Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Springtime In the Rockies

Oh boy- ever have one of those days? I seem to be having one of those months.

I have been fighting with a dinosaur of a computer that seems to also have a virus of some sort all week. I have been perusing job board after job board and seeing the same postings over and over... I have taken a week writing up what I thought to be a great blog posting about springtime to enter in dads house 's contest. Alas, with the computer issues, I didn't finish it in time to post for the contest. But that was OK, I liked it and was attempting to post it this morning.

I finally broke into my savings account and purchased a laptop computer that was on sale this week, it is stupendous! I am no longer tethered like the phones of my youth all day searching jobs, I can now freely move about the house while surfing.
So this morning, after spending an entire day yesterday hooking up the wireless router on the dinosaur, I got the chance to play with this new toy. I sat down with my cup of hot coffee, listening to the rain outside and prepared to post my springtime write-up.
The post itself was running a bit long and wordy so I was re-writing some parts. I was having a few formatting issues but really enjoying the way the words were coming together. The laptop keyboard takes some getting used to, it is smaller, and although I purchased a mouse, I have been navigating the finger pad with some ease so far.
I was typing in the last few sentences, still fighting the formatting, I copied it into a word processor to clean it up.
And with the flick of a keystroke, it was gone! Blogger has a save feature, and saves often while you are 'creating' but somehow, it had only managed to save one sentence. And so..... you get to read this rambling post instead.

But- regardless of all that has happened this week with me, I would say it cant compare with the pain my daughter is fighting this morning. It seems that her 'first love' is coming to an end. 'The boy' s family has already moved to the adjoining town in the past month and they will be moving out of the state soon.
As the mother of a sixteen year old, this comes as a bit of a relief to me. I would prefer that her high school years are spent with many friends of both genders and just enjoying life. I dated my ex husband (their father) most of my high school years and hind-sight wish we had not rushed into relationships and seriousness so soon, so young.
But- none of that helps her right now, she doesn't want to hear about how her mother wishes she herself would have done things differently. She doesn't want to hear that everything happens for a reason or that it will all be better tomorrow. She just needs a hug, and another, and a shoulder to cry on. That, is exactly what she got last night. Broke my heart to see hers breaking. It is hard on a mother to see her child sad. But as they say- everything happens for a reason and it will all be better tomorrow.

So- sorry about no springtime post, when the weather improves and the fever strikes again, I may attempt it again. But it seems when I lose the thought, (which happens way too often) I can never get it back quite the same again.
I think I will run to the store before my daughter gets home from school for a bag of cheer me up skittles or something.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pulling out the power suit again

I one again have a job interview. They are fewer and further between than I thought they might be. The thing about interviews is:
They expect you to really sell yourself, tell them why they should love you, then with the flick of a wrist they can dismiss you like a begging dog...
This is a tough market these days. The state I live in has a low unemployment rate, sure. But the rates are so high in other states that willing workers are relocating and taking the opportunities that might be available here.
In less than an hour, I will be selling myself once again. I will do my best to keep my chin up, my outlook high and sell my wares so to speak.
The last interview I went on, I thought I had it in the bag... but heard nothing.
That is a crumby way for a company to be. No correspondence at all? seriously? The four people I interviewed with seemed to want me to be a-one hundred on everything... including how I answered every question, my body language, my knowledge, my punctuality. I expected all of that. However on the flip side, they seemed a bit bothered that they had to take time out of their day to meet with me, there were very few slots of time that they could all meet with me, they screwed up the scheduling so that even though I was in the lobby 15 minutes early, I still met with the first one nearly a half hour late.
I left a thank you card to each of them, thanking them for their time. I walked out of the company with my head high, I felt I had blown them away.
I did not expect a letter explaining why I was not a good fit for their company- although wouldn't that be awesome? But was it too much to ask them to send a letter or even an e-mail in this day and age... letting me know that they had filled the position but not with me? That would be the polite thing to do. When they asked so much of me. (Note to managers: Let people know where they stand: Whether they are a new employee just interviewing, or a long standing employee I cant tell you how much better an employee I am when I know where I stand.)

