Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | May 12, 2009

The Wish List

It’s one in the morning and I can’t sleep, so here I sit watching Catch and Release to make the time pass. I worry too much and I know it. Except for lately, I’m not always sure what exactly I’m worried about and sleep is often elusive.

While watching the movie, the protagonist, what’s her name Garner character, makes sseveral catherdic confessions about what her dead finace didn’t know about her, some of the little things that make up who she really is.

i started to think about doing that myself. Thigns that I hide about myself, things that might make me feel better if I get them out into the open air.

But then I got a better idea. I need to revisit the things I want to do or see. I need to return to my wish list, something positive with things to look forward to rather than things I keep hidden. Maybe those can come later. For now, I need to look forward rather than inward. Just don’t give me a hard time for spelling and punctuation. My eyes aren’t focusing.

The (Current) Wish List (in no particular order)

1. Sky dive

2. Learn fly fishing – and then learn what to do with the fish once I’ve caught them

3. Go river rafting in the Grand Canyon (really I could be anywhere beautiful)

4. Meet and marry the true love of my life

5. Adopt one or two older kids who need a family

6. Have a decent garden

7. Get a hammock so I can read and take naps in my backyard under the tree

8. Camp in Yosemite

9. Travel to Ireland and meet Bono and Larry (yes, I dream big)

10. Write a book

11. Get enough raspberries off my bushes to make a pie – and while I’m at it, learn to make a decent pie crust

12. Read every book in my house

13. Send Jake to college

14. Learn how to ride a motorcycle

15. Speak Spanish better

16. Build a deck in my backyard and install a sliding glass door to get to it, put an egress window in the basement, and add on a master bath – all myself. OK, I might let the hunky guys on HGTV help me, but I’ll do a lot of the work.

17. See NYC in the winter, eat fresh lobster in New England in the fall, see the Red Sox play at Fenway, and see the sights in Washington DC (I especially want to stand where MLK made his speech)

18. Do some long distance cycling

19. Visit Austrailia, South Africa, Peru, and…

20. Become a better photographer

That’s good for now. I think I’ll go to bed.

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | April 22, 2009

Remember when…

Just about every single day my son asks if there are any errands he can run. He wants to get out and drive. I don’t blame him. Homework doesn’t sound fun. Hanging around with me probably isn’t much fun either. So, I get it.

I did the same thing as a teen. I just wanted to get out of the house – away from parents and my brother. Out with my friends.

I remember when my best friend and I ditched school one day to go driving around in LA. (Actually we left early without passes and didn’t stop when the school’s parking lot monitor signaled us to stop. Needless to say she wrote down my friend’s license plate and we got in a lot of trouble.)

Salt N Pepa, Tone Loc, and INXS blasting on the tape deck. And yes, many cigarettes were consumed. Sunroof and windows open in her little two-door Honda.

Best friends spending time talking about boys. Not a care in the world – even when we got lost for a bit on the outskirts of Watts. Luckily we found our way.

We had a blast. It was pure freedom.

Worth every moment in Saturday School.

Maybe I’ll let him take the car. But then again, I’ll have to think about it.

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | April 19, 2009

Reality Poetry

There’s a Bubble in My Nose

Stuffy nose, red and sore,

Up all night,

Piles of tissue in the trash,

My face hurts,

And I can’t breathe.

Pure misery.

Allergies suck.

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | April 12, 2009

So, I want to be a bounty hunter…

Lately I have been obsessed with Janet Evanovich’s series about bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. I can’t put them down. In fact, I read three or four this week and I just got the next three from the library today. I’d like to say I don’t know what it is about these books, but I know exactly what it is. Now, as you read this blog, keep in mind I do recognize the fact that these are fictional stories. Stephanie Plum is a character in a book, and is not, in fact, a real person. But she should be.

Why I wish I were Stephanie Plum

1. She sometimes carries a gun. Now, I’m not a gun person, but it is soooo tough even with the fact that she often forgets her gun (she keeps it in a cookie jar). When she remembers it, it typically only has a couple of bullets in it. In fact, everyone carries in this book – even grandma (see #5).

