Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Four Years

It's Leap Day, in case you didn't notice.

I'd venture a guess that it's really only a big deal to those few people born on Leap Days.  You know, the people who've had to endure a life-long teasing session about how old they really are.  

Maybe I'm just feeling extra emotional today, or maybe I drank too much coffee this morning, or maybe I didn't get enough sleep last night, but I'm looking backwards and forwards right now.

Reflecting.  And wondering.

Four years ago, my life was very different than it is now.  

Very, very different.

I was a different person in a different place and time, with a different set of worries and concerns.  Mostly though, I was different than I am today.

I was pregnant with AJ, and had just found out that he was a boy.  My father was alive and well, without the slightest hint that anything would go wrong.   So many things were different.  Hadn't happened yet.

In other ways, too, it was a different place and time.  It was the calm before the storm.  The moments that led down a path of destruction started right about then.  Choices were made.  Bad choices.  

Choices that would alter not just the following four years, but probably the rest of them forever more.

I sit here, in 2012, looking back at that time.  I look at the things I would have done differently.  The times I would have pushed more, held back more.  The things I regret and the things I would give anything to live again.  I kick myself for so many things that happened in those four years.  I beat myself up for electing to live in denial about what I knew.  

I want to know why things happened the way that they did.  I want to know what, if anything, I could have done to prevent them.  I want to know if the lessons I've taken from these four years are done.

Then I think about where I might be four years from now and I realize almost instantly that I have no idea.

I used to have a plan for my life.  I used to be so sure.  I used to believe that I'd have a clue about what would happen in the future.  I used to.

I don't anymore.

Things don't go as planned.  Disease comes.  People are flawed.  Life doesn't care what you want.  It's almost as though I've given up trying to make plans at all anymore.

That is a hard thing for me to admit.

Right now, I'm just getting through each day.

Someday, maybe in these next four years, I'll get back to the place where I plan and I hope.  Maybe life will stop getting derailed every few months.  Maybe you'll see a different me four years from now.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

And now, for a lighter subject

I've been fired up for a few days, so I figure I should back off a little.

Just a little.

I've got a working list of topics that I keep, just in case I ever run out of things to write about.  Which like never happens.  I've always got something to say...I just won't always allow myself to do it.  It's probably better that way anyhow.

I've been reminded every day for months about something that pisses me off though.  So, I'll write about that now.  You know, to distract from me writing about the things that piss me off that are of actual importance in this world like bullying.

My makeup was discontinued.

And I didn't notice in time to stockpile it.


I'm sure that most of you out there can relate to this in some way.

I've done battle with my skin since I was about 10 years old.  Acne showed up years before I learned how to do anything right with concealers and creams.

I have spent most of my life dealing with acne, and I've got the skin to show for it.  I'd love to be one of those women who can walk out the door without makeup proudly, but I just can't.  I've never been able to do it.

Whether it's the emotional damage or the literal skin damage, my ego can't do it.

At some point in college, I discovered Clinque.  For the first time, I had a step by step instruction kit for it all. And they had the best makeup in the world for skin like mine.  It took a few tries to get the color right, but I finally settled on my shade.

Anti-aging, dewy smooth make-up in 07 Just Neutral.
this needs to come back.  now.
For years.  Decades even.

Over the years, I tried cheaper foundations when I'd tell myself I needed to spend less on makeup.  I failed every time and always came back to the only one that worked perfectly.

I'd wait until it was free gift time and I'd stock up for the year, rationalizing that if I got a bag of free lipstick and mascara, I could stomach the price of the foundation.

About a month ago, free gift time rolled around.  I checked online to see when it started and realized that there was a serious problem.  My foundation was gone.  Out of stock.   No longer sold online.

I did the next obvious thing (at least for me, someone who used to sell discontinued beauty supplies online), and checked ebay.  There it was.


Clinque replaced it with some "new and improved" foundation.

We all know that "new and improved' hardly ever is.

The reviews were abysmal, with most begging for the return of the makeup they'd also used for decades.

The canned response:  We have no intentions of selling this product again.  Our recommended substitute is ________.  The very product the users had tried in a desperate attempt to replace their much loved foundation.

I don't understand it.  I don't know why companies do this.  Raise the price a few bucks if some ingredient is harder to come by, the die-hards will gladly pay it.

I remember back about ten years ago now when Victoria's Secret did something similar.  They wanted to revamp their fragranced skin care line.  They planned to do away with their most popular scent, Vanilla Lace. Out of desperation, people (myself included) made runs on the stores to stock up (if not for themselves, for someone else).

Once that happened, VS realized they'd made a grave mistake.  It was less than a year before Vanilla Lace was back on the shelves.

VS did it, Clinique can you please do it too?

Pretty, pretty please????

Monday, February 27, 2012

No Bullying, My Ass

My kids were born in a post-Columbine world.

They are growing up just an hour away from that now-infamous school.

The school they attend, designed in that post-Columbine world, from the floor plan to the administration.

These days, schools preach about No-Bullying.  They have special classes and meetings.  Everyone in the schools goes through special training.  There are posters all over the hallways.

They talk and talk and talk about it.

If we can drill into their heads that bullying is bad, we can stop it, right?

A naive assumption at best, a dangerous error at worst.

We live in a world where children aren't allowed to play dodgeball because it may victimize them, where kids are suspended for having rubber bands (because they can be used as weapons), but the actual bullies aren't dealt with.

