Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Butterflies would be better in a cage...or a convent...

My 13 year old daughter, Patricia, has really blossomed this year.  It’s been a joy to watch, until today.  Now, I am thinking a convent might be an appropriate learning institution for her until she’s - oh let’s pick a number – 30 years old.  Thirty is good, a nice round number. She’ll still have a lot of good years left and I will have survived what every parent fears, your teenage daughter dating.

It hasn’t begun yet, mind you.  In fact, she lamented to me over the summer that “all the other girls in school have boys that like them, but not me.”  My heart broke for her.  I told her I didn’t have a boyfriend until late in high school, and that teenage boys are nothing to brag about anyway.  (Generally speaking they are a pile of braces, bad jokes, awkwardness, and Axe body spray.) I told her they were too stupid to realize how funny, beautiful, intelligent and amazing she is.  My words fell on deaf ears.  The summer went on, and somewhere between swim team and the end of August, the caterpillar turned into a butterfly.  She went to school with an incredible sense of herself, a boatload of confidence, and a totally hot new school wardrobe which left a gaping hole in my checking account.  I was proud of her, happy for her.  I looked back on my days in 8th grade and shuddered.  She was definitely on track to a better 8th grade year than mine had been.

So last night, when she bounced onto my bed during the Monday football game, she was all smiles. To anyone with a teenage daughter, smiles are always good because if they aren’t smiling then that usually means drama.  Anyway, apparently, some boy (who shall remain nameless) who she found to be cute, walked up to her in the hallway and told her “Wow, Patricia you really look great this year.”  She was elated.  Suddenly all her hard work getting healthy and happy over the summer had paid off.  She felt…HOT.  I was elated for her as well…until I started to think about it for a bit.  Then suddenly my overriding thought was how can I find this brazen little prick, who obviously had ill-conceived designs for my daughter, so I could punch him in the face and threaten him within an inch of his awkward, smelly life.  My father hated teenage boys.  Now I get it.  Dad was right.  I didn’t say anything to her.  I just smiled, and a little something inside me died. She wasn’t a kid anymore.  She’d always be my baby, but the kid was definitely out the door.  I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.  I wanted to lock her in her room for a VERY long time, but I didn’t.  I just sat there, feeling like nothing would ever be the same again.  I hate it when that shit happens.

I mentioned it to Bill this morning, who was quick to remind me that he does, in fact, own a pump action shotgun which he would be happy to clean at the dining room table on any evening when some Axe-laden teenage predator came by to see her.  I laughed, but knew he was only half kidding.  He told me that the sound of that pump action is something many teenage boys have nightmares about.  I considered making it my new doorbell sound.  Inside I promised myself I would pull the trigger myself if any of these miscreants touched my girl.  I knew it was hardly the case, but a mother can dream.

So one more milestone down and many more to go.  She turns fourteen in October.  Next year she will be a freshman, and not too far down the road, she will be getting her driver’s license.  There will be “boy/girl” parties, and dating, and proms. What happens when she falls in love and gets her heart broken?  What happens when she leaves for college?  Ok, not thinking about those moments, it makes me teary-eyed and pathetic.  I know she is a smart kid who is far beyond her years when it comes to maturity, but I’d still like to shield her from all those awful moments when you think your world is ending and nothing will ever be the same. 

I’m lucky in the fact that she talks to me without any reservations because she knows there is absolutely nothing she can tell me that will shock or surprise me.  My teens and twenties were filled with all those memorable moments, both good and bad.  I’m not THAT old. I still remember them all, some with great fondness, and some with a cringe.

Ahhhh, to be young again.  I know that I’m not. I am however, considering getting my concealed carry permit.  And you're never too old to learn how to clean a pump action shotgun.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Down the rabbit hole, hope I don't spill my martini...

There is little in this world that drags me down more than one of my now infrequent bouts with depression.  Over the years I’ve been able to keep myself on a pretty even keel, thus not falling down that nasty little rabbit hole that can quite often seem bottomless.  I take my meds religiously, try to keep a positive attitude, exercise regularly and eat right – all the things “they” tell you to do in order to maintain the “emotional buffet” while navigating through life.  But sometimes, there is that moment when no matter how you look at a situation, it makes you want to crawl under the covers and hide, or in my case, hide in the closet with a martini…or five.

So, it would seem that this is one of those times when everything is towering over me, insurmountable situations that aren’t even really fully in my control.  Bill being laid off from his job after nearly 33 years is a big part of it, but not all of it. Yes, I am nervous about being the only breadwinner until Bill finds a new line of employment, but we have planned for it, and I can certainly keep us comfortable on my salary. Still, nerve-wrecking though.  But this time, most of my looming downward spiral revolves around family relationships, manipulation, lies and drama – all of which I cannot become truly involved in, because it’s not my side of the family. Trust me, this is not about an argument between family at the Thanksgiving table.  I’ve been dismissed, told I “don’t know anything about it”, and asked to step back.  I’ve watched these mini-soap operas grow into full length movies, complete with underlying plots…emotional rollercoasters that bring you to the top of a hopeful situation, only to mercilessly push you over the other side, and all you can do is watch and try to keep from screaming.