2. She’s not very good at being a bounty hunter, but she keeps doing it anyway. She is ridiculed by the various members of the Jersey police department when they have to save her or see her covered in food products after capturing an FTA (yes I’m even picking up on the lingo – just in case I need it). None of this stops her.

3. She is devoted to her hamster, Rex.

4. She loves junk food and regularly eats doughnuts for breakfast and candy bars late at night. I would love to do that.

5. Her grandma is a pip! Going to funeral homes for viewings on a regular basis, often prying open closed caskets. What’s more fun than that? Grandma also keeps booze in her closet, wants desperately to get her driver’s license, loves to go out on dates, and frequently goes with Stephanie to help her with her cases.

6. She has two love interests, neither of which I would kick out of my bed. One’s a cop and the other is another bounty hunter. Both hot and hunky. (And yes I know they are fictional characters too.) They also will come to her rescue at the drop of a hat when she’s in over her head. Sometimes, even a strong woman needs (and, dare I say, wants) to be rescued. And, they both love her.

Why I’m glad I’m NOT Stephanie Plum

1. She regularly has unsavory criminals and otherwise crazy people breaking into her apartment. That would not be cool.

2. Things get dropped off at her apartment – snakes, dead people, body parts, fire bombs, bunny suits, large spiders (oops that was in her car). (Wow, after eight books, one would think I could come up with more than that.) People also like to break in and sit waiting for her to return from her daily escapades. However, Ranger (the hunky bounty hunter) often breaks in and they make out. So that’s not so bad.

3. In one book, she gets handcuffed naked to her shower rod (although hunky bounty hunter has to come save her which might be a reason to be more like her).

4. She has blown up more cars than I have ever driven.

5. She keeps losing handcuffs in the latest book. Maybe she’ll get better in the next one. Again, she’s not the best bounty hunter.

6. She lives in a tough neighborhood in New Jersey. I don’t think I would be able to survive there. I’m just not tough enough.

Even with the negtives, I think she’s a pretty cool character. We should all have such lofty goals, don’t you think?

I wonder if there’s a class I could take?

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | March 9, 2009

Things I Did Over Spring Break Instead of Grading Papers

1. Filled my birdfeeder myself rather than making my son do it.

2. Watched plenty of TV. (I had ot keep up on my favorite shows.)

3. Took my son for his driver’s license. He passed so you all had better watch out!

4. Spent time in my insurance agent’s office to find out how much I’ll go into debt with a male teen driver in the family.

5. Started training for a half marathon. Now that was fun until I had to go up and down stairs afterwards. Boy was I sore!

6. Took the car for repairs – twice!

7. Listened to the new U2 CD I got for my Birthday and recorded EVERY performance on Letterman and then on GMA. I just LOVE Bono!

8. Organized my bills and figured out how to keep mail from piling up on my kitchen table.

9. Went to the dentist.

10. I finally blogged!

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | February 27, 2009


Today is my son’s sixteenth birthday.

I don’t feel old or sad. He is a great kid and I’ve been enjoying seeing him grow. However, I did see something today that took me back.

As I entered the office to gather my things after class, I saw one of my colleagues rocking her young son in her arms, speaking softly in his ear having a private moment oblivious to the happenings around them. I found I couldn’t look away and I was completely jealous.

Not that I want my kid to sit on my lap now. (He would crush even me. He is a weight-training  football player.) What I miss is that cuddle time where secrets are shared between a mother and her young child. Wonders are revealed (I played with clay today.) and questions about life are asked (Mommy, why can’t I put worms in my pocket? It’s good for holding my cars so why not worms too?).

From this position a mother and look in her child’s eyes, hear his breathing, and hold his tiny hand. I miss that. The little hand with the dimples on the knuckles.

No, my joys are still there, they’re just different and I’m thankful.