And now, I am preparing to do it all again. Pulling out my new power suit. I'll let you know how it turns out. Who knows, I may just come out of this one thinking I really blew it, which may just mean I am a shoe-in!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Uphill both ways

My most impressionable years were in the nineteen-seventies and nineteen-eighties. With my younger years being impressed upon by prime-time television families such as the Brady Bunch, eight is enough and wonder years. Later in my teens, there was a little more independence with big hair, neon clothing and MTV.

At the time, we were unaware of just how great things were. I didn't grow up in an upper class family and we were barely in the middle class but in the eighties, in my small town, it did not matter. We spent hours ratting our hair into huge styles, guys included. We spent hours on end at the local shopping mall. However, money was not important to most of us. Most fun could be found on a dime.

Fun for us would be riding our bikes across town to see friends, stopping in at the school sports meets, or just plain driving around town saying hello to friends who worked in the local hang-outs. Just plain 'hanging out'. Life was just easy.

Cheap cut-off shorts, tee shirts, stretch leggings and high top tennis shoes and you were in fashion. Friends were not worried about what you paid for your clothing, more so about what cute boys would we see while walking the mall.

We didn't spend hours on end in front of the computer because most of us didn't own one. When cable TV came about, we spent a lot of hours watching MTV or HBO but it was usually reserved for Friday and Saturday nights relaxing after being out building forts all day in an empty lot.

Kids today, including my own, cant understand how we ever got along without the technology of today. As a single mother on a budget, my kids have never had the latest gadgets. A few years ago I broke down and added a line to my cell phone account for all my kids to share the line in case we were in a crowded venue or if they ventured out on their own and needed a safety net. Within the first few months, my oldest daughter had run up a $1200 bill calling and texting with friends. Lesson learned. She still has a phone, as do my other two, but a $25 unlimited plan has saved my sanity. There is just no way to control that. What would she say if she were tethered to a cord?! Or limited to a 15 min phone call as my parents would allow- god forbid!

I think of myself as a technologically savvy mother, I work in 3D design on a computer for a living. And well, I blog you know. But I cant help but see the huge gap between my and my kids generations. I can recall conversations from my past with my parents when I was younger. They would tell me that I had it pretty good. And, well, I did! And my children more so.

My children will not know this until they possibly have children of their own. They will also never know what it is like to do a school book report by actually reading a book or encyclopedia at the library. Google, to them, is the library. They will never know what it is like to build clubs and forts in the empty lot next door. Population growth has left few empty lots, and those few that are left are littered with no trespassing signs probably due to vandalism or injuries resulting in lawsuits. And they will never know what it is like to just hang out- this does not in any way sound fun to them. Cruising main street?! what?

I wish my kids could experience the swimming in a watering hole, swimming in cut-off shorts as I did as a teen. digging in the dirt or snow in order to make clubhouses... not these new fangled dollhouses that are miniature mansions. I wish they could experience more of the simple things I did in my youth. Maybe my parents feel the same.

I have done my best to instill in them, the value of money, and hard work at the same time showing them some of the best things life has to offer free of charge. And we have done a lot! Just wish there was more time for more. Without a phone stuck to their ear.

I would never spend hundreds of dollars on a hair cut, I would never buy a pair of $200 shoes. But time together, in our cut-offs at a swimming hole or fishing pond, soaking up the sun, that my friends is priceless.- Seriously- ever been to a crash derby? or a rodeo?

As a single mother you could say we have always been in a deficit, we have always needed a stimulus plan, and we have not wanted for anything because all that matters is us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guess who took first place?

I am feeling a bit of a snob after my previous posting. And at risk of coming across as a braggart once again, I would like to brag about my girls.

My older daughter just returned from a competition in southern California with her school A Capella Choral group. Where, might I add, they took first place in their division. WAY to Go baby!

The year end concert was held last night and it was a slim group. It turns out, there is a virus going around Southern Calif. right now and most of the group caught it. Luckily my daughter came out unscathed.

Today I am once again a proud mama.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where are the Bogarts and Sinatras?

My best friend pointed out to me while we were out one Saturday night, the fact that one of the main topics of this blog is dating and the fact that I have yet to write much about it.
There are two very good reasons for that.
First reason being that I have not been on a real date in more than a year.

Which brings me to reason number two:

Every other Saturday when my friend does not have her children, she will rush to get her homework done so that we can get dolled up and hit the town. (this used to be the case for us both before I completed my schooling this year.) It is a welcomed break for us both to get out and let-loose a little bit after a week filled with school, work, kids, and homework. Sometimes the people watching in itself is a stress reliever.

