It's the End of The World As We Know It

And I feel fine....

dear lord-is that the official video for this song??? That house is DISGUSTING. At some point, I was screaming at my monitor for the boy to STOP TOUCHING stuff on the floor, cause I'm pretty sure the world in that video ended because of some nasty disease that is most likely all over that floor, and he and his little doggy are the next victims.

Remember back in the day when there was this channel on television called Mtv-where the M stands for Music-and you could turn it to that channel at ANY time of the day and actually watch music videos that were tastefully made by the artist just for your enjoyment?

And then suddenly there was a random game show. Or a reality show that had NOTHING to do with music. NOTHING. (although on The Real World, they usually try to throw in a character who sings/raps/dances)

And then even more suddenly, there was only music videos on for half a day. And then pretty soon...only in the wee hours-like 4am-6am. And now I'm not sure they play music videos at all. I don't pay for cable, cause I'm busy sticking it to the man, but last time I visited somewhere with Mtv, I was never able to happen upon any music from the MUSIC television channel.

Where is the MUSIC, Mtv???? WHERE IS THE MUSIC???

Happy Holidays!

Another holiday, come and gone. Time really does speed up the older you get.
Here are the holiday pics (which I recognize that only my family cares about).

USC Pride

The "kids"

These are two of my favorite humans.

awwww, so cute, my parents are.
This is Bananagrams - one of the most fun games we just discovered (and enjoyed for at least six hours over a 2-day period)!

The Pea Coat boys - we bought this adorable 3 yr old a pea coat to match his dad and Andrew. SO cute!

USC bound in just a week....yikes!!!
Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Adventures in Volunteering - The Holiday Store Project

It's the holidays - and you know what that means?? Presents Day Really meaningful volunteer projects!!!
I actually haven't been volunteering much lately, just a few times since the big Heart Incident of 2011. I had done my Love Letters project (making cards for terminally ill kids) every month for 5 years..and then I just stopped. The ABC Project (making ABC posters for schools in Africa) - every month for (maybe) 3 years...just stopped. For the last three years, I've organized/coordinated 4 different holiday projects in December. This year - just one.
I'm hoping to make up for the last six months of non-volunteering in 2012, after Andrew leaves me forever and I have nothing at all to do.

However, I did manage to coordinate the Holiday Store event this last weekend. With the help of eight wonderful volunteers, we created a little "store" at a local low-income apartment complex where parents could come in and pick out one free toy per child. We even offered to gift wrap it for them and deliver it to their apartment when ready. It's a really fun project, as most of the families are VERY appreciative and show it. I think people have a hard time understanding that it's hard for poor people to ask for help. It's humbling and sad and really hard. Sometimes when you have to ask for help, you come across as unappreciative, rude even. I am glad that most of the parents I personally talked to on Sunday were visibly appreciative.

Over 100 parents came into our makeshift "store" and received a free gift - and we had the extra toys packed and were on our way home within two hours from start to finish! That's some amazing work. My volunteers were awesome.

The two girls in the middle have volunteered at two of my projects in the past - they volunteer together throughout the year, taking pics of themselves volunteering at each event and then make a Goodness Calendar at the end of the year for their mom. Sweetest thing ever, right??

Happy monkeys!!

Happy wrappers!

I love this event! I wish it was every month - handing out toys would be my ideal full-time job I think.

Weekend Wrap-Up: Doctors and Darlings and Doing Good, oh my

Time is ticking...Andrew is leaving me soon. But we shall not discuss that.

I had a fairly nice weekend.

Friday I went to the local urgent care and had some feelings validated by a friendly doctor that my cardiologist is, indeed, not doing all he should be doing. Unless he's just not telling me-in which case, he's not doing his job as a medical professional. I see a new cardiologist in another week or so and I think I will be much happier. I hear she's not an asshole, so that should be a nice change. And in the meantime, the urgent care doctor tested my liver and kidneys and they are healthy and happy (which is nice considering how I take a handful of drugs each day that could potentially ruin them and my cardiologist has never tested them). My visit was because I have this recurring muscle pain in my upper left body, above my chest area-most definitely not a heart issue, and I'm so totally over it. He thinks it could be due to that above-mentioned daily dose of drugs, but it's hard to say. Either way, it was nice to have a second opinion on it (I saw someone a couple weeks ago and her treatment didn't seem to fix it).