Now, I get to hear about the kids in English class that won’t shut up (along with the fact that he hates that rather than choosing to join in). I’ve been teaching him how to drive even though he doesn’t always see the need to do EXACTLY WHAT I SAY WHEN I SAY IT. And I think he’s going to have my lead foot as soon as I’m not in the car with him.

Instead of reading Go dog, Go! I do things like quizzing him before tests and watching TV shows with mild T&A in them. Anything to spend some time.

We do talk and he gives me details – sometimes. I let him know I’m here for him and we can talk about anything. (We’ve already had some doosies between the questions he asks/comments he makes  and my insistence on talking about IMPORTANT teen issues like the ever so popular “What would you do if…” and “If you’re old enough to have sex you’re old enough to buy condoms.” He just LOVES that conversation by the way.)

I’m a good mom and he’s a blessing of a son. With my job, I see a lot of kids who aren’t getting the kind of parenting I’m giving him – and it is a gift. Just as his smile is a gift to me with or without the scruffy face. Just as his one-word replies to my barrage of questions about his day. I live for his periodic “Love you too, Mom” and the kiss on my cheek.

My baby is growing up.

But tonight he sat next to me on the couch, under my blanket, and opened his presents.

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | February 15, 2009

Another V-Day

Here it is, another Valentine’s Day and I’m still single. It’s everywhere too. Hearts and all things romantic all over the stores and television programs aimed at the lovers not doing anything else on this fine day. I did get something for my Valentine, my son, but he’s older now and doesn’t really require anything. Candy and gum made him very happy. I didn’t expect anything from him and he didn’t disappoint. That’s ok. I would worry if he did do something.

I won’t go into how long it has been since I’ve been in a relationship. When Jake was younger I didn’t go out much because he needed me at home and I was also in school. I was a busy mom/student and had no time for relationships. Now that he’s older, I’ve been going out much more. But my question is (and not surprisingly one that has been asked time and again), how does one meet men after a certain age? (That seems to remind me of a line in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, but then I think that the fact I had that thought may be the crux of my problem!) Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good bar but that is not where I will meet the man of my dreams.

Now that I have a house I can legitimately hang out in Home Depot and stand looking at the hammers and other construction paraphenalia in hopes that he’ll pass by and ask me if I need help. Maybe he’ll offer to come and fix the drain my bathroom sink. (If I look pathetic enough do you think he might do my basement egress window? Hmmm.)

I hear another good place to meet men is anywhere where sports are played and/or enjoyed. I guess it’s a good thing we’ve got tickets to the Timberwolves soon, although Jake will be with me so I don’t know how that would work. I do like to spend time in REI and camping season is coming around again at some point too.  Trying my hand at fishing and various other outdoor sports is supposed to be a good way to meet men – and they’d be men I like too. Outdoorsy. Manly. I’ve been wanting a kayak. Maybe now is the time for that.

The bottom line is that I am getting myself out there and I’m doing things that make me happy. I’m trying new things and it’s ok that I’ve only met Mr Right Now here and there and, at some point, Mr Right will hopefully come along. Contrary to some, I don’t need a man to make me whole. I like to think I am already a whole person.

What I guess it all boils down to is that I’m ok with the fact that I spent the day doing laundry, reading, watching a movie, and grocery shopping, so I don’t want anyone worrying about me. However, I can’t deny that I would be nice to do all that with someone next Valentine’s Day.

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | February 14, 2009

Walk Down Memory Lane

Here are some original poems by Michelle Stemen first published in the anthology titled “The Book is Wayout of Wack: Room 15’s Poetry” edited by my 5th grade teacher, Leslie Vick in 1981 (I think). “Millie McDill” is my favorite.

I was pretty talented, huh? Just you wait…

Millie McDill

Millie McDill is not my best friend.

She eats in her house from end to end.

She works with one tool,

In school she’s a fool.

She makes up tales,

In baseball she fails.

She does the jig every

morning at nine

Our teacher thinks she writes so fine.

