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, October 29, 2010

One last Halloween

One of the few advantages of being unemployed is the freedom I have with my time. When I was working full-time I was usually up and gone long before my kids were awaking and preparing for school. This morning I awoke to my youngest preparing for her last Halloween in high school.

This is likely the last true Halloween I will get to spend with my girls. My youngest (pictured here dressed as her Idol) will turn eighteen in just over a month and head off to college in the spring.

It was fun to help her prepare her costume in the early house in a quiet house. I think she looks mighty fine.

This weekend, I am planning a night in. I don't want to be the wet blanket parent intruding on their Halloween party with friends. But I am welcome here. My kids actually want me to hang out with them and their friends this weekend.

I know it won't last, this may be the last. So I make no plans.

I will dress in costume and probably man the door and candy distributions. I have also been placed on food duty. But I am excited to enjoy this time with my girls one last time.

Next year I will go out and party with friends. But this one last time, I will be one of the kids.

I cant wait!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't like the weather? Wait an hour.

That is a common saying here in Utah. The weather is known to change in an instant. You can be in shorts in the morning and a winter coat by afternoon. And then possibly back into shorts as the sun comes out and melts off the snow. A fickle woman Mother Nature is.

But mother nature never ceases to make for some beautiful sights.

This is what I awoke to this morning. That large white lump is our large Halloween spider. But according to the reports this should all be gone by the weekend for the kiddos and their neighborhood treks.

Happy Halloween!

Update: And true to form just a few hours later

Snow is gone. But my poor spider web fell hard to the short storm.
Going to have to reconstruct. (Please disregard fallen leaves I have yet to rake)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Halloween Cruise

Yesterday was a rainy Saturday here but warm for late October. The morning was slow and lazy as we snuggled in watching movies waiting for my older daughter to get off work.
Then we got busy carving the pumpkins for the porch.
A messy and terrific way to spend a rainy afternoon. 

The oven warmed the kitchen as we roasted the seeds.

We also found out that our lab loves pumpkin as he snagged a huge chunk carved from my own and ran out the dog door to inhale it. Strange dog. His favorite things- although we rarely feed him scraps, are cauliflower, raw or cooked, and now pumpkin.
Although it has been unusually warm this autumn, it has been great to get out and see the wonderful fall colors in almost perfect temperatures.
We managed to get the yard decorations out for Halloween which also has not happened for a while. 
But yesterday the rains set in and the land is wet. 

But the temps are still not too cool yet. 

At the beginning of October we got a great deal on some tickets to a Halloween cruise on the Provo river. 
We have been on their Christmas cruise at this particular site and it was great. Similar to a sleigh ride all visitors snuggle with a heavy blanket across their laps as the slow pontoons glide over the river under the overhanging trees. The branches hang low over the river their bright Christmas lights reflecting off the water. Animated characters along the riverbanks also glow with strings of tiny lights of red, green and white.

Great family Christmas memories are made there while singing carols along the otherwise silent river.

So- this year we decided to try the Halloween cruise. Spooks and headless figures hanging from the branches while spooky sounds and Monster mash rang from the speakers were what I was expecting. But we were a bit disappointed at the lack of decor.
 A few strings of Halloween part lights shaped as candy corn, pumpkins and skulls. Two 'pirates' telling horrible pirate themes jokes and a very silly sword fight with one of them ending up in the frigid drink. And a host/ boat captain who forgot his lines, was not very personable and couldn't manage the simple CD player which played a Halloween poem for the crowd. Not really well planned or captivating.

However, it was a great night. The weather was almost perfect considering the rainy afternoon preceding the evening. It was time spent with my kids. And floating along the river, although a mite bit boring, was still really relaxing and brought us into the beauty of nature once again. 

The moon was near full and the sky hauntingly dark. 

We stopped for some hot chocolate and snacks then headed for home. 

Happy haunting everyone, hope your October is frighteningly perfect.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Night on the town

It has been a while since I have been clubbing with my best friend.

Last night, after sending my son and his friend off on the road back to their base, we decided it was time.
In Utah the nightclubs are few and far between. We have a few favorites that we frequent. It has come to the point where I have given up on the thoughts of actual meeting anyone I would date at any of the places we go. The men we have met out at the bars are far from my idea of a date-able man.
(note: not me in the photo)

Although I could really use a nice night out to catch up on girl talk and have a few drinks, my expectations of the night being any more than that were low. And I was o.k. with that.

But it turned out to be a great night.

With all the back pain I have been suffering the past few months, I was weary of hitting the dance floor. But regardless of that, we hardly sat out any of the songs. We danced the night away. It was just what I was looking for. It seems strange but there are more nights than not, that all we want is to 'cut a rug' and not one offer of a dance.

