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What’s the point? April 28, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
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Woody had another exciting race this weekend. He was in third place trying to catch the leaders when the driver behind him decided he would try to pass. A skillful driver, who may be able to catch you and tap your bumper, will do so to loosen you car’s traction and slip pass you while you save your car from sliding. This rookie, rather than try to pass him inside (where he was given plenty of room) just flat out hammered him sending him into a spin. Woody saved his car from hitting the wall but lost third place in the process. (Rookie wrecked his car)

No problem! Woody could work his way back to the front. It wouldn’t be the first time. Well, that was the plan but as soon as the caution flag came out so did the rain. 235 laps into a 250 lap race and his chances to recover what he worked so hard for were over. He finished in 17th place (where he blended back in after the spin) because the race was officially over due to rain. What a way to make a living huh? Well, he seems to think so.

I had the pleasure of scoring the race. For reasons that escape me, this is where one person is assigned to score for each car on the track. Whenever the car passes the start/finish line the time from a central digital time clock is entered on a card for that car by the car’s scorer. This is meant to be a back-up for the computerized scoring mechanism in place. It also serves to settle possible disputes related to a car ‘s position should one arise during a race. Well…in a perfect world maybe!

The previous race Woody found himself in third place, yet again. This time lap traffic, ahead of the leaders, tangled. The leaders weaved their way through the mess but when it came time to line the cars up again for a restart they put Woody back in 5th place, behind two cars he had clearly passed well before the previous lap. This would have been the perfect time to settle the dispute with a scoring card.

NOPE! The official, all pumped up on testosterone as they sometimes are, decided his word was final. Not sure why we are saddled with this scoring job except so that maybe AFTER the race (where you should have finished 3rd but instead you finish 5th) they call to apologize for their mistake. WHAT?! 

No compensation for prize money or points. No public correction. Just a behind the scenes phone call to say “oops!” No big deal right? WRONG! At this level of racing if you are going to get noticed it has to be with money (that you have to buy your way in); a famous name (to make your way in); a connection (with someone who will get you in); or dominating finishes at the lower level of racing in hopes of getting noticed in case someone just happens to be interested in talent (which, by the way, is NOT first on the list of qualifications for making it to the top). Wow, this could be a good example of a run-on sentence:)

The cream has to rise to the top. Even then very few get picked to fill the few slots left at the highest level of racing we call NASCAR. This comes only after those with connections, money, name, and diversity have secured their place.  So something as simple a 5th place finish at the lower levels of racing can be huge. NASCAR has no idea that you work on your own car around the clock and don’t have a high dollar crew. You don’t have a professional crew chief calling the shots and you still secured many wins and championship titles. They don’t know that you did this while your competition is resting in their trailers and you are underneath your car setting it up for the race. NASCAR knows none of this. Finishing order is huge. It’s all you’ve got.

When Tony Steward spins and doesn’t get to finish a race he still makes his millions and Home Depot still sports his photo. Anyone interested can see the whole thing in instant replay and scores of follow-up interviews. When Woody Howard spins because rookie racer can’t pass him any other way no one but his fans notice. The rest of the racing world can only check the finishing order and see he finished 5th or 17th or not at all. The posted finishing order doesn’t contain apologies made because officials screwed up or explanations of how you saved your car from hitting the wall when an inexperienced driver decided the only way he could get around you was to go thru you!

If this sounds like a menopausal woman whining about a crazy sport it’s because I AM! When your son is 3 years old you can tell him not to play in the street because he may get hit bay a car. When he is 26 all you can do is score for him and pray a lot:) 

 

Mugsy April 17, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
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Mugsy is my youngest daughter’s 3 pound yorkie. I’ve had the pleasure of dog sitting this week. This is pretty much what I’ve had to listen to everytime the little guy needs to pass Shelby (my 50 pound Sheltie…yes, she is rather large for her breed). I have two other dogs but Mugsy only has issues with Shelby.

Unintentional Hobby April 16, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
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Not sure how this happened but over the past few years I have managed to install numerous kitchen back-splashes and one bathroom tile floor. I never intended for it to be my craft, hobby, job, or intention. It just happened. Here’s how…

My first attempt at getting my kitchen back splash tiled started with my handyman brother. He insisted there was nothing to it and attempted to show me the process. It looked easy enough. So after he installed several tiles I jumped in and finished the job.  That would be my first ever tiling project. I wish I had a photo from back then.

Along the way (notice how I managed to fold my blog heading in here:)…I did the back splash for my parents, our lake house, the bathroom floor, and finally my remodelled kitchen. The jobs got easier and more creative with the purchase of my tile saw and various professional tools that I probably didn’t need but felt compelled to buy. Don’t you just love home improvement stores? Some women buy shoes and handbags, I buy tile saws and grout.

