This is the Kind of Stuff that Happens When You’re My Grandchild

Kayla and I stopped at Dutch’s Mart on the way to school this morning. She wanted some donuts and milk. We walk in, she picks out her donuts, I get us both a container of milk and we go to the register.

Me: I guess I’m going to get milk for breakfast since you won’t let me get beer anymore.
Kayla: Beer for breakfast is bad, Nonna. You have to wait until at least 9.
Me: Okay.

Then I look up to hand the cashier my debit card and realize she looks horrified.

Me: Not really. I don’t even like beer.
Me: Seriously. I really don’t drink beer. Not even after 9 a.m.

I pay for our stuff and we go to the car.

Kayla: Did you notice she was looking at me, “Like do you need me to call 911 honey?”
Me: Yeah, some people just have no sense of humor.

Anger & Horror & Sadness

If you voted for Donald Trump, if you voted for a third party candidate, then you are at least partially to blame for what happened in Charlottesville yesterday. You have blood on your hands, and not overseas against some people you don’t know, but right here in the country that you claim to love.

You no longer get to call yourselves patriots, or christians, or whatever cloak it is that you wrap yourself in that makes you feel better about your racism, your selfishness, your hatred. You knew what he was and you voted for him and in doing so you voted for what he stands for. You voted for David Duke, and Steve Bannon, and Richard Spencer, and James Alex Fields, Jr.

Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, and a 32 year old woman who has not yet been identified are dead this morning because you couldn’t stomach Hillary Clinton, for whatever reasons you told yourself were worth voting for a racist imbecile. Two families are without their father, their son, their husband, their brother. Another family doesn’t know yet that they will never again see their daughter, their aunt, their sister, their friend. We have lost whatever these people would done, whoever they were, whatever they would have become. You did that, Trump voter. You took those three lights from the world.

What are you going to do about it?


I Play At Knitting

I am so frustrated tonight.

Work isn’t going well. The boss and I are usually on pretty much the same page, but lately he’s been bitchy and I’m really kind of over it…and him. I’m at that point where I’m seriously considering putting my resume out there and seeing what happens. Not as in “actively looking for a job” but just putting my resume in the hands of a few people at different firms and telling them to call me if there’s ever an opening.

Home is always difficult these days. I really and truly thought my child rearing days were over and that I’d get to just be Nonna. Now don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining. I love these kiddos (my kiddos and my kiddos’ kiddos) more than I love my own life, but sometimes it is just so frustrating. Someone is always complaining, no one is ever saying thank you and I just can’t seem to get anything right. “The roast is dry. The kitchen was a mess. I don’t want to do laundry tonight.” Yeah? Welcome to my world, asswipes. (And this too shall pass since it always does, but right now? Frustrating.)

And knitting. You know, that thing I’m supposed to do to relax? Creative. Great fibers. Just for me? Yeah, well. Unless I’m trying to plan my next project and obsessing because “Oh…I like that yarn…can I afford it this week? No, probably not…I still need to register Kayla for before/after school care and pay for one more week of summer camp…” Frustrating!

And now that I’ve bitched and complained let me just try to look at the opposite side of my coins.

I love my job. Really, I do. And I love most of my clients. I like helping them through a tough time and seeing them come out okay on the other end.

I get to see two of my four grandchildren every single day. I get to see the other two once a week for dinner and they spend every other weekend with me. I get alternating holidays and one week with each kid in the summer and one week with both of them at the same time. I have joint custody with their maternal aunt. Their father, my son, died when Alexandra was 3 (she’s 14 now) and Kenny was barely a year old (he’s 11.5, apparently the .5 is really important). We get at least 3 calls a week from grandparents asking about grandparents’ rights. Virginia, and most states, doesn’t have any laws recognizing grandparents rights so we have to turn most of them away. It’s heartbreaking and always reminds how very lucky I am.

And knitting? Well, I do like it, but it’s not the be all-end all for me. And truth be told, I can afford that yarn. I’m just being a whiny baby and the Sus-thing where I don’t like to spend money on myself because, well, just because. Fifteen years of therapy didn’t help me figure that out, writing a blog certainly isn’t. It is what it is and I am who I am. I’ll buy it when I get frustrated enough.

Which will probably be about 4 hours from now.

Work Stuff

I love what I do for a living. When people ask what it is that I do, they get one of two answers, depending on my mood at the time.

If I’m feeling snarky, and lets be honest, I’m almost always feeling snarky, I tell them that I spend my days being mean to people for money.