My friend and I have very different taste when it comes to men. The older we get the more we know what we don't like. But that does not necessarily mean that we have our sights to high that we count most man out.
We really are pretty rational in our expectations:
Someone handsome, not necessarily drop-dead gorgeous.
We are both 5'7 and would prefer a taller man (whom all seem to prefer the much smaller women).
Someone who can carry on a decent conversation that doesn't include video game standings and sports scores (we can get that from our own boys).
Someone who showers and brushes on a regular basis. We get plenty playing mommy at home. And last, someone with a job. I am at this time unemployed but I am not looking for a man to fill that need, and honey if you think I can support a sugar baby- think again.

The liquor laws in the state we live in, and the influx of a certain religion adds a different bite to the fun of just 'going out for a drink'. And somewhat limits our choices in venue.

The county that I live in, for instance, is approximately 2000 sq miles and there are only three establishments besides family restaurants where you can buy an alcoholic drink, even a beer. There are other really stringent laws regarding the sale of alcohol but that is not where this post is intended to go.

I rally do have a point if I have not lost you yet:
My friend and I, in order to get out, usually make the twenty-five mile drive (nearly double this drive for her) to a larger city where there are some nightclubs that we feel are worthy of the $5 cover. Every time we go out, we spend the entire ride into the city laughing and recollecting a past excursion into the club scene. Without fail, on every trip something happens. Not necessarily something that adds any notches to our bedposts, usually quite the opposite.

Our most recent adventure included a couple, and their single friend. My friend had befriended the threesome when she stepped out for a smoke. (smoking as of January of this year is no longer allowed inside clubs in our state, this is good news for an asthma sufferer such as myself and bad news for my friend- especially in cooler weather) The friends she met, although were senior to us by at least 10 years, seemed friendly enough and found us on the dance floor as they came in from the cold.

Most times my friend and I wind up dancing with each other in order to at the very least shed a pound or two on our night out. And as we heard a favorite song with a good beat, we hit the floor. And then... then third-wheel of their group, saddled up with that look that my friend and I have come to know well, much like a saber tooth eying a large rare rib-eye, and moved in to talk to us while we were dancing. The band was loud and he leaned in to say something to us both. Wrapping an arm around each of our necks and we leaned in to hear what great line he would feed us. We still do not know what he said as he pulled us so fast and so hard that he slammed our foreheads together leaving us with red marks. And headaches that lasted the remainder of the night. Needless to say the three of them continued to drink, continued to attempt to speak to us, or dance with us, or grope us. Then the problem becomes, that even though it is they who are acting so strangely, if we make faces, avoid them, push them away or ignore them, others around notice and then we are pegged. Pegged as the girls with the attitude. This is but one of the many many escapades we have encountered.

Generally I think that my friend and I come across as aloof or conceited. We are rarely approached by any men, when we are, they are the most unkempt, smelly, or plain unattractive men in the place. Readers reading this post may once again think of us as being closed minded and stuck-up. I assure you, that is not the case. We just spend a lot of time and effort to look really nice, although we both would like to drop some extra pounds ( my apologies for spilling that my unnamed friend but you wanted this post). We also have pretty darn good figures, me thinks, and well, think we at least deserve a look from someone equal to those standards. Is that wrong?

I hope that sharing funny and quirky stories of our girls nights out doesn't send the wrong messages about how we view others.

I am sure that I will be berated my men commenting on how hard it is to get up the nerve to speak to a woman in a bar and then get shot down. How humiliating they feel, how they never want to ask another woman again. I hate that I make anyone feel that way. However as I stated earlier in this post, those same men would be wise to look in the mirror and spend one ounce of the time on their own appearance, their demeanor and especially their manners.

I cannot say that all men are this way, we just don't seem to find the men that 'match up'. where are they?

I suppose it could be the establishments we frequent, however with a five dollar cover in every bar (soon to change) it gets expensive for a single mother. And who wants to shell out too much dough just to get the same results. We also try to go to places with a band, so that we can dance and try to avoid the generation Y clubs.