When my oldest daughter ran into a “brick wall” in this thing called life, I found myself appointed the tiling/ wallpapering person. They were in the middle of a kitchen remake before the doo-doo hit the fan. Now with the house possibly going up for sale; the old wallpaper stripped off  the walls; and the new wallpaper and tile already purchased; it was looking like someone had to step up.

That’s where I came in. I mean if you can’t pick up the pieces of your child’s life for them the least you can do is tile their wall and hang their wallpaper right?

We thought about making “him” do it but decided he was off limits to the premises at the time. Besides, it made me feel useful. So what do you think?

You can see the wallpaper above the pantry closet. It is also on the wall behind you in this view. It’s a textured weave sort of paper. Not the easiest to work with and my first with real wallpaper paste and not the prepasted stuff. Ugh!

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That reminds me. Let’s back track a bit. Remember my kitchen project? Well, after the fact I decided I didn’t want this wall tiled….

And so seeing how it was already set in “industrial strength” tile adhesive I ended up doing this…

followed by this….

Now I have this….

but have recently decided I don’t like the wallpaper accent wall. I REALLY NEED TO QUIT WATCHING HGTV!

Pity Party April 11, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
3 comments

I suppose if I want readers to read my blog it might help if I update it more often. But then on the other hand I have maybe 3 comments on a good day and possibly 4 readers. Sure, I have roughly 500 hits according to the little counter over there but 450 of them are probably from me checking my blog;) …not sure why since I get email notification when someone comments. I guess it’s kind of like opening the refrigerator to look for something to snack on when you know full well what is in there since you looked 5 minutes ago.

Eckhard Tolle (A New Earth) would say it’s my ego that wants the comments and the readers. My thoughts are just thoughts and it’s my ego that needs the satisfaction of knowing someone cares to read or comment. I need to get more in touch with my Awareness. I’m glad Oprah is doing classroom web casts about each chapter in his book because I feel like raising my hand and asking questions and someone usually does in this virtual classroom. I’m only on chapter three of the book so maybe this will make more sense to me when I finish it.

Back to the blog. Am I writing it for me, for you, or for my ego? Does it matter if no one reads it? I could write a private journal where I could write with wreckless abandon knowing the world wide web can’t access it or I can continue to write in this blog and monitor just how much I will reveal. Actually I do both…my weight issues tend to be what I deal with in my private journal. Maybe sometime I will go public with them too. I bet that will get my ego some following, haha.

Can you tell from this entry that it has been raining far too long around here? I need to go make better use of the short break of sunshine we’ve been blessed with today. More later…

I’ve Been Tagged! April 4, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
3 comments

Part of me is excited cuz I have never been tagged before. Part of me is thinking, “oh crap, who am I gonna tag.” The only people I can tag either were tagged by Trish (Becky) or it IS Trish!

Okay, here we go…

Here are the rules

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog…
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog – some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here are my 7 random and/or weird things:

7. I used to be in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsmen (1973-77) before becoming a registered nurse.

6. I was a semi-finalist in the Miss Teen USA Pagent in 1972.

5. I did some modeling as a teen before I became a human blimp:)

4. I am related to Susan Lucci of All My Children…her grandfather is my grandfather’s cousin. She and I have never met.

3. I had open heart surgery in 1977 to repair a birth defect no one knew I had until my Navy discharge physical. I was 22 and had a whole in my heart (atrial septal defect).

2. I once took a pinch hitters course in flying to learn how to land a plane since my husband has his pilot’s license. I figured if he decided to re-enter the food chain from 6,000 ft. I wanted to know how to get down!

1. And finally, as all two of my faithful readers know, my son is a professional racecar driver.

And the 7 people I tag:

Hmmmm….I really need to come back later to add them since I haven’t met them yet. Wait, here’s Sammie!

Retail Therapy! April 1, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
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I wish I could say I am a jack of all trades but I pretty much suck at grief counseling…or any type of counseling for that matter. At least that is the feeling I get every time I put my foot in my mouth trying to say the right things to my daughters when they are hurting.

I think I do pretty well for the most part but at some point I usually say something, albeit true, that they aren’t ready to think about or hear yet in their stage of grief.

I’ve learned that good counselors say little, mostly listen, and may come out with one or two empowering statements. Me, I usually say whatever flashes through my mind. That, apparently, is not always good. Who knew?! It probably has something to do with the fact that I am grieving with them and probably need someone to vent to all my own but instead I say what I am thinking and….well you see how this can become nonproductive.

So what’s a mother to do? RETAIL THERAPY! You know they are beginning to feel better when you can entice them with a shopping trip. This is exactly the stage of grief we have reached status post the 2 1/2 week old infidelity reveal.