Saturday I had a visitor!! This lovely little blondie came over to spend five and a half hours entertaining me. I ADORE this little girl!!!

I haven't gotten to hang out with a little girl for ages, just one-on-one, for any length of time. I think if all little ones were as awesome as she is, I could open a daycare. But I know she is an anomaly and that most kids aren't as perfect as she is, so alas, I'll keep my day job. We played with action figures that have been neglected for about 10 years, we had some lunch, we colored giant coloring pages (which are way more fun than normal size) while we watched a movie, we played Dance Party for Kids on Kinect, and life was PERFECT. And then her mean mom came and made her rush off and she cried mondo sized tear drops (and we may have laughed at her because it was so ridiculous sounding), which means she very clearly loves me more than anyone in the world.
**note: her name starts with an A - and she's a perfect child. My son's name starts with an A - also perfect. I think I need to keep this in mind when I get a foster child. Children whose names start with A are most compatible with me.

Saturday night was bingo with my bingo gang. I don't know how I could possibly have a better time anywhere else with these people. My workmate and her son and then another workmate, and we have the BEST laughs ever at bingo. We go about once a week most months, and I'm not exaggerating (like I sometimes am apt to do) when I say that we have more fun together than anyone else in the entire bingo hall -there is sometimes a couple hundred (bored and boring) people there! I suspect every person there finds us horribly obnoxious, but the four of us don't care! Well, one of us cares...but she's a good sport about it, and she's usually laughing so hard it doesn't matter. I can't imagine what other people do for entertainment anymore. This is all I know these days....

Today was a volunteer project-I'll cover that tomorrow. It's one of my favorites and I was happy to have three good friends and two repeat volunteers with me. If you don't volunteer throughout the year, there are usually some of the best random volunteer projects planned during this time. However, if you want to volunteer just once a year, feel free to consider March. Or June-July. We see a TON of people who get in the holiday spirit and want to help out in December, which is fabulous and all - but then we still have projects all year which need help, ya know? Christmas in July? Definitely - make it about giving back. There's always someone in need.

Alrighty then - another week begins. And it's just one more week closer to the time when my son leaves me forever. But we're not going to discuss that, right?

Hope you all had a marvelous weekend!

Choice. It's a Powerful Thing!

This is directly from Married with Luggage, a wonderful blog about a couple who sold everything and took off to travel the world together. Talk about seize the day!!! They seize every single one of each of their days. EVERY single one! I'm insanely jealous of their world-trekking life and I highly recommend their blog. They make me want to do more with my life...

And this was a post of theirs recently - these are not my words, I wish they were, but I'm glad to share them just the same:
You can do it,

and by “it” I mean any of the options you have before you. Picking one over the others is not a permanent choice, and you can change your mind and go in a different direction if it doesn’t work out. You always have options, even when you feel as if you don’t. Especially when you feel as if you don’t.

Changing course completely, adjusting your sails, riding out a storm, anchoring in still waters: it is all up to you.

You are not defined by any single decision in this life.

Your life is a creation of the hundreds of decisions you make every single day, and the definition of you changes slightly with every single choice you make. You are a work in progress, and you won’t be finished until you draw your last breath.

You will mess up,

and when you do it will be a great learning experience for you. You’ll be much better prepared the next time, when that life-changing opportunity comes around. You’ll thank yourself for making a go of it and failing because it will give you the skill to succeed the second or third or 27th time, when it really counts.

Your heart will be full and your heart will break,

and you’ll look back at both instances with a tear in your eye, thankful for the experience. Neither one is too much for your heart, and you are stronger for knowing this.
People will come into your life and change it

in small and profound ways, and you will do the same for them. People will leave your life slowly or suddenly, and you will learn to let go and be thankful for the time you had together. When you leave the lives of other people, you will learn to do it gracefully.

Money will flow all around you or go straight down the drain.