For fear of hurting the self-esteem of kids, for fear of repercussions from parents, for fear of rocking the boat, for lack of enforcement, for fear of god only knows what, these programs aren't working.  Not at all.

Kids are being victimized in schools every single day by bullies, and all the posters in the world aren't going to help them.
The powers that be talk a good game, sound convincing to their superiors, dispense all the required sound bytes when they need to, but they've failed at teaching the kids anything real about bullying.

Bullies are alive and well.  In many ways, they are even worse now.

In the last year, my eldest son has ended up in the principal's office three times.  Anyone who knows my son immediately questions why.  He's a big kid, but a gentle soul.

The first two times involved the same child.  A pathological liar of a child with poor social skills.   When he doesn't get his way, he lies.  He gets other kids in trouble as a hobby.  And the powers that be haven't figured this out.  My son was forced to apologize to the bully for something he didn't do.

His most recent trip to the office was an even more blatant example of the failed anti-bullying strategies.  The instigator in this instance has a history of bothering other kids.  Parents have written emails, students have told teachers and counselors.  The kid has been told to "play nice", but there haven't been any other consequences.

This gives the bully power.

No real punishment = getting away with it.

Getting away with it = upping the ante.

This time, this bully attempted to take on a group of kids that no one in their right mind would.  The biggest, the tallest, the most athletic and the scrappiest kids.  He's bold enough to take them on because he figures he can get away with it.  He knows he's messing with good kids that won't respond with violence.  He knows that the school won't do anything about it.

The inaction is making this bully worse.

It's not just this bully though.

My youngest daughter was sent to the office after she finally fought back and stuck up for herself when the adults in charge did nothing.  She got in trouble.  The bully did not.

There is at least one in every grade.   They are boys and girls.  They come from stable families and broken ones.  They are the smart kids and the ones who are struggling.  They are good at manipulating the adults around them.

One thing these bullies have in common is a shared environment that preaches about no-bullying but does nothing to stop it.

We are failing all the children, bullies included.

I'm tired of this, and I know I am not alone.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Damn You, Autocorrect

I give my brother crap all the time about his phone and it's propensity to auto-correct him constantly.

Half the time, I have to take a second and try to figure out what his texts may be about.  Sometimes I have to outright ask for a translation.  

One of the messages he's sent me more that once read "what the duck"?

You know I reply with "quack", right?

Anyway, all that teasing I do was bound to come back and bite me in the ass one day.  And it did.  Last night.

During my daughter's party, one of the girls came running up to me to tell me that the kitten had escaped from our room, and had touched her, and she was allergic.

I texted her mom a message that started with this:

Hey...So our kitten got out and rubbed against her Lehman....

I was so busy writing the rest of the text that I missed the error until I hit send.

Of course, I immediately sent another message.

Seriously, autocorrect??????
Rubbed up against her Lehman?!?!?!
I meant her leg.  Her LEG.  LOL

You don't want cats rubbing up against your Lehman.  Trust me.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I've been grounded again, brought back down to Earth.


Though it sometimes seems that everything in my life is going wrong, I know that it isn't.  I know that I have much to be grateful for, and that when I'm feeling like things are spiraling out of control, I have to reach out and hang on to the sturdy foundations of my life.  

I need to be ever conscious of the terrifying reality that every single thing in our lives can change in a heartbeat.  From one moment to the next, we can be brought to our knees.

This morning, I'm grateful for the chance to be getting ready for my little girl's birthday party.

Though my energies are here, a piece of my heart today belongs to a friend.  To her family.  To her little boy, bravely engaged in the fight of his life.

Breathe.  Just breathe.

The lessons to be learned in life never cease.  The one I've been taught today is this:

Celebrate every moment, especially the everyday ones.  

We have no comprehension of how vital they are until they are stolen from us.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Here's the thing...

As humans, we live mostly in a world of hypotheticals.

We reason a guess as to what we might do if we ever found ourselves in a certain situation.

Some people even go so far as to tease out each issue and analyze the moral, ethical, spiritual, financial, whatever ramifications of any hypothetical situations.

As someone who minored in a division of ethics, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the best course of action might be in given situations based on the morality of the options.

People do it all the time, though probably not in such a deeply analytical way.

You probably have done it a million times in your head.  We all have.

What would you do if.... caught someone stealing? caught your child stealing? witnessed a violent crime? found yourself unintentionally pregnant? found your 14 year old daughter in the same situation? had to choose whether to call 911? had to honor the wishes of a dying person? had information that could destroy someone, but knew you had to tell them? were cheated on by your spouse? were watching someone you love ruin their life? knew you were addicted to something but couldn't stop?

Unless you've been in those situations, you really and truly have no idea what you would do.  You may hypothesize what might happen, but you really have no idea.

And you have no right to judge those who've been there.  You don't know that place they are in.  You don't know how hard it really is to be faced with the choices they are faced with.  You don't know.

Be gentle to people.

Stop judging.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012....I'm only gonna say this once.

Stop sucking.

Knock it the f*&# off.



Or I'm gonna have to break a foot off.

Last year sucked in so many ways that I would be at a loss to try and write them all here.  Not that I would.  Hell to the no.

I'm saving that kind of dirt for my book deal.

But I made a deal with the cosmos, and that deal meant that this year was under no uncertain terms, ordered to not suck.

And you know what???

It sucks.

