Quintessential Me- Wordful Wednesday

I never, ever like photographs of myself.

When I'm taking them myself, I take approximately 7000 and delete all of them except for three.

When others are taking them, I make them delete them if they're hideous. And they're usually hideous. I can always find something to critique about a picture if I'm in it. And candid shots are the worst! I'm usually making a face something like this:

(that's me with my best friend's son, Cody.
He calls me Mom.
I adore him.
So I have no idea why I have a possessed-by-the-devil expression in this picture.)

Anyway. This past week, my niece's friend posted some pictures she had taken a few months ago just before my niece's wedding. We were at the nail salon getting all pretty for the wedding, and she snapped this candid shot of me, laughing at who-knows-what (probably something inappropriate).

And...I...LOVE....it. Because it is just so me. I don't even mind the laugh lines....I laugh a lot. I don't even mind the dark circles under my eyes....I was so busy getting ready for the wedding, I was hardly sleeping. I love the sunglasses on my head, because that's where they always are. I even love the freckles on my shoulders.

I love this picture because I'm laughing, I'm natural, and I'm happy.

It's quintessential Dysfunctional Mom.

Don't forget to visit Seven Clown Circus and Parenting by Dummies for more WordFUL Wednesday posts!


Who are these people and what have they done with my parents?

Let me tell you a little something about my childhood.
My parents were NOT animal people. I have no idea how I became such an animal lover. My parents were the type who had to be begged and pleaded with in order to get a pet, and then it had to live outside. Now, they did take good care of any pets we did have, but they were NOT members of the family. They were animals.

Once they both retired, I tried to talk them into getting a small dog to keep them company, but they had absolutely no interest in that.

Now. When we moved into our current home, we were not able to bring all of our dogs with us, so Shelbie's chihuahua, Ace, went to live with my parents. I knew they would take good care of him, but I worried that he would not be loved the way Shelbie loved him.

Ha.ha.ha.ha. Oh, the irony.

My parents have fallen in love. Both of them. Ace runs their house. He is the center of their attention. Their entire world revolves around Ace.

My mom has bought Ace clothes, jackets, and most recently, a Snuggie. She enjoys texting me pictures of Ace in his fancy outfits.

Over Thanksgiving, I dog-sat Ace. My mother brought over a reusable shopping bag full of Ace's toys, treats, and food. She brought his bed and his blanket, as well as his food dishes, because apparently he can't go even a few days using regular bowls. Heaven Forbid!

My mom lectured me at length about how to properly care for him, and my dad informed of the times of day that Ace poops. I was told when to give him treats and when to put him to bed.
I am not freaking kidding.

But I think the best thing of all happened today. I received the following text from my mother:

REMINDER: Ace's Birthday is on Sunday!!

They are 100% wrapped around Ace's little paw.


When I Wasn't Here....

*Tap, tap* Is this thing on?

It's been kind of quiet on the Blog of Dysfunction, but not at the Casa de Dysfunction.

I'll give you a brief rundown on what's been going on around here. Sort of like Shit I Did When I Wasn't Here, but nowhere near as cool. Because, hello? She's, ya know, The Bloggess. And I'm, ya know, not.

There have been Karaoke Nights, Double Baby Showers, Sixteenth Birthday Parties, Drag Shows, Epic Meltdowns, Bonfires, Concerts.
This is all in the past week.

Back in the woods where we live, there's a saying: It's not a party till the cops show up.
Last week we had a party.

There has been fighting and making up and breaking up. Strengthening relationships. Cutting ties.

My son Tim and I spent Thanksgiving at home, just the two of us. It was awesome. I cooked way too much food, and we enjoyed each others' company. It was a unique experience that will probably never happen again, and I enjoyed it.

And I am totally exhausted! I am on day 3 of 4 days off work, after working 9 days in a row. Getting a paycheck for a job that I LOVE is one of the best feelings EVER.

And I'm off to try to catch up with you.....and then I think it's time for a NAP!!

*Me & My BFF*


The Wisdom of a Child

I pull up in the driveway, and she comes running out. "CYNNNY!"

She is a short, miniature version of my oldest daughter, Shelbie.
"What you doing, Cynny? You picking up Shelbie and Layna?"

"Cynny, you stay here with us?"
"No, baby, that would be awkward."
She reaches her arms up to give me a hug & kisses my cheek.

She is my children's half-sister, their father's youngest child. She looks so much like my daughter Shelbie at that age, sometimes it's scary.

The ex-spouse/half-sibling/step-sibling relationships are confusing to anyone, but a three year old has no understanding of it all. She just knows that I'm Timmy and Shelbie and Layna's mommy. She has no reason not to like me, so she likes me. Simple as that. And to her parents' credit, they haven't done anything to discourage that.

My children's father, his wife, and I can not get along. The reasons for that are many and complicated and not the point of this post.

But the innocence of a child sees none of that. It's so simple and refreshing, and you can't help but wonder...who is the wisest one of us all?

