Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Remember last week's post about the family trip to Wildwood?  Wasn't that heartwarming?  Yeah...  Here's a glimpse of what 18 year olds do down there.

It was 1994 and just a few short days past my 18th birthday.  A ridiculously large portion of my senior class decided to go down the shore for Memorial Day Weekend.  If there was Twitter and texting and such when I was in high school, it would have been DTS 4 MDW (cool, right?).  Rooms were booked, bags were packed, cars were loaded up and off we went.

When we checked in to what was one of the most disgusting hotels I ever recall staying in, we were informed by management of the rules.  No outside guests (and we had to wear wristbands to prove we belonged there), no parties, no alcohol.  OK, chief, whatever you say.  We were barely into our room when the booze was broken out.  I truly don't know where it came from or who got it for us, but I was surely drunk by 3pm.

A girl from another room that none of us knew, later dubbed Crazy Chrissy, ended up partying with us for quite some time.  I know she existed because I have pictures of her.  Despite the fact that we drunkenly proclaimed undying love for our new friend and our pledge to keep in touch after the weekend, I don't think any of us ever heard from Crazy Chrissy again.  I might still have her number in my scrapbook. Maybe I should call her.

Much of that weekend is a blur, due in large part to the drinking.  I'm sure that we were loud and stupid and obnoxious.  I'm sure I looked totally slutty, too, because that's what you do when you're 18, there are no parents and you are too stupid to realize how slutty you look.

During the day we laid out on the beach working on our tans.  There was baby oil.  Then there was sunburn.  I remember playing beach volleyball for what seemed like hours and I blame this for the worst sunburn I've ever had.  My shoulders ended up so inflamed that I could not lift my arms more than a few inches and I couldn't wear a bra for days.  The bra thing wasn't so much an issue since I didn't grow breasts until college.  Not using my arms was sort of a problem.

I have an enormous forehead.  It's so large, in fact, it's been referred to as a five-head.  In any event, because my hairline starts where a middle aged man's does, my forehead burns very easily.  The burn on my face rivaled the burn on my shoulders.  When it began to heal and the charred, leathery skin it left behind began to peel, it conveniently did so in the shape of the Bat Symbol.  It was a real conversation starter.

On our second night there, between the sun and the drinking and the poor nutrition, I ended up with the mother of all migraines.  I recall being on the top of the ferris wheel with a friend and hitting that point where I knew it was time for me to head home.  I don't really remember going back, though I'm pretty sure someone walked with me.  My room was locked and I didn't have the key.  Luckily one of my good friends was in the room next door and she said I could sleep there.  She was hanging out with her boyfriend.  Any other time I would have declined this offer, but I was in so much pain I agreed to lie down for a while.

The next morning, I was advised that it had been quite an eventful night!  The police showed up, checking rooms for alcohol.  I was so passed out that despite the officer shining a flashlight in my face, I did not wake up.  My friends explained that I wasn't on drugs, that I just had a migraine.  The police left.  I'm not sure how they didn't find all the alcohol in the room or why they weren't concerned about the unconscious teenager with the flimsy excuse.  After the cops left, my two friends decided I was clearly asleep enough for them to get frisky.

They proceeded to have sex in the other bed while I slept.  Even now, I'm a bit creeped out by this notion.  I'm a deep sleeper and all, but since I remember about 12% of that night and even that may only be based on the stories others have told me, in hindsight, I'm wondering if someone slipped me a mickey!

The rest of the weekend was more of the same, with a bunch of high school seniors acting like drunken idiots.  Ferris Wheel Guy and I pretended to have sex in the giant motel room window (fully clothed, of course, lest we appear as though we had no class).  Another guy snuck into the bed I was sleeping in with several other girls.  I woke up to him trying to spoon me. I punched him and made him sleep on the floor.  He wasn't a creep though, so somehow it was funny and I had to give him credit for trying.

We took a ton of pictures - one of my friend pretending she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer (from the movie, not the TV show), another of a friend who could not bend since the entire back of her body was sunburned.  Pictures of a Ferris Wheel/Window Sex Guy with a tampon in his mouth.

One of the really cool guys later told me that he didn't know I could be as cool as I was that weekend and he wished he had actually talked to me in high school instead of just being a jerk to me the whole time.  Having my coolness measured based on alcohol consumption sure was validating.  Thank goodness I had that little exchange or else who knows where I would have ended up in life, you know?

My Memorial Day Weekends are much calmer now, with family BBQs and such.  We get together on Sundays so that we can rest on Monday before the short work week takes a toll on us.  But every year, I think about the events of 18 years ago.  Our wild, carefree days.  I smile.