This week especially.  Just a few weeks back I was fairly certain that I'd endured the suckiest week of them all, but then no.

This one wants to compete.

Assuming that I make it to the end of this week alive and intact, outside of jail, it will be a success.

I'm setting the bar that low.

That is all.

Party on, Wayne.  Party on, Garth.

Monday, February 20, 2012


In the last 18 hours or so, I've been thinking about revenge.

A lot.

Which is bad.

I'm not that person.

Don't get me wrong, if you piss me off, you'll know it generally.  I'm not a good person to irritate.  I've got a really freaking good memory and have developed a fairly large skill set when it comes to finding information about people online.

I've been accused of being a hacker, but that's a stretch.


I'm just really good at gathering information, in the event I ever need to use it.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I try to walk the high road and let karma catch up with people.

Although, if one really believes in karma, then I must have been a really terrible person in a past life and am just being punished for it now.  So, I'm not entirely convinced that karma always arrives as it is supposed to.

Bad people skate and good people get shit on.  There's not much fairness about that.

I've dreamt of elaborate revenge schemes for some people.  I've added a couple ladies (and I use the term loosely) to my list of mortal enemies lately, and they are by far the most deserving of an imagined ass kicking.

Though, in a few cases, I wouldn't be wanting to kick an ass so much as I'd want to give these ladies a swift kick in the taco.

(Apologies if you've never heard the term "kick her in the taco" and I just introduced you to the phrase and you spit out coffee on your monitor)

It turns out that one of my newest mortal enemies is doing a fine job self-destructing on her own, so I'll just leave it at that.

And the other one.....

Let's just put it this way.  Revenge is best served cold.

Make your enemies irrelevant.  Make sure they know that you are better than them.  Make sure you look right through them.  Make sure they know that they can't touch you.  Make them irrelevant.

It's better than a kick in the taco.

Happy Monday.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Joys of Motherhood

I'm having a really hard time coming up with any topic to write about that doesn't piss me off this morning.

Not that I'm surprised.

I've been in a bad mood for a while now, and a lot of things are pissing me off in life.

I'm also very annoyed that my kids like to systematically destroy the house on a daily basis, then act like I'm the worst mom in the history of the universe when I make them clean up their own messes.

I know I'm not the only one, but dammit, there are days where it's apparent that no one else in this house does anything.  

I've attempted going on strike in the past, just to prove to the members of my family how little they do, and it's failed every time. The dishes piled up on every square inch of the counters in the kitchen bother me before anyone else even sees it.  No one thinks about folding the socks, people just start leaving the house without them.

The experiment backfired because I went insane and just cleaned it all up.

Like I always do.
Sometimes, we all feel this way inside, honest.
I was actually told by someone (who will remain nameless for their sake) that I didn't ever allow myself to see the negative aspects of having kids.

Ironic, given the fact that I'm far more often accused of being a pessimist than any sort of optimist.


I don't see the negatives?

I don't unclog the toilets and scrub the stains on the carpet?

I don't bet barfed on and sneezed on constantly?

I don't have to budget the grocery shopping and make menus and feed all these people all the time?

I don't have to shuttle every person to every place they have to go, on time, every single day?

I don't have to drag the kids out of bed in the morning and somehow get them dressed, fed and to school on time even though they are miserable small humans in the morning?

I haven't been the one holding a screaming colicky baby for hours at a time or the one holding them in the operating room as they were put under anesthesia?

I haven't been the one restraining the screamer when she needs shots?

I haven't been the one who picks up a hyperventilating child from school and sits and holds her until she can tell me why?

I don't need to see the negatives.  I live it.


I just choose to push all that aside almost all the time and love my kids because I love them.  I choose not see them as a burden.  I choose not to define them by what they take away from me.

That does not make me delusional.

It makes me a mom.

Unfortunately, this mom has a house full of mess to clean up today.

And she needs coffee.  Stat.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

You'll have to forgive me

My computer is dead. Really dead. There wasn't even the blue screen of death. It just went black all of a sudden with no warning at all.

I'm waiting for the store to open and crossing my fingers that the geek squad can fix whatever is wrong and that whatever is wrong is covered by the warranty.

In the meantime, I'm trying to write from the kindle...typing with two fingers takes a lot longer.

I waited to write yesterday since it was wtf Wednesday. Clearly, waiting was a bad choice.

Though, given the state of mind I was in yesterday, it's probably a good thing that I didn't write.

I'm at this place in my life where I find myself often wondering what the hell went wrong. I wonder how exactly I got here. What, if anything, I ever did to deserve it. And, what, if anything, I can do about it all.

Then I take a deep breath and carry on.

It's what I do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I have this theory.

Valentine's Day is just like fairy tales and the notion of happily ever after.  They fall into the category of things that are only seem attainable for people who've never had their heart broken.

Love and affection and the idea that you are the most important person in the world to someone else, all that, only rings true for the lucky ones who haven't learned the hard way yet.

Who haven't had the rug pulled out from under them.

I used to believe in those things, back when I was naive and delusional.

Now, though, I'm a realist.  Love doesn't always last forever.  People lie.  People leave.  And sometimes you don't even know they are gone.

I asked for input from my readers yesterday on their best or worst Valentine's Day ever.  Not surprisingly, the only responses thus far have been the bad ones.  I predicted that would happen, though.