{all photos are of Shelbie at about 3 years old.}

Pouring My Heart Out with Shell


Aging Pisses Me Off.

I work with the elderly. And the more I see, the more aging pisses me off.

It's understandable for our bodies to start to wear out over time.
Our joints stop working properly. Our skin begins to wrinkle. Our hair begins to gray.

I understand that our organs gradually cease to function properly. It's a natural part of the process of life. It has a beginning, and an end.
And intellectually, I understand that the brain is just another body part. And in time, it will fail too.

But it just seems so cruel, the way it sometimes happens.

Because it robs us. Aging robs us of our independence. It robs us of our privacy. It robs us of our pride, and sometimes our dignity. It makes us unable to think clearly, and perform the most simple tasks without assistance.

But worst of all, it robs us of what may be the most precious human possession: our memories.
In some cases, it completely steals all of our memories. It wipes the slate clean. We are left not knowing who we are many days, and wondering who these lovely people are who come to visit.

It seems incomprehensibly cruel that, after living a long and productive life, we are reduced to just a shadow of the person we used to be. With no memory of what made our life so beautiful.



I'm Alright

In case you missed it, I posted this weekend that my husband and I are separating.

What I didn't really explain is that I am alright.
I have been anxious, depressed, frustrated, and hurting for a while now.
But since I made this decision, I feel like a burden has been lifted off of me. I literally feel lighter. I am happier, and my children are happier. My husband is not, and I do feel sad about that. I also feel sad for what Andrew will lose.

Other than that...I'm good. I feel confident and strong. And that makes me certain that I'm making the right decision.

Of course, there is much more to this situation than I've posted here. Some of it I may post eventually, some I probably won't. My blog isn't the place to perform a post-mortem on my marriage. And really....there's just no point.

It's time to move forward and get on with my life. There are good things coming our way....of that I am sure!

And I greatly appreciate the support of my blog friends. You all are wonderful!

Visit Shell at Things I Can't Say for more PYHO posts!


Moving On.

So, yeah. Remember this post , from back in July?

Taken in 2005.
John is on the left, I'm on the right.
My mother-in-law is in the middle.

Also, are you familiar with the literary term "foreshadowing"?


[fawr-shad-oh, fohr-]
verb (used with object)
to show or indicate beforehand; prefigure.

Maybe I should have bolted way back then, in 2005, when my mother-in-law first plopped her bony ass between us.
I had no idea that it would stay there for next six years.

She has been the source of a great deal of stress and disagreements in our marriage. It got much worse after she and her ex-husband divorced; she has no social life now and decided to make our business, her business.
I don't fault her completely; her son should have put a stop to it long ago. But he didn't, and the stress built up. It ate away at our happiness. It ate away at our marriage. The stress John was under, trying to run interference between his mother and his wife....it changed him. He is no longer the funny, carefree, happy guy I married. It affected his relationship with me, and with my children.

Between that and the way both he and his mother are choosing to raise Andrew, and the way they are handling the court situation with Andrew's biological mother....I've had as much as I can take.

I'm not saying everything is all her fault. There are other problems as well. I believe that people come into our lives for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. I believe this particular season of my life is drawing to a close.

I'm not happy, and more importantly, my children are not happy.

And now, Mother In Law Dearest has won. Because I'm done. She can have all the control she wants. And everything else that comes with it.

We are not promised tomorrow. Life is too short to live this way.

I'm moving on.



Mommy's Idea

My day started off with a phone call at 7:11 a.m. I was sleeping soundly. I should have been at work at 7:00 a.m.
Ooops. I made it to work at 7:40 a.m., which practically defies the laws of physics. I have no idea how I pulled that off. But I'm glad I did! I figure a day that starts out like this is bound to be interesting....

So many of you commented on my mention of Sonic in my Halloweekend post. I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one addicted to that place. I'm pretty sure they put crack in the drinks. And I'm totally okay with that. I love to get a Diet Coke with cherry syrup AND real cherries - lots of them. Nom! My kids are just as addicted as I am; they beg to go to Sonic. I could never work there though. I can just see myself trying to roller-skate around AND carry food. I am a disaster just attempting to walk on a level surface. The thought of me roller skating with a tray full of food is hilarious!

I am currently making a lunch date for next week with two of my old friends from high school. Not the ones I hang out with all the time, different ones. This lunch date is made possible by Facebook. Have I told you lately that I love Facebook? When I stop and think of things that have happened in my life that would never have happened without Facebook, it blows my mind.

On a related note.....I have a friend who is my age, 38. She has an 18 year old son, a 3 year old son....and just found out she is pregnant again. Just thinking about that makes me exhausted!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song, and these amazing women. Enjoy!

Hope you all have a good weekend!
Don't forget to visit Mrs 4444 for more Friday Fragments.


Somebody call 911!