You will find that you can be happy or sad in both scenarios, and this knowledge will give you the power to always be able to take care of your basic needs.
You will get through this,

whatever “this” is, and you will again see the beauty, the wonder, and the cosmic luck you have to be living right now, in this place, with these choices in front of you.


It’s all gonna be okay.

So brilliant. So true.

A Visit to USC - And So It Begins....

I think most of you heard that my beloved one and only child is leaving me soon to go to this outstanding college, University of Southern California. We just returned from a visit for the spring admit orientation session, which was pretty amazing, if not a bit overwhelming. It was two days jam-packed of information on everything you ever needed to know to send your money child to college there. And I am even more proud/excited that he is going to USC and that we are both part of this "Trojan Family", as it truly is amazing.

My college is nice and all....but the alumni association is NOTHING like what I just saw. And the campus was cool at WSU when I went...but it doesn't even compare to USC.

A couple of interesting stories from our weekend away:

Day one: We are wandering through the bookstore, collecting some gear and some random kid walks up to Andrew and says - hey, I know you! It turns out that they are currently in the same anthropology class at our local community college. They haven't really talked in the class, and neither knew that the other was going to USC in January. There are a TON of classes they could have taken at the community college to transfer over in the Spring-but they both happened to be in the same one, both happened to go to the orientation (only about 65% of the kids do) AND both happened to be on the same floor in the bookstore (there are 4 floors) at the exact same time the day before orientation began. Weird....

Day one (part two): We went to Medieval Times for dinner and a show (we've been there before and enjoyed it) - this group of young girls sits down in our row and the one sitting next to me says: Could we take a picture with your son? We're visiting LA and we aren't seeing any celebrities so we are taking pictures of celebrity look-a-likes." And then they turn to Andrew and say, "do you know who you look like??" Andrew has heard this one plenty of times....yes, some people think he looks like some young star from some random vampire flick, Taylor Something. Maybe he does...regardless, he posed for a photo with the girls. And I commenced to calling him Taylor the rest of the night.

 I guess I can kind of see it...

No first-time visit to USC would be complete without a picture of Tommy Trojan.
Unfortunately, my darling son could not comprehend the need for his mom-who is going to be leaving her one and only offspring FOREVER -to have a picture to capture this moment in time, and he refused to be in the photo. Whatever.
The Infamous Tommy Trojan
It was a BEAUTIFUL two days in Los Angeles. Some people felt it was cold, but I don't know that it ever got below 55degrees. When we came home to Oregon, the temp was 33.
See Tommy Trojan in the background? With other future students getting their pic taken there? I'm only a little bitter.

Day Two: During one of the parents sessions, where the parents are invited to share and cry with each other (not kidding-they passed around tissue boxes), the first woman to stand up starts talking about how her daughter is independent and is not being mindful of how SHE (the mom) might also have some feelings during this time and maybe isn't letting her mom take part in the excitement of it all (I refrained from standing and yelling ME TOO!!!), and that was nice-to hear from another mom right off the bat who has a child just like mine. She probably didn't get a Tommy Trojan photo either.
BUT then....she says this: Last year I had a heart incident where they unexpectedly found a 90% blockage in one of my arteries and they had to put a stent in during an emergency procedure and I really could have died, and I have spent the last year worrying about dying and thinking about all that I still had to teach my daughter....
and then she faded out because she was sobbing, as was everyone in the room, and I seriously came VERY close to standing up and yelling ME TOO!!! at that point.

What are the odds that I would find another parent with an independent child, feeling excluded but who also had the same heart issue that I did, in that room of 175 parents? VERY strange, right? I loved her. We are soul sisters, though I actually never got a chance to talk to her after this seminar, but I'm sure she felt my love.

Anyway, I met some great parents - one of whom even offered her name, address, email, home phone for Andrew and I both to have in case he needs something that she can help with, since she lives within 20 minutes of the college. Andrew met a lot of the kids he will be going to school with in just about 30 days (yikes!).
And we both are very excited for his experience at this amazing college, although one of us has a level of excitement that might be coated with tears of sadness.


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