Maybe it's because there is no way that any one day could ever live up to the hype, nothing could ever meet all the expectations, no one moment could ever be what it's advertised to be.  That's the problem with the mass marketing and commercialization of holidays like this one.  You shouldn't need to get flowers and chocolate to know you are loved.  You don't need overpriced meals and lingerie to be honest and true.

It's all a sham.

Real love doesn't eat chocolate or smell roses.  Real love is more than that.  Real love is what keeps you looking at him or her in a different way than you look at the rest of the world.  Real love is what keeps you up at night when they are gone.  Real love puts a little piece of them in your heart, and you carry that wherever you go.  Real love doesn't just stop because something else comes along.

Once upon a time, I believed in real love.

This is that story.

In February, 1998, I was a senior in college.  We were wrapping up school, planning a wedding and trying to decide where we would set up roots once we were married.   We were 121 miles away from each other in a pre-cell phone world.  I was going to school and working and volunteering and applying to law schools and worrying about guest lists.  Sometimes all at once.

A few days before Valentine's weekend, we'd talked on the phone and decided that I'd drive to San Diego so we could be together.  He didn't tell me what we were doing, he just told me that he had plans.

I can honestly say that night was one of the last times I've felt those butterflies as I was getting ready.

We drove to downtown and parked.  He grabbed my hand and guided me on what seemed like the longest walk I'd ever taken, though that may just have been because of the heels I was wearing.

We finally turned a corner, and he said were were here.
The restaurant we went to that night
The green awning gave it away.  The little Italian restaurant we'd driven past only about a million times, but never gone into.  The one with the menu on the easel outside and the candlelight and the small romantic tables.  The one I'd mentioned wanting to someday go to only once and he remembered.

We were here.

It was at that moment that I really started to feel like a grown up.

I'd just turned 21, he ordered me a glass of wine, and I sat across the table from the man I was about to marry.

It was, in a word, amazing.

The kind of dinner that little girls dream of being taken out to someday.

Little did I know that the night wasn't over.  We walked out of the restaurant, and I figured we could stroll around downtown for a little while.  Peek into the windows of the shops.  He glanced at his watch and said we had to go.

More walking, although this time it gradually turned faster and faster until we were practically running down the sidewalks.  I asked where we were going, he just kept telling me that we were almost there.

Then we were.

A horse drawn carriage was waiting for us.  For just a moment, I felt like a princess.  Tears of shock and happiness, of realizing just how amazing it was that he'd gone to all this trouble, of knowing in my heart that we were meant to be together, began to fall.

We climbed up into the carriage.

He laughed and smiled and told me not to cry.  He knew he'd done well.  Then he opened his coat and took something out.  It was red and folded just so.  It was a card, that he'd actually made himself.   The only card that he ever made for me.

He apologized for it, looked a little unsure about giving it to me. Seemed to regret his decision to make it instead of just buying one like he'd always done before.

I told him it was beautiful.  And it was.

It all was.

Maybe fairy tales do come true sometimes after all.

I just have to hope that they can come true more than once.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Things I learned at the Grammy's last night

I am a fan of music.  A huge fan of music.  Always have been.   Probably always will be.

And I love, love, love the Grammy's.

I am starting to wonder at what point I will start leaning towards the oldies stations, the light rock, the kind of music played by stations that cater to the 80's and 90's.  When I'll turn into an old fart who insists that the music of "my generation" is better and stop trying to be cool and current.  I hope I don't.  At least not for a while.

I have a decent amount of friends who've made that transition already.  Who have given up trying to figure out who Nicki Minaj is, and just express shock and outrage when she puts on a show like she did last night.  Incidentally, I have no idea what the point of that performance was myself.  I like her generally, but I really have no clue what that was all about.  Obviously, it was a statement on her views of the Catholic church, but without more investigation I can't really offer any other insight.  Suffice to say, I'm pretty sure she pissed off a lot of people last night.
L.L. Cool J irritated a group of people too, but only because he referred to Paul McCartney as "Sir O.G., my homie".  I'm pretty sure there is not now, nor has there ever been anything even remotely gangster about the Beatles legend.

At least I'm not young and oblivious enough to tweet my lack of knowledge about who Sir Paul is, like all these people.
Adele was magnificent and proved to the world that talent comes in all sizes.  That, and real talent doesn't need back-up dancers and obnoxious costumes and fireworks and light displays.

Katy Perry and Taylor Swift made it clear that if you break their hearts, you're going to end up the subject of a song.

Coldplay demonstrated their deep affection for fluorescent paint and black lights.
The Foo Fighters rocked hard in the parking lot, like every good rock band should.

Jennifer Hudson broke everyone's heart by singing a beautiful tribute to Whitney Houston.
Speaking of divas, I was a little surprised that there wasn't a song tribute to lifetime achievement winner, Diana Ross.  Last year, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Florence Welch and Yolanda Adams tried to out sing each other during the tribute to Aretha.

I'm proud of Diana for not throwing a diva fit.  She could have climbed up on stage all Kanye-like and demand that she be properly recognized.  Good for you, girl.

Chris Brown performed not once, but twice...proving that if you can sing a catchy song, eventually the industry will forgive the fact that you beat up your infinitely more famous and talented girlfriend. Sadly, I came across a story online this morning about the twitter reactions to his performances.  There are more than a few girls out there who claim that they'd love the chance to be his girl...even if he wants to beat them.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be victims.

Seriously.  What is wrong with people?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Where do broken hearts go?

Whitney Houston died yesterday.