And then I think that if my kid ever asks me to go down the shore for Memorial Day Weekend with his friends during his senior year, I will let him go so that I seem like a cool mom.  But I will follow him down and stay in a nearby hotel and stalk him the entire time.  And then if he acts like a jerk I will yank him out of there by his ear so fast his head will spin and everyone will know that his mom, despite appearances, is absolutely NOT cool.

I'm linking up again with Yeah Write - A wonderful community of writers and bloggers.  Click on the badge below to read some great reads, then return on Thursday to vote for your 5 favorites!

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

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Friday, May 25, 2012


"Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone." - James Taylor, Fire and Rain.

I'm singing this song today.  But by "they" I mean all of the calendars and by "you" I mean my early thirties.

Turning 36 isn't so bad.  It is cool that it's one of those ages where the first digit is exactly half of the second digit, so that's fun.  Generally speaking, I like when one number is odd and the other is even.  Two even digit years or two odd digit years sort of creep me out.  I like one of each digit.

The problem with being 36 is that I feel like I'm actually 86.

I think what burns me the most is that I could sit here and write a post about all the things I want to accomplish this year, but I could just as easily point you towards old New Year Resolution posts or the one I wrote a while ago about getting my health in order.  They would all read the same.

One thing I did that I really wanted to do with 35 was get the writing thing going.  I've written that into the ground.  You can thank me later for not flogging that dead horse any longer.  For now anyway.

Other than that though, nothing.  I have no accomplishments to rave about.  I had considered doing a birthday post of 36 random acts of kindness, similar to ones of I've seen floating around the internet, but that sounded exhausting.  Seriously, thirty SIX nice things?  In one day?  I'm not a super-woman, you know.

Another blog post title I toyed with: 36 By 36.  This was before I was attempting to make all of my blog post titles only one word.  By the way, did you notice I do that?  Aren't I clever?  Yes, I'm SO unique.

Anyway, the post would have been the play-by-play of 36 (pounds lost) by (age) 36.  However, I would have had better luck with a post about (eating) 36 (thousand burritos) by (age) 36.

I told all of my kid's friends at school that I turned 21 and one "adorable" little girl said, "Aren't you supposed to be OLD?"  I said, "Oh, I AM old honey, trust me."  She giggled.  I think she was laughing at me.

So what will 36 bring?  I don't know.  I have some hopes for the year, some I want to change my life this way or that way dreams.  Maybe this can be the year I dream less and do more.  Or hire people to do for me (like clean the house, that could work).  No really, I need to do stuff I can't hire people for.  It's a long boring list of stuff.  I assure you it won't do me any favors to blog about it at this juncture...

For now, 36 is going to be like 35.  I'm going to vacuum my house, marvel at and complain about the massive amounts of dog hair I suck up.  Then I'll ask the very original question of the dog, "Dexter, seriously, how do you have ANY fur left on you??"  He will pant and walk away.

Here's to another year.  Happy birthday, Me.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Bump Life about judging myself as a parent and I’m excited to welcome Buckley from Little Orso to The Journey.

My name is Buckley, and I have a blog called Little Orso.  My blog focuses on finding amazing products for children, especially little boys (the industry seems to be so much more girl driven, so it is really hard to find great items for little boys).  Luckily for my readers I live on the internet and am obsessed with online shopping.

The best part of taking part in this blog swap is getting to discover great new blogs.  I not only have a blog, but I am a huge blog fan and spend at least an hour a day reading blogs.  Blogs are great…they give you a glimpse into someone else’s mind!!  Some days you will relate to what is posted, and other days you will learn something new and exciting!! 

Getting to know The Journey has been a great experience.  Michelle and I have a lot of similarities, and I have had a great time reading her listsJ  This is why I thought it would be fun to do a post that blends both of our worlds…lists and shopping!!

I am one of those people that can not leave the house without my purse.  I also have a hard time narrowing down what should be in my purse.  There are many days that I end up with a second tote bag with my “overflow”. J  Recently I decided enough was enough, and decided to really evaluate what I really need to bring with me.

So here is my Top 10 List of Purse Necessities!!!

1. Lipgloss- I can not live without lipgloss.  I would love to bring an entire display of colors with me so I could change the shade according to the time of day, my outfit, my mood etc… This is why I really love the Mark Cosmetics Glo Baby Glo Lipglosses.  You can connect any two colors together, with the use of the connector. (Mark gives you a connector for free with any two Hook Up purchases.  Hook ups are any Mark products that can be connected together).  I usually connect two lip glosses, a light one for daytime and a darker shade for evening.