We were at Macys in Richmond buying some cute outfits when the salesgirl asked if we were on some sort of “girls trip.” I explained that my youngest daughter had driven 3 hours east and my oldest and I drove 2 hours to meet for this shopping adventure. It was then that my oldest piped in with,”Oh cut the crap! I just discovered my husband has been cheating on me for nine months and I’m leaving him. This is retail therapy.” We all chuckled when the salesgirl replied, “Well honey, you are gonna look GOOOOD leaving! I hope this is his credit card.”

No, we are not revenge seekers, it was my credit card but it was nice to see her laugh again.

Betrayal March 24, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
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It pains me to write this post. I had hoped to come back here and fill you in on Woody’s race but I never got to watch it. I arrived in FL for the race but was only there for a few hours when my cell phone rang.

My oldest daughter was sobbing uncontrollably because her world, as she knew it, had just crumbled. I jumped on the next flight home which wasn’t until the next morning. I didn’t sleep at all that night (and not much for days afterwards). I cried for her; still do. She was in pain and as her mother I felt helpless. It felt like morning couldn’t come soon enough.

She was two weeks shy of her first embryo (IVF) transfer after 2 years of trying to conceive. She and her husband were living in their dream home of 18 months and things seemed to be falling into place. She was counting down the days until the IVF. She was told her chances were excellent. I heard the excitement in her voice that very morning. 

On the surface he was the kind of guy a mother would pick for her daughter. It would be only hours later that she would stumble across proof that her “adoring” husband of 4 1/2 years had been cheating on her for nine months with his new-found drinking partner. Yes, alcohol seems to be another issue she didn’t bargain for in this thing called marriage.

Through tens of thousands of dollars, countless tests and procedures, hormones and injections, and the roller coaster ride of hormones and hope, he was leading a double life and letting her continue to believe in her dream.

He didn’t want her to leave him. He “loves” her. WHAT?! Am I missing something here? What did he think she would do? Of course he is mortified and remorseful but she has lost all trust; her heart is broken; and her dreams have been shattered. We were all blind-sided by this. He is “sorry”; he “wants her back”; he will “get help.” Sounds like something they all say when they get caught.

How do you pick up the pieces? When does the pain go away? When do the tears run out? I am sick over this. I can only imagine how she feels.

I have lost faith in my ability to “know someone.” I am grieving.  I am disappointed. I just want her pain to go away. Am I angry? DAMN RIGHT I AM! %#$@^

Gentlemen Start Your Engines! March 12, 2008

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Well that is not actually politically correct. With more and more women in race cars these days they have been saying “drivers” instead. In any case, racing season has begun and that means I am on travel mode beginning…NOW!

As many of you already know, my son is a race car driver. A damn good one at that but stuck in the “minor leagues” along with so many other highly skilled and talented drivers. I have come to learn that what you see on television is not always the best of the best but often the best with the most…but don’t get me started on sponsorship, diversity, the almighty dollar, and who you know!

Woody is racing at USA International Speedway in Lakeland FL this weekend in the USAR ProCup series and I fully intend to be there. Well, that and I am his official scorer. (Some fool proof way they keep track of the lap you’re on in case the computerized system fails).

It doesn’t hurt either that the race is in FLORIDA! Yes, I know, you are thinking ‘geez, she JUST got back from the Bahamas.’ It’s simple.  I don’t do winter. Not well anyway.

I did my share of soccer games and basketball games; PTA meetings and swim lessons; school recitals and Chuck-E-Cheese. Now that my children are adults I get to travel to see them race, well my son anyway. It may as well be in Florida:) or at least near a huge mall. Sight seeing is good too.

If it were up to me the race circuit would include places like tropical islands, mountain retreats, Europe, Australia,  just to name a few. Instead we sometimes make the best of places like Newton, Iowa and Mansfield, Ohio. Actually these may be nice places to live but not high on my dream vacation list. Actually Mansfield has the coolest prison located right next to the track where they filmed The Shawshank Redemption.

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More than likely I will fill you in on how he does when I get back. In the meantime, I have three dogs, a security alarm system, and a house sitter so try not to vandalize my house while I am gone.

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If you’d like to know more about my handsome and single race-car driver son, check out his website.

Atlantis March 1, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
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This was one of our best vacations to date. I’d have to rate it up there with Bermuda only there was so much more to do.

In the “tropical” vacation category, we have been to Aruba, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Bahamas, and the Florida Keys (and other beaches in FL. I am not comparing this vacation to anything in Europe. That is in a category all its own:). We had a great time in all of these places but I just wasn’t ready to leave Atlantis (or Europe…we lived in Spain for 3 years).

