Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Secret Double Life....

Now before you continue reading, it's not all that exciting. Trust me. It's not stuff a Danielle Steele book would be made of, nor is it the makings of some hot and steamy Harlequin Romance. It's just your average, ordinary, living-away-from-my-husband, living-away-from-my-daughter, living-WITH-my-2-sons, working and living in one place, living in a different place when I'm off work.

Doesn't that sound ordinary? Yeah.

A little background for those that don't know (although I'm not sure how you wouldn't because if you read this blog probably know me and you are well aware of the job I have, or at least the hours required to do it) I am a shift worker. I work 12-hour shifts and rotate between nights and days. I work on a 6-week rotation: start at the beginning, work all these crazy shifts, am off for a couple of weeks, then start the whole 6-week cycle over again. So while I am on shift I work and live in one place with my sons. Then when I am off work for my 2-1/2 week "long change" I travel to a place 2 hours away and live with my husband and my daughter....here...in this cute LITTLE house.


There they are, my husband and daughter and our little dog, all happy and giddy in that cozy little house. We call it the vacation home because, well, I'm basically on vacation while I'm there. I don't work and pretty much just lounge around while my wonderful husband waits on me hand and foot. We go for walks in the morning after my daughter leaves for school. And we visit this wonderful little drive-through coffee place that wrote down my own special coffee concoction on one of their cards after MANY trips, adjusting and tweaking until it was JUST RIGHT.

It's all the wonderful things a small town is made of. Where the neighbors say "hello" as you walk down the street. A place where a 10 minute drive gets you from one end of town to the other even if you hit all 9 traffic lights red on Main Street. Where there are only about 9 more traffic lights in town besides Main Street. Where people drive at a pace that makes your stress level subside and you finally ask yourself, "What *is* the big hurry?" Where some of our most interesting evenings are spent on the front porch listening to the crazy whack job across the street talk on her phone outside while she tells her friends about her medical issues that we would rather not know about. (Ummmm....she's seriously loud! Can you say, "TMI"?) Where the guy working at the local garden shop knows my husband's first name because he goes there so often for plants/flowers/gardening stuff....the likes of which I know nothing about because my thumb is completely brown. Seriously look at this picture of the front porch. It's all him.


Have you seen that many plants on the front porch of a 44 year old biker dude? Seriously? Yeah. I've seen it on my Grandma's porch and that's about it.

I love it there. I really, really do.

And I would love to be there permanently. I really, really would.

My husband and I jokingly refer to our situation by our pet names. He is my bee-otch and I am his candy mama....meeting up every 3 weeks in our little vacation home, drinking coffee, watching movies, gardening (well, HE gardens and I sit on the porch drinking coffee watching him) and living the "high life". Well, as much as you can live the high life in a town with a population of 14,000.

So I've probably peaked your curiosity about why we are in this situation. Or not. But I'll tell you anyway because after 9 months of living this secret double life it's getting slightly old and spewing it forth on the computer makes it more manageable. Or less horrible. Or less true because I can add the idiot factor called "Cheri-ism" and it's seems more like make believe.

It all started when my sweet daughter started getting harassed and bullied her first month of high school. I lived through the drama with my boys. Tired of it. Very. Tired. So I yanked her out of school after these mean chicks followed her off campus to her non-school related activities. I drove her up to her Grandma's house the very next day, enrolled her in the very high school that my husband and I met and graduated from, and drove back home to continue life as "normal". And thus began spending my "long-change" 2 hours away from where I worked/lived. That was almost 2 years ago...20 months to be exact.

Then my husband lost his job due to a disability last June. He moved up where my daughter was living.....before she and her grandmother went down in a fight likely to mimic the WWF. "Let's get ready to rummmm-bllllllleeeee!!" Seriously. I mean, they got along great and my mom loved having another person in the house. For awhile. But then she realized she had agreed to a teenager living in her house, not a person. Then the generation gaps became like canyons and it was time for her to live with a parent. It naturally became my husband since he had lost his job. And Grandma was made whole again. And their relationship is better and more loving because of it.