I suppose I should step off my soap box and get some opinions from the solo dads who may be reading this. I will end this post with a few short and a bit comical anecdotes of our adventures:

  • There was the night I was approached by a woman, dancing seductively towards me on the dance floor, when she got close enough, she whispered in my ear over the loud music: "I think you are really beautiful..... want to come home with my husband and I?" um- no thank you, not my style.
  • There was one Halloween, we did not wear costumes, we didn't want to be the only people dressed up like children in costume. When we showed up at the bar, we were about the only three in the place who were not dressed up. A man came up to our table and asked who we were supposed to be dressed like?.. thinking quickly I told him we were Charlies Angels. And we struck 'the pose'. It seemed to work because - we had a blond, a redhead and a brunette and well, maybe he was just too young to actually remember Kate Jackson? Well the highlight of the night came when he invited the three of us up to a private party being held in the karaoke room upstairs. After he took us past the two large men at the door who seemed quite peeved that we didn't have an invite...we lost him. Turns out, he also was not an invited guest, EVERYONE in the room was dressed in a very elaborate costume, aside from us, and to top it off, he ditched us. We felt a bit humiliated and strange. When we returned to our table below in the main room, he actually came up and asked us why we hadn't stayed. He then admitted he was not an invited guest but figured how would they know. Wedding crashers anyone?!
  • We have had men who are 20 years older hit on us and when you say politely that you are not interested, they do not stop there. When you ask if they went to high school with your father.. they don't stop. However this is also true of many men our own age and younger.
  • A lot of men think that it is OK, after drinking alcohol, to touch a woman in any manner he chooses. To speak into her face with horrible breath or incredible body odor. And then to insist that she is a stuck up *itch if she is not interested in what they have offered.
Let me say to the men, if a woman says no, she means it. If she says no to you, then you are not what she is looking for, and if you continue to insist that you are, then you are even MORE unattractive. No matter what a woman is wearing, if she wants you to touch her, she will most likely touch you first. If a man does not know what a shower, a toothbrush or a washer are, then he will need to find a woman who is also as ignorant.

This post is quite negative, I understand that. Believe me, I would much rather write about the positive experiences we have had. I am not looking for prince charming in the clubs, I am not so naive as to think that is where the best men hang out. But is it so much to ask for a nice conversation, a dance or two, with someone with even half of the intellect or hygiene of the women he hopes to engage? Just a nice evening of drinks, discussion, and the mere possibility of a future dinner date?

Friday, March 13, 2009

How blogging works

I have not posted in a few days. Not a lot to write about when you are stuck indoors spring cleaning or out doing yard work. I have been working on a post about dating but it is taking me a bit longer than I thought.
It is crazy sometimes how a blog- and not necessarily knowing your full audience can cause you to re-think your verbiage. As my close friends and family know, I am rarely at a loss for words, rarely do I hold back in what I say, and I always tend to have an opinion.

When you put yourself out there on a blog, and sometimes strangers and even more often, your mother reads the posts, you cant help but feel a bit hesitant when writing about anything that would most times be saved for your best girlfriend.
In contrast to that, a blog makes you WANT to share you thoughts and feelings. It is a tug-of-war between the anonymity and the celebrity of a blog.
Based on the blogs that I follow regularly and also some celebrity blogs I have stopped by, I feel this may just be a commonality with most bloggers.

So- although I have not been on a date in a really long time, a friend of mine mentioned to me the lack of postings about our 'girls night out' experiences. This is the one thing I have been attempting to but not quite able to write about to this point. Keep watching.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mom and son time

Things are settling back into what has become the norm since losing my job at the beginning of February. Even though it will be a bit chilly today with a chance of snow showers this evening, I can hear the birds chirping as I write this, as a metaphor of change and new beginnings for me.