This week, Mama Kat asked this question:

1.) Did you create a list of 22 things you’ve done in your life last week? This week, choose one item from your list and elaborate! We want the story.

Most of the things on my list, I've already blogged about, because I'm a bit of a blabbermouth I guess. But I don't think I've told this story:

17. I have traveled to the hospital via ambulance after a serious injury.

(I just love that graphic.)

Anyway. Picture it: Florida, 1980-something. Actually I guess it was 1984, because I was 11. No, don't do the math.

An older couple lived next door to my family, and they had a granddaughter who was about my age. She visited often and we were very good friends. Any time Michelle was visiting, we were together.

So on this hot summer day, we'd been together all day long, running back and forth between the houses. Michelle's grandparents had left their glass slider door open all day to let the breeze in, and we'd ran in and out of it dozens of times. That afternoon, we decided we wanted to spend the night together, and we had to ask my parents if it was okay. We got up and ran out the back slider door. Only this time, it was closed. And I smashed right into it. Through it may be a better term, actually. I smashed it open with my right leg. I didn't feel any pain (we later learned that was because I sliced a nerve). I remember first lifting up both of my arms and seeing nothing, not even a scratch. Then I lifted my right leg and saw a huge open gash. And I screamed. One of those horrific, blood-curdling screams.

My parents heard me, and came running over. Michelle was helping me to the couch in her grandparents' living room, and her Grandma was running to get towels. There was blood everywhere. It was like CSI Gainesville, Florida.
My dad grabbed the phone to call 911, but first he dialed 411. I calmly corrected him.
Then he gave them the wrong address. I calmly corrected him.

I didn't technically go into shock, but I was bizarrely calm. They wrapped my legs in the towels and I told my parents that I was sorry, since they had told me a million times not to run in the house. I also apologized to the neighbors for getting blood all over their couch and carpet. Hey, I'm a Southern Lady; I am polite in all circumstances. (bahaha, I couldn't even type that with a straight face!)

So, the ambulance came and whisked me to the hospital. I only vaguely remember the actual ride; there's not much to see when you're strapped to a stretcher. The lacerations (there were several more than the one I initially saw) were so serious that I needed surgery. They said I was very lucky, the cuts were extremely close to major arteries. The damage could have been much worse, and I could have bled to death. (I'd be happy to go into more detail here, but I'm sure some of you aren't interested in exactly what I saw when I first lifted my leg....heh heh.)

I was in the hospital for about a week. I had to do Physical Therapy and the whole 9 yards. I was on crutches for weeks. It happened during the summer, so I didn't get out of school, or PE, or anything. What a rip-off!

When I got home, Michelle was glued to my side at all times. I think she almost felt guilty that it happened, that she didn't protect me or something. I think she was pretty traumatized. Besides my Mom, she was my primary caretaker. She got me anything I needed, helped me to the bathroom, and made sure I did my exercises. She was only about 10 years old!

And I healed, and life went on. When I first went back to school, I was very self-conscious of the scars, and wouldn't wear shorts for a long time. But I got tired of being hot, it is Florida after all, and I got over my insecurity. I figured if they didn't like it, they didn't have to look at it.

The scars have faded but are still very visible, and I rarely think about them. But I DO yell at my kids when they run in the house, and then force them to sit and listen as I retell this story.


WWTK - Trick or Treat Edition!


It's time for WWTK, hosted by Mamarazzi, Queso, and Crazymama!

{1} How did you celebrate Halloween? Trick or treating? Adult party? Trunk or treat?

On Saturday night, we went to a party at my BFF's parent's house.

We trick or treated on Monday with my BFF & her family. (That is, the girls and I did. Tim had to work, and Andrew was with his Nana.)

BFF's nephew, Kayden. I love him like a fat kid loves Halloween candy!

{2} What candy is your favorite/the first thing you steal from the kids?

The rule is, all chocolate goes to mom. I have to check it out thoroughly to make sure it's safe. Then, I have to eat it.

My kids do not follow this rule. Rebels!! However, this year I trick-or-treated myself and got my own candy! Ha.

Trick or Treat, bitches!!

{3} What kind of candy do you give out, is it your favorite? or something you know you won't be tempted to eat?

I live out in the woods, literally. We don't get trick or treaters. But when I did give out candy it was usually my favorite.

How cute is Bentley a.k.a. Mickey Mouse??

{4} How soon after Halloween do you take down decorations and put away costumes?

Halloween is my favorite holiday & I love the decorations, so I'm usually reluctant to put them away. I'll probably do it this weekend.

Biker Chick & Doctor
(taken at Sonic, practically our second home)

{5} When do you decorate for the next holiday?

I keep up the Fall stuff that I brought out for Halloween, and when I take down the Halloween stuff I put up my Thanksgiving deco.

Kayden LOVES Elayna. He hates me. But I still love him!

I hope you enjoyed your Halloween,
and don't forget to check out all of the other WWTK posts!