Anyone who knows me will tell you in a heartbeat that my tolerance for bullshit is at a level somewhere below zero.  For some reason this strikes fear in the hearts of some, but usually only those who are trying to pull the wool over my eyes.  That’s a really tough thing to do. But when the situation involves people that you have no power to say what is on your mind, then it turns into something akin to emotional paralysis.  On the inside, my mind is screaming “are you people fucking stupid???” and on the outside, I am forced to stand on the sidelines, knowing what the final chapter will be – utter disappointment and complete betrayal.   I used to be hopeful, but that ship has sailed. I don’t fault those involved for trying.  Family is family and when it is yours, you will do anything to save those involved. I get that.  But when you constantly beat your head against a wall, only to get the same response from the one you are trying to save, then it turns into an act of desperation.  I’ve made my opinion known the few times I have been asked how things should be handled, and every time my response has been the same. “You cannot save someone who has no desire or intention of saving themselves, I don’t care how good a game they talk.”  Actions speak louder than any spoken word and when they say one thing then do the exact opposite, it’s time to step back and let that person, no matter how much you love them, find their own bottom.  Their bottom is their determination, not those who are trying to help.  What may seem like the bottom to you may be nowhere near the bottom for the person in question.  Interventions only work when the person being intervened on is absolutely willing to take the steps to do the hard work to get better.  Otherwise, it’s like spinning your wheels in the sand.  You just get sucked in deeper.  When you have to witness a significant other or partner get sucked into that hole by the person they are trying to save, it is gutwrenching and heartbreaking.  But there is nothing you can do but be there for him.  I’m trying to remember that, I really am.

So this nightmare scenario, along other life-altering melodramas, has me wishing I was anywhere but along the sidelines watching it all go down. I am trying to see the bright side of things, and tell myself “It will all be just fine. It always is” but I am wondering at whose expense.  I’m not sure I can watch, so that rabbit hole is looking mighty inviting.  I bet there is room for my martini glass and maybe even a bag of Grandma Utz’s potato chips.  I can hide in there, pretend the outside world doesn’t exist, sleep as much as I want, and generally forget all about the fact that my home, and my loved ones, are about to fall apart like a house of cards…in my home, right in front of my eyes. I know it. I can feel it. But I am helpless to do anything about it.  To those who think that my life is always sunshine and lollipops, glitter and butterflies, it most certainly is not.  Today…today it pretty much sucks, and it will probably suck tomorrow.

I’m going to try to ignore that cozy rabbit hole for now.  It might be time to up my meds I’m thinking. I really need to call my damn doctor about that. I’m going to march on, smile on my face, with my wit and sarcasm to sustain me as I watch the idiocy of the world go by.  I know there are people who are in far worse situations, but right now, at this moment this is my albatross, my hell.  Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer. Wish me luck.  And if you see me around, just give me a smile and a nod.  I’ll know you “get it.”  Trust me, I will appreciate it more than you could even know.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For the love of Lean Cuisine...

There is probably nothing more difficult than trying to cram as much crap as possible in an one hour lunch break.  Normally, I just head home and grab something left over from dinner the night before, or make a salad.  Filling? Yes. Healthy? Usually. Yummy? Most definitely.  But today, heading home wasn’t an option as I needed a manicure for an event this weekend.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

Enter the Lean Cuisine.  I’m not sure what Keebler-like elf creates these things in Lean Cuisine Land, but honestly, what it lacks in total calories, it also lacks in total taste.  I opted for the “Spa Collection Thai Noodles.”  Spa? Really?  I can almost guarantee there isn’t a spa on the face of this earth that would serve up one of these babies.  The description on the box reads “Spa Collection. Gaining inspiration from wholesome and modern ingredients…made from vegetables, whole grains and no preservatives.”    My Thai Noodles gourmet extravaganza boasts a low 300 calories, 7 grams of total fat and 41 grams of carbs.  It also has about 580 mg of sodium, which I can pretty much assure you is off the chart in the sodium department.  Still, I was hopeful.  I was also hungry enough to chew my own arm off.  You’d be surprised what you’d eat when your stomach starts to devour itself.  By the way, it should be noted that there are all sorts of handy little tips about eating healthy on the back of a Lean Cuisine box.  You can even sign up for “Rewards points.”  What in the hell are they giving rewards for??? Is there some sort of prize for eating this crap?  There should be.

Upon my arrival back at the office, I popped my very “efficient” looking Lean Cuisine in the microwave for 4 minutes, remembering to cut a slit in the top of the cellophane top, lest my meal explode under such heat and pressure. I stood there, STARING at the microwave, willing time to move at a lightening pace so I could dig in with wild abandon. Waiting…waiting…did you know that watching a microwave is much akin to watching water boil?  In fact, since you are indeed watching each second tick by with amazing precision, I am pretty sure that it is even WORSE than waiting for water to boil.  I paced, I tried to distract myself. I decided that if I went to pee then perhaps time would fly by more quickly.  I had no idea I could pee, wash my hands and check my appearance in the mirror in less than 45 seconds.  Seriously, that has got to be a world record someplace on God’s green earth.  Back to the microwave.  Another minute and a half.  DEAR GOD THIS IS THE LONGEST FOUR MINUTES OF MY LIFE.

Ding!  The waiting is finally over.

As I peeled back the cellophane and peered anxiously into the microwavable dish, a wave of utter disappointment passed over me.  I sniffed it.  It smelled like really bad Thai peanut sauce from a really crappy Thai restaurant.  (I’ve been to several in my life, so I have experience with this sort of thing.)  There were EXACTLY six cubes of what I assumed was chicken breast, some anemic looking red, yellow and green peppers, and a pile of noodles plopped on top of the stinky peanut sauce.  I stirred and prayed it would all magically come together and take on the appearance of something whipped by Ming Tsi.  It did not. Was it because I did not follow instruction exactly and cook on 3 minutes, then remove the cover, stir and recover, cooking for another minute and a half? It must be my fault, because I was never going to admit that I actually purchase such a food travesty.

