Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review 2010

So what do you think of when you look back on 2010?

The year was actually rather uneventful, I think but there were a few things I think were important.

I was finally able to get back to California, the one place that as far as geography goes, will always be home.  In many ways, it felt as if I had never left.  Then of course, there was getting to see Gina and Renee and realizing that in some ways and in some relationships, time can stand still.  What I initially thought would be awkward was so incredibly natural and easy.  It had been thirty years since we had last seen each other, yet we immediately settled into easy conversation; about our past as friends and our pasts as individuals.  It was truly a moment of knowing what true friendship really is.

That trip also saw the death of my brother in law and though we were not close, it was still very sad, especially watching my sister cope with this sudden turn of events.  It reminded me that nothing in this world is certain and life is not required to be fair, so we have to treasure every single moment as we never know if there will be another one to follow.

The other big thing was the church situation. Just as you can realize that no time at all has passed with not seeing people for thirty years, you can find out that people you have been with consistently for thirty years, you really never knew at all.  Where one can bring you great joy, the latter can bring intense sadness.  The days following the whole thing were horrible.  I was unable to sleep, or would wake up trembling and tearful.  My reaction was much like I had been assaulted and that The Brit had been assaulted, with nothing more nor less than words.  My reaction to this only came because the assault came from a place of trust. If a stranger were to assault me with words on the street, my immediate reaction might be anger, but when you trust people because of the place they are affiliated with, the reaction is devastating.  

But God wanted me to move, that much had been clear.  My restlessness and feeling of not being fed by this particular pastor had to come from Someone other than myself.  Before, my inability to connect with him were offset by the praise band and the youth, but then, not even those two things were enough and my frustration grew. Now that I have moved, despite the things I had to give up, my soul is slowly becoming fulfilled.  Leaving the church was my choice, based on not only the trauma that occurred and how people elected to handle it, but because it was the final thing that let me know that church was no longer where I belonged.

So, where do I go from here?  What I have learned about myself is that I still do not handle stress well.  I still turn to food and my body reacts badly as I am now on my second cold in two months, where before all of this, I had not been sick in two years. Add to that the FoodFest that is the holidays and it is no wonder I have gained ten pounds. But starting Monday, the good habits are going back into place though it may be a struggle at first.  But I know what to do and how to do it and I not going to continue on a downward spiral.  I have come too far to turn back or give up, so it is simply back to business in a few days.

I am still job hunting though my job at the church is stable for at least six months when they re-evaluate the budget again. The church continues to struggle financially, so things are not certain there.   I have personal goals that are still unmet due to fear and I continue to work on overcoming my own self-created obstacles. But that is what life is all about; creating who we want to be, learning who we are and finding our own inner peace.

It is a lifelong process.

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sorry, Not Today!

Due to having had a very long day, no California today.  I was awake at two am this morning puking for some odd reason and with stomach cramps so bad I could not stand up straight and almost cried when lying back down in bed after the episode.  I lied really still for a bit and they finally subsided, though it took me awhile to fall back to sleep.  Then I was awake at seven and after unsuccessfully trying to fall back to sleep, I got up and came downstairs to read on my Kindle for the next few hours. 

I didn't venture breakfast of scrambled eggs with no toast until after noon, and it seemed to settle fairly well.  The Brit and I did a grocery shop this afternoon and during that venture, my period started.  Gotta tell ya, if my tossing my cookies was due to cramps, I am going to have huge issues with that!  I ate turkey on a wheat sandwich round before kickboxing and then we went to pick up my car, which had a rccall, an oil change and a free detailing.  While waiting for them to finish, I started feeling lousy again and was questioning going to kickboxing.  Had to stop by the church from hell to run off the bulletins for Sunday and started to feel better, so went to kickboxing.  I got a little thrill there as my GBC called me by name, twice!  Aren't I a freak?  Granted, I have been taking his class for a year and a half but he has lots of people in his class, but we recently become Facebook friends, so now he has me down!  He asked how "Miss Kim" was and then when I left class and was putting my stuff in my car, he called out "Bye Kim!"  He's so cute and so gay but I love him.

Maybe California tomorrow but it's my blog and I'm not making promises.  Never know what I may feel like writing about and if people were on Facebook, they would have seen lots of pictures already as they are all there.

And did I tell ya'll that I am really enjoying the football?  Love watching the Ravens and the Chargers, though the latter is now out of the running for the season.

