As the world turns…

As the world turns...

These 3 items have pretty much consumed my life the past week. I have been busier this February than I have of any February in my life. You see, February is the month our swim club hosts 2 high school district swim meets AND the short course championships. In the past that took up 3 of my 4 weekends in the month. However this year, a change was made and the high school districts were “combined” on the same weekend.
It worked.. things ran smoothly enough that everyone was happy.. results were submitted (late, but that was expected by the person receiving the results as our schedule ran until after the deadline).. and with whatever sleep we were able to get, we are moving on.
To this next weekend in which our swim club will host the short course championships for age 10 & under swimmers.. yep, over 400 little kids running around the pool. And we’re going to get them to their events on time. ☺
This I all expected going into February.. this was all planned. What was not planned was the drama, the family crisis, the tragedies.
You see this month our swim club is also dealing with a Board in crisis.. due to one, many have resigned. And that issue has to be dealt with. Things have to be corrected, and we need to get back on track. Step one is tonight.. I’m praying it goes well (a general meeting of the membership, that is).
On top of that, I received the news that my good friend from high school (we’re talking over 28years of friendship) lost her dad, her grandma, AND her great uncle all within 2 days! My heart exploded with sadness at these great losses for her. And to make it worse, she lives in a different state and I could only offer my words, my thoughts, my prayers… no shoulder to cry on, no arms to hug and hold her. I know she understands, but I really wanted to be there for her. She is a trooper and managed the weekend surrounding herself with family and a few other close friends while I supported her from a distance.
At the same time, a close friend (who does live nearby), was having pain in her abdomen. It turns out this pain is a problem with her ovaries.. and possibly ovarian cancer. I have been here to drive her to appointments, watch her kids and escort them to activities, offer a hug and shoulder to cry on, and generally any help I can. She is going for another appointment today where she will find out more info about possible surgery, biopsy, etc.. (please keep her in your thoughts and, especially, in your prayers).
So, as the sign says, I am happy to
1) get up
2) survive
3) go back to bed
In the meantime, I have downloaded an app on my phone so I can post from anywhere I have cell service! Yay! haha…

until next time, please remember these things::
*hug everyone you care about and never leave them with a bad feeling
* don’t sweat the small things (and they’re mostly small), laugh and focus on the BIG things
* surround yourself with happy people
* if you feel the need for encouragement, encourage others – it will be returned many-fold!

and as always,
Tough times don’t last; Tough people do!


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R.I.P. Buster Brown Bear, 01/30/2013

R.I.P. Buster Brown Bear, 01/30/2013

Chows are mean dogs.. that’s what people say all the time. I heard it from grooming salons many times. Psh.. tell Buster that. Buster was a Sharpei/Chow mix.. and he was the biggest teddy bear I ever met.
I originally got Buster when someone broke into my daughter’s bedroom. He was to be our protector, guard dog, companion. Well, he was whole-heartedly a companion. A guard dog? Not so much, lol. He was a lover, not a fighter. And he loved in a big capacity.
I was ignorant in choosing him. He was a BIG dog.. and although my apartment manager originally made an exception due to “the incident”, after just over a year, it was determined he was too big. In all fairness to him, he was. Even though the apartment was not small, it was not big enough and did not have a yard for him to run and roam.
The hard decision was made and Buster found his new home with my uncle. He has been a loving, gentle companion to my uncle for the last 8 years. And he warmly welcomed us each and every time we visited, ready to be bombarded with hugs and love.
I was awoken this morning by a phone call from my ‘ex’ (long story) who lives with my uncle… “Buster died last night. He died in his sleep.” silence… ok, thanks for the call, we’ll talk later.. and I hung up. To tell my boys and my sister, who were all right there wondering why the call at 6:15 in the morning?
There’s never a good time for news like that… so we all go on with our day, distracted by the flits of memory that will pass through our mind. The memories, the ‘pictures’ in our heads of a dog we loved and who loved back larger than life.
We will miss you, Buster Brown Bear. ♥