They haven't released the cause of death, of course, but it's almost as if they don't need to.  Everyone knows how much she has struggled with addiction.

It's not all that different than when Amy Winehouse died.  Or Michael Jackson, for that matter....though his addiction had clearly progressed past the point where he could satisfy his cravings without involving other people.

It's not a surprise.  It's not a shock.

It is, however, still very much so a tragedy.

There have been so many comments already from people who refuse to mourn her loss because she did this to herself.  About how she should have been more serious about her treatment and getting off drugs sooner.  About how we shouldn't waste our time being sad that she is gone, some even going so far as to turn this into a teachable moment for their children.

I'm not arguing that this shouldn't be a lesson.  A warning.  A cautionary tale to all the young people out there who still think they are invincible and can't see the dangerous path that addiction can take.  Who can't understand the seduction of fame and money and power.  Who can't see that with all that comes pressure and stress and judgement from others in society.  Some bend under that pressure, and once the addiction cycle begins it's hard to stop.  It should be a teachable moment, but it should be a teachable moment in humility and compassion for the human condition as much as it's a teachable moment about drug use.

Her death is still a tragedy.

I live in a world where people die because of their addictions.

While their deaths may not have always been related to illicit drugs, I've known many people who were ultimately the victims of their own addictions or those of someone else.

Cigarettes killed my father.

My uncle was killed by a teenage girl, who crashed head on into him while driving while high and drunk.

A few others in my past died after they fell into a bottle and never found the way out.

Some got their adrenaline highs from engaging in dangerous hobbies, and met their end that way.

I've seen sex addicts end up with AIDS, and I spent years helping them write their wills.

Unhealthy food choices have killed others.

Even something as simple as getting attention from others can be an addiction.  I've seen that one up close and personal, and it's far more destructive than you'd imagine unless you've lived it.

Addiction is a serious issue.  It doesn't always present itself in a sordid little box, tied up with a bow that protects all us "normal" people from it.  It doesn't just affect actors and musicians and other famous people.

It can happen to anyone.

It can happen to anyone.

It can happen to anyone.

I can't say that enough.

My challenge to all you out there today is to demonstrate compassion for her.  To listen to her music again and realize what a damn shame it is that she's gone.  To stop the rush to judgement that always comes with these situations.  To take a real good look around in your life and realize that addiction is closer than you think it is, that it's destruction is legitimate, and that you may be staring at it in the mirror without wanting to see it.

She was a flawed and troubled soul, but that doesn't make her any less worthy of your compassion, of your basic humanity.  Nor does it make anyone else with an addiction less worthy.

People who have never had an addiction don't understand how hard it can be. ~Payne Stewart

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Year One

A year ago just now, my father turned the corner.

We knew that it was really time.

I'm grateful that the time spent there was short, that it wasn't long and drawn out.  That he was able to be up and going, alert and aware almost right up until the end.

He was still him even that night and morning, stubborn and brave.

A wise friend told me today that as hard as it will be to get through this time right now, I will never have to be in this place ever again.

A glance across the room, and an understanding.

She's walked this path.

She's been here.

I have to trust that she is right.

I also have to be better about listening to the advice of the first most important man in my life.

It doesn't matter if you succeed, just do your best.

Take care of yourself or you're no good to anyone else.

Do what you love.

Hug those babies every single day.

Keep writing.

I miss him, and I know that I always will.  I also know that I will be forever grateful that I was his little girl.  And when I look up to the sky, he'll know that I'm thinking of him.

I know he wouldn't want me to be sad, he wouldn't want me writing much about how things were for him at the end.  So, instead, I will share the words I spoke at his funeral again.  These words flowed directly from my soul onto the paper effortlessly for one reason only.  This is the way he wanted us to remember him.

Before I begin, let me say thank you to everyone for all your help, thoughts, prayers and more over the last year and a half. Each and every one of you has touched our lives in a way that we will never be fully able to express our gratitude for. Thank you.

We are here today, again in the middle of February, the hardest month for our family. 11 years ago, my Uncle Donnie passed, and it’s been 24 years for my grandfather, all within the same week. And again, we are here to celebrate the life of a man, gone too soon.

He was the third in a family of seven children, born to a man who believed that we could one day fly to the moon. He was a high school track star, one who held onto some of his records for decades. He was a guy who always loved a fast car. He was a business owner for over 35 years and took great pride in his work.

He was a son, a brother, a husband, a friend, a father and a grandfather. But he was so much more than that. He was his sister’s dance partner. He was his nieces’ godfather. He was the love of my mom’s life. He was my brother’s best friend. He was and still is the tooth fairy. And he was my Daddy.

He lived and he died on his own terms, that’s just how he was. Never one to let anyone or anything dictate things for him. Even in his final weeks, he defied the conventional wisdom of hospice. He refused every increase in pain medications, it always took some amount of convincing. He had to make his own choices, all of them. He wanted to be in control of his thoughts, and he was willing to sacrifice bodily pain to do it.

I could stand before you today and speak about his strength and resolve in his last year, but I won’t. He wouldn’t want it that way. He hardly wanted anyone to know he was sick at all. He didn’t want people to know how bad it was. He didn’t want or need anyone’s sympathy. And as much as I have spent the last month trying to honor his wishes, I will continue to do so now.

Instead, I will tell you stories. Stories about him and his life and the things that he loved.

