Monday, May 31, 2010

Concordia, Missouri

The top selling point for us as a family when looking for a hotel room used to be a swimming pool. Sigh. But now it's free wireless internet!! It would seem that the 18yo cannot function without a daily dose of Garry's Mod. But it would seem that I am equally addicted. The Day's Inn here in lovely Concordia, MO has among the lousiest continental breakfast offerings I have ever experienced. And the pool doesn't open til ten. We need to get on the road, so there shall be no pooling today. On the bright side of needing to get on the road, gas is $2.37 a gallon here, and our tank is empty.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


So much going on. Getting closer to being ready to leave tomorrow. I am about to spend three days in the car with my, as of yesterday, eighteen year old son. The last six weeks have gone by in a blink. Since the middle of April I have made a hurried trip to Tucson to be with my sister and mother. The reality of Mom's death on Thursday is beginning to sink in, one minute I'm sad, the next I'm relieved that she has been set free from her pain-wracked body. Then work, work, work, Mother's Day, Preparing for Reid's graduation, graduation, work some more, Reid's birthday, twenty loads of laundry, removing the stink from the car. So happy that Michael and Liz will be house and cat sitting while we are away. Making lists, checking off tasks as they are accomplished and the hours go by much too quickly! I would like to get at least six hours of sleep before loading the car in the morning, so I should stop getting distracted by things like, well, blogging. First thing in the morning, we will dig shoots from the backyard lilacs. They are coming along to get planted in sister Pam's yard and in Cullen's memorial garden. Don't they have lilacs down there you could buy and plant, you might be asking. But they wouldn't be the ancestral lilacs that we transplanted from the farm in anticipation of our second child. Lilacs from the farm where as newlyweds, we buried my precious cat Cleo. I had possession of Cleo, but Cullen was her favorite human. So I feel like we're taking a little bit of her along, and that feels more than fitting. So I had better go pack. And check a few more tasks off that list.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

December 31, 1931-May 27, 2010

Edna Karen Ruud Broome

She was a character. A full blooded, first generation Norwegian-American. She was smart, ornery, opinionated and always seemed to me to be larger than life. She was my Mom. And this morning, she died from complications of multiple myeloma. After a three year battle with cancer and more recently suffering a hip fracture and surgery to repair it, I think she was just tired. She was the last of her family of origin, surviving her parents and three siblings. I am sad as well as relieved. And grateful to have spent some time with her last month while she still retained some of her former wit and attitude. Seventy-eight years doesn't seem like nearly enough time to be here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shoes Again

While waiting to snap a picture of the graduating son crossing the stage, I inadvertently photographed my feet. I know, I could have deleted it, but where's the fun in that? Theyyyy looook sooo faaaarrr aaawaaay!

Then, once I was seated, I was so taken with my peeping, painted toes and racy toe cleavage that I took a deliberate shot! It's no surprise that I'm easily amused.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Class of 2010

Reid, with balloons and a goofy expression, before.

Reid, with diploma, during.

Reid, with Mom, Liz and Michael, after.

Oh, yeah!!!

So proud of you, son of mine!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Once In a Blue Moon

I have just consumed an entire bottle, completely on my own, of this lovely wine. I'm not a huge fan of white wines, but when the weather warms up, a cool glass of riesling goes down so very nicely. I could make all kinds of excuses. Like, I was making dinner and, well, then I was eating dinner, and then I was watching Friday Night Lights, and then, well, hello, another little bit to go with that cookie for dessert, and so on. And it comes in a pretty cobalt blue bottle. So there. And it did take over four hours. Is there an established rate of glasses of wine per hour to qualify one for lushdom?

Third Time's the Charm

Finally kept my Friday night, seven pm date with Coach Taylor. So nice of him to give me the third opportunity. Clear eyes. Full heart. Can't lose. Oh, yeah.

Day Off?

*Attempts 3, 4, and possibly 5 of getting the rotten cheesy smell out of my car.

*Yard needs weeding and other attention.

*The light fixture, you know that one up really high in the stairwell, requires a new bulb.

*17yo needs a haircut and his drivers permit renewed. Kids. Sigh.

*The bed that's been out in the garage for over two weeks needs to be moved into the house. Here's where a big, strapping 17yo comes in handy. Kids. Yay!

*Vacuuming. Polishing. Bathrooms! Food prep stage one.

*Now that I've kvetched sufficiently, I must admit I'm most proud of the younger son, who graduates from high school on Sunday. He deserves a little fuss made over this accomplishment.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Say Cheeeeeese!