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I have WHAT? Oh, that sounds about right. :)

I have WHAT?  Oh, that sounds about right.  :)

Much like the CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) I suffer from on a regular basis, my daughter has now notified she found my root problem. According to my 19-year old (after all, teenagers know EVERYTHING, right?), I not only have depression, OCD, MMS (Mean Mom Syndrome), but I also have ADCD, which is Attention Deficit Cleaning Disorder!
That explains why I feel like the mom in the Febreze commercial. You know the one, she picks up all the toys as she sprays the playroom (or is it the living room) carpet with yummy smell-good stuff, turns to put all the toys in the trunk, and turns around to….
all the animals back on the floor, laying down smelling the carpet. {I ♥ that commercial!! After all, it’s a representation of my life}
But Febreze is not my problem. It’s ADCD.
Thanks, my darling teenage daughter, for pointing that out.
I think I’ll just go to bed now.

g’night moon,

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How desperate is desperate?

Be forewarned:  this is a L O N G post…  but one I have to get out of my head and heart.


How bad do things have to get before one cracks? You know you’re strong, but how strong can you be before you snap and lose yourself? I appear to be on that journey to find out. Not willingly mind you, but things keep piling on, one bad situation on top of another. And I’m feeling my will to fight just fading away. One step forward, two steps back seems to my predicament.

sign_ anything helps sign_ bet you one dollar

Have you ever wondered as you drove by someone on the corner, maybe even given some of your spare change, holding a sign similar to those above, “what must have happened to put them in that situation”? Are they a drug addict? An alcoholic? Or were they really just too down on their ‘luck’? I have. Especially lately as things seem to continue in a downward spiral for me. One I thought I would have emerged from by now.

In 2009 I lost my home when my husband got fired from his job as the maintenance person at the complex I was living at. My kids and I were homeless for a week before moving into my uncle’s 2-bedroom singlewide trailer. I looked and looked and looked for work, went to interviews (never my strength), and …nothing. With so many people being out of work, I was continually told there was a ‘better-suited’, ‘more qualified’ candidate or, one that really makes me laugh to this day, “you’re overqualified for this position”. Hello?!? I’m a single mom with no job…  I think that makes me qualified just right!

After over a year on TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, aka welfare), I made the decision to go back to school. I had wanted to learn Spanish and Sign Language, I guess now was the time. So in June of 2010, I became a full-time college student at the local community college. OK, things are going to get better. Right?

For a while, they did. I was doing well in class and loving learning again.

The night before my 2nd term finals, I got the news that my mom was sick. Very sick. And in the hospital. I could barely concentrate on my studies, but somehow managed to remember enough to get a passing grade. Mom’s condition didn’t improve and I took a short break just after 3rd term started and went down to California to visit her in the hospital. In the week I was there, her health improved enough the doctors were hopeful and she was able to be moved to a care facility where she was expected to make a full recovery within a couple months. That was at the end of March.

My brother, who lives in South Carolina, decided to surprise mom with a visit for Mother’s Day and I joined him and his wife for a visit with mom. Mom’s condition had not improved though. She actually wasn’t very responsive almost the whole time we were there. On our last day though, hope returned. She seemed to be awake and more responsive. We had a lovely visit before saying our good-byes, a ray of hope to go home on.

A week later, May 15, 2011, I got the call. Mom’s health had worsened. My little sister was alone and scared and didn’t know what to do. The outlook was not good, the doctor had put mom on a breathing machine. Without a thought I packed a bag and sped to the airport for an emergency flight home. I got in town early the next morning (around 1am). After a short rest, my sister and I drove to the hospital to see mom (I cannot describe the feeling of seeing someone you love so much lying there in the midst of all those machines) and talk to her doctors. On the phone the day before her primary doctor had told me he had some hope that she would defeat the infection that was now ravaging her body, but as I stood in front of him asking for his honest opinion, he couldn’t tell me that. The nurse called a specialist (IDR what he was a specialist of) who had the tough job of telling us that, although he thought her life could be prolonged, her organs were shutting down and, in his opinion, she had less than 1% chance of surviving off the machines.