I am so anxious to get back to the gym regularly!  Since the crap started in October, then vacation, then the holidays, I have gained ten pounds and it has to go!  I have been really good today, partially due to my sensitive stomach, which could be having issues due to the crap I have been feeding it.  I plan to keep it going as I am really tired of eating bad stuff!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hooray! It's Over!

Okay, by a show of hands, who here thinks Jimnotmike should have his own blog?

Survived Christmas!  Yay!  I hate this holiday.  Christmas Eve was very pretty at St. John's, though it was odd not to be with the people I have been with most of my life on Christmas Eve.  But, they have a great choir, a bell choir and they had other musicians as well.  The sanctuary, which is incredibly beautiful (our contemporary service on Sundays is held in the Worship Center), was decorated in poinsettias, wreaths and white lights...breathtaking.  The sermon was excellent and the whole thing was just barely over an hour...about seven minutes over. 

The kids loved their cell phones and were very surprised.  The Genius showed evidence of growing up when he wanted me to open my gift first before he opened any of his.  I got my Kindle and love it!  The Brit loved his Redskins jersey and the Blue tooth keyboard for his iPad.  Mother came for dinner and Robyn came over later once the kids were gone for the night.

Sunday night, I had my youth kids from the old church over and it was awesome.  So good to see them and to feel as if no time had passed since I'd last seen them.  They will all be going different ways in the Fall, and that makes not being in the same church with them more bearable.  They still love me and we had a great time together.

Today, The Brit and I had lunch with Jimnotmike (who needs his own blog), MyTod and Kelly.  I had not seen Kelly in awhile and I always love catching up with her.  Tonight, Emily, Katie and I went to see "Black Swan"; quite a trip, not at all what I expected and very thought provoking. 

Listing all of this, I realize how fortunate I am; I have many good friends and many of them not associated with my former church.  I know many people who are not so fortunate.  They are all truly a blessing.

Now, for a quick side story that Strat will enjoy and I would like to hear her take on it.  Yesterday afternoon, I was at the grocery store to pick up a few things I needed for the youth gathering.  There were no small carts, and I could not be bothered to get a big cart, so my arms were laden down with a gallon of distilled water, two bags of chips and two containers of dip, and I still needed a sleeve of plastic cups.  Finding the cups, which were sort of blocked in by a stocking cart, I wedged myself in there, knocking something off the shelf in the process.  Grabbing the cups with two fingers, I heard a voice behind me...

"Well, hello! How are you?"

It was the Puppet Master's wife; one of the two people who started this whole mess.  I didn't even want to make eye contact and didn't have to at that moment as she stooped to pick up what I had knocked off the shelf, "Fine, thanks."

"How was your Christmas?"

"It was good, thank you." At this point, I am backing out from between the shelf and the stocking cart.  I am floored how this woman will not come into my office on "Bible" study day, but here she is approaching me in a store, when she could have just sneaked by; I wouldn't have even seen her as I heard her talking to me before I ever saw her.

Before I could escape, she said, "I know your arms are full, but let me hug you."

AND SHE DID. I'm sorry, but what is that all about?  Is she just trying to make herself look like a better person, or is it guilt related?  I am clueless. Would she have treated me differently had her Puppet Master husband had been with her?

Okay, tomorrow, I will start relating the California trip!  What was your favorite moment of Christmas?  Favorite gift?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why Are People So Offended?

So I was sitting at the American Red Cross this morning, waiting to give blood and they had the news on the television which is always enough to annoy me.  You would think on Christmas Eve, they could find something good to talk about but nah.  They were debating about this monument in Georgia, I think, where there were several different flags erected, one of the many flags being a Christian flag.  Of course, someone had to gripe about it so now they have some kind of lottery where people can decide what flag they want flown that month and now the question is, is that constitutional? 

Here are my issues.  I don't get why people get so offended.   I have friends who are Wiccan and if the Wicca people had a flag and it was flown at a monument along with a bunch of other flags, that would not offend me.  Now if the Wiccan flag was the ONLY flag being flown, that would be different.  The one woman on the news was saying that some of the soldiers who died for their country may not be Christian.  My thinking is "they are dead, do they really care what flags are flown there?" The other thing is that if my loved one was being remembered in that place, and let's say, we were Muslim, I would have no issue with another religion being represented.  I figure any "good thoughts" or prayers offered from anywhere are a good thing.  When I in a rough spot and my Wiccan friends say they will pray for me, it does not offend me that they are not praying to my beliefs.  Belief in a higher power is belief, no matter what you call that Being.  

My biggest issue is that it is Christmas Eve so is this a pot that really needed to be stirred up today?  Oy. Doesn't this country have bigger issues to deal with?