2. Kleenex Splash and Go Moist Wipes- I use these all day long.  I am a bit of a germaphobe, and I tend to eat on the run.  I use these when I can’t wash my hands, or when something spills in the car.  I also used to use these to take off eye make up, after a late night out. Now that I am older and married with kids there are not as many late night outings, at least with heavy eye makeup!! I find myself using them more now to clean grimy baby hands, wipe noses, clean baby toys that fall out of the car, and changing diapers on the go.  These are also great for cleaning the bottom of your purse, and cellphone!! Dr. Oz has scared me into doing this every few days!!!

3.Kindle Fire- I have written multiple blog posts on my love for the Kindle Fire.  My family literally fights over it.  I listen to books on tape on it, read magazines, check email, play games, make to do lists, and download tv shows for my son.  I never leave home without it.  When we have an in car melt down, I just turn on Yo Gabba Gabba and he immediately calms down.  They sell great mounting accessories (they are really inexpensive), so that you can hang the Kindle in your car like a tv screen.

4. Travel First Aid Kit- I love this little box.  It has everything I need in it for an emergency (Advil, Bandaids, alcohol wipes…), and all stashed in this adorable little box.  I actually bought this at a hotel that I stayed at.

5.  Burt’s Bees Hand Sanitizer- This stuff smells so good, and kills germs.  It is alcohol free, so it actually moisturizes your hands instead of drying them out like the others.  I read an article that this was the only safe sanitizer to use so I went out and bought it, and I am so in love.  Staying germ free has never been so refreshingJ

(Yes, I have two items to keep our hands clean, I told you I was a germaphobe ;) )

6.  Travel Flats- I bought the cutest flats at Target that roll up into a tiny bag.  They are great for when I wear wedges or heels and need to change into something more comfortable.  Not to mention they are really cute!!!

7.  Colgate Wisps- These little travel toothbrushes are amazing!!  You never want to have something in your teeth, or bad breath.  You don’t need water or anything, besides the brush.   They even come with whitening treatments in them now!!

8.  An Extra Pair of Sunglasses- I live in my sunglasses!!  I have really sensitive eyes, so I can’t even go out to get the mail without them on.  This is why I can not leave home without a back up pair!!!  A pair of sunglasses can change your whole look, so I have a few different styles.  For the last two years I have been obsessed with my oversized Marc Jacobs Sunglasses.  I am barely getting any sleep, so anything that covers a lot of my face is very appreciated!!;)

9. 100 Calorie Packs- I am always hungry!!  Especially in the car for some reasonJ  When I was pregnant I started making sure that I always had food in my purse…this habit has stuck around past the pregnancy.  I really love the 100 calorie packs from Ritz Crackers.  It is a mix of Chex, Cheezits, mini Ritz Crackers, and Pretzels…Yummm!!!

10. A Cute Scarf- Ok this is probably my most used item!!  For me it never fails that I will spill something on me.  I can throw a scarf on, and immediately hide anything that spills on my shirt.  In California we layer clothes because it can be 90 at noon, and then foggy and cold by dinner.  For some reason wearing a scarf keeps you so warm…you can also throw a larger one around your shoulders, and use it like a shawl.  And my all time favorite use for my scarf, getting in a quick nap in the car.  Bunch it up and you have a great pillow!!!  ****This item can also be taken off of the what’s in my list, and be put on the what’s on my purse listJ  Nothing looks cuter than a bright scarf tied around the handles!!!

I hope you all are as nosy as I am, and enjoy these what is in your purse features.  I always think the celebrity ones are so boring…now looking at my list I see that I am pretty boring too;)  I probably should have lied and said that I bring a circular saw, fire extinguisher, giant extra flow tampons…

Thanks, Buckley for such a fun post! Hope you all enjoyed.  I'll be back soon with...  well, I don't know, whatever I feel like writing!

Visit Life Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!

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I was born and raised in New Jersey.  I do not identify as a Jersey girl (or worse yet, a Jerzey girl), but I do enjoy visiting our coast.  Notice that I didn't say I enjoy the Jersey Shore.  I simply refuse to put that phrase in writing.  Here in NJ, we don't say we are going to the beach, we say we are going "down the shore."  I tried to fight it for a long time since it's so grammatically awful, but some things just get stuck in our vernacular, you know?

This is an actual wave from Saturday.
Wildwood, NJ is a pretty famous beach, as far as I know.  There's a long Boardwalk and according to the loudspeaker announcement I heard while wandering it on Saturday, Wildwood has the cleanest and safest beaches in the country.  I don't know if that's true, but I try not to argue with loudspeakers.

It's about a 3 hour drive down the lovely Garden State Parkway from my house to Wildwood.  3 hours in the car with a 5 year old is lots of fun.

It's worth the ride, if for no other reason than for the snacks.  In the 48 hours we were there, I indulged in ice cream, a sausage peppers & onion sandwich, fried Oreos and funnel cake.  Also on this trip, I found out my bathing suit, the shorts kind that are so popular now, doesn't really fit and every time I bent over the button popped open.  That was also fun.