If I’m feeling not-snarky, which isn’t very often, I explain that I’m a family law paralegal who specializes in contested divorces, and custody/visitation/support matters.

It’s my job to make the opposing party cry. I like my job. A lot. And I’m really good at it. And it’s not just me who says so.

I’ve developed a few rules over the last 25 or so years.

  1. ¬†Don’t piss off the paralegal. It’s the fastest way to get your file put on the bottom of the pile and left there for the foreseeable future.
  2. I’m not your friend. I’m not going to be your friend. I’m not going to accept your facebook friend request. I’m not going to give you my cell phone number. I’m not going to accept your linkdin request. We’re not going to hang out or have dinner or have drinks and I’m not ever, under any circumstances, going to sleep with you. Yes, I did it that one time but I believe in learning from my mistakes and you’re not ever going to be my 2nd mistake from the same garden. I get paid to do a job. End.of.story.

And honestly, all the other rules are simply an expansion on the above themes.

Oh, and these rules apply equally to attorneys. Those I work for, those I work with, and those in other firms. When you’re a supreme court justice give me a ring and we’ll talk shop. Until then, leave me the fuck alone.


I’m F.I.N.E.

I’m still not 100% how to go about this blogging thing this time around. It needs to be different because I’m different. However, it also needs to be the same because at the end of the day I’m still me. Fucked up, insecure, neurotic, emotional. That’s me. I was fine. I am fine. I will be fine.

Although I deleted The BiPolar Express many many years ago, probably close to 10 years ago, I did manage tonight to find some archived pages on the internet. Damn, I can write and shit.

My life is so different now than it was during the time on the archived pages. I was unemployed, depressed, my grandparents had just died, I was still trying to deal with Joshi’s death, and my Mom’s. The last archived post is in October 2009. I feel certain I deleted the blog shortly after that. Within 6 months my father would be diagnosed with his final illess and within 24 months he’d be gone, too.

Getting back on track has been a struggle but I think I’ve managed. Don’t misunderstand me. Life isn’t all sunshine and roses for me now. I don’t think I’m meant to have a sunshine and roses kind of life. But it’s different and it’s better. I’m happy with that.

So, what are the highlights of the last eight years? Well,

  1. I’ve gotten a job a love, with a firm in Fredericksburg, working with people I like. My fourth anniversary there will be in September.
  2. For all intents and purposes I have joint custody of Joshi’s kids. I have them every 3rd weekend, and quite a bit in the summer. Plus we have dinner once a week on the weeks that they’re not out here in the George with me. Alexandra and I are saving for a trip to Paris when she graduates from high school and Kenny and I are saving for a trip to Amsterdam.
  3. Peter, Nathan, and Kayla live with me in the little red house. It’s not red anymore, it’s grey now (new siding). Also a new roof, new windows, and other renovations on the drawing board.
  4. Bobbi is living in the Gs house, so she’s nearby and I love that. Arn is also close by and he visits when he can.
  5. Stella is still with me, healthy, happy, and bossy at the ripe old age of 9.5 years.

A job, family nearby, Stella, yeah, life is pretty good, except when it’s not. But we’re not focusing on that anymore, are we? Nope, we are not. Because we are F.I.N.E.


Giving It Another Go

You know, years ago I had a really popular blog called “The BiPolar Express” that I started after my bipolar diagnosis. And then my diagnosis was updated and changed and it seemed wrong to continue writing a blog about a disease I didn’t actually have. After writing it for 10 years I deleted it. Without printing it out. Just boom. And I do that sometimes. I make a decision and I do it and I don’t look back. For better or worse.

I honestly forgot about this blog. I’m going to try to do better about writing. I know it’s good for me, good for my heart, good for my soul. If only I was as good at following through on creating something as I am on destroying it.

Sorry, Not Sorry

I hate that phrase and yet, sometimes, it’s completely appropriate. What would be even more appropriate for my mood tonight is, “Sorry, don’t care.”

You see, people make the mistake of thinking that I need them, of thinking that I get lonely, that I miss the sound of someone else’s voice. And, for the most part, I don’t. I’m human, so occasional interaction is nice, but I’m an introvert with a full time job that involves talking to people all day so the idea of coming home and not talking to anyone about anything is actually kind of appealing to me.

In fact, when I lived alone for a short period of time, while the boys were busy having babies with girls that didn’t like me and Julie was already living in her group home, I would come home from work on Friday evening, put on my pajamas, and not do anything except watch tv, cook, knit, and walk the dogs until time to go back to work Monday morning. The dogs got really good at waiting to pee until the sun went down. What I wouldn’t give for a few weekends like that now that my house is full of little people again.