Anyway, it is Christmas Eve and no matter how much I am not a fan of Christmas, tonight I love.  Tonight is filled with anticipation for me, and candles and a feeling of reverence as we sit on the precipice of something wonderful.  I love tonight.  Tomorrow, you can have but tonight is special. 

So I hope you all feel that sense of anticipation tonight; that knowing that many years ago, probably not in December, something wonderful happened.  I hope you all took a moment to do something special for someone else that maybe didn't involve a gift in a box.  I hope you gave some love or a little of your time to someone who needed it and if you haven't, there is still time.  Because for as what I believe, we were given the greatest gift ever that we celebrate this night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Even My Fingers Hurt

So after a very full day today (work, groceries, cleaning and mopping, cookie baking) MyTod and I went and endured a two hour kickboxing marathon.  We did it, though Tod told me numerous times how much he hated me, but now I am so freaking tired I can barely keep my eyes open.

I'm going to try to post the California adventure next week once I have Christmas out of the way.  I still have baked goods to make as gifts and fudge to gift as well.   I have never made fudge so it should be interesting.

Anyone in my reading area, there is a need for a family.  Two gals The Brit works with have friend whose family just lost virtually everything in a fire.  It was in today's paper.  We are trying to locate the following items (cut and pasted from the original email):

We are looking for clothes and household items.. as far as I know they lost everything.

Here are the sizes-

The Mother is a size 2-4

Boys are between sizes 4-5 T and one older boy who is 16-17 and all I know is he is a medium size

Girls are 8-10 and 10- 12

If anyone has anything, let me know.  I can make arrangements to pick it up from you.  Those of you who know me well know it is this kind of stuff that brings the meaning of Christmas home to me.  It isn't about the gifts, or the tree or the cookies.  It's about humanity and helping each other.  So check your cupboards; everything is needed.  If you don't have the clothing sizes, there are blankets, towels, kitchen necessities, get the picture.  Trust me, it will make you feel good.

So I requested our families transfer to the new church and the old pastor and I had a long conversation about it.  He apparently told The Puppet Master that he handled things in the wrong manner; that he should have come to me with his concern and if it could not be resolved between us, then he and the pastor should talk to me.  Basic Biblical principles.  I emailed The Puppet Master's wife about something she had ordered for the church and at the end of the email I wished she and The Puppet Master a merry Christmas.  She emailed me back her response, wished us a merry Christmas and signed it "In Christian Love".  For some reason that really pissed me off but whatever.  Can't be bothered to care very much.

Okay, tired and going to bed soon! 



Monday, December 20, 2010

20 Long Years Ago

So listen...I went Christmas shopping tonight with MyTod and due to the fact that it is almost 11:00 and I am dog tired, I am taking advantage of one of a few guest blog posts Jimnotmike gave to me for such occasions.  He loves comments!  I will be back with you tomorrow.  Promise!

Hello everyone. I'm back again! So lets take a detour from my travels for this post.

What I want to talk about happened 2 nights ago...I cried, HARD! Uncontrollably hard!!!  And here is why...

That photograph. That is me, JimNotMike, 20 years ago. I have no qualms posting it here because no one who doesn't know me would ever recognize me from that photo. I'm not even sure I recognized me from that photo. That was pretty much what the tears were about.

That young, hot, swarthy, tanned, "innocent", STUD is gone, and is the hair! I can remember the exact day that photo was taken. I had just been cast as Marcellus Washburn in the Fredericktowne Players production of The Music Man and we were having a dance rehearsal for MY song "The Shipoopi" when I was called outside to take a head-shot for the theatre and program.  I remember thinking, "You're kidding? I look like crap!"

But look at that photo, I don't look like crap. I am full of youthful exuberance and excitement at being cast, in a major role, in the first community theatre show I ever auditioned for. That summer was amazing. Full of discovery...talent I didn't think I had, people I never thought I would meet, loves I never thought I would love, that ended far too quickly (OMG, that is a whole other blog post).

I wonder where he went. Well, I know where the hair went. But seriously, seeing this picture made me wonder why we have to change? Don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer in the fact that change can be good, and usually is. I certainly don't regret who I have become, but I miss that guy. I miss his innocence, his ability, and HIS HAIR! Not to mention those gorgeous lips. 