Friday night was pretty chilly and though I packed enough stuff to be away for a month, I forgot to bring a sweatshirt.  You can't get a plain sweatshirt down there for less than $25 and the Boardwalk is lousy with places that will iron on decals for about a zillion dollars per inch.  I managed to find a discount rack of discards for $5.  I was able to pick up this gem.  My husband then proceeded to speak to me in a brogue for the rest of the trip.

Isn't this NICE?  And only $5!  Though I am 25% Irish,
I am not one to wear my heritage on my sleeve(s).
The weather was beautiful Saturday afternoon, so the boy was able to enjoy lots of beach time running in the waves and some pool time, too.  Many of the motels in Wildwood have cages around the kiddie pool for those kids who can't swim.  I must admit, it is convenient.

Boy in a pool cage.
The Boardwalk has lots of rides too.  Nathan is trying very hard to overcome his fear of rides.  He tried a new one this time around.  It was an oval track and he was in a rainbow race car.   When the car took the first turn though, the boy was whipped around and freaked out.  He screamed so loudly that the chick working the ride actually stopped the ride.  I felt badly that he got so scared after I told him it would be fun.  I had to retrieve him and carry him off.   I said, "Oops!" to the woman giving me the stink-eye as he sobbed into my shoulder, but she was unsympathetic.  It's not like they didn't restart the ride for the other kids.  Sheesh.
This was before the ride started.
The child is a huge fan of mini-golf and skee-ball.  He put a lot of time and effort (and his parents' money) into perfecting his chosen sports.

Doesn't he look at ease with the club?
I swear he's not stoned, his mother
just can't take a picture.
The other lure of the Boardwalk is the acquisition of new "guys."  This kid LOVES stuffed animals.  On the trip down, we were accompanied by a motley crew of creatures.
SpongeBob, Hammer, Eric, Al, Rex, Manta and Blankie
Since his father is a master at the crane machines, we added the following guys to our family:

Ironman, Spiderman, Black Karate Domo, Red Karate Domo,
White, Red and Yellow Angry Bird, Numero (the turtle) and Super Domo.
After lots of fun and sun, it was time to go home.  And no family weekend getaway would be complete without sitting on the floor of the hotel, crying and pouting about how unfair it was that it was time to leave.

Linking up again with Yeah Write, a wonderful community of bloggers and writers.  Be shore to check out the other posts and vote for your favorites on Thursday! (Get it, shore?  Because this was about the beach?  That pun is on every sign down there.  Wildwood: Shore to Please! HAHA!! Hee-hee. Ahem.)

read to be read at yeahwrite.me
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Monday, May 21, 2012


Remember on Friday when I said to come back here today, Monday, for a guest post and that I'd be guest posting for someone else?

Yeah, that's tomorrow.  Tuesday.  I lied to you.  Unintentionally, of course.

I'm participating in a blog swap tomorrow wherein someone posts here, I post somewhere else and that person posts somewhere in one long blog chain (obviously there are more than 3 of us, or it would be a short chain).  Sounds fun right?  Let's just hope the other participants remember it's tomorrow and not today.

I received an email from my poster last night giving me my link for Tuesday and I looked at the calendar to find that May 22nd is indeed Tuesday.  I thought it was Monday.  Here was my logic:  If Friday is the 19th and Saturday is the 20th and Sunday is the 21st, then Monday must be the 22nd.  Makes sense, right?  Except Friday was the 18th.  And Thursday was the 17th.

I distinctly recall being at work on Thursday and dating things the 18th.  That means I dated everything wrong on Thursday.  That lead me to wonder what I thought Wednesday was.  How far back have I been mis-dating things??

I set my alarm for 5:30 this morning so I could get up and work on the blog.  I didn't get out of bed until 6:15. My relaxing weekend away has left me exhausted and the sky is so gray this morning it looks yellow. (I know that doesn't make sense, but trust me, it's true.)  This is all to say I still do not have this blog swap post done yet and it's due up in 24 hours from now.  I better get crackin'.

As I was trying to drag myself from my half-asleep haze, I started wondering if there really were 2 days in a weekend.  I started to think maybe Sunday was a weekday.  Then I wasn't sure what day it was at all.  Clearly I'm not at my best while still in bed.

And you know when you're in bed and you're half asleep and you hear something and you picture what the outside looks like in your head?  I heard a car drive by and I thought it was especially loud and I pictured this car racing down my street.  But I didn't picture the street I live on, I pictured my old street, the one we moved from nearly 2 years ago.

And so, in conclusion, it has become apparent to me that I'm going to need a LOT of coffee to be able to function this morning.  The blog swap is tomorrow.  Tonight I'll post for Yeah Write if I actually get that post done.