When I got in my car this morning, there was the unmistakable aroma of, well, old, nasty cheese. Or something in that odor range. Imagine my surprise this evening when I found, on the floor in the back seat, a fetid and burst gallon jug of milk. When the hell did I buy that! I wondered. No matter, was my second thought, even if the thing is well within its use-by date, it's going in the trash! Upon arriving home, I cleaned up what was spilled around the carpet mat with vinegar water and a rag. The carpet mat accompanied me out to the backyard hose where it was summarily rinsed of its cottage cheese-ness with the sprayer attachment set on power wash. Disgusting, yes. But could beer and wine making be far behind? Maybe if I leave some grapes and day old bread in the car...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Snappy Comeback

If only he'd chastised me face to face instead of via HR! Is it okay that I'm 82 hours late?

It would seem that your bossy and dramatic
is my assertive and clear.

Anyone else smell gender bias?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pecking Order

Laboring under the illusion that what is called an open door policy actually is what it is, meaning, no appointment necessary, bring your concerns and ideas so we can make progress and be a better, more responsive company to employee and customer needs, I had an approximately 30 second conversation with management the other day. I followed appropriate protocol, I spoke with his executive assistant and she walked me to his office. I got an unexpected answer, a positive one, albeit brusque. As I walked back to my work area, I had mixed thoughts. I was pleased that an ongoing issue would finally be resolved. Yet I was a little aggravated that after months of dealing with a daily problem that it was just that easy to get the job done if I went high enough. We are a team! The open door policy is a real thing, not just corporate busy-speak! The next morning, a post-it note is on my timecard to see HR. She asked me to close the door and sit down. I was about to be scolded for my mini victory from the previous day. It would seem that management, four layers up from my humble ranking, spoke to her about my dramatic and bossy behavior. Dramatic and bossy? I am still laboring to come up with a reasonable conclusion, and there just doesn't seem to be an obvious one beyond the smart ass observations I am prone to come up with. I remain puzzled as to why upper management would feel so threatened or so vexed by my appropriate employment of a company policy that he would go on record to HR about it. Darker conspiracy theories are sneaking in around the edges that I prefer to dismiss, but I can't quite entirely do that. I am known within the company for my propensity to speak up, not just for myself, but on the behalf of others. I don't tolerate workplace bullies and pettiness. I expect people to be grown-ups. I am interested in getting the work done, following procedures correctly and improving the process. I also have an unsettled Workers Compensation claim. I had a very favorable review at the end of 2009, I was given a raise. I was also told that until my Work Comp is settled, no changes would be made in my job description. Meaning that the work I do nearly every day does not match what is written in my job description. Top that off with the fact that my state of residence is something called a Right to Work State. Meaning that cause for dismissal can be as trivial as they don't like the socks you are wearing. So I'm left to wonder if my value as an employee has tipped to the negative. This is probably going to be interesting.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dear Cullen

It has been a year since your life was so rudely and abruptly cut short, my dear little brother. I say hello to you when I come down the basement stairs. Your Blues Brothers tee shirt keeps me company in my office. Sometimes I'm a little angry with you for not being here to help with Mom. But I get over it just as quickly as the thought occurs to me. You were the baby of the family but somehow you took care of things. I miss you terribly and still feel as though I ought to be able to pick up the phone and talk to you. About anything. Or nothing at all. I'm not dead, so I must be stronger. I love you. And because so many loved you so well, I'm certain your soul is at rest.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Firstborn Son of Mine

My elder son has been working in the IT department for the last year in the same company where I have been for over five years. And this afternoon, during a particularly tedious staff meeting, I felt a surge of maternal pride of such magnitude that I was amazed momentarily that I had anything to do with this remarkable young man's presence on the face of this planet. Maybe it was because I was experiencing a bout of bad attitude. Or maybe it was simply because I was startled by how bright, articulate, kind and knowledgible Michael is. How much of an adult he has become in his own right. How much and how little I actually had to do with how he has turned out. How wonderful it is to hear feedback from coworkers about how he has performed near miracles with their computer related experience. Speaking as a mother, it just doesn't get any better than this. To be forever attached to this young man that I have known since he first drew breath. And to marvel at how he has become so independent and capable. All I really did was take my vitamins and drink my milk. Then a miracle occurred. You will never truly know, son of mine, how often you make my day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's Good to Be The Mom