I think it's ok to miss things, therapeutic in fact. At least that is what I have learned in the past few days. Once I pulled myself together after my minor breakdown I realized that aside from the hair...that is me today, a part huge part of me. I even compared in the mirror to make sure. Those lips are still there, those eyes, that skin tone (even after 20 years of smoking...done now). That youthful exuberance too, when I discover a new city or meet a new person or learn something I didn't think I had the capacity to learn. He is me, and I am him...he just didn't know it yet.

So I am offering a challenge to the folks who read this blog. I would like you to send ( me a picture of yourself from 20 years ago, or 30 years, or however far back you have to go that you don't recognize yourself. Along with that picture, I want you tell me what it is you miss and what parts of yourself you still see lurking in that old photo of you. I think you will be as surprised as I was to find how much of your "young" self is still present in your "older" self. I know I was. Don't be fooled tho, those pictures are bound to make it into a future guest blog of mine. So don't send anything you wouldn't want appearing to Kim's readers. 

Younger JimNotMike would probably be heading out on the town about now or at the very least staying up watching some horrible movie on the TV. But Older JimNotMike is mixing himself a nightcap and heading off to bed. I bet there is a part of Younger JimNotMike who wishes he had done the same.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Five more Work Days

Jimnotmike had a blog post for me tonight but tonight I feel like blogging, so I will keep his posts for those days when it is just not in me.  I can't abandon my readers too often after all!

I stripped a part of my kitchen floor today with ammonia and though it stunk and took a 3/4 of a gallon to accomplish it, the difference is astounding.  It took a long time too.  Pour on ammonia, swish it around, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before going over it with a mop.  Often it was repeat on the same section a few times too.  I ran out of ammonia and my mop fell apart by the time I was finished that section but what a difference.  I am hoping Lowes may sell something a bit easier and not as stinky as I am now on a quest.

I picked up a few Christmas cards that were addressed to my family at the church and would you believe the Evil VP and her big headed son gave us a card?  She can't talk to me but the true spirit of Satan Christmas is something she wants to pretend to have alive and well or she just wants to make herself look good.  For those of you not in the know, the fact that her son has a big head, literally, is not his fault and I would generally not make such horrible comments.  He is in his late thirties and does have an abnormally large cranium, but my big problem with him is how self righteous he is.  That's what's annoying.  He has made one too many holier than thou comments to me or near me in the past.

 So I still need to come up with some gifts for my younger child.  My oldest will have his cell phone, a pair of skinny jeans, a Wii game and an ipod microphone.  Is that enough?  My youngest will have his cell phone and so far a Razor scooter. Price-wise, The Genius is slightly ahead so the remaining gifts for The Lawyer need not cost a lot of money. But I like them to open close to the same amount of presents on Christmas day, especially as I am holding the phones till last.  But what else to get him?  Suggestions?

The weekend is going to be full of baking and candy making I think.  Such a busy time of year.  Saturday night is My Tod's Christmas party and Sunday it is back to church and I have missed it!

No gym today due to snow and I was afraid the kids might get out of school early.  They didn't but  I didn't know that at the time, so I went to the store to pick up a few odds and ends, stopped by to see Tod and then came home and worked on the floor and laundry.  Tomorrow, The Genius has therapy which I find annoying because it ties up so much time in my day this time of year.  I can't always tell if it is helping or not either and the therapist is not all that organized.  He has no appointment cards, we have shown up for an appointment before and he wasn't there, etc.  I may see if we can move him to another day other than Friday.  Hate tying up a Friday with that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jim, Wanna Guest Blog Right Now?

I am insanely sleepy after a very full day today.  Work, gym, post office, Big Lots, clean, clean, clean, cook dinner, clean up dinner, pack lunches.  I didn't even get to sit down till after 9:00 tonight.  Oh, and I did some on-line Christmas shopping.  A few more things done; more to go.  Need to bake this weekend too and come up with some kind of tasty treat to give as gifts to a few people.  Not sure we will have time for candy making, so I need another alternative.  Suggestions?

Also, what is the best way to strip wax from a linoleum floor?  I am going to try ammonia per Tod but am already looking for a backup plan.

The Brit gets home tomorrow night and hopefully in a decent mood.  I know traveling is tiring but at least he is home the next few weeks.

Okay, short but again, am really tired!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Still Trying to get Back on Track

So apparently in my absence, the sermons in my former church have gotten a bit better.  In fact, his theme has been forgiveness and last Sunday he apparently stated that the devil was alive and well in this church (and I would name him The Puppet Master, but that's just me).  Not sure what all was said, but a lady I dearly love approached me yesterday and hugged me and said she'd had no idea what was going on (and no one did but those involved).  She begged me to come back but I don't see that in the cards for me.  But though his sermons have had a theme to promote healing, not one of the Bible study peeps came back to say "hi" today, so not much has really changed.