Thanks for indulging me in some nonsense this morning.  Happy Monday.

Edited to add:  I stopped at a bagel place to pick up an extra cup of coffee because my initial one, now nearly finished, wasn't cutting it.  As I was exiting the car, it occurred to me that while I did remember to run back inside and grab a can of Pringles for my PMSy fat ass to munch on, I forgot to bring something for breakfast.  This is going to be quite a day.

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Friday, May 18, 2012


Alternative title:  The One Where Michelle Goes Hog Wild With The Links

Bear with me here...

Last August, I openly proclaimed that I was going to give this writing thing a go.  People were gracious enough to read that post and there was a great deal of support.  I struck up a conversation with an old friend (who I, frankly, need to reach out to again because she is so fun!) to talk about writing as a career and other things.  I said I'd write more and all that jazz and then I kind of didn't.

But then that friend sent me a message that I should check out a writer's Boot Camp designed to get you started on a writing habit.  I went back and forth about whether to join, mostly because I was scared to death of the writing thing.  I wanted it so badly and if I failed, what would I be?  I mean sure, I think I have a life long career in my day job, but it doesn't feed my soul, you know?

So I signed up and I met Lisa.  In the 6-week online class, I gained confidence from classmates and Lisa in a safe and convenient online environment.  The class was perfect and when it ended I continued to work with Lisa.  I would highly recommend her classes if you're looking to improve your craft.  I get nothing by endorsing Lisa's classes.  But I feel like I've learned so much from her and I'd be doing you a disservice by not telling you about her!

In March, I discovered Yeah Write.  I lurked for 2 weeks and then I jumped in with this post.  Basically I joined a contest made up entirely of people I did not know and asked them what they thought of my writing.  Since I didn't tank, I have continued linking up. Yes, I'm aware that you're aware since I never shut up about it.

Here's why I don't shut up:  Those people are some of the nicest, most supportive writers I've ever encountered.  I've heard people talk about community and what not online, but I never thought I'd have people I only know from the internet who would have such an impact on my day.  I never thought Twitter would become an awesome place for me to hang out, but it has.

Since I started linking up, this post and this post have been selected as Lurker's Favorites at Yeah Write.     I am touched and honored.  Twice I have broken the top ten, including this week's post.  I'm not bragging.  In fact, I'm shocked by this.  I never thought that I'd have people tell me publicly they like what I write.  Sometimes I get teary thinking about how sweet some people are.


On May 8, 2012, I was the recipient of a Liebster from Karine at 2 U, Love Mom.  That's when I said, "Oh, SHIT!  I got one of those from Jennifer at Jennifer at Life on the Mamarific Merry-Go-Round back on April 12 and the ungrateful ass that I am, I never acted on it!!!!"

When you get a Liebster, here's what you do:
1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you for it.  Thank you!!
2.  Link back to the nominator blogger(s).  See above.  Then click the links!
3.  Display the Liebster Award Logo.  Proudly.
4.  Nominate 5 bloggers with fewer than 200 followers - actual followers, not Facebook friends or Twitter followers.
5.  Let your nominees know so that they can do the same and keep the awards rolling.

So, to sum up, I am overwhelmed by the last few months.  I now have no trouble saying I write.  I tell people I blog and I'm working on a memoir and I actually DO both!  I make time for it.  It's a habit.

Thank you to Erica for organizing a wonderful spirit and community at Yeah Write, all of my awesome new writer friends (too many to list, but go see who I'm talking to on Twitter or liking on Facebook and you'll know), Lisa Romeo, my IRL friends and family who have always supported my writing, especially my husband, Kris, who has always been my biggest supporter in EVERYTHING.

Maybe I'm getting a bit carried away here, but I could not have come this far without all of you.  THANK YOU.

So, back to the Liebsters.  I nominate the following blogs for this award:

1.  The Chrome Phase
2.  Treading Water In The Kiddie Pool
3.  Scribblesaurus Me
4.  Sperk*
5.  Way Too Much Aubrey

I promise that if you visit these blogs, you will be entertained, amused, informed and fall in love.  Go check them out!  Also, I did my best to look to see if they have less than 200 followers.  If I was wrong,  I mean no offense by underestimating your numbers and please don't take my Liebster away!!!!

And with that, I'm running away for some family time this weekend.  See you Monday when I have my very first guest post up and I'll tell you where you can find me as I do my very first guest post for someone else!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012


As often happens this time of year, I find myself thinking of my father.  My birthday is 10 days from now and that means that his is 12 days away.  You would think that would help him remember my birthday, but he claims he doesn't remember his own.  That was his defense for not acknowledging me most years.

I only lived with my father for 10 years.  For almost all 10 of those years, the man was drunk.  Rumor has it that when my mother went into labor, she had to retrieve him from the home of a neighbor where the two were slamming back a case of Miller Genuine Draft. 