I took my disappointing lunch back to my desk.  Having no other option, I actually ate it.  While it wasn’t the worst thing to ever pass my lips, it was damn close.  But like I said before, you would be surprised what you’ll eat when you are pretty sure you are watching your life pass before your eyes from absolute hunger.

I know, I could have taken the time to make myself something yummy, I really could have.  But sometimes that extra 15 minutes of sleep surpasses anything else, and I opted for the shuteye.  Will I think better next time?  Yeah, probably.  But just in case, there is a Lean Cuisine Spa Collection Chicken and Tortellini with Basil Cream Sauce waiting for me in the freezer.  I’m hoping that one will present as a more satisfying lunch.  Maybe?  Nahhhhh….

Friday, July 26, 2013

30 years is a long time...

Reunions are a funny thing.  They can bring out the best and the worst in people, often simultaneously.  My 30th high school reunion is next weekend, and I am looking forward to more of the best than the worst. I went to my 20th, still thinking I had something to prove – to whom I’m not really sure. The beauty of my 30th will be the fact that I just couldn’t give a shit anymore.  We all grow and evolve on our own terms.  It took crossing over the “40” age line before I realized I was just fine the way I was, physically, mentally and spiritually.  After that, things just sort of fell into place.  Too bad we can’t take that feeling of self-satisfaction and go back to that awkward time known as the “teenage years” and spend some time reassuring and coaching ourselves through all that anxiety and self-doubt.  We were all just fine back then. We just weren’t able to see it.  At the advanced age of 48 ½ (give or take a month) I am actually pretty happy in my own skin and that’s a really incredible feeling.  I hope my classmates and friends have managed to find their “happy place” as well.  The ones that I am close to I pretty much adore just the way they are.  They’ve grown into amazing individuals, each with their own story, complete with moments of absolute celebration and tragedy.  It’s those moments that make us who we are.

There is a common thread that weaves us all together into a really beautiful fabric.  We all hail from a small town in Pennsylvania, and from my perspective and the observations of others, I think we all cherish and treasure that commonality.  We are special.  We cling to a way of life that allowed us all to enjoy that “Leave It To Beaver” lifestyle growing up, dotted with memories of memorial days parades, Friday night football games, the annual carnivals, and an extreme sense of belonging to something very very good. Life was simple.  Life was splendid.  I know I personally didn’t appreciate that when I was 18 years old and so full of myself, but now…now it has become very precious to me.  Maybe that is what has drawn me to live in another small town, much further south, but with a lot of the same values and sense of community.  They do say things like “y’all” a lot down here, and even this Yankee girl catches herself using such southern phrases, but the reality is Manassas, Virginia shares more with Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania than I ever thought it would. I find it completely heartwarming that so many of my former classmates who left our town after graduation are now back in Tunkhannock, and raising their own families there.  It’s a great life.  I just couldn’t handle those cold Pennsylvania winters anymore.

I’ve also been lucky enough to find a partner and best friend (it only took me three tries, mostly because I’m a slow learner) who shares that same affection for small town life.  Indeed, he has lived and worked within five miles of the house we currently live in (where he actually grew up) his entire life.  I love that stability and solidness about him.  I’ve been anything but grounded over the past three decades, especially the earlier two.  He keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground while allowing me to at least exercise the option to still be myself, and all that comes with that – most of it a bit on the “quirky” side.

It’s good to remember where you came from.  It will help you walk the path to where you are going.  I, for one, am thankful for Tunkhannock, and all those that remain there.  Next Saturday is going to be special, and that makes me smile.

Looking forward to seeing all of you from the Tunkhannock Class of 1983.  Cheers!

Friday, July 19, 2013

You can pick your friends,and your nose, but family...not so much...

Let me start this off by saying this is not about MY family. I am blessed with one of the most amazing families ever, and yes, I'm more than a little biased.  We’re not perfect – not even close.  We fight on occasion, but most of the time we are all about sharing a good bottle of wine and some chips/dip, and having a whole lot of laughs.  There is a fierce love and loyalty between all of us that trumps everything else.  I have gone through some incredibly difficult times in my life, and not all of those times can be attributed to being “unlucky.”  Quite frankly, a lot of it was self-induced because I’m the kind of person who can’t be satisfied with making a mistake once. I have to make it five or six times so I can consider myself an expert.  My family hasn’t always been happy with my decisions, and they aren’t shy to express their opinion, but there has never been a moment when they haven’t stood firmly behind me in solidarity. They’ve seen me through two divorces, and that was no easy task.  They were always very good at seeing what I was completely blind to in the men that I chose for myself.  But they let me walk my own path, and in the end I was lucky enough to marry a man that they not only approved of, one that they actually love and accept.  It’s been one of my greatest joys.

As for my two divorces?  Well, let’s just say I’m not very good at making things easy for myself. On the upside, it has allowed my friends to learn from my mistakes.  I’m just the BEST kind of teacher in that respect.  When my last marriage fell off the cliff, my mom and dad opened their hearts and really listened. They gave me their best advice and they helped as much as they could.  And most importantly, they made sure it was perfectly clear that they were on my side, not my former husband’s side.  It’s good to feel like you have people in your corner.