Mom and Dad met and fell in love in high school. They broke up around the time that they graduated, Dad headed to trade school and Mom to college. It wasn’t until a chance meeting between Mom and Grandma Helen in a department store four years later that they both realized how much love they still had for one another. Mom had just called off a wedding weeks before, and was set to go on the trip that was supposed to be her honeymoon with a girlfriend. When she stepped off that plane, Dad was there. He told her that he was never going to let go of her again, and they immediately drove to her parents’ house to tell them that they were getting married. They have been together ever since.

When I was a rebellious teenager on a boy crazy streak, rather than express his ever-mounting frustration with me, Dad tried the reverse psychology of parenting. He pretended to like the guy I was dating at the time even though he couldn’t stand him. Dad came home from work one day and told me about some young man he’d seen in the waiting room of one of the dental offices that afternoon. Then he thought out loud, wondering why I couldn’t just pick nice boys like that. A few hours later, the doorbell rang, and it was the same young man who had been sitting in the waiting room. Dad knew then that he could never again complain about who I chose to love, and that young man became my husband. Be careful what you wish for, Dad.

When my son Aidan was in preschool, the kids were learning about the jobs that grown ups have. One day in the car, he started asking me what everyone in our family did. Some were easy, my brother in law is a firefighter, my father in law a policeman. I tried to find words to describe each job so that Aidan could understand. When I got to Dad, I wasn’t quite sure how to explain what a dental technician did, so I just said that Grandpa made new teeth for people who lost theirs. Aidan sat in the back seat of the car quiet for a few minutes, then asked in complete seriousness if Grandpa was the tooth fairy. My immediate response was yes. Of course Grandpa is the tooth fairy. I’ve never heard my Dad laugh as hard as he did that evening when I called to inform him of his new duties. It is a job that Grandpa still has today, he just has a halo to go with his wings now.

When Dad was first diagnosed with cancer, he started to assemble a bucket list. His list wasn’t like the ones in the movies, there were no trips planned, sights he needed to see. The only things on his list had to do with us, the people he loved. The first item on that list, he wanted to see the baby that my sister in law was pregnant with at the time born. It was put in jeopardy there for a bit when he fell ill last February and ended up in the ICU, but he fought his way back and greeted his fifth grandchild with joy just a few weeks later. The second item on his list was something he hadn’t been able to experience in too long. He wanted all of us to be together, at home, on Christmas. And he wanted a real tree. Though it was a complicated journey we will never forget, my husband and I got the kids here from Colorado just in time. The final item on Dad’s list, yes there were only three, was a late addition. Once he’d met Riley, he knew that he needed to be here long enough to see Riley walk. Riley took his first steps just days before Dad was placed on hospice. His list was complete, and just in time. 

A few nights ago, Mom found a letter that Dad had written to her the night before he was sure his draft number would be pulled, in the spring of 1971. It’s two pages of hand written beauty, and I will share with you some of the words he wrote.

Keep your chin up, little darling
Keep your pretty head held high.
Things will work out as we planned, dear.
So sweetheart, please don’t cry.
As the tears begin to fall,
And she looks up towards the sky
There’s a face upon the clouds
And he’s saying please don’t cry
Though I must leave you now
It’s only just a little while
She beheld his dear sweet face
And upon it was a smile
There were angels all around him
They all sang a heavenly tune
And as he faded away he said
Keep your chin up little darling
We’ll be together someday soon

I find myself looking up at the sky almost constantly since he left us. I know that’s where he is. When I was a little girl, he used to tell me how much he envied the birds for their ability to fly.

I know you are up there now Daddy, enjoy the view.

Daddy, you were never one for long goodbyes, you would just get up and leave all of a sudden. You left us the last time the same way, and I’m going to do it here too.

Keep an eye on us all, we’ll still be needing you from time to time. Especially when someone has a wiggly tooth.

I love you.


Though it may not seem like it on the outside, I feel like I've been teetering on the edge of insanity for a while now.

Just barely keeping the crazy bottled up.  Every so often I can feel it rising to the surface, and so I shove it down further.  I tell it no.

Not right now.

I can't.
To quote Pink,
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don't care?

I have.  A lot lately.

I put on a good show.  Most people have no idea what a mess my life really is these days.  And most of those who think they know really only know a part of it.

There's more.  Much more.  More than I'll ever write about here.

Maybe someday I will, in another place and time.  Maybe I'll tell the world why life isn't fair and why there really should be a limit on how many tragedies one person should be forced to deal with at a time.


There are a handful of people who know just exactly what has been going on.  Some have been my unwavering supporters.  Some have asked me questions that I don't even have the answers for myself.   Some have been less than what I'd hoped.  Others have failed me completely.

Which is good, I suppose.  Better to know anyway.

Sometimes you've got to hold someone up to the fire to test them.  To see what they're really made of.

After the fires I've been held up to, I'd have to say that I'm pretty damn durable.

Takes a lot to knock me down.

If nothing else, this year has taught me that I am far stronger than I ever thought I could be.

That, and I'm funny as hell when I'm hurting.

Thank you all, and a BIG welcome to my newest readers.   :)

I can't promise that I'll always be funny.  I can't promise that I'll never make you angry.  I can promise to bring you on this journey of my life, though.

It's one hell of a ride.  I think it's worth coming along.  xoxo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WTF Wednesdays

Yeah, so I didn't write anything today yet.

I've been too busy trolling the internet for weirdness, then bleaching my eyeballs, then repeating.