My father was a carpenter by trade, though, quite frankly, I haven't the foggiest clue how he managed to do his job day in and day out with the amount of beer he consumed.  He must have done it well enough since to the best of my knowledge he generally did have a job.  That is until, in 1986 at the age of 37, he fell from the second story of a building he was constructing onto the concrete floor below him. 

"I had cut a hole in the floor and covered it with a piece of plywood so it wouldn't be exposed.  I said to myself, 'Jim, don't step back.'  Well, someone must have moved the wood.  I stepped back and the wood was gone and I fell."

That was his official story.  My mother says he was probably drunk and forgot where he was.

My mom worked at the local library and I would go there afterschool to help her shelve books in the children's room.  I was just shy of my 10th birthday, but I already had a great love for the organization of the stacks.  It was just Mom and me and the other librarian on this paticular afternoon.  Mom got the call at work that my father had fallen and was in the hospital.  They asked if she would come up and she said no.  She told me that "unfortunately" he would live, which was a shame because he was worth more dead.  She was more annoyed than anything else that the car was at the jobsite in Connecticut, quite a bit away from our home in New Jersey.  Regardless, she was glad to be rid of him for awhile.

He broke a few ribs and damaged his kidneys and lungs.  As a heavy smoker and drinker, I'm sure the condition was grave.  But, he pulled through and returned home about a week later.  He was sober when he got there.  I imagine this would have been a pretty rough detox made easier only by the painkillers I'm sure he received for his injuries.  I was told that he was told that another drink could kill him.  I recall my mother making some sort of joke about that, insinuating that if that was true, she'd buy him a beer.

The next few months were odd, with my parents seemingly attempting to salvage their marriage of nearly 15 years with Dad's new found sobriety.  He was out of work and not drunk.  Things got done around the house.  Projects that had lingered for years were being completed.  Our house was small with only 2 bedrooms.  My father built a wall that split my parents' room in two.  Part was given to my brother, part housed their dressers.  My parents slept on the couches so that my brother and I, now 12 and 10 respectively, could have our own rooms.

I remember my 10th birthday like it was yesterday.  My parents brought my brother and me and my best friend to a local carnival.  We never did anything as a family.  I was finally starting to feel like maybe we would all be OK.  That was one of my happiest birthdays, even to this day, because of the hope it represented.

In August of 1986, my father had a relapse and in a drunken rage beat my mother so severely she needed medical attention.  A restraining order was filed and I never lived with him again.  He stayed with a friend, then in his car, then in a motel attached to a bar.  Then back to the car when his money ran out.  I saw him a few times in late 1986 by court ordered supervised visitation until he stopped showing up.  We spoke on the phone and he wrote letters from his various stints in rehab.  We eventually stopped talking.

My parents didn't offically divorce until I was a freshman in high school.  Neither of them could afford to.  I really don't know what prompted it when it did happen.  It doesn't even matter.

On and off between then and now, I've attempted to have a relationship with this man.  He is not receptive, or rather, he is incapable of having a relationship.  My step-mother has no interest in my family and since he legally cannot drive anymore, it would all be on me.  I know it's for the best.  While he has been sober now for about 20 years, he is so damaged and so broken that he just can't function in the real world. I let him into my life, into my home and I allowed him to get to know my son for the first year of Nathan's life.  He showed his true colors and closed the door on our relationship again in 2008.

He told me I remind him of my mother.  I'm sure that reminders of that time in his life are hard for him.  He doesn't want to try to remember and he doesn't want to drink the memories away.  Therefore, he avoids me.  On the one hand, that's fine with me.  I don't want him in my life.  I don't want him to ever hurt my son like he's hurt me.  Though it may be childish to make a statement as simplistic as this, I don't think he wants to find a way for us to connect.  It may hurt him to not know me, but clearly not enough to really work so that he can. 

I think that's what has bothered me for the last quarter-century.  It's not the horrible things he did.  It's not the drinking or the violence or his inability to be a father in any real sense.  It's the fact that even though I've forgiven him and I was willing to let all of it go and start over with him, as adults, me needing nothing from him, he still didn't want me around enough to make an effort.  He didn't and still doesn't love me enough to want to be a part of my life. 

I've accepted this and I am done reaching out to him.  Since I have a child of my own to protect, there is nothing my father can say or do that will convince me to let him into my life.  Some day, maybe, that acceptance won't hurt me so much.  Until then, every May, every birthday of mine and his that passes, simply serves as a reminder to me of all that has transpired in the past.

So happy birthday, Dad, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.  I don't know if you will think of me, but I'll think of you.  Not exactly fondly, but certainly sadly.