So imagine my shock when I found out that a close friend’s sister was throwing HER ex-husband a birthday party. At first I was speechless, then…then I was PISSED.  Keep in mind, this was not an amicable divorce and there have been several occasions where it has gotten downright nasty between her and her ex. It’s also a very recent divorce, one that still involves a lot of healing for everyone, including her kids. The first thing I said to her was “Now let me get this straight. They are throwing a birthday party for him???” She confirmed and added that it was a party that her two girls were invited to, but she was not. Ok, now I want to punch someone in the throat.  Seriously?  Well, that is a new level of disrespect I hadn’t really experienced or heard of in a long time.  I told her it was bullshit. I told her if she attended this party, I would personally drive to her house and escort her to a mental institution.  I was mad she wasn’t as mad as I was, but she’s all about “the high road” which I personally find overrated.  I spent many years being a doormat to anyone who chose to walk all over me.  Little did I know when I stopped my doormat behavior, I must have somehow “magically” passed my doormat on to her which she now had firmly secured on her forehead.  I couldn’t swear to it, but she may have even gone the permanent tattoo route.

My anger at her for allowing this to happen is far overshadowed by my anger at her “loving” sibling.  What a wretched excuse for a sister.  I can say with all certainty that my sister would never throw my ex a party. I couldn’t actually promise that my sister wouldn’t run him over if he was crossing the street in front of her.  Family is family and blood is blood. My ex is not blood.  Even if my sister was fond of my ex, it would be a cold day in hell before she EVER pulled that crap.  Her loyalty is firmly on my side of the fence. She’s an awesome sister, by the way.

I’m not sure why I was so shocked that my friend was put in this situation.  This is the same family that insists on inviting her ex to family vacations, even though she was absolutely against it.  Mind you, the vacations are paid for by her mother.  Yeah, I can guarantee my mom wouldn’t even let herself be within a 50 mile radius of my ex, let alone share a beach house.  How do you do that to your own family?  This is HER family, not his.  So this year, he is going on vacation with her family. She is not.  I can’t even believe I just typed that.  Two words. Fucked up. Pardon my French, folks.

The good thing is, while she has a hard time standing up for herself, she is surrounded by friends who have no problem telling her sister to go to hell, myself included.  My friend is a beautiful and wonderful person. In fact, I wish she could see the woman I see. Her sister is a bitch and a bully.  No one needs that in their life.  Getting from one end to the other in life is hard enough, without having family firmly planting a knife in your back.  I was happy to tell her delusional sibling exactly what I thought of her, as did other friends.  We propped my friend up.  I hope it gave her strength and empowered her to take a stand.  This is why picking good friends, supportive friends, is so important.

Family is difficult, sometimes frustrating, sometimes downright infuriating.  It happens in every family, including my own.  The one thing family should never be is devious, antagonistic, jealous or undermining.  I’m sad that she had to endure this utter bullshit from a family member, and I hope that through some sort of miracle, her sister realizes how much she hurt with her actions.  I doubt it, since she is pretty convinced that no one else could possibly be right about anything.  Good thing she isn’t MY sister.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Looks like I’ll be visiting Maine…

It’s unfair the way life tosses someone into your life, only to remove them later.  I hate that, and it’s happened to me a lot over my lifetime – one of the hazards of living in a transient area I suppose.  No one stays in D.C., except me, and I think I hold the record…twenty-seven years and counting.  I had so hoped to get the hell out of here a long time ago, but the furthest I have ventured to live is my current location of Manassas, and that’s only 30 miles from the D.C. border. Wow, look at me, such an adventurer.

Anyway, one of my dearest friends is wrapping up her move to Maine.  In actuality, she has been up there since last fall, but just recently sold her D.C. condo, so now I guess it’s permanent.  (Insert my bitchy resting face here.) I was hopeful that somehow she would not sell it, thus giving her an excuse to come back here periodically, but alas, my hopes have been stomped on by the D.C. real estate market.  She’s all packed up now, and will be leaving next week.  Am I sad? Yep, although not terribly sad.  I refuse to say goodbye to this awesome woman, and priceless friend.  We’ve only known each other for a few years, but I feel like I’ve known her a lifetime.  I also know that no matter how long it is between conversations, or how many miles between, she will always be there, and vice versa. Why? Because she gets me, and all the neurotic/crazy behavior that goes along with knowing me. Besides, I’m not losing a friend. I am gaining a new vacation spot, and that can’t be all bad.  And I have heard her bragging about the outlets up there. Shopping is a good excuse to visit.

Being a Yankee girl, going to Maine isn’t terribly frightening, although they do talk funny up there.  I know they say wicked a lot. I shall try to incorporate it into my vocabulary so that I am comfortable using it in any situation.  “It’s wicked cold out today” or “That’s some wicked big hair you are wearing tonight” (only she will get that reference) are two fine examples of how I can use “wicked” in my every day vernacular.  I also understand that when someone dies in the winter up there, they have to “keep them on ice” until the spring thaw because they can’t dig holes in the ground to plant someone in the winter (keeping them cold shouldn’t be hard since it’s cold as BALLS up there in the winter.)  Hell, just throw grandpa out on the back porch until the ground defrosts. Therefore, I think it’s best if I only travel during the temperate seasons, in case I croak while visiting. I don’t want to overstay my welcome. I think summer is on a Wednesday in July but I will have to verify that.  Maybe it’s a Thursday, I don’t know. I know it’s not much longer than a week at best.  I shall take lots of snuggly clothes with me just in case the weather turns quickly.  I’m going to see her this weekend before her departure, which will give me the opportunity to remind her that she will no longer need all those fabulous summer designer duds, so she should just leave them with me.  I will take good care of them, and make sure they are worn only in fashionable and appropriate situations.   We wear about the same size, so we might as well make the most of it, eh?  Which leads me my next question. I know they say “eh” a lot in Canada, which is CLOSE to Maine.  Does that mean they also say “eh” like they say “wicked”?  Damn, it’s like learning another language.