The world halted.

and stood still for a brief moment.

You’ve seen those movies where things in the background are moving at normal speed but perceived as in slow motion? That’s how I stood with my sister for however long it took me to digest this piece of information. As the doctor and nurse stood there waiting. Then I told the doctor thank you for his honesty and we would discuss the options.

Of course, we both knew there were no options. Mom was going to die. It was just a matter of how long to have her hold on..  and how selfish we were going to be. We spent a few minutes with mom and went home to call our brothers. Neither of them could make it out to California to say their goodbyes, so we mourned together on the phone. It took us all of that day to make a decision not to wait any longer. We told our family and friends that Tuesday would be the last day to say their goodbyes to mom and cried ourselves to sleep.

Tuesday we prepared ourselves for the day ahead, went to the hospital and told the nurses we were ready to pull mom off the breathing machine, remembering what the doctor had told us, “it could be minutes, it could be hours.”

Mom was taken off the machines and given morphine to ease whatever pain she was having and not able to communicate to us. We hugged her, we prayed, we cried, we held her hand, we cried, and we hugged each other. We hugged everyone that came to visit and say their good-byes, we cried when they cried. As the day wore on, mom hung on like a trooper; she has always been a fighter, a strong woman. That evening my sister and I sat there in quiet darkness. We did not talk much, we did not want the lights on. We sat next to each other, holding hands and listening to mom’s breathing. We could tell when she started to slip..  our tears came more freely as we stood on either side of her then and held her hands, saying goodbye, we love you, we will miss you, we WILL see you again, we will think of you every day and night.

Mom died at 10:35pm, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The death certificate will tell you she died at 10:40pm but that’s just because it took those 5 minutes for me to break away to notify the nurse, who called the head nurse, who verified time of death. My sister and I were there, we know exactly when she “fell asleep”.

Then we went home and called our brothers.. cried with them and said ‘talk to you again soon’.. and cried ourselves to sleep again.

Overall I was in California just almost a month. Getting all the paperwork done, going through as much of mom’s stuff as possible, and helping my sister and her kids pack. I drove back from California to Oregon with a U-Haul full of belongings and my extended family. My sister and her kids moved in with us.

That’s when I would think things would start looking up. Yes?


Since then I have been a victim, and survivor, of domestic violence. My sister has moved out, been a victim, and survivor, of domestic violence and moved back. We have continued struggling.

She works a job that is paid commission and I provide child care for her kids while she is at work. This also affords me to be home for DJ (my 9yr old with ADHD and stuttering issues). But it doesn’t afford much else. And every little minor emergency becomes a major dilemma.

And this is where I find myself this morning..  the reason for this long, ranting, depressing, rant. My “pity me”, self-depressing, how-can-you-not-feel-sorry-for-me, dialogue.

Amidst past due rent, past due electric, past due internet/cable/phone, past due cell phone, broken down car, breaking down van, dying dryer and all the arrangements and delicate balancing act we’re trying to keep up, our cell phones got shut off this morning.

Not the end of the world, I know. But it was enough to push me to the verge of giving up. I considered the option of sitting on the corner with a sign (I’ve heard one can make upwards of $80/day), but I can’t make the kids suffer the cold and rain with me (after all, DJ has been sick with a fever all weekend that just broke overnight and is in his “24hour fever free recovery period”).

So I juggled things around. I scraped up enough to make a partial payment big enough to get the phones back on with arrangements for more..  and more..  and more..  and then some more..

When will this balancing act end? When will enough really be enough? I don’t know..  times are tough. I, like many others, can choose to give up or choose to buck up and fight the good fight to survive.