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Friday, May 11, 2012


My child is 5 years, 4 months and 9 days old and I am still almost as tired as I was when he was an infant.

I was always a good sleeper according to my mother.  She said she used to have to poke me to make sure I was still alive because I slept all the time.  I don't really ever remember giving her a hard time about going to bed.  I mean, I'm sure that I did, because I'm human and was a kid, but mostly I recall welcoming the opportunity to get in bed, snuggle up with Blankie and my dolls, and rest for the night.  I played hard, I wanted my down time.  I'm still that way.

My older brother was a sleep disaster.  Mom said he used to be in his crib and would scream if she didn't pat his back.  She said she'd sleep that way, one arm in the crib, always patting.  She said that when she found out she was pregnant again, she had only one prayer:  that this new child would sleep.  Because if it didn't, she would kill it.  I guess we can all be thankful for how things turned out.

I never really understood children not being able to sleep.  I thought my brother was atypical.  But then my son was born.

The first two weeks were great, sort of.  He slept the number of hours he was supposed to before I had to wake him to feed him.  He was born pretty small (6lbs, 3oz) but then he lost weight and was jaundiced.  So I was supposed to feed him every 3 hours around the clock to make him appear less Simpson-y.  When he wasn't eating, he slept.  It was fine.

But then, just like that, it wasn't fine.  This child just would not stay asleep.  Too young to self-soothe, he would cry all the time.  All of it.  All.  Unless I held him.  I was trying so hard to be a good attachment parenting mom and so I held him.  10 minutes in his crib, he'd be awake.  Then I'd hold him more.  Repeat.  Endlessly.

I used to joke that the sound of someone sneezing 3 houses away would wake him up.  Or the sound of my head hitting my pillow.  Or the sound of my upper and lower eyelashes touching each other.  Except I wasn't joking because somehow this kid knew when I was about to fall asleep and he'd wake up.  And cry.

It got to the point where I was up most of the night, swaying, rocking, bouncing, patting and jostling him into slumber.  The song I sang the most was the theme to the TV show Weeds:

Little boxes, on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky.
Little boxes, on the hillside, little boxes all the same.  
There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one 
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same.

Over and over again, rhythmically patting his back.  Pacing and jumping up and down the hallway.  Wondering why, WHY won't this child just go to sleep.

And then he'd finally fall asleep and rather than risk putting him in his crib and having him wake up in 10 minutes, he'd come to my bed and sleep in my arms.  At least we got sleep.

We tried to let him cry it out when he was about 9 months.  30 minutes in I couldn't do it.  We tried again at 12 months, figuring maybe we just gave in too soon.  We were going to see it through, he'd know what's what and he'd go to sleep.  3 hours of screaming later, we gave up.

I finally bought a very expensive online sleep program, followed it and it worked for getting him to sleep at first, but he never learned to stay asleep.

At 16 months, we finally were able to start putting him in his bed and he'd stay there until midnight.
Eventually, at 3 and a half when we moved to our new home (new home, new room, new bed, new rules!), he started sleeping through the night by himself.

He has always been early to bed, early to rise, mostly out of necessity.  I'm a firm believer in sleep begets sleep, so if he was going to wake up at 4am as a toddler, you better believe he was going to bed by 6pm.  I don't care if it is the middle of summer and his room faces west and the setting sun is streaming straight at him.  You cannot be up for 14 hours at 18 months old.  Mommy will go insane.

Things are better now.  Much.  He mostly goes to sleep without trouble and he sleeps until about 5:30 most days, which I can tolerate (barely).  But the nights when he's up until nearly 9pm, whining in his bed for me to hold his hand because he's trying to sleep and "it's just not working,"  I want to scream.  I want to cry.  I am tired and I do not want to stand there.  All I can think to say is that "it's not working because you're still talking."

Even on the nights he sleeps through, we still sometimes battle night terrors when he's overtired or is stressed.  He calls for me in the night.  Usually he needs a re-tuck or to find a stuffed animal or his blankie.  Once it was to tell me how tired he was.

I expected to be sleep deprived by a newborn.  I never thought I'd still be this tired 5 years later.  Slowly but surely things are getting better and I am sleeping more.  And I know that everyone says don't wish these fleeting days away because they will go so fast.  I know that's all true and someday I will miss getting to hold my boy's hand and watching his eyes close for the night.

However, though I may at some point miss these precious moments, I assure you that I will handle it well because I will, finally, be well rested once again.  I hope.

(see, he does sleep.  notice how bright it is.  6pm bedtime is what happens when you wake up at 5am in this house!)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Recently, as my child was drifting off to sleep, I heard him whisper to his beloved blanket, "Blankie, no one knows how good of a blankie you are to me."