I am sitting here watching "The Biggest Loser Finale" and they are showing some previews of the next season in three weeks.  They have a man next season whose starting weight is 507 pounds.  It brought tears to my eyes just to see him.  And I know, that all he needs is a little determination and a will to change to make it happen.  Cannot wait to see his transformation.  I know it is dubbed "reality tv" but the show does change lives and it gives at home viewers proof that it can be done. We have so much technology but the formula for weight loss is still very much the same: calories in vs calories out and creating a calorie deficit.  Exercise is really such an easy thing in many ways.  Sure the process is hard, but why would you not do something that benefits every part of your life?  You only have one life here; one chance to get it right.

So my Christmas cards are finally done and ready to be mailed out.  Hope the ones make it to England in time.  We can hope.  The kid's big gift came today....cell phones, Lord help me.  There will be rules.  Big rules.  Huge.  Yes, I am nervous about it, but excited for them too as they will be thrilled.  I am making sure these are last gifts they open and that they are opened at the same time.

I need to get Christmas dinner planned too.  Not sure what we are having yet. 

And don't forget that next Tuesday is the two hour kickboxing session! Come out and suffer play with me!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home Again

So I plan to blog all about my latest journey but right now, I am behind on life and Christmas in particular, so I have not yet even gone through the photos.  So stay tuned for that.

We just got home last night and The Brit is already en route to the airport for work, and will be gone until Thursday.  This will hopefully give me some time to get my life caught up a bit as well as get to some serious work at the gym.  I have gained a few pounds over the last few weeks between work stress and vacation and it has got to go.

On the flight to California, I was listening to my ipod and was reminded of something I had wanted to blog about during all the church drama.  When I was at my absolute lowest about the situation (and I am so much better now.  Stronger, leaving the drama queens behind me) I heard a song that has been out for quite some time that I had never taken any notice of before.  It may have played on my radio before, but I promise you, I had never actually heard the lyrics before.  What I do know was that God gave me this song on that particular day.  I get goosebumps now when I hear it on my ipod.

Lord move, or move me

I can't find the words to pray
I'm a little down today
Can you help me?
Can you hold me?
I feel like a million miles away
And I don't know what to say
Can you hear me anyway?
What I need is for you to reach out your hand
You have taught me
No matter what you'd understand


Lord move in a way, that I've never seen before
Cause there's a mountain in the way and a lock on the door
I'm drifting away, waves are crashing on the shore
So Lord move (move), or move me.  (and He moved me, pretty much physically)

I've look every where to find
A simple peace of mind
I can't find nothing on my own
So I got to leave myself behind
Take up this cross of mine
Give away everything I hold onto (and in so many ways, I did.  I had to let go of things and people that felt impossible to ever release)

Lord I know the only way is through this
Lord I know I need you to help me do this


Lord move in a way, that I've never seen before
Cause there's a mountain in the way and a lock on the door
I'm drifting away, waves are crashing on the shore
So Lord move (move), or move me.

Out of this place of complacency  (*this is so true of the way I had been feeling at the church before it all went bad)To a place of fellowship with thee
Cause I am weak but Lord you are so strong
And you know it's been way too long (been way too long)

Lord move in the way, that I've never seen before
Cause there's a mountain in the way and I'll knock on the door
I'm drifting away, waves are crashing on the shore
So Lord move (move)...


Isn't it just amazing?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Start Spreading the News Part 2

Here is your second post by guest blogger, Jimnotmike.  Leave him comments; he lives for them!

ETA: For some reason this did not post last week, so I am posting it now.

Welcome back! I'm kind of enjoying writing these Travelog Blog Posts. It's so nice to not have an "Issue" to deal with or something to bitch about. is now Sunday in New York City.

Michael Buble--
We aren't sure how it happened, but somehow Siobhan and I both managed to miss the fact that Michael Buble, one of our favorite singers was performing at Madison Square Garden while we were in town. Thankfully we caught this error in time to get tickets. It was the 100th performance of his Crazy Love tour and it was amazing. If you haven't seen Michael live, I highly recommend it. At the end of the concert he put down his microphone, took off his ear piece, they closed the curtain on the band he sang acapella. Unaided, his voice filled MSG and it was perhaps the most amazing thing I have ever seen a live performer attempt. The man truly has a set of pipes!

Pretty great seats for a sold out event!