So, in the end, I remember one of my FAVE mantras and repeat it over and over in my head, quietly pushing the negative thoughts away…

Tough times don’t last;

Tough people do.


How about you? What tough times have you faced and fought? What minor emergencies are you facing now? And what gets you through?  I’d love to know!

LoloB  ☺ and ♥ and all that stuff.

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Allow more time?

I have time settings on the computer for my kids and when their time is up, they log off. On occasion though, Dylan will be doing homework and needs more time to complete it. What then? A screen comes up asking for parental permission to “allow more time”. When I type in my password I am given the option to allow 15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc. Why am I bringing this up?

Yesterday, I desperately wished I had a “allow more time” button for the day. 15 minutes to finish a document for one of the three swim meets I have coming up {I am the meet director for a local swim team}.. 30 minutes to finish two documents encompassing two of the three swim meets.. 45 minutes so that I could finish anything else on my long and ever-growing “to-do yesterday” list.

The problem is that I am a procrastinator; I have an A+ in that subject! I spent too much time doing “nothing work” and not enough time doing “house work”, so that by the end of the day when my sister verified that yes indeed, we were having company for dinner, we all had to stop whatever we were doing and do a “quick clean”.

…and as I sit here contemplating my words and the changes I could have made to my day yesterday to allow me more time, the phone rings and my day is instantly changed. It was the school nurse beckoning me to pick up my niece, whom is sick with a fever.

Really, I wasn’t kidding. I wish I had a “allow more time” button!

What changes have you made to make your day more productive? How do you adjust your schedule when something comes up out of the blue? I’d love to hear from you. ☺

Until tomorrow (unless I’m full of energy when I get home tonight!),


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How are you feeling, you ask??

I have my default page on Internet Explorer set to Facebook. Yep, FB is the first thing I see in the morning when I log onto my desktop. And normally, I’m ok with that. This morning though, sitting in front of the computer, I felt Facebook taunting me: How are you feeling, Lauretta?  sigh…  do you REALLY wanna know? If not, keep scrolling. If you do.. well, here it is.

I’m feeling a tad bit overwhelmed lately. It feels as if the very delicate house of cards I’ve been managing for the past 3+ years is starting to fall apart and crumble around me. I don’t dare ask “what else could go wrong” as I’ve learned from experience that SO much more CAN go wrong! Things are piling on in what seems a never-ending cycle though..  and I feel I’m about to break. See, there’s a crack….

….old insulation makes it always cold in the house (a 2br mobile trailer), fighting mold in a couple areas due to the cold/dampness in parts of the trailer, mice have moved in and we’re tyring to get them to relocate (or die, which makes me feel worse), the dryer seems as if it’s falling apart with the worst squealing noise ever and the enamel has started peeling on the edge of the door (which scratches my arm on occasion as I put laundry in and take laundry out), and with my second daughter, Tori, moving back in (which I’m ok with!), there is more stuff that needs to be organized and put away so that there is some kind of “sane” in this crazy house! After all, that makes 7 people in a 2br single-wide trailer.  Yes, seven.
so..   I’m feeling my laptop background today. How about you?

Keep Calm - In This House

until later, keep this mantra in mind – it’s one of my favorites.

Tough times don’t last, tough people do.


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express yourself!

I don’t know the name of the song, but I know that’s part of the lyrics. Or maybe it’s a jingle from a commercial. IDR..   but right now all I can think is, “if I really express myself, I’m going to jail or the psych ward!”

To say it’s been a stressful, frustrating, “I’m gonna flip out and lose my mind” kind of night kind of feels like an understatement right now. I’m just about to head off to bed, but I thought I better “blow off some steam” first.


First thing I need to point out is that my youngest son, DJ (he doesn’t want me posting his full name yet), has ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He is a handful; a BIG handful at times. His behavior tests my limits to the maxxxx!! My older son, Dylan, is fine; he’s just a preteen who, again, is testing his boundaries to see what he can get away with.