So to you, my big-haired fabulous friend, I wish you much love and great happiness back home where you truly belong, although it really doesn’t work for me, but whatever.   I shall love you anyway.  Expect a visitor, and make sure those sheets on my bed are high thread count. You know how high maintenance I am. Not "goodbye" but "see ya later alligator". 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The cruelty of 13 year old girls…

Having a 13 year old daughter is my greatest joy. It is also my greatest heartache on any given day. Maybe because even though I am pushing fifty years old, I can still vividly remember the nauseating angst of middle school. And if I think about it too long, I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I’ve been lucky with Tricia.  She has suffered much less than many other kids at the hands of a bullying classmate.  But I am mystified that when it does happen, it is often at the hands of someone who purports themselves to be her friend. Why is it girls are so cruel to each other?  Jealousy?  Insecurity?  Ignorance?  A ridiculous need to insert themselves into a situation all for the sake of creating drama? Probably all of the above in some form or another.  I’m not sure where these girls have learned such unspeakable meanness.  I know I have worked tirelessly to make sure Tricia understands the meaning of compassion, and indeed she is one of the kindest, most compassionate kids I know, sometimes to a fault.  That being said, I have also tried to make her understand that being a doormat is not an option, and that as long as she is doing the right thing, standing up for herself is really really important. And she does, much better than I ever did when I was her age.  Hell, I’m pretty sure I had doormat tattooed on my forehead until about 40.  

But today…today was one of those days when I could have put her friend “Dory” through a wall.  She took what was a vulnerable issue with Tricia and viciously turned it on her.  Really?  And she did it over text messages and the phone?  Apparently Dory is a gutless wonder on top of being a drama-filled insecure bitch.  Tricia was hurt, really hurt, and all because this pain in the ass of a 13 year old girl was too uncaring or too stupid to know when to shut the hell up.  I gave Tricia the “ignore her” speech. I told her that this person was not a friend.  But it seemed no matter what I said, the situation still cut like a knife in my daughter’s mind.  Have you ever wanted to grab that other kid by her long freaking blonde hair and scream “You’re such a BITCH!” to her?  Yeah, that’s where I was today.

I wish, for one hot minute, Tricia could see the girl I see…beautiful, intelligent, giving, with an acerbic wit and a sharp tongue when she wants to make her point.  There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think to myself how lucky I am to have such an incredible daughter, in spite of myself.  I know I’m never going to get that coveted “Mother of the Year” award.  In fact, I am constantly amazed she hasn’t landed in therapy by now. But every day, she becomes more and more of a fabulous young woman, and every day I thank God for giving her to me.  

I’ve told her often, these days will pass and in twenty years you won’t even remember this little tyrant’s name.  And for the most part that is true.  It’s such a blessing when we all come into our own and finally realize that the ONLY opinion that matters is our own, and to those who don’t like us, well they can just fuck off.  She’ll get there, probably sooner than most kids. But until then, all I can do is hug her tight and remind her that she is nothing less than wonderful. It comes along with being my daughter.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Perils of Using a Friend's Prescription Painkillers...

A conversation between one of my closest friends (nameless) and myself…

Me:  Hey, are you there?

Nameless Friend:  Yep

Me:  OMG, my mouth is KILLING me.  I have never had a toothache before.  Ibuprofen isn’t touching it.

Nameless Friend:  You want me to ask  [insert nameless friend’s boyfriend here] if he has any Percocet?


Nameless Friend: Yep

(a few minutes later)

Nameless Friend:  Yep, he has some. How many do you want?

Me:  Three???

Nameless Friend:  They expired last month, is that ok?

(It should be noted they could have expired two years ago, and I still would have taken them.)

Me:  No problem, I will take them. (Mouth throbbing to the point of seeing stars)

Nameless Friend: You want me to drop them off at your house?

Are you freaking kidding me? She delivers?  Hell, she would have made a hell of a drug dealer.  Hell, if I were at home when she arrived, I’d even tip her.

Me:  Oh, if you could that would be awesome!

Twenty minutes later…BAM, the contraband has been delivered.  What I did not realize is that in the twenty minutes, the ibuprofen kicked in.  All 800 milligrams of it.  Splendid.

Fast forward to this morning.  I’m searching the house of more ibuprofen, but apparently it is GONE (I could have sworn we had a huge bottle of it) and I am yet again in agonizing pain.  I think to myself, no worries, I have three handy dandy Percocet, and THAT will take my worries away.  I grab the baggie of illegal prescription drugs, take one out, and pop it in my mouth like a piece of candy. MMMMMMMM…YUMMY. Not really, but I would have eaten dirt if it would have made me feel better.  

Fifteen minutes later…

OH MY GOD I NEED TO SIT DOWN.  By this time, I am sweating, I feel like I am going to pass out, and I cannot put together a sentence.  This can’t be good.  What the hell?  I’ve taken Percocet before, countless times before my back surgery, and it NEVER affected me like this.  Holy hell, suddenly a coma was sounding like sweet relief.  I sat down and waited for the wave of dizziness and nausea to pass.  Then, it dawned on me…that one little word I totally forgot…DOSAGE.  Now let’s think – nameless friend’s hunky boyfriend is about…wait for it…220 lbs.?  He’s about 8’ tall, at least to me, and he certainly is not a human stick figure.  And I am…wait for it…5’3” on a good day and about 135 lbs.?  Yeah, I have just taken what is the equivalent of a horse pill of narcotics.  I panic.  I didn’t really feel like I was dying but I did feel like I was having an out of body experience. I really needed to get to work.  I finished my blueberry smoothie (which was doing nothing for my stomach, by the way) and decided I could make the three miles to the office, which I did, thankfully. Upon my arrival at the office, I quickly sit down to try to make the room stop spinning, and called Nameless Friend to tell her of my “situation.”  She hadn’t thought about dosage either.  Apparently NO ONE had thought about it.  I promptly tell her I have to go because I have to throw up in my office waste can.  Lovely, now my office smells like blueberry scented vomit.  Mother of God, can this day get any worse?  I laid my head on my desk and tried to make the feeling stop. I was unsuccessful. I tried to explain the situation to my boss/friend, but was having issues because of my slurred speech.  Something about blueberries, Percocet.  He, in his usual manner, shook his head and laughed at me.  He has come to expect anything but normal from me.