The things I do for you people.

Over on my Facebook page, I've started WTF Wednesdays.

You have no idea what you're missing if you aren't over there.  And....I'm *this* close to 200 fans, so it'd be nice to grab a few more followers today.  Wink, wink.

I'll heart you forever.

Then I'll show you pictures of things that shouldn't be seen, or shouldn't exist.  Or that are just freaking hilarious.

Like this.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Sometimes I actually run out of things to say.

I know, right???

Bet no one saw that coming.

It's not really true, anyway.  I always have plenty to say, but I've gotten marginally better at telling myself to shut the hell up from time to time.

Okay, let me restate that.

Sometimes I actually run out of things that are appropriate for me to write about in this blog.

That's better.

I have had terrible insomnia lately, mostly a result of the fact that I can't seem to shut my brain off at night.  Constantly over thinking and over analyzing, I am.

Plus, this week is one of those times in my life where I'm really just about getting through it.  If I can emerge on the 15th of this month with my sanity intact, I really deserve a medal of some kind.

I do not like the first half of February.  Period.

For now, I'm searching the internet for something insanely inappropriate to share with you all tomorrow on my Facebook page.  WTF Wednesdays is a hit, so it appears.

I knew I wasn't the only one with a very strange sense of humor.

Welcome to my crazy roller coaster.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Your halftime show, on Metamucil

Yeah, I said it.

I am a fan of Madonna.  80's Madonna, that is.  Loved most of 90's Madonna and a few of her songs after y2k.  I liked her when she was an edgy rebel with fishnet stockings and fingerless gloves.  When she was a recovering Catholic sexual controversy in heels.  When no one knew what to expect out of her and network censors cringed every time she stepped on a stage.

I liked her then.

Before she picked up her fake British accent and deemed herself musical royalty and started acting like a diva queen.  It is so contrived.

Madge, you're from Michigan.

Which, the last time I checked, was NOT in Europe.

If you live under a rock, you missed her halftime performance at the Superbowl yesterday.

BTW, thanks a lot, JT and Miss Janet.
If your nipple is all dressed up, it's not a malfunction.
Just saying.
You two have ensured that the halftime shows will only be headlined by those over 50 for the rest of forever.  No nip slips in that age group, fo sho.

As I had hoped, she opened with Vogue....which is definitely in the top 5 of her best songs ever.  The show went straight downhill from there.

After she was brought in by men dragging her chariot across the field, she mounted the stage and tried to prove to everyone that she can still dance like she could 20 years ago.  She can't.  And I'd make the argument that no one expects her to be able to.  She looks great for her age, probably due to a combination of her strict diet and exercise regimen and a little help from the needle and scalpel folks, but she is still in her 50's....even if she seems a bit in denial about it.

When she stumbled on the stairs, I gasped audibly.  Honey.  Get down.  The fact that you're trying to dance in heels is admirable, but there is no need to perch yourself in bleachers just to make a point.

I had a feeling she'd sing her new terrible song, and she did.  And she played the role of a cheerleader in it.

Say what????

Madge.  Sit down a sec, okay?  You aren't this girl.  You were never this girl.  Don't try to become this girl at this point in your career.

I was slightly relived to see her joined on stage by some more current singers, Nicki Minaj and MIA, but quickly pointed out that there was no way either one of their microphones were live.  They'd be lip syncing for sure.  There is no way that the NFL peeps would let either of them say anything.

Nicki's got a potty mouth, and MIA is a dirty girl with no shame about it.  (which, incidentally, I love about her).  And....girl rapped on the stage of the 2009 Grammy's 9 months pregnant.
Mad props for the baby mama.
Can't keep a bad girl down though.

MIA flipped the bird and mouthed "I don't give a ****" to the camera.

For the moment, you are supposed to ignore the fact that coaches and players on the field routinely say these words loud enough for the microphones to pick them up.  When the mics don't work, lip reading will do just fine.  But for some reason, that's okay.  Just can't do it on a stage.

And showing women's body parts during the commercials is perfectly acceptable as long as the sponsors pay for the ad time, even if it essentially amounts to porn.  If you want to see more, go online. Yeah...that's the message I want my kids to see.  Oh, and if you buy flowers, you'll have a Happy Valentine's Night.  ;)

That's totally different.  Women can be exploited to sell cars and websites and flowers, but can't say bad words or choose to show their own bodies to make a statement.  Uh, huh.

Guess this means that next year's halftime show will be brought to us by Metamucil, and that no one under the age of 50 will be allowed anywhere near the stage, let alone on it.

I know when I'll take my potty break.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another New Year

If I was smart, I would have waited a week or so to start my silly 30 days of random questions.  If I'd have thought it through, I would have extended it so that the next week was included.

I could use mindless amusement.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  Normally I wouldn't care a whole lot about it, even though I am officially about to be moved involuntarily from the 18-34 demographic.  My birthday has never been a big deal.  Mostly because I'm the mom, and no one ever makes a big deal about the mom's birthday.

Which, normally, is fine, truth be told.

I don't need anyone celebrating the fact that I'm getting older.

The thing is, though, that this year is different.  It's not different because of what is going on right now so much as because of what was going on this time last year.

There were all kinds of things going on last year.

Some I'd rather forget forever.

Others I wish I could recapture.

The morning of my birthday last year, I was in California.  My father was getting weaker and weaker by the moment, but he woke up that morning and put on his happy face.  He showered and declared that we were going out to breakfast.