Showtune Monday at Splash--
This evening I met one of Kevin's New York Friends, Dan for drinks at Splash. Splash is a very popular gay bar in Chelsea. On Monday's the place is filled with every gay theatre queen in the city to sing along to every broadway showtune you can possibly imagine exists. It's great fun, and we try to do it every year when I'm in town. The drinks are also 2 for 1, and that never hurts. What sucks is that had I been in town for just a few more days I could have seen Kristen Chenowith perform here on Saturday night...that would have been over-the-top amazing!

Didn't have a pic from Splash, so here is Times
Square at night from my hotel room

That was the New York Trip, I may not enjoy the city, but I have to admit there are some fun things to do there. It's good to be home now for the Holiday's. Time to decorate and eat, and lets not forget the cocktails!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Start Spreading the News Part 1 by Jimnotmike

Ok, New York! I just spent 10 days there. I was there for work, so I don't have too much to report, but I will take you through the highlights. Prepare to live vicariously though me. LOL

For the past 4 years my work has taken me to New York City over the Thanksgiving Holiday. As much as I don't enjoy NYC, it's kind of nice to not have to worry about the typical family-type trappings that so often seem to go along with this, or any Holiday for that matter. I don't have to fight over whose family to spend it with, how to squeeze in both families, or even what to cook.

So, here was my Thanksgiving Weekend...

Turkey Day--

I typically don't leave the comfort of my hotel room on Thursday. The hotel sits right on Times Square, so it is a madhouse of families with small children trying to view the Macy's Parade. I had a fine view of it from my hotel room window, and an even better view of it on television.

There goes Buzz Lightyear down Broadway!

I did eventually rip myself from the room around 2pm to walk over to Jamba Juice and get my Thanksgiving Smoothie (A Berry-Lime Sublime with an Energy and Fiber Boost) YUMMMMM in a cup! It's even better once you add a few shots of rum to it. At 6pm, I met my coworker, Siobhan for dinner. We always try to pick somewhere out of the way. The past couple of years, that meant the rotating lounge at the top of our hotel. They do a very stylish Thanksgiving buffet and because it rotates, you basically just sit still and sip your cocktail till the food you want comes around. This year we decided to do Japanese...the only restaurants that don't have huge waits for seating on this Holiday. There was a great place right down the street, and while I'm no fan of sushi, there was plenty on the menu to please me. After sharing 5 bottles of Sake, it really didn't matter what I was eating anyway. After dinner Siobhan continued to bar-hop, the woman is a drinking machine! I went back to the hotel. Sure enough about 10pm I start getting text message from Siobhan, insisting I join her at Don't Tell Mamma's. This is a great little bar, also right down the street. What makes it special is that people sing live there. Most of them are actual talented people who have or will be performing on broadway at some time or another. Of course, sometimes it's also some drunk schmoe off the street. Tonight was a pretty good night, but we didn't stay out too late because we both had to work the next morning.

The Carnegie Club--
Saturday night, both Siobhan and I took naps after work so we could stay up late. We met friends of hers at the Carnegie Club, which is right across the street from Carnegie Hall. It's an old Cigar Bar that has been in this location forever. Luckily I hadn't quit smoking at that point so I could take full advantage of it. In a time when it seems like you can't smoke anywhere, it was really nice to sit down on a comfy sofa, cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I almost felt like I was sitting in my living room. We were there for their Sinatra Saturday event which is a tribute to late, great singer complete with a 12 piece big band orchestra. The singer was great, and while he claimed it was a tribute show, not an impersonation of Sinatra, I sure thought he sounded just like him.

Yes, my sanctuary is larger than The Carnegie Club

Ok, this is going longer than I intended. Tune in later for Part 2

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Cig-Free/God-Free/Bitch-Free Post

Hello Everyone,

With Kim running off to California you are once again stuck with me...and I with you :-)

I have a lot talk about lately so maybe this will be broken into two posts, or 3 if anyone can stand it. 

First of all, lets talk about cigarettes, a product of which, I am no longer a purveyor. Yes, you heard it here first. JimNotMike is Cigarette/Smoke Free and I have been for a few days (perhaps a week, till this gets posted). My hubby Kevin is also now Cig/Smoke Free and by the time you read this for him it will probably be 2 weeks.

Just so we're clear. This had nothing to do with health(cause as long as I look good, it doesn't matter to me), or wellness(we all gotta die sometime) or stinky clothes(that is what cologne and laundry are for). This had to do with money, pure and simple. I sat down a few months ago and figured out that between the 2 of us, Kevin and I were spending $300 a month to stick flaming cancer sticks, coffin nails, fags (if you're in Britain) into our mouths one after the other. $300 a month! Hell, that's a car payment or a nice addition to the vacation fund. Heck, that'll buy a ton of booze! Yeah, don't expect the liquid libations to be going away anytime soon.