Of course the two of us will hit the floor together and boogie to a great song. But the establishment we were at, was more like the Texas honky tonk's with many couples doing the swing, two-step and cotton-eyed-joe. All dances that require a partner. And we managed to find many partners for many dances. Exactly what I was looking for. Some nights you just don't want to get hit on. Sometimes you just don't want a date or a hook-up to come from the night out.

Many a night we stay at the table and catch up on what was new with each others lives between meetings and never dance a bit.

Last night we hardly sat.

And the icing on the cake, was that I awoke this morning a little stiff in some areas of my body, exercise stiff. But the back pain was gone.

Which is a refreshing change. I can deal with exertion aches.. they go away. It was the cronic back pain I have been feeling that is so difficult to remedy. And who would have thought a little bit of recreational dancing would help with that?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Absence from those we love is self from self - a deadly banishment. William Shakespeare

What a great weekend!

We headed south for a four day weekend to watch my youngest perform in the annual Utah Shakespearean Festival.

She rode down with the school Thursday morning and we drove to my parents just one hour south of where she would be performing.

We spent some time with my parents for two days while she attended workshops and then on Saturday we drove up to watch her perform. After her performance, they had a few hours of free-time. We drove up into cedar canyon to decompress at Navajo Lake. It was the perfect time of year and the perfect time of day. Absolutely gorgeous.

We then left her there for the rest of her workshops and encore performances,  and returned to my parents house. Later that night I returned to pick her up following their awards ceremony. Their ensemble group took second place and her school took first place over all. Way to go Vikings!!! It was a lot of fun. The scenes  were great.

The rest of the weekend was fun and filled with activity. We could not have asked for better weather, DesCartes fit right in with us all and we laughed and just played all weekend.

We even took the time to create a small celebration at precisely 10-10-10 10:10am. Just because we felt like it. It is life's little celebrations that makes it lively and fun.

I hated saying goodbye to my parents. It is always hard but we will see them again soon.

On our way home, we stopped so that my kids could see my ex's family. My ex (the father of my children) lives in Alaska and is not a large part of my children's lives. However, rarely do you divorce the 'family'. It is important to me that my children have the chance to know both sides of their family and heritage.

They had not seen each other in a while and it was nice to let them stop to chat for a while. My ex's mother was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis about six years ago and her health has deteriorated at an accelerated rate since then. I find it sad that my ex has lost his relationship with his mother especially in her condition but find it to be in their best interest to ensure that it does not happen with my own kids.

We arrived home late last night, missing everyone terribly but it was nice to sleep in our own beds.

Back to the old grind.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A visit from DesCartes

The title is misleading. We have not had a visit from the famous and now deceased philosopher. But rather a visit from my son and an Army buddy of his.

It has been a tremendous time with the boys. It has been nice chatting with them and listening to the changes in my son. He is now 21 and I see signs of maturity. Yes, boys take a little longer sometimes.

Lately with the girls busy schedules and our low budget, I have been cooking a lot for one lately. But this past week it has been great to put on the apron once again and cook up some hearty autumn meals that actually get eaten.

DesCartes is originally from Haiti (the side of the island opposite the destruction of the earthquake) but spend most of his life in Florida. However, I have been embarrassed at the reactions of the local population. Utah has only 1.4% blacks per capita to whites. I know why this is but that is another story. I had hoped however that the number had been climbing, not so. I also thought this state had become more tolerant.. also not so.

He and my son cannot leave the house without the heads turning. People are not shy. Five minutes standing in our yard, rubbernecking was incredible. It is as though he has skin as green as the ghost in Ghostbusters or that he has a neck that stretches out as ET's. I am embarrassed. I would not go so far as to say they are intolerant but it is so rude. He will not be here long enough to find out. But I am sad. I feel as though my community has been living in the dark ages. Intolerance- in any form, must stop.

There really is no excuse. I too was raised just five minutes from here. However, I don't see him any differently than the other young men. When my son said he was bringing a friend, I didn't have any mental images of what this friend might 'look' like. OK OK, I did wonder if it might be a female friend. :) As his last guest was.

We have teased that he has increased our numbers significantly, that he just may be number 8. And he is good hearted about it all. But why should he have to laugh about the color of his skin? Skin which by the way, is absolutely gorgeous. Just flawless.

But- it has been great having the boys here. Thank you in part to their superiors in the Army, the boys/men are extra polite and as a mother I am eating it up.

Contrast that to the few choice curse words which they also use much too frequently in the service. But I can live with it. And they censor themselves for me.
Nice to have some help with the heavy lifting too. I don't even have to ask to have the trash taken out or dishwasher filled.

Soon we will be traveling south to see my parents and we will see if the residents ogle any less.
Seriously, I await a day when we are all seen as equals here on US soil.


But on a less politically correct subject- Congratulations to my baby on making the drama council this year. We will be making a trip to see her performance in the Utah Shakespearean festival once again. It is a VERY big deal. You go girl!