Then he walked over to me, gave me a hug and told me that I'd given him the gift that year just by being there.

Little did I know that he'd be gone only a few days later.  I had no idea what the rest of that year would hold for me, and frankly it was probably better that way.

The 34th year of my life is ending today, and I'm really okay with that.

I wanted to take this time to welcome my new readers.  To thank those of you who've been here a while.  To applaud those of you who've been here from the beginning.  And to tell those of you who know the real me and can read into the true meanings of my posts that I love you.

Thank you.

Tomorrow, for me, is a new start.

Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

30 Days of Random Questions, Day 30

Day 30: What were you doing the last time you had a really good laugh?

Not just a chuckle or a giggle, but a laugh that reminds you of your abdominal muscles. The kind of laughing that involves snorting, crying or peeing your pants. The kind of laughing where you can't help it, you can't suppress it, and you laugh now just thinking about it.

My answer is an easy one.

I was with a few friends one night last week.  They know that they can always count on me to find wholly inappropriate things for them to look at online. It's kinda my thing. I'm actually starting a WTF Wednesday series on my facebook page....which you should follow if you aren't already. All kinds of funny going on over there.

Anyway, this thing that I showed them made them all laugh pretty hard. Many asked why. Phones were turned in all different angles to see what exactly it was they were looking at.

All I can say is that there is a damn good reason bike shorts should be black.
Oh, and you're welcome.

Friday, February 3, 2012

30 Days of Random Questions, Day 29

Day 29:  Would you rather give up internet access or driving?

I read a disturbing article a few months ago about how teens are more interested in smart phones and internet access than driving. Now, there is a trend towards kids not getting their licenses until they are 17 or 18.

Man, have things changed.

Just more proof that the kids of the 80's were way more awesome than kids today.
Hell yeah.
Oh, and get off my lawn.

When I was a teenager, you know, in the times of the dinosaurs, we got our licenses on our birthdays.


You made that appointment months in advance.  You were getting that license on the very first day it would legally be allowed.  If you were lucky, your parents picked you up from school and took you early enough in the afternoon that you could celebrate your freedom that day by driving around nowhere in particular.  It didn't matter where you were going.


Remember the first time you drove out of town by yourself???  The freedom?  The open road?  

For us, the pinnacle of teenage awesomeness was the first time you got to drive to the beach with your friends.  Doesn't get much better than that, to be honest.  

You could listen to the music as loud as you wanted.  You could take the long way home.  You could race cops in the early morning hours.  (shhh, don't tell my kids I ever did irresponsible things like that)

But these days?  

They'd rather have the newest iphone, they'd rather have avatars and virtual identities, they'd rather tweet every mundane detail about their lives, they'd rather take horrendously tacky pictures of themselves making the duck face in bathroom mirrors.  
Zoolander did it best.  Oh, and this was a comedy,
not an actual attempt to look sexy.
I don't get it.  I'd much rather be able to drive.

It must be because I was raised with the dinosaurs.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

30 Days of Random Questions, Day 28

Day 28:  Target or Wal*Mart?

No, I'm not even entertaining the other possible options.  KMart is rapidly approaching extinction, and most of the other stores of this nature are regional.  

I'm also not even entertaining the possibility that there is more than one correct answer to this question, at least for myself.


All the way, baby.

I was just there, actually.

I go to WalMart only out of necessity.  There are a few things that you really can only get there, like the filters for our old aquarium.  And some stuff is just so much cheaper there that it's hard to rationalize going other places, like fabric.  Other than that, though....I try to avoid the place as much as I try to avoid the plague.

Because, well, if there is a plague coming, you know it's getting spread around by WalMartians.  

WalMartians = the people of WalMart.  You know they aren't normal.

There is an entire website devoted to the weirdness of WalMart.  I'm really not making this up.

When the Target here closed for a few months while they were converting it to a SuperTarget, you know my pretentious ass drove to other cities to go to Targets rather than hit Wally World, right?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

30 Days of Random Questions, Day 27

Clearly, these are the kind of questions I need to be asking.  They elicit a far more impressive response than my deep, thought provoking philosophical ones.

Besides, it's too early for deep thoughts.

So, here you go.

Another question of literally no significance, which I'm sure you all have a firm answer on.

Day 27: Coke or Pepsi?

For me?  This isn't even a question.

The only version of Pepsi I can stand is Pepsi Max.  And that's only when I'm desperate.

Coke, all the way.

I have this thing for it, you see.

I'm pretty sure they still infuse all Coke products with cocaine.  That stuff is freaking addictive.   

I try to limit myself to one Diet Coke a day.  It has to be stored in the basement, purely as a deterrent.  I have to think twice about my soda consumption if I have to go downstairs to get it. 

And the regular, full octane Coke?  God bless America.  

I stay away from it intentionally because it's so bad for me.  And because I like it a lot.  For reals.  I seriously like it a lot.  

So much that I was, in a sick way, glad that I got food poisoning this week.  It wasn't my fault that my stomach was upset.  The only thing that will settle it when it's that bad is a huge bubbly Coke, preferably with the little tiny crushed ice balls of awesome from Sonic.  

My mother in law got me a bottle of Coke for Christmas.  She gets my crazy.  It's mine.  Allllllll mine.  

Don't even think about touching it.

I will cut you.

I'm saving it for a rainy day.

Or when I need to go on a bender. 

Either way.

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