I'm posting from Michael and Liz's new apartment! I have been fed a grand Mother's Day breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage. I am sitting on the living room floor with an ergonomic keyboard on my lap. I love that I'm doing this on the floor but there is internet. High tech yet low key. I have met Liz's parents via Skype. I have had juice and coffee. I have ordered Reid's graduation gift from New Egg. I have completed the Sunday crossword with only one error. It is chilly for being a full week into May, even for the northern plains. While I delight in the company of my sons, I can't help but think of my own mother. I am sad because the state of her health is frail, but I am glad she is still among us. I know my sister will visit her today, and we'll probably talk later. I also can't help but consider the definition of motherhood according to Celtic spirituality. That being, all women are mothers regardless of whether they have given birth. We all nurture and guide and love and influence the children of our extended families and friends. There are the children of our wombs, and then there are the children of our hearts. Adoptive mothers will tell you there is really no difference between the two, they both are precious, they are indistinguishable. Today I am grateful to the women who loved me and formed me into what I am today. Happy Mother's Day to all of my mothers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Return of FNL

Last night was NBC debut night for season #4 of Friday Night Lights. I don't give a fig about football or Texas but I love this show! How could an hour in front of the tv be better spent than with our favorite football coach, the dark and brooding Eric Taylor played by the dark and brooding Kyle Chandler. How convenient that I can actually watch FNL since the only channel I have available is NBC. How inconvenient that I missed last night's debut because I worked til 9:30! How convenient that I have access to the internet and a long cord on my laptop that reaches all the way across the room to my big, comfy chair, facilitating my watching FNL in commercial free bliss just an hour ago. When I told Amanda it was fine if I worked late so we could finish the next stage of a project, I completely forgot that I had a hot date with Coach Taylor. So sorry, I'll do better next week!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To AARP or Not to AARP

I have before me something called a membership activation form. From AARP. With my name on it. Hmmm. I'm thinking I should should. Activate, that is. I'll more than make up the cost of a three year membership on hotel rooms alone on the upcoming Atlanta roadtrip. Hmmm. Why is all this rumination necessary for such a little thing? Well, okay, but I'm not going out for dinner at 4pm for the senior citizen discount! Not that I qualify for that quite yet...

Monday, May 3, 2010

When In Doubt

That's right, post dopey pictures of one of the cats. In the above picture, Einstein is interrupting my suitcase packing process. I'm not sure if he wishes to come along or if he is indicating that he wants me to stay home by impeding my progress. Maybe neither, I am not capable of peering into the nebulous brain of the feline.

Here we find Einstein posing nonchalantly on a pile of towels in my bathroom. And, no, I did not choose the color scheme to coordinate with the cat. Nor did I choose the cat because I thought his coloring would nicely complement my decor. One thing's for sure. Einstein knows that he's pretty, knows he matches the bathroom, and thinks this blog is primarily about him. Okay, that's three things, but who's counting anyway.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I'm not close to this particular person anymore. In retrospect, I don't feel that I was ever all that close to him. We spent a fair amount of time together at a couple of different stretches, the first of those stretches we were officially dating, the second, we were sort of a couple, but yet not. Sort of a couple meaning, we probably appeared to the casual observer to be a couple. We engaged in normal dating activities. Going out to eat together, attending social events together, hanging out in bars together. But I never felt engaged with him, I often felt that except for the fact that there was another body there with me, I was essentially alone. He thought that he "got" me, thought that he knew me well, thought he knew what I needed and wanted. He rarely came close and over time I came to feel disconnected from him in a way that seemed like we spoke different languages. I screamed in silence when I was with him because I didn't know where to begin if I was to scream out loud, nor did I think I would be able to stop screaming if I was to unleash the uneasy dissatisfaction I felt. He did get one thing right, though. He gave me a gift. A beautiful journal with a drawing of a bicycle on the front that looked very much like my bike, and a graphic balloon on the cover containing these words:

First it begins inside your heart. Something
moves. Then opens. Then frees itself. And now
you feel a rhythm breaking its long silence.
This is going to be good.

And these words appear in a square inside the cover:

This is a space for dream words, love words, made up words,
fall down and get up words. Get to know the sound of your
own inner voice. Be creative. Be generous. Be bold.

Then this on the back cover:

It is here where she must begin
to tell her story.

He knows that I'm a writer. He even thinks I'm pretty good at it. So I have to say, despite all of the things we got wrong together, this one lovely gift to me he got completely right.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Shoes! Part Deaux

Hah! You had to wait til today, Saturday, to find out if we bought shoes! To further the suspense, you have to wait longer to see my new shoes. That is, if I actually bought some. For now, here is Martine with her snappy tennies.