Tonight was full of both. DJ came home from school early today – the school nurse called because he wasn’t doing his work in class and couldn’t seem to concentrate. His reason? He missed mommy. sigh..  {Have you ever had to handle that? What did you do?}  I spent at least 15 minutes talking with him, asking if there was a kid, a subject, an assignment, something that was bothering him (which he adamantly denied all), offered to come back and eat lunch with him, offered to take a picture and have the school print it so he could have my picture there with him — he would have none of it. So, what’s a mother to do? I had his belongings brought to the office and I took him home with me. Well, I took him to my friend’s house to watch tv and tag along as I cleaned. Then lunch. Then homework…………….

……and that’s where it stayed. Homework. His attention continued to drift away, I kept redirecting him. At the same time as hounding Dylan to do his homework. It was a constant battle tonight. They kept distracting each other, playing, laughing, getting up. And I had to continue stopping what I was doing to redirect them. For 5 hours! I am SO done with homework at this point.

Thankfully, Dylan finished his (at least he says he did). DJ though, that’s a whole new post.   :/

I’m going to end this with the satisfaction that, although I have the worst headache and frazzled nerves, my kids are alive and in bed. No, they’re not asleep yet, but that time will come soon. It has to, right?


until tomorrow  ☺ and ♥


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Tuesdays with.. who am I kidding? I just need a ‘brain dump’. ☺

I SO did not want to get up this morning. We, as a family, were up too late last night. The kids were back and forth and did not really settle down until I went to bed. At 11pm. I was trying to finish the dishes, a few emails, some ‘work’..  sigh. And they didn’t want to get up either.

However, we were successful! Successful in the fact that they were up and dressed and out the door on time, no one missed the bus, and no one went barefoot or without a jacket – it is cold outside! Now I sit here, with my nephew who just woke up, pondering what the day has in store for me. And how to go about things so that I accomplish the most in the time I have. Isn’t that, after all, what we all try to do? I have a million things running through my mind – I’m gonna have to do a ‘brain dump’ soon. You’ve done one of those haven’t you?

No?! Ah, it’s easy. I haven’t kept up a daily/weekly/monthly planner for a while, but planners are the best place to write your ‘brain dump’. In your planner notes section (or just grab a sheet of paper if you don’t have a planner) just start making a list of everything on your mind. Yep, EVERYTHING!  It may look a little something like this::


(This is not my complete list, I just jotted a few things down) The point is to just get everything down on paper so that you don’t feel like your head is going to explode if one more thing comes up. At this point you can prioritize easier and schedule things into your calendar. Knowing that it’s written down (and somewhere where it won’t get lost) will ease your anxiety — at least that’s the point.

So, that’s all there is to it. I’m going to clean (I have a PT gig cleaning a friend’s house), but when I get home I’m getting busy on my brain dump and item #1 on that list.

so, until next post, ttylxox  (have you heard that song? it’s catchy. and I like the phrase.)


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why a blog? why not? ☺

Everyone needs an outlet..  my primary outlet is, and has been, my best friend. She’s the world’s most perfect BFF (I may be a little biased). I’ve been blessed to know her for over 29 years. Recently, amongst one of my rants, she suggested counseling.

WHAT? Me, counseling. Nope, not ready for that. It’s one thing baring your soul to your BFF; I am not ready to share the intimate details with a stranger. Even if that stranger is a professional. At least, not in person, LOL..

So, here I am. Sharing the intimate details of my life with you – total strangers. I am opening myself up and sharing the ups, downs, blessings, curses, frustrations, celebrations of my life and everything in between. Please remember, I am a real person, I have real feelings, I consider myself a strong individual, but I have a breaking point; we all do.

I plan to write at least once a day – and sometimes multiple times. Come along and share this ride called life with me, won’t you? And please(!), share your thoughts, your opinions, your own stories (whether you’re a single mom, married mom, widowed mom, SAH mom, or working mom).

Until my next post, ttylxox.

LoloB  ☺

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