And so here we are. 9 months later with one failed job interview, one crumbling housing market, several holidays and weeks of lurking on the job listing website for the one company I could do my specialized job at in the town where I really, really want to be.

Living my secret double life.

That's not really a secret.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I was tagged by The Fruitloop.

Here are the rules:
1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2. Share 4 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 4 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog .

#1 fact : I don't do barefoot. Seriously.

#2 fact: I'm procrastinating about 23 things at this exact moment.

#3 fact: I love being 40-something. Yes. I'm serious. I'm grown up (although some would debate that), I'm confident (mostly), I've learned some tough lessons that have molded me in to who I am today and I'm confident that I can survive pretty much anything at this point. (Don't be too impressed with that last statement...I'm pretty weak as an individual, but I have God...)

#4 fact: Boogers make me gag profusely.

I really don't know who to tag. I'm not really caught up with all my blog stalking because I've been pretty pre-occupied the last couple of weeks. But once I figure it all out....I'm totally running back to the playground for a round of tag!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Let's face it. I was a nerd.

In my previous post you got to see my awkward phase. That gawky, pre-teen phase that usually lasts a year or two. Yeah. Right. But in addition to my charming good looks, I was also cursed with an incredibly *sad* taste in music.

I was a pre-teen in the late 70's. Can you think of all the great music back then? Great stuff like Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Paul McCartney & Wings, Carly Simon, Steely Dan, Aerosmith, BTO (Bachman Turner Overdrive for all you non-70's people), Eric Clapton, David Bowie.....well, you get the picture. LOTS of great music in the 70's. Lots.

But what about this awesome music duo:
Or this fabulous group from across the Atlantic:
And...sadly enough...I've got to admit to this one, too:


Yeah. I hear you laughing. And how did I NOT know these guys were gay? Seriously.

My list goes on and on and on. One sappy, geeky musical memory after the other:
Barry Manilow
John Denver
Donna Summer
Disco Duck (don't ask...)
Andy Gibb (can you say tragic teen idol end?)
Leif Garrett (can you say teen idol has-been?)
Captain and Tennille (don't deny you didn't at least have the hairstyle)
Soundtrack to Grease
ABBA (they were almost cool)

My cool factor didn't really start until I was a Junior in High School when I started listening to Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, the Eagles, Styx, and Queen.

But I still had those 80's bangs.....and that post is coming. It has to be discussed. Trust me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Awkward Phase

You know the one. Pre-puberty. Jr. High. The time when zits find a home on your face and boys voices falter somewhere between being kicked in the groin and sounding like Barry White. Ahhh! Those are the fun times, eh? And about how long do you think your awkward phase lasted? A year? Two?

Yeah. Mine lasted seven.

I started out okay. At least I think so. I mean, look at this adorable face. It's anything but awkward!


The phone in my hand should have been a sign to my mother of things to come. Seriously. I talk a lot. A LOT.

I went through the typical cute kid phase with my long hair (usually in pigtails) and blue eyes. I was an itty bitty thing (times change, people) and cute as a button. Then school started and I was just a cute little school girl.

Then I started losing my teeth. This is my 3rd grade picture and as you can see I'm still trying hard to hang on to that cute phase....my long ringlets, cute ribbon in my hair, sweet smile...and that hole? That hole where one of my front baby teeth used to reside? Yeah. That was the beginning of big trouble.


And then the trouble REALLY started. This is my 4th grade picture. Hair looking greasy and a beautiful zit taking up residence on my chin. Glasses now being a requirement ALL THE TIME. And those teeth. Good Lord Almighty! Those teeth!


Then the next year I guess my mom decided that maybe a little more time spent on the hair and wearing this oh-so-cute homemade dress from my grandma would distract away from the two front teeth trying to run out of my mouth. Ummmm. I'm thinking that wasn't quite as successful as she planned. But how about that cool macramé necklace? Ooohhh. Ahhhh.


Okay. Well....hmmmmm....how about a hair cut?


Okay. So that's not so great either. But, hey!! I think a perm is DEFINITELY the answer. That would distract from those teeth for sure!


