensive gifts so I'm trying to keep my prices down. I think these will be big sellers. Perfect to keep little hands busy at restaurants or on car trips. I'm selling them for $10. and they come with the pad and colored pencils. What do you think? I count on you all to give me your honest opinions.

On even better news, Nate's grades have taken a giant leap upwards. The "F" that he got in Language Arts last period is an "A" so far this quarter. He's really started buckling down and getting his act together. We still have to stay on top of him but for now, it's all good.

Richard is still working crazy hours ~ poor man hasn't had a weekend off in several weeks. He's hoping not to work this weekend though. At least on Sunday since his mom is coming up.

Jennifer is in Reno this weekend presenting a paper at a conference. I'm so proud of her. She's thrilled to be in chillier weather. It's been brutally hot here in Fla. although today it actually is cool enough to wear shirts with sleeves. I guess that means our pool time here is done for the year ~ how sad is that?