I did make my 11am dentist appointment (and I am proud to say I have no cavities and not really a reason for all the pain, other than the fact I needed a good cleaning.) Wonderful, I live for deep scale cleanings. By the way Ginger, my hygienist friend from high school, SAVE IT. I know what you are going to say.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you need to “borrow” prescription painkillers from a friend, you might want to cut those babies in half depending on the size.  I wouldn’t recommend going through what I went through to anyone.

That is all. I really just wanted to share my pain.  Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pope for a day...SWEET, where do I sign up???

For the record, I know my hair doesn't work with the head gear.

Ok, so the Pope is retiring.  Retiring? Really?  Who do you even write your letter of resignation to, God?  I understand the rigors of the job, the pressure, the daily chore of jamming your feet in those funny pope slippers/elf shoes. It’s got to be hell, but in a good way on some level…because of course you live in the Vatican!  Still, the stress must be exhausting, especially if you’re somewhere between freaking old and ancient.

Honestly though, I wouldn’t mind being Pope for a day. The food must be awesome and you get to have a million minions doing your bidding, not to mention an entire college of cardinals.  Hell, I wouldn’t be writing my own homilies.  That would definitely be their job, since they are a college and all.  You get a cool pope-mobile, your own jet, millions of followers.  I think I just found my dream job. I would have to become Catholic of course. I’m not thinking this will be a problem though.  I hear they are enthusiastically accepting applications.

So when I heard the Pope was retiring yesterday, I have to say I was a bit taken aback.  Yes, you are old. Yes, you may not be in the greatest of health and may walk with a cane, but you are, in fact, the Pope. Can’t you work around these things?  I’m sure they can make all sorts of special accommodations for you, not to mention some really cute nurses to wait on you and give you sponge baths.  Just delegate, my Man, delegate delegate delegate. What are they going to do?  Say no? 

I’m also not sold on his choice of retirement “homes.”  I can guarantee a monastery would not be on the top of my list.  Pretty boring, no?  You work for the Catholic church.  Really, look into some island real estate on the books.  Pick something in a warmer climate, like maybe the Caribbean or Mexico.  Both are demographically Catholic.  Hell, even Florida would be better than a place filled with nuns and monks.  Yes, there is an overwhelming Jewish population in Florida, but they sure know how to live. Find a nice sandy spot on the beach, get some sun, order a nice fruity drink in a coconut.  You can pray and tan at the same time. It’s not difficult. You just need to figure out the whole multi-tasking thing.  As a woman, I do it all the time, and once you get the hang of it, you can get so much more accomplished.

I don’t know, maybe his heart was never really in it.  He never seemed excited to be the Pope, not to mention John Paul was a tough act to follow.  Anyone would have paled in comparison to John Paul’s outstanding papal talents.  He even skied when he was Pope. I can’t remember Pope Benedict skiing one time during his entire tenure.  They’re even fast tracking John Paul to sainthood.  You’re quitting, Pope Benedict.  No gold watch for you. Have you even been there long enough to collect your pension?  Usually it takes ten years to be vested. You’re two years short.

I personally believe I would make an outstanding Pope.  First thing I would do is institute a Friday Happy Hour and wine for everyone.  I’d also change the color of those vestments to something darker so I would look thinner, and the pope shoes would have to go. Perhaps a nice pair of Pope heels (not too high, mind you) and a tiara instead of that giant Pope headpiece.  That would give me a damn headache.  And really, it’s not very attractive. Also, I'd move midnight mass back to, say 8pm, on Christmas Eve.  I don't like mass getting in the way of time with my family and friends, and cocktails.

The possibilities are endless. There would be enough room for all my friends. We could have weekend games of “Angels and Demons” or “The DaVinci Code.”  The location would be ideal for those sort of murder mysteries. However, Mondays would be my day off, no exceptions.  I hate Mondays.  I figure God doesn’t like them much either, or he would have made them more appealing overall.

Now all I need to do is figure out how to submit my resume and references. I’m a natural for the job…snicker…

Monday, February 4, 2013


I learned a long time ago that to be a better mother, wife, friend, family member, there comes a time when you must finally realize that “putting everyone before yourself” is complete and utter bullshit.

“NO” may be the single most difficult word for any woman to say, no matter what her situation. It doesn’t matter if you are a working mother, a stay at home mom, a single woman, a divorced or single mom, or just married. The ability of society to put unreasonable expectations on us knows no boundaries.  Nothing pisses me off more than society encouraging – no, wrong word – INSISTING that we put ourselves at the end of the line, and put everyone else first. Does the world have a clue how long that fucking list is? I mean, seriously, think about it for one hot moment.  I don’t know about your list, but mine takes up two pages on any given day. And God forbid you actually take a moment for yourself, then there is whole guilt thing to deal with and wrestle into submission.  I’ll be damned if anyone is going to make me feel guilty for being kind to myself. Now THAT is some bullshit right there.