Yesterday was a nice mom-and-son day as we spent the morning getting his car (which has been sitting stagnant in the driveway for about six months while he has been gone, running and to the shop for some work. I do not now anything about cars. My father, knows a little bit such as replacing lights or changing plugs... but we are not a mechanical family. So after rolling my sons standard transmission vehicle to the curb at the foot of our steep driveway, we attempted to give a jump to his dead battery. One obstacle was being that one repair he needed was a faulty emergency brake. This put is in a predicament. Not only is my driveway sloped down toward the street, a very busy street, but also the street is inclined. While I attached the clamps to the battery poles, my son, with his size 13 feet, was attempting to keep a foot on the clutch, while teetering the other foot over the brake and the gas pedal. To add insult.. his car was purchased used and the previous owner, for unknown reasons, created a push-button start. My sons hands were busy turning the key, and pressing the button as his feet did the shuffle...
I know all of this because during our many attempts to start the car, I took my turn behind the wheel.
We rolled it out onto the street in front of our house, and tried again... and again..
As the mechanics shop is just down our street a few blocks, we decided to tow the car. I was terrified as I have been towed, but never have I towed, nor have I ever been the one to tie the rope and thus responsible for its potential failure which could result in his car careening into the dentists office down the street. But, I chickened out.
I called my friend who did grow up with a mechanically inclined family and asked her advice.. while she and I were talking, she suggested that I wiggle the spark plug wires.. and some other bits of advice.. then she and I got a little bit off-topic as we are known to do.
While we were talking, my son tried to turn the engine over a few more times, and it started!
We got it to the shop, the estimate was very low and the mechanic is fixing it now. I will definitely be returning to his shop the next time my car needs work done.
My son and I also spend the day figuring his taxes, and his budget now that he will be full-time army and his training is completed. He has been frivolously spending on (DVDs and video games) in the past six months while in training and that needs to change.
It is a crazy feeling that all of my kids had to pay taxes this year! I cant be that old! I didn't have a job when I was their age and it is hard for me to digest. But it doesn't mean I am not proud and it sure helps me when they can pay for some of their own extracurricular activities on their own.
My oldest daughter will be leaving next week for a trip to Disneyland with the high school chorus group. This is the second year they have competed. The trip cost $670.00 and it has been a struggle with my employment situation.
While her father was in town, she asked if he could help, and he did. $40. I suppose I shouldn't complain, not only is it something, but given his track record, it is more than we expected.
I'm so glad she gets to go.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cats in the cradle

As quickly as the father of my children came into town, he is gone again. He arrived in town on Sunday night, in time for bed, called the kids each separately for a ten minute call.
Monday morning while the girls were in school, he took my son with him. Beginning with breakfast at his ( the dad) favorite cafe. It is a great place to eat I agree, but would it kill him to ask my son what he would like? Next they headed to Cabelas, an enormous outdoor sports mans store large enough to house all the homeless in the entire western states alone. Turns out this particular store is not in Alaska.
My ex husband and his past two wives are true Alaskans- They hunt not your average deer and geese, but also bear, cougars, and other larger than life wild animals. So going to this particular store is, I am sure, a real treat for their father.
However, he has but two days to spend with who should be his number one priority. He chose to spend the day, showing this new wife around the wild animal torsos hanging on the wall (I hear they took photos) , a treat for the two of them, an intimate honeymoon moment for the two of them. Discussing and questioning the many types of fish in the indoor ponds. My son didn't say it, he never would, but I am sure that he felt like a third wheel. No one should EVER feel like a third wheel when with their parent.
I realize that he is on his honeymoon, I realize that this is a time when they are still learning about each other. But his children are what she should be learning about in these two days, and they about her. Thing is, my son barely knows his father, let alone this new wife. As my son relayed their day out with me, not once did he mention talking to his father about what is going on in his own life. My son has been in rigorous military training for the past two years, with tough times and also some really great experiences that he and I have discussed at length. His father, also a veteran, didn't inquire.
Later in the day when they picked up their sisters after school their next stop was to visit with relatives of my ex, who my children have met a time or two but whom are literal strangers to them. That being so, it was my exes uncle who cared enough to ask my son what job he was assigned in the military. Then talk quickly turned to discussion about the time my ex served in the reserves... it is always about him.
That evening my son asked to be dropped off at home as my best friends son was having a birthday at a local trampoline jumping gym and although her son is only eleven, asked my son to come (I too went in support of my friend and am stiff and sore as I am typing this) . My son is a very compassionate person however I feel that if his relationship with his father were different, he would have missed out on the jumping in order to spend more time with his father on his short visit.
That night, my younger daughter had to work and my son was out with us, so my older daughter had some one-on-one with her father.. and his wife. They chose to go mini-golfing. Fun for my daughter I suppose but she has not said much. This hurt me a little as a mother.. I shouldn't let it get to me but one of my sons favorite things to do? Mini golf, any golf really. But then, my ex would not know that, and honestly, was not here for any one's benefit but his own. They had dinner together, at the fast food joint that my daughters both work at. The place they have food more than they care too. I think he may have chosen it as my younger daughter was working that night and they could say hello, but seriously?!