It distracted, all right. Now I just had some butt ugly hair to go with the marathon teeth. And now I had another nice tooth growing out of the side of my mouth, too. Nice. My awkward phase lasted just another year after this picture was taken....my freshman year in high school. Yeah. I was lookin' smashing hot entering high school. But then I got braces. Then I got contacts. And life got a little better.

I learned early on (I'm thinking around 5th grade) that I had better develop some kind of personality to off-set the awkward phase. Humor helped a lot. Laughing at myself helped ease the whispers and laughter from those around me. Oh, sure. I had some bad days that I would just throw myself in a heap on my bed, put on my Donnie and Marie album and have a good cry. (Yes, you heard that right. Donnie and Marie. What about it?) But overall I think I came out of it okay with the help of my real friends and through my faith. I mean, let's be real. How would a person like this get by in life emotionally without a little help from God?

When my kiddos were little and started losing their teeth, my panic kicked in to overdrive. I really didn't want my little ones to deal with the cruelty I lived through. So at the first sign of a permanent tooth emerging to take residence in the vacancy left by the baby tooth, I grabbed them and started peering in to their tiny mouth to access what was going to happen. I was fortunate that I didn't have to worry much about any of them. Nice, pretty teeth. Multiplied by three. Whew!

I wore braces for just under 4 years. Yeah. 4 years to fix that mess. And the hair? Well, I was a child of the 80's. The era of Aqua Net Hairspray, big permed hair and very tall bangs.

But that's another post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This is Miss Olivia...


Isn't she just freaking ADORABLE?! Way more adorable than the disgusting kittens that were just dripping with sappy cuteness. Mainly because she smells better. But mostly because she stole my heart when I watched her enter this world last year.

Missy Jr. That is my nickname for her. When she was just a few weeks old I was visiting her (well, and her mom, too, but mom is realistic that Olivia is the one that draws the hoards of fans) and her mom, Karen, called her "Missy". I was slightly amused because it has been my own daughter's nickname over 15 years now. And so she became Missy Jr.

Missy Olivia is turning ONE!! This month on the 25th this little princess peanut will celebrate her first year of life. And what a celebration it is. She had a rough start, but she is overcoming all of it while managing to wrap her Daddy around her itty, bitty finger. And mom is pretty smitten with her, too, but is worried already that Missy Olivia will have her own stubborn streak that may surpass the size of Manhattan. There are tiny signs already. It could be a very long road through the teenage years.


But until then, let's just enjoy the way she smells.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISSY! We love you bunches!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!

To all of you who have little ones, medium ones, large ones or any combination of them...I hope your day is totally wonderful! I'm certain my own day will be filled with candy, flowers, back rubs, a sparkly clean house, the mountain of laundry disappearing, and dinner when I get home from work.

Then I'll wake up.

I have 2 medium and 1 large. It's always a crap shoot on Mother's Day which one will think outside the box and actually start planning something more than 2 days out. Which is weird because I start in February reminding them that Mother's Day is coming. It's as if they are completely obsessed with their own little world and forget about it being all about me for just. one. day.

Oh, that's right. They are completely obsessed with their own little world because they are MEDIUM SIZED KIDS. The large one is getting, well, larger and better about thinking further outside of his own immediate needs.

And me? Yeah. I have a mom, too. I'm her smallest large. (Does that even make sense? I'm not sure. But just work with me) And I love her a lot. She'll never see this unless I go to her house and flip open my laptop for her. She is technically challenged like that. Plus she doesn't see so well these days. But I still love her to pieces and I have no doubts she knows that.


Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you bunches.

your youngest

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday

Years ago (we are talking about 14 years) I used to write a column in a weekly local newspaper. When I was cleaning out one of my 10 million junk drawers (a post for another day) I ran across a few dozen of these columns that I had clipped from the paper and saved. My original intent for them was to laminate them and put them in some kind of 3-ring binder for safe-keeping. But now that I scrapbook with a vengeance, I'm sure their "presentation" will be a bit more than a 3-ring binder. Probably some extravagant album with pull outs and beautiful paper and grand layouts.

But I digress.