Let me give you a real world example of what I am talking about.  I have a friend. For the sake of anonymity we will call her “Jane.”  Now Jane is a young divorced mom of two very energetic little girls.  She has a good job, a deadbeat ex husband, and a veritable mountain of obligations to others, so there is really no time or energy for her to keep any obligations to herself. She’s trying to get in shape, trying to find some “me” time, and last but not least, trying to maybe find a rewarding relationship with a man along the way. Sound familiar? Anyone??

Her two school-aged daughters, adorable as they are, have taken over her bedroom in the evening, so there isn’t even a quiet moment to read a book, or watch something besides Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel (both of which make me want to stick my head in an oven and turn on the gas.)  Every night they sleep with her (on the professional advice of her daughter’s therapist) so they would feel “safe”, take over her bathroom, insist that her time be given to them completely.  In the end, she was left feeling empty and exhausted. She asked my advice.  Hmmmm…let me think about this for a moment.

Well, you know me, I’m so subtle when it comes to giving my opinion, sort of like an oncoming freight train.  My first thought was “are you fucking kidding me???”  First of all, I am NOT a fan of “co-sleeping” arrangements, and in fact my daughter, now 13, has never slept with me, unless I asked her, generally when Bill is out of town and we are watching tv together in my bedroom. I was not shy to tell Jane that she needed to get her daughters out of her room, and quick, or they would be going to college and still sleeping with her.  Several of us who are older and a bit more experienced (i.e., over 40 years of age) in such things, told her “to hell with the therapist!”  Get them excited about their own bedrooms, even put them in the same bedroom to sleep so they at least have each other.  Make bedtime a routine instead of an argument. And for God’s sake, get them to use their own damn bathroom.  I think she hesitated a little, but in the end she brightened up their own bedrooms, presented the situation in a positive light, and voila!  They are now sleeping in their own bedrooms and leaving toothpaste all over the sink in their own bathroom. Did they pout?  Yep. Did they cry?  You betcha.  But Jane stuck to her guns.  Mission accomplished. GO JANE! Wait until I tell her she now needs to find a babysitter, put that bitch on speed dial, and get out of the house for some “adult time” once in a while.  That one may take a bit more work.

It’s hard to establish boundaries so that at the end of the day you have time for yourself.  My “me” time has always been immensely valuable, and I have never been afraid to take it for myself. To be honest, I’d go bonkers without it.  So many demands from every direction make it nearly impossible, but if we don’t insist that we hold back something for ourselves, then the world will just continue to take and take, until we are popping Xanax like Skittles and hiding in the closet drinking vodka out of a paper bag.  We end up sleep-deprived, unhappy with the world around us, and most of all unhappy with ourselves.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t live like that.  I can’t even think about living like that.

So my advice to you today is take time for yourself, even if it’s an hour at the gym, or a well-deserved pedicure, or hell, if it is just being alone in your bedroom with the door closed doing absolutely nothing at all.  You’ve earned it. I’ve earned it. WE HAVE ALL EARNED IT. You are not being selfish.  Taking time for yourself will make you a better mother and spouse. Trust me on this one.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Battle of the Swimwear

We love to hate it, we dread shopping for it, we are perpetually dissatisfied with the way we look in it.  I’ve always been envious of the women who can rock a bikini with complete and utter abandon.  It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when you are 5’3” and pretty much convinced you have been ten pounds overweight your entire life.  I’ve sort of made peace with the world of swimwear by arming myself with an army of sexy and elegant beach covers and dresses.  They allow for a hint of bikini without revealing the wide selection of stretchmarks that cover my hips, and my less than toned abs. 

Usually, January is not the month in which I stand in front of the mirror torturing myself with thoughts of putting on a bathing suit.  I save that special hell for late February or early March.  But a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, brought the subject to the forefront because she is heading to Florida.  She is a very tall, very athletic looking woman who actually had dropped a profound amount of weight recently, and is still adjusting to the new girl in the mirror.  I think she looks sensational. She still thinks her arms are fat and hates her legs. Today she contemplated putting on a bikini for the first time since losing weight.  I could tell from our conversation that it was not something she was looking forward to doing, and was truly worried about what other people would think.  I told her she looked fabulous, and she does.  I told her that the sexiest part of a woman’s body is her confidence, and it is. I told her if she was really worried, take the coward’s way out and buy a hot beach coverup.  She listened, and tried to believe me. I think we made progress, but you never know what is going through another person’s head.

It dawned on me, I’m really bad at taking my own advice. What a revelation! How many  times have I donned one of my bikinis for a day out on our boat, only  to stand in front of the mirror and beat myself  up for not having the body of Jennifer Anniston.  Every damn time, every damn year.  I spend a small fortune on swimwear only to have it look up at me from its spot in the drawer, taunting me.  If I manage to persuade myself to get into one, I usually stand there and pick apart every little flaw I can find.  My friend would be disappointed at my inability to take my own advice, and she’d probably give me hell for it, because she’s that kind of friend.  It’s true, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to self-deprication and self-loathing.  As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, it is my resolution to stop that self-destructive behaviour and just get on with it in a healthier, happier frame of mind. Now that the whole “swimwear” thing is in my head two months early, I shall look at it as an opportunity get a jump start on not getting thin, but getting healthy – body and mind – and hopefully that will help to change the way I look at myself in the mirror.

So here is my plan of attack.  First off, in the interest of not turning into a brittle-boned, arthritic old woman, I am going to start doing yoga.  Not the full-fledged pretzel version of yoga, since I am the most unbendy person on the planet, but a kinder gentler yoga that will allow me to start slowly and work my way up to more bendy yoga positions.  I’m not going to rush it, or push myself well beyond my limits to the point of needing traction. Believe me, I have done that many times at the gym.  Not fun.