Yesterday, again while the girls were in school, my son went with him once more. Beginning with breakfast at the same establishment, more meetings with relatives, and then home to pick up the girls. they stopped in to drop off their school books, and grab some of our photos to copy. I am sure he didn't have any photos of his kids to show this new wife. After making copies of all the photos at the local super mart, they headed to his hotel room- yes I said hotel room. While there they viewed pictures of their honeymoon trip so far, and pictures of her children. Then they headed to a local park on their way home to take some 'family photos'. How is that for an oxymoron? They didn't say much about their evening when they got home. I am sure that the kids went with him, hoping that they would get to tell him about what is going on in their own lives, but from past experiences, I am sure they never got that chance.

He leaves town this morning, heading south to see his mother and sisters.

There was a time in the past, when the kids would get emotional and ask me when they would see him again. Not this time.
There was a time when they would cry on my shoulder how much they will miss him. Not this time.
There was a time when they would wish that he would be here for future programs and events coming up in their lives. Not this time.

Funny, years ago when I was dating this man, and his father was not in his life much, and he would get emotional about it, I was there. I recall the day, only about a year before we married, that his father and mother announced their pending divorce. I held my ex while he explained how it hurt to think of his parents split even though his father was rarely around. I remember bringing up the emotional Harry Chapin song, cats in the cradle. I remember telling him that some day, his father would regret the times he was not there to see his son growing and his achievements. My then fiance, quickly dismissed my remarks as pure nonsense. He was more than a bit peeved that I would think such a thing of his father.
He and his father have a very sterile relationship to this day. They do not know each other, they do not talk but once a year or so. I do not know of any regrets his father does or does not have. I do not know of any regrets that my ex has either.
All I do know, is that I told my son, if he treats his own potential future children, or anyone else for that matter, in this way I will kick his @ss into tomorrow! And I meant it.
And I also know there is no chance of that! And so does he.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The past comes to visit

I don't write much about my ex husband and father of my children here. Not that there isn't a whole story there. However, most of it is in the past, or just not a part of everyday life. When my ex husband and I divorced just over 11 years ago and he moved in with his soon to be wife, it was the most painful heartache I have felt in my life. Months later, the first Christmas I was to spend without my children, was alleviated when he chose to spend that week on his honeymoon. He and his new wife moved only about 50 miles away but time spent with his children was sporadic , and then rare. A couple years later he moved again, this time about 2000 miles away and the kids time with their father was reduced to once a year for a couple days. If they were lucky.
He could have made it work, the long distance I mean, if he would have picked up the phone a little more often. (phone calls are as rare as a couple times a year) But he never found the time. This has been a double edged sword. The children love him, they miss him, he is their dad. But they don't know him. And the rare instances with him bring back the hurt feelings and wonder of just how they fit into his life.
Last week was the commencement of his third marriage. I used to love this man. I wish him well, I wish him happiness. But I wish it more so, for my children, our children.

He is in town this week, I am sure it is for his own personal gratification, to show off his latest acquisition, his wife. He also likes to show off his kids. MY kids. He is an unwarranted, proud daddy. He has set aside three days, of his honeymoon, starting today, to meet with my kids.
Of course they have mixed feelings. They feel awkward, it is like they are meeting with a stranger. AND his new wife, another stranger. They feel more than a bit slighted, he talks on and on about his two children from marriage #2, the ones he has been with the past 9 years, and also about wife #3's children who will now have his time. But rarely asks questions about what is going on with our kids. My kids. How do you make someone understand what should come naturally to them? How do you make someone care about their own children?

This will be a tough week for my kids. All I can do is, as I have done for the past eleven years, be here with a warm supportive hug and kiss. Open to discussion as they need.
I have begun to hate the past in my present.

On a lighter note: Black Jack and Rachel relaxing on Sunday afternoon

In other news!
We can no longer call Rachel metal mouth, or rail road tracks... Yahoo!
She got her braces off!
Pictures to follow.