ANYWAY...I'm cleaning out the junk drawer (I'm telling you, I took pictures of that gigantic mess) and I started reading through some of these old columns of mine. One of them particularly grabbed at my heart because of some recent happenings with some of my kids' friends. This was printed originally back in December of 1993...and I found it amazing that 15 years later it can still be so relevant to something happening in my life now. So here it is, my column "A Simple View Point" as it appeared so many years ago:

Every week we print and mail the Red Bluff Rotary Club's weekly newsletter, "The Lava". A few weeks back this poem was submitted to be inserted in to it. It was presented to them by their district governor during a special meeting, and I was very moved by it and decided to share it with you (grab the tissue box):

A Prayer For Children

We pray for children
who sneak Popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in to their math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

We pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never to to the circus,
who live in an x-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
who pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whos tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must,
for those we never give up on and those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother...and for those who will grab the hand
of anybody kind enough to offer it.

Ina J. Hughs

During this busy holiday season, please don't forget what is really important in our lives...and what is important in the lives of others as well. God Bless.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bend it like...Beaker?

I have another comparison photo....unfortunately for anybody reading this it will NOT drip of the Beckham-hotness of previous posts. But don't say I didn't warn you.

This picture of me is from the California Scrapbook Crop in February. Troy really, really, really, really (ok, really) hates when I do this with my neck. So of course I have to do it as often as I can around him. He loves me in spite of this, I know it.


And do you see the resemblance?


I really need to get myself a white lab coat, don't 'cha think?

So tell me....what kind of impressions do YOU do?

Monday, May 5, 2008

WARNING!! Disgustingly sappy, sickeningly sweet cuteness ahead!

How much can you stand? How freaking adorable ARE THEY???


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These cuties are just about ready to break free from mama kitty. And mama kitty couldn't be happier. She looks like she is ready for the same loony bin I was almost admitted to last summer.

I didn't know kittens turned in to teenagers in a matter of weeks.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My New Guilty Pleasure

Run...do not walk...to your nearest Target for this delightful little treat. I was handed one of these at a scrapbook camp last week when I was lurking for chocolate.

And white chocolate is my absolute FAV!


So I stopped in and got some on the way home from work tonight. And I took them straight to my room. And shut the door. And locked the door. And upwrapped one of these puppies...and gleefully sniffed it as it passed over my lips.

I'm in big trouble. Please, Lord. Have mercy on my thighs.

Bending it....

see a resemblance? =)

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That look of sheer determination...whether you are making millions or just trying to keep your grades up to be able to play...it's universal.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bend it Like Beckham

So....my little girl is a soccer player. Quite a good one, actually. She aspires to play in college, become a teacher and coach a school team. Here she is in all her glory:

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I love watching her play and while I was in Red Bluff for a week I was pleasantly surprised that she had 2 games. Their team had gone undefeated...until Thursday when they lost 2-1 in the last 2 minutes of the game. Poor thing was frustrated, tired and stinky. And being the good-mom-best-cheering-fan-EVER, I agreed with every whiny, poor-sport, tired and stinky loser comment she made after the game while having a burger and fries. And then I followed it with a question. The kind of question that would negate her own negativity...with humor. Because I'm like that.

Me: So, why was it so difficult to actually stay upright after kicking the ball today?

Her (after looking at me in silence for a brief moment, sort of squirming in her seat and smirking slightly): You know, I just have no clue. I fell every time I kicked the ball the first half.

Me: Yeah. I noticed. Does your butt tickle from falling on it so much today? (Butt tickle: a term of endearment from my brother who would ask me this whenever I would get hurt during any one of a myriad of stupid events in my life...and one that cracks my girl UP)

Her: *insert snot-snorting, tear-streaming belly-laugh here*

And thus began the conversation with my *real* soccer player, the good-sport-love-the-game player, about how fantastic the one goal they made was...with a most excellent assist from her and a most excellent tap in the net from the other forward.

And all was well with the world.

Now if I could only execute that look. That sultry, sexy look...like Mrs. Beckham...maybe that male hottiness would become a part of my meager existence.
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