I’m also heading back to the gym after a ridiculously long hiatus of  two years.  The best I’ve ever felt is when I went to the gym five days a week. I looked in the mirror and described myself as “strong” and “toned” and “sexy.” I haven’t done that in forever. Time to get back in the groove and do something positive for me.  But this time, I am not going to put the pressure on myself of being there every day, Monday through Friday.  It stops being fun, and becomes a chore.  I will aim for three days a week.  If I feel like going four days a week, then great, but I will no longer make it mandatory. And since I need constant motivation to keep the groove going, I am going to enlist my friend to go with me, so she can kick me in the ass when I’m too lazy to do it myself.  She already belongs to the gym I plan to join.  That solves part of the problem right there.  It’s also less than two miles from my house. Another problem solved. Wow, I’m on a roll.

So, I stand before you, ready to admit I am not in the best of shape, but ready to do something about it, and not just for the sake of losing weight.  That will be a bonus if it happens.  The name of the game is healthy – mind and body.  

Let’s do it. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

This Woman's Worth...

Sometimes in life, we struggle…sometimes we overcome.  Sometimes we just lay there, floundering, trying to find the balance in life and in all that we do.  Right now, I am floundering.

2013 begins with a lot of uncertainty in Bill’s and my future.  Bill is being laid off from his job of 32 years.  This is a tough one for him – talk about a struggle.  I am more concerned for his well-being than the financial aspect of the situation.  I make an adequate income. We are carefully planning so that by the time his job ends in September we will have nearly all of our short term debt paid off.  When you have a plan, life is a lot less terrifying, at least that has been my experience.  And while it is completely disheartening that his career at his current company is ending, we are thankful that we have been afforded a lot of lead time so that we can make the necessary preparations to weather the storm.  I keep telling him, it is not a setback, it is an adventure into the next chapter of his life.  A positive outlook does wonders.

My inability to find life’s balance comes from inside me.  I’ll be 48 years old next month – just two years away from the big 5  I’m not sure where the first 48 years have gone, but it’s been quite a rollercoaster ride.  I’ve overcome a lot of adversity in the first 48 years, and enjoyed many triumphs. I’ve made mistakes, some of them sizeable.  But I have no regrets. I own my past – good, bad or otherwise. I am the sum of my experiences and all paths to this point have led me to right here, right now.  I love my husband, my daughter, my family and friends, and my career.  I count myself as blessed in so many ways. But at the end of the day, the struggle comes from looking in the mirror and trying to find the guts to really like my physical appearance. And it comes from inside me, not from anyone else. Ok, I know I’m not “homely.” I know I have great hair and pretty green eyes. There are many things about myself that I actually appreciate, maybe even love. Yes, I have been known to dabble in botox, and spend more than my fair share on skincare, but at the end of the day, I don’t look anywhere near my age.  I don’t want to look 20. I just don’t want to look 50, so it’s all good.

In the end, my insecurity (yes, I said insecurity) comes back to the whole “weight thing.” It’s the thing that haunts me, follows me around like some sort of shadow.  It chips away at my self-worth, taunts me at every turn, and ruins my fun at the most inopportune moments - like today.  My prevailing thought when I woke up this morning? It’s a new year, summer is just around the corner, need to start worrying about how I am going to cram my ass in a swimsuit. Did I gain weight over the holidays? Are my jeans a smidge snugger than they were a week ago? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it matter? Yep, it does to me.

I look at my scale as some sort of mortal enemy that doles out my torture, one day at a time. Even when my clothes fit the same and the needle hasn’t moved, I worry. If I gain one pound, that will turn into 3 which will turn into 5, then 10, and so on. Going to a restaurant can be just as painful. What did I eat today?  Was it healthy?  Too many calories? Should I order the salmon or the steak that I really want? No, I don’t want any sauce or butter on my entree.   “Would you like dessert?” Are you freaking crazy?  Yes, I want it. No, I’m not having it.  I’ve been having these conversations in my head since high school.  I thought I was fat then. I hated myself.  Now, I look back at those photos and think to myself, “You looked great, what the hell was your problem?”  My problem?  After 30 years, I still look at myself the very same way. I never see thin, only "if I could just lose five more pounds" or "does my ass look big in this outfit?" It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting.  I’ve battled my way through eating disorders on more than one occasion in my life, and it’s still a struggle, much like being a drug addict or an alcoholic.  And with it comes shame, hopelessness, and fear that it will rear its ugly head again.  I’m tired of being afraid.

So here is my resolution for this year. This is the year I am going to find TRUE balance. I am going to stand up to the demon scale and tell it to fuck off. I’m going to “walk the walk” instead of just “talk the talk” to my daughter when it comes to self-worth and being healthy.  I am going to stop comparing myself to every size 2 woman that crosses my path and realize that I look good, REALLY good, for almost 48 years old. (I’m not owning 48 yet, I have 30 days to go before I cross that bridge.)  I am going to concentrate on being healthy, instead of being skinny, and I am going to order the cheesecake once in a while.  While I take on this challenge, I am going to document my progress in my blog, It is not always easy laying your thoughts and emotions out there for people to see, but if it helps someone else who is fighting the same battle, then it is worth it.  I know I’m not the only woman on the planet who struggles with her weight so maybe it will prove to be beneficial to someone else if I share my journey.

Have no fear, I will attempt to throw some humor into the equation, just to keep it fun. And above all, I will try to convey the positive in everything.  With the positive lies hope, and without hope…well, life just sucks, so hope part is important.

I hope you’ll bear with me on my path to a happier, healthier mind and body.  I can’t guarantee the ride will be smooth, but it should be an interesting journey this year.

And so it begins…