Aruba was a nice time but it is more of a desert island with man made tropical resort beaches scattered about. The sand was like white powder and the water aqua blue. (No shells for my collection). Unfortunately the winds, while we were there, left you feeling like a breaded veal cutlet when the blowing sand stuck to your sunscreen protected skin. I am glad I got to go but it’s not on my list of places I want to see again. And sadly, I’m not sure I could look out at the beautiful ocean and not think about Natalie Holloway.

Costa Rica was awesome. Howler monkeys and dirt roads. Gorgeous beaches and fabulous shells. Great bang for your buck. I could see myself going there again. I enjoyed the different foods and great scenery. Safety was more of a concern there than some other places but we had no close calls. I wasn’t blogging in my Costa Rica days but that would have been a great entry with awesome photos and memories.

The same could be said for Jamaica. I am glad I went there but probably won’t return. We had a great time but there are too many other places I want to see. We stayed at a Sandals resort there.

We’ll return to Florida because of it’s close proximity and the ease with which we can escape winter but Atlantis was awesome. Was it because I won in the casino; or the temps were in the 80s all week; or the food was fabulous everywhere we ate; or the water was gorgeous; or the snorkeling was great? Was it because I was surrounded by my adult kids and there was something for everyone (toddlers on up)? Was it because everyone was friendly and the rooms were gorgeous? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!

Was it expensive? Yes

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Was it worth it? Yes 

There is too much to tell in one post. I’ll save some travel tips and great things to do for my next entry. Right now I am trying to recover from the depression of leaving and the exhaustion of unpacking.

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If you have any immediate questions about Atlantis email me or leave me a comment. Check back later for more pictures and tales. (Photos courtesy of Jess and Helene as my camera fell in the Lazy River…my old point and shoot camera, whew!)

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My Analog Man February 22, 2008

Posted by Donna in Uncategorized.
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Like anyone else,  I have my good days and my bad days. This story is a snapshot of what goes on in the mind of a hormonally crazed menopausal woman on a bad day.

I was sitting around contemplating life when I started to feel that I needed a new direction. I had attained most of my major goals in life and was wondering what was next. I served my country in the US Navy; completed my college education; married a wonderful man (30 years next month); successfully raised three children, earned my nursing degree, secured a job in the emergency dept., travelled, and so the list goes on.

Suddenly, I am sitting around wondering if I am done. What else was I put here to do? What exactly is my purpose? My children are independent adults; I chose to quit my nursing job; I no longer qualify to serve in the armed forces; my reproductive organs are rendered useless…am I done?

A wave of depression washed over me as I contemplated my lack of usefulness on this planet of ours. Sure I could find lots of things to occupy my time but what exactly am I left here to do? Am I really done with whatever my purpose was here on earth? (Stay with me here…this is the thinking of a woman perspiring in Feb. and having erratic mood swings).

Sure, there are lots of things I can do to fill my time but what was my purpose? Have I completed that? Is this all there is for me?

In the midst of my deep thought and moderate depression I   hear Randy as he continues to swear at his computer. “Damn piece of sh!t….” Apparently he is trying to log onto a website that someone at his workplace directed him to to access information. He copied the web address “exactly” as HE saw it….httpi//etc.  He was now on the phone fussing with someone about how it was the wrong web address and his patience appeared to be wearing thin. I picked up the paper and retyped the address….http://

He insisted that was an “i” not a “: “ He copied it “exactly as it was written.” Whatever! I am in no mood for an argument. Here I am contemplating the meaning of life.  I had no desire to argue the i vs : issue with him. To his surprise, I accessed the site for him. A great burden had been lifted from his shoulders. Now he could move on to the more important tasks at hand.

Well, until he forgot what his login and password were. Apparently he has a different one for EVERY FREAKIN’ ACCOUNT HE USES! He’s never changed a password anyone has issued him. He always creates a new one for each new account he accesses. WHAT?!

Don’t get me wrong. He is a very smart man but he is my “analog man living in a digital world.” (I need to find the song where I first heard those lyrics so I can add it here). He has a list a mile long (in his little black book he still carries around) of logins and passwords with no indication of what belongs to what…they are in his head somewhere. Did I mention he turned 60 this past March? Only now is he beginning to accept the fact that we live in a computerized world.

I explained to him that just as you can rip the mattress tag off of the mattress, so too can you change your password and make them all the same. Even your username can be the same…imagine that! And there is always a “:” after http…at least as far as I know.

Most recently, I helped him update his GPS system online; taught him how to open downloads; and make purchases with PayPal. We are still working on adding attachments. I also had to explain why the email address he was trying to send to was “undeliverable.” This time he wrote it exactly as he heard it over the phone, johnunderscoredoe@x.net    It was then that I realized my purpose! I’m not done…not as long as you put Randy and a computer in the same room:)