Kevin did it cold turkey(while I wasn't around, bless his ever-lovin heart). I, on the other hand, being the heavier smoker and the far more maniacal of the 2 of us decided I needed some help. I had tried the patch, and the pill, and the other pill, and the pill after that, and the gum, and even the hypnosis in the past. I knew that none of that worked for me. So I did a little research, on the web, of course. Google, I LOVE YOU!

Turns out, the nicotine in cigarettes isn't really whats bad for you(in unconcentrated doses less than 60mg, anyway). It's the 599 other things (Wiki Link: that they add to cigarettes that will kill you. Not to mention the fact that you're basically willfully submitting yourself to smoke inhalation every time you light one up. So, years ago when I was getting pissed off that I wasn't being allowed to smoke anywhere (airplanes, restaurants, bars, strip clubs, my office) I found a product called Njoy( It's an electronic cigarette that basically provides you with a little bit of nicotine and the feeling like you're smoking, but you aren't really smoking per say. They say very clearly on their website that it is not marketed as a smoking cessation device, but I think its a great idea, even if the FDA doesn't. Njoy offers a way for you to stop smoking (the bad part) with out killing those around you (the good part) and right now, let me just say that my Body Count stands at zero. The greatest part is that once you're over the idea that a burning torch isn't stuck between your index and middle finger, Njoy has cartridges that have no nicotine in them. So you can switch to those and still feel like you are smoking while your body gets off of the nicotine habit. It's a win/win for everyone. Not to mention the fact that you can "light them up" in restaurants, train cars, airplanes, offices, strip clubs, etc.

In the meantime, the cartridges cost less than cigarettes and since the only byproduct is water vapor, my house, my car and I don't smell like we spent the night inside a burning building.

So, as it stands right now. I have quit smoking without quitting my addiction to nicotine, and I am ok with that. I'll work on the nicotine part later. Oh, and for anyone who is looks like the 7-Eleven chain of stores is carrying the Njoy product everywhere. I'm not getting paid to endorse that...but I sure wish I was!

Friday, December 3, 2010

This is it for awhile maybe

Okay, so today, I have to drop by both the kid's schools with emergency contact information for while we are away, call the alarm company and then get ready to head up the road two hours for the show.  I said good-bye to my kids this morning as I will be gone by the time they get home and The Brit will have to see them off to grandma's house. 

The pastor came in today to wish me a nice trip and during the conversation I mentioned that my mother was keeping the kids while we were away.  He said and I kid you not "I have to call her.  I don't know where she's been."  Really?  That clueless?  The church attempted to stone her daughter and he wonders where she has been.  Wanna place bets that the call to her never happens?

So tomorrow I am off for the west coast and I am insanely excited.  I am looking forward to exploring a new city I have never been to before, the weather will be a bit warmer than here (sixties all week) and it is time away from what has become a stressful part of my life; the church.  I'm looking forward to seeing Margaret, Doug and JJ (my sis in law, brother and nephew) and hopefully Ed (my great nephew).  I am again having dinner with my girls from elementary school on the 11th, which will be our last night there.

I just love to travel and wish I had the time and money to do it more often.  I just look at each trip as an adventure and I have always had an adventurous spirit anyway.  I love experiencing new things and have always thought that was part of what life was about anyway.  Experiences help us to grow in so many ways and I never want to be one of those people who are content with things to just always be the way they were.  Though I have never embraced flying, or rather, the possibility of crashing,  it is a way to get from point A to point B and sometimes the only way to get there.  If the alternative is not seeing new places, I will fly, like it or not.

Well, I am babbling now and impatient to get the day underway.  I do have at least one guest post from Jimnotmike to go up and I may try to blog on occasion next week.  Thank you all for following me here to this little private spot, which will one day go public again.  Hope you all get your shopping done next week (I haven't started yet which is kind of scary) and you stay warm if you are in one of the colder regions. 
Have a great week!

Oh and just for shits and grins, Jimnotmike, I am really looking forward to the tourist trap of Fisherman's Wharf and have no desire to see an old prison. ;)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Four More Quiet Hours

I say quiet because the world was in today to learn to make bows and no one spoke to me.  I actually welcome the Church Lady on Thursdays as she is oblivious to the whole ordeal and speaks.  Not that I really care except right now, The Brit is out of town so the kids have been my main source of conversation.  Whoo Hoo.