Anyway, to those of you who think that you’re hurting my feelings by excluding me from your lunches and parties and whatnot, yeah, I see what you’re doing, and yeah, a normal person might care, but me? ¬†Sorry, don’t care.

Knitting Frustration & Life with Kids

And I was worried about doing the cable portion of the Afton wrap….

So, I knocked myself back from a wrap to a scarf, and I’m glad I did. I’m having a really hard time with the first row of the lace pattern. I’m convinced that if I can get this one row under my belt then the rest will fall into place. Thinking I’m going to have to go in and sit down with Nancy to see what I’m doing wrong. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow since I really don’t want to lose additional days of knit time before the next class (on November 12th).

So, to introduce you to more of my family…my son and his two children live with me. The son is Peter. The children are Nathan (12) and Kayla (9). Peter is a single, custodial dad. His ex is having issues of her own that render incapable of caring for the children. He’s had them full-time for about a year now. It’s been a huge adjustment for us all, but we’re a family so we make it work.

Nathan has a talent for football. He’s already being scouted by the high school coach. He’s on our county’s local travel team. Its all good. Until this morning. He had a game in Essex County, which is about an hour away. The game started at 9 a.m. That meant he had to be there at 8 a.m. Which meant we had to leave at 7 a.m. Which meant we had to get up at 6 a.m. Which is half an hour earlier than we get up on school-/work-days. Did I mention its Saturday? Most people would say, “Oh it must have been worth it because they won 48-0.” And it would be…if they weren’t undefeated and beating most teams by at 40 points. At this point its just all routine.

My boy (#26 in the yellow jersey) doing his football thing. And yeah, he tackled #14.

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Now, my boys played baseball. Joshua was a pitcher, long, lanky, lean. Peter was a catcher. Shorter, stouter, more solid. They turned out to be that way in life, too. Joshua always seemed too “not of this world.” Peter always seemed “too much of this world.” On January 20th Joshua will have been gone for 10 years. It doesn’t seem possible that its been that long since I’ve heard his voice, gotten a hug (he gave the BEST hugs), or seen that lopsided grin. I go on, though, because of Nathan. And Kayla. And Alexandra. And Kenny. Peter and Julie help, too.

So, its midnight. Do I take one more pass at the first row of the lace panel or do I go to bed?

Yeah, I’m going to try one more time. We’ll see what happens.


I’m on a food rampage. These happen from time to time, usually when I’ve been depressed and I’m coming up. I eat anything and everything I can find. Since I got home from work about 2.5 hours ago I’ve eaten: (1) a bowl of girl scout cookie thin mint ice cream; (2) some honey bbq chips; (3) some pizza [this is my dinner…the rest was just a snack while I waited for dinner to get here]; and (4) soda.

Oh…and I’m an insulin dependent diabetic.

Thankfully these food rampages are few and far between. My sugars will be off tomorrow and I’ll feel like crap. On the upside, though, it leads me to believe that perhaps this particular bout of depression is ending.

It’s a Carpenters Kind of Day

Cold Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down…”

Okay, its a bastardization of the song, but it wasn’t rainy here today. It was, however, cold and Monday.

Well, Monday down and Tuesday, etc. to go.

It wasn’t a bad day. Its just that I’m still struggling with depression. I’m trying hard to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hoping that I’ll be able to walk it off.

Tomorrow is picture day at work. Everyone, including support staff (paralegals, the office manager, the janitor [if we actually had one]) have to get their pictures taken for the new website. I’m also supposed to write a biography. And I’m expected to be serious. It’ll go something like this:

Susan M. North – Senior Paralegal to Mark J. Dahlberg, Esquire

I was born on a farm out in Iow-way…no? Right, serious.

Here’s the real thing, I think…editing will be needed.

“Susan has worked in the legal field for more than 25 years, working her way up from law firm receptionist to senior paralegal. Her primary focus throughout her career has been in family law, but she has also worked in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, and wills and estates. She graduated with a liberal arts degree in Humanities from John Tyler Community College in Chester, Virginia and has completed course-work toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg.

Susan was born in Fredericksburg but spent many of her formative years overseas in countries as diverse as Japan, Switzerland, Italy, and France. She continues to travel and has a large travel bucket list, including destinations both domestic and foreign. She is a master level crocheter who also knits and quilts. Additionally she enjoys baking and cooking for her family and co-workers.”