This warmed my heart.  First because it's just too cute.  If you could see his sweet, angelic face...  But also, I loved it because I can relate to it.  For I, too, had a blankie and no one understood how important it was to me.

As the story goes, one fine evening I was throwing a major tantrum at bedtime.  I kept telling my mother I wanted Buzzie Blankie and she, naturally, had no idea what I was talking about.  I don't know how old I was, but I'm sure I couldn't have been more than a year.  I tried to explain that it was the blanket that you went "buzz, buzz, buzz" with.  This apparently went on for some time, but soon she figured out that what I was referring to as my Buzzie Blankie was really just a cloth diaper that she used as a burp cloth.

When I was a baby, I spit up as many children do.  My mother used to drape a cloth diaper over her shoulder for protection.  These diapers were trifold and had a small seam, about 1/4" or so that came out of one of the folds.  I would run my finger across it and somehow decided that was called "buzzing" it.  And somehow I decided that this would be a good thing to sleep with.  And somehow, my mother came to the conclusion that it would be ok to give me a cloth diaper to clutch in the night.  I guess she assumed I'd grow out of my need to buzz things as I drifted off.  Oh, how wrong that woman would be.

I kept Buzzie around for a really long time.  I still have a piece of the original Buzzie somewhere.  I say the original because she (yes, she's a she) was replaced many, many times.  Those things do not hold up to repeated washings and buzzings!  Once they would get too holey or worn or dirty or just plain fall apart into dust, a new one would appear.  Unfortunately, new ones were too stiff and I'd often start breaking in a new one before I tossed the old one.  You can't have a stiff Blankie, you know.  I don't know where this endless supply came from, but I still remember my mom having a drawer with them in there and I'd just take a new one when I needed it.

I remember the first time I had to go buy my own package of Buzzies because my mother refused to continue buying them.  I went to Woolworth's, headed up to the baby aisle (halfway through the store, before you got to the back part that was somehow shaped differently than the front, left hand side) and picked up a package.  Sure I got some weird looks, but hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  My mother couldn't believe I actually purchased new ones.  I think she thought by the time I was a teenager  this phase would have ended.

I will admit to having brought Buzzie to school in my coat pocket (Kindergarten) and once in my backpack (2nd grade, I believe).  As soon as I got home from school, if I was going to just be reading or doing homework or watching TV, I grabbed Buzzie to buzz to my heart's content.  When I packed up for college, Buzzie came with.  And when, for 7 of my 8 semesters I was a commuter, I will admit that sometimes I brought Buzzie along for the ride.  Yes, to my college classes.  I brought my blanket.

I never brought Buzzie to work, though, that would be ridiculous.

The night I decided on a whim to move out of my mother's house, I grabbed my pillow, a change of clothes for work the next day and, you guessed it, Buzzie.

The first night I was married, Buzzie was there with us.  Buzzie came on the honeymoon, too.

When I was gathering up my things for the hospital so I could give birth to my son, Buzzie was neatly stowed with my belongings.  Once the child was out and things were settling down, I asked my husband to fetch it from my bag.  At one point, I was holding my Buzzie and the nurse walked in.  I shoved it under the covers so she wouldn't see this 30 year old woman, fresh to motherhood, snuggling her blankie in a hospital bed.  She said, "Don't worry, you're not the first to bring her blankie with her."  That made me feel better.  And made me feel silly.

It didn't make me get rid of the blanket though.

I was coming to the end of the final package of cloth diapers.  My current blankie was falling to shreds.  I had purchased some, ostensibly for my son, but none of them had the little seam.  I searched high and low, researched on the internet and tried to find the right kind, but I couldn't.  Also, we were doing the whole co-sleeping thing and it was hard to hold my newborn and my blankie.  It looked like my days of buzzing myself to sleep were over.

I wrestled with this torture for a few days. It was hard to break the habit.  I can now say, nearly 5 years later, that I no longer need to buzz something so I can sleep.  I will admit though that if I happen to find a seam in an article of clothing that fits the bill, I will run my finger along it far longer than I should.  And I do have certain outfits I have been known (only to myself) to wear on days when I'm particularly anxious because I know exactly where the best seam is.  I'm sure people notice I still play with the seams of my clothes.  I'm hoping anyone who reads this won't publicly call me out on this behavior if they see me do this.

So when my son told his blankie that no one understood their relationship, it wasn't true.  I do understand it.  My blankie was there for me, too, when I needed comforting in the night.  And sometimes in the day.  And even though I know it's silly, I won't ever push him to ditch it.  As long as he needs it, he should have it and I don't care what anyone thinks of that.

Hanging out, once again at Yeah Write (but on the challenge grid, because I can't pass up a challenge).  Great writers, great people.  Check out the other posts and come back Thursday to vote for your favorites.

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