I like the haircut which puts me in a bit of a pickle as I am riddled with guilt.  I like my normal hair girl.  I like this new hair girl.  But I have been with Kristi for years.  I kind of feel like my ex-church, turning on her for no good reason.  Not sure I can continue with it.  I may have to go back and just tell her I got it cut in California.

I was PMSing as I started this morning and I am so freaking tired right now but my farm in Farmville is not ready to harvest till eleven.  My body is aching from my workout yesterday and I want it to be bedtime.

So tonight, I went into the kitchen to fix a cup of diet hot cocoa while the kids were messing with the electric train under the Christmas tree.  I heated up the milk in the microwave, mixed up the packet of chocolate in it and then got inspired.  Walking into the room where the kids were, I muttered aloud "If I had butterscotch schnapps that would be awesome."  The kids busted up laughing and The Genius said "Nice mom."  Turns out, they thought I said, "If you would get shocked, that would be awesome."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not as Behind as I thought.

It has been a fly by the seat of my pants kinda week.  I had a schedule and despite the fact that I have not stuck to it, I am not that far behind.  When The Brit is away, I don't sleep as well; it takes me longer to fall asleep and I awaken far earlier than is normal for me.  Also judging by the circles under my eyes, I am PMSing, so I am sleep deprived and lacking in energy at the moment.  Yet I remain more or less on schedule even if I have indvertantly rearranged it.

I worked out with Sonia today and this one is brutal.  The last one now feels like cake, but I guess that is the point, huh?  Got home and finished decorating, then took The Genius and went to church as I am going to miss the next two Sundays.  Oddly enough, I had just gotten to the Y today and was warming up on the treadmill and saw this guy waving to me as he was leaving.  I was confused for a moment before I realized it was my new pastor.

Tomorrow, I cheat on my hair girl and then I am supposed to go run with Bebecca, who is a beginner runner....and it is freakin' cold outside!  I also need to call our alarm company to see if they can walk me through an adjustment again because the heat is setting off the system and we got a notice from the police again that we have used up our two "get out of jail free" cards and the next time the police are sent out, it will cost us $30.  We adjusted the kitchen one last year in the winter as the heat can set it off but it is happening again. 

Friday I am riding up to Kirk's college to see his roomie's senior project which is a series of plays he has written.  I am going with the music director and her hubby and I am wondering if the question of "are you ever coming back to church?" is going to come up.  I would imagine it will be hard to explain but I have been thinking about it.

When we left, I did not yet have in my mind the mentality of "I am never coming back."  But I also didn't expect to walk into a church I am growing to really enjoy.  I think in different stages of our lives, we feel different ways about God.  As teens or young adults, often we keep God at arm's length.  We want to know He is there but we want to do our own thing and not think about it too much.  As we get a little older, we need to be involved and we want to set the right example for our kids where God is concerned.  So we are there out of a sense of obligation.  Then we get a little older and we realize that at times life is hard and we need to rely on Someone more than just ourselves and we want to know as much about that Someone as we can.  I was there.  I was craving more knowledge; I wanted to be able to understand and know the words that could help me handle some of the things life was throwing at me.  I wanted to discuss these things with other people who were craving the same things.  I wanted to be led by someone who had been Called to serve.  The problem was that the pastor where I was, though Called, was not, in my opinion, leading anyone.

When the split happened five years ago, I was still in that obligation place.  Then we got Pastor Phil and he made me sit up and listen.  I started actively pursuing my faith.  A void I had not even realized I'd had started to be filled.  A year later, he was gone and we had the next one, who was so overly dramatic and a bit of a jerk in person.  He was nasty to me on a regular basis and by the time Sunday rolled around, I could barely look at him yet alone try to get anything out of his sermons and I NEVER would have even considered talking to him one on one.  Four months later, the problem was discovered; he was having an affair and had been caught and he was gone.  Our next interim, though a horrible sermon giver, was amazing one on one, so again, I started to get some of what my soul craved.   Most of the congregation didn't like her due to her lack of decent sermons but the employees loved her due to that one on one time during the week.  When she left, we got the current one and you know how that story goes.  With this one, I started to lose faith that there were "real" pastors out there other than retired ones. 

So when this all went down at church and I left "temporarily" God had something else in mind.  He had been nudging me for awhile and I been ignoring but He knew what I needed and led me to it but putting a few people in front of me to guide the way. 

But will this make sense to those I left behind?