When she sits she’s so very still,

Oh I’ll never like Millie McDill.

When Winter is Here

Winter is here. I’m all alone on

this deserted island.

Looking for a summer home.

I wish smiles would come

I wish they’d come in hand,

Winter is here.

I’ve heard the song “Till It


And I wish it would

My life will never come

alive again,

Winter is here.

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | February 13, 2009

It’s a Girl!

Finally, I’m getting a sister! My brother, at age 37, has finally asked his girlfriend to marry him, and of course, she said yes! I’m incredibly happy for both of them and I can’t wait to hear how it came about. You see, Robert popped the question right before a business trip to South Africa where he’ll sightsee and ride mountain bikes (he makes/sells them for GT so his hobby and career are rolled into one neat package). Some people have it all. Congratulations you two!

Posted by: ramblingsofacagirl | February 12, 2009

Serious Subject for a Blog

Ok. I started my blog (and with a list which seems a bit like cheating), and then I didn’t actually write another blog for a very long time.  I know, I know. I’m a bit of a slacker. Hopefully I’ve made up for that in this somewhat long, but serious post.

Over the last few days, I thought a lot about what to write. What with our new president, I could comment on the state of politics. Way to go Obama. We need you. I’m not sure what else I can say on the topic at the moment that hasn’t already been said.

How about the economy? Bailouts? I could share my reaction to the Wells Fargo ad that ran recently blaming the media for their reluctant decision to cancel their employee celebration/recognition “outing” in the wake of much criticism. I guess the bailout money isn’t enough for them. No, those feisty Wells Fargo employees insist on keeping their jobs and partying. Well, what the hell! I’ll party too if I get to keep my job.

I could talk about the selfish CA woman having babies and taking handouts, but she’s pretty depressing and I didn’t watch the interview because I hate Ann Curry.

After all of that, I decided I need something more for my first real blog or my first blog back from hiatus. So are you ready for sheer genius? Are you ready for discussion on a topic that is on par with latest headlines?

I started wondering what TV show my life would be if I could pick it. After several minutes pondering, I decided on my closet favorite, Gilmore Girls. Yes, I know a good portion of it is really stupid and, being that I have a son, we’d have to find a different name. How about Canto… nope – drawing a blank on the name. Since I can’t think of anything creative, I’ll need help on that front.

But, how about the show? The protagonist is a strong single woman who has made her way after having her daughter by herself. While I’ve had help from my family, I’ve worked hard as a single parent too, so I’m already like her in that respect. My name isn’t as cool as Loreli, but I would consider changing it.

One of my favorite things about her is that she has an iron stomach and can eat anything and everything, and, lo and behold, she still looks great. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Her daughter is brilliant. Jake is, ahem, brilliant too.

There’s a hunky single man who cooks. Now who wouldn’t love that? And they eventually get together (of course). Waiter, I’d like to order one Luke Danes to go please.

She’s successful in her chosen career (and doesn’t lose her job to budget cuts), and she drives a Jeep. I could drive a Jeep.

Did I mention a hunky guy who cooks?

So, how about shows that I wouldn’t want to be in? What shows did I pass on?

I can’t even follow the show Lost or the Lost Untangled shorts that air after the new episodes, let alone actually be lost myself. I can barely sew on a loose button so Project Runway is out.

Dwight would drive me crazy if I worked in The Office.

While I like to think I’m incredibly funny, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the partying after Saturday Night Live tapings. I like taking showers and brushing my teeth so Survivor is out too.

Jake has done the ER thing a couple of times so even though the doctor thing sounds good, I’m not so sure I could work in one. However, if Clooney was still there that would be an entirely different story.

Being a Medium would freak me out and I don’t have enough money for The Real Housewives of Orange County or Sex and the City. I’m too paranoid for Weeds.

If Brothers and Sisters was my life I think I would shoot myself. But I’d take Rob Lowe with me and we’d live happily ever after in the hereafter.

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