Monday, April 30, 2012

48 Hours.

There were two Monday Listicles topics to choose from this week.  One was to list essentially 10 good things about ourselves.  I only got through the first thing on the list before I started picking on myself, so I'm going to go with option 2:  How I would spend 48 hours with unlimited cash and no responsibilities.

It's funny that this topic came up because just this weekend I was talking with one of my girlfriends about an ill-fated girls weekend that never materialized.  We decided to tone it down from 2 nights 200+ miles away to about 25-30 hours off duty.  There's a restaurant we like with a chain hotel behind it.  So our plan is to gather the ladies for a night of dinner and drinks and then walk (or crawl) back to our hotel room, split as many ways as possible to keep costs low.  Then we'll go to breakfast and the mall the next day.  All this will happen about 10 miles from my house, not too much farther for the rest of the ladies.  It serves the purpose of giving us a break and a night away, but it's not a fantastic getaway.

Now if I had unlimited cash and 48 hours, it would be more like this:

1.  I would get a car service to pick me up at my house and take me and a few of my best girlfriends into New York City.  The friends would have to meet me here and we're not waiting for anyone who is late because they aren't cutting into my 48 hours.

2.  We'd check into a fabulous hotel.  No doubling up (unless we wanted to).  I want my quiet time alone!  I would take a hot shower in a beautiful bathroom and I would take as long as I wanted without a small person coming in to use the bathroom.  I would shave my legs AND condition my hair, even if it hadn't been that long since I last did it.  I would dry off with a fluffy warm towel and put on a plush robe.  When I was ready to get dressed, I'd discard these items on the floor for someone else to launder.  I'd only use them once, unlike the recycled towels at my house.

3.  Next we'd head to the spa.  We'd stay there as long as it took to destress, or at least get to a passable level without using up our entire time.  I'm talking massage, mani-pedis, hot tub, whatever.  I'd also find someone to blow out my hair since most spas have salons in them, too.

4.  We would head out to a nice lunch.  It would taste as delicious and be as filling as things that make me enormous, but they wouldn't leave me feeling enormous.

5.  We'd go shopping.  I would be able to buy clothes that looked nice on my unfortunately proportioned body and I wouldn't have to worry about the cost.  If I bought many bags full, I'd pay someone to carry my stuff.

6.  I'd slip away from the ladies for a while so I could hit up Staples and The Container Store.  I'd buy all the organizational stuff and office supplies that I've ever wanted.  I'd bring some to my room to use later but I'd have most of it shipped home.  If one of my friends wanted to come watch this major geek-out, that would be fine, but I suspect none of them would care.

7.  Dinner and drinks - location TBD.  But it will be a nice place and there will be no children.  Everyone will speak in hushed tones.  I want a quiet dinner in peace.  I want an appetizer, I want a salad, I want a main dish, I want dessert.  I want to eat all of it and I want to sit in that restaurant until I'm done.  I do not want to have to leave or rush because someone can't sit still anymore.

8.  When we were tipsy enough to be happy but not so drunk that we'd be hungover, we'd go to bed.  Not too late.  I need sleep.  And the bed - remember the fabulous hotel?  It's a large, soft bed.  And I bought new jammies in #5, so it'll be good.

9.  After a restful 12 hours of slumber, I'd order room service.  Breakfast in bed.  Laptop time.  Reading, writing, etc.  Getting my thoughts in order.  I don't care what the other ladies do.  This was my 48 hours to begin with and I just opted to let them join me.  I love them, but I don't need to spend the entire time with them.

10.  For the rest of the time, I'd repeat the best parts of #1-9.  Probably more shopping (with all that unlimited money!), more nice, quiet meals, more spa time.  More hanging out with my favorite ladies doing fun stuff.  More quiet time to read and write.

Alternate uses of my 48 hours:
1) Romantic getaway with husband.  Food, relaxing, drinks, maybe some beach.  Romantic-y stuff, etc.
2) I'd hire a team to clean my house and help me organize everything that's in it.  Attic, basement, carpets, windows, laundry.  All of it.  I don't care how many people I need to hire, but this house will be spotless and organized.  I wonder if we could paint and landscape it too?
3) I'd take my kid to Legoland California.  We'd hire a private jet to get us there on our own schedule, have all of the fun and then come home.  We would get fried apples AND churros.  Before we head home, I'd pick up coffee at It's A Grind, because there are none of those on the East Coast.  While I was gone, someone will have cleaned my house.  There will be someone waiting to put my child to bed for me upon our return and someone will have cooked my dinner.  Because that's the worst part of returning from a trip, jumping back into reality.

OK, so can I please have 4 sets of 48 hours?  Please?

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Sunday, April 29, 2012


Fridays are supposed to be my major writing days because Nathan is at school, Kris is at work and I don't work at my paying job.  For the last several weeks though, I've been going into the office on Fridays to try to catch up and stop a weekend-long worry spree about my to-do list.  I'm not complaining about it, it's a means to an end and I'm OK with that, but it's cramping my writing style.  

No blog post went up on Friday, and that annoys me.  I couldn't even churn out crap to post.

The upside is that Sundays are becoming a major writing day.  This is rather odd to me because by all accounts I really shouldn't have any time to write.  There are always chores and errands and fun family stuff to be done.  Some times we hang with friends or have birthday parties and other assorted goings-ons.

Also, and this may be my favorite part of Sundays, I do my best to adhere to 6pm bedtime for the child.  By the time Sunday rolls around, he is in one hell of a rancid mood.  He's overtired, there's less structure (which basically means the grown ups needing to do something bores him) and he just starts pushing buttons.  He has always been an early riser and the weekend is usually worse.  If we have a later Saturday night (you know, like 9pm), he is up earlier than he should be and the whole attitude situation gets worse.

I usually put him in the bath tub around 4-something to let him soak and play.  Then I get him cleaned up and jammies on.  Give him some dinner and dessert and that kid is in his bed by 6 or 6:30 at the latest.  It's absolutely selfish of me to want to have a quiet evening, but I know he needs the sleep.   I'm sure you're wondering how he can go to sleep when it's daylight out and if he wakes up with the birds on Monday morning.  He has been going to bed early all his life, so the sun isn't an issue.  And no, he only wakes up his regular ridiculously early on Monday, not extra ridiculously early.  So between 5:30 and 6.

Anyway, my point was that with all that we try to get done, plus an early bedtime, I don't know how I'm finding the time to write so much.  But the week's blogs are ready to go and I have a piece of memoir work swirling around that's almost ready to put on the screen.  The kid is finishing up in the tub as I finish this post up (trying to make up for my no-show Friday).  Incidentally, I now find the hallway outside of the bathroom a lovely place to write.  I can see the kid in the tub, but we're not in the same room so I can almost tune out the incessant babbling.

So tune in tomorrow and Tuesday for new posts and give me about 5 more years (at least) and maybe you'll get to see the memoir stuff.  For now, I've got 59 minutes until a child is in bed, I'm eating homemade boneless buffalo wings and I'm sitting front of the TV catching up on Fringe (only 56 more episodes!).  
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I feel compelled to continue with my theme of death.  At the same time, I feel like things need to lighten up a bit around here.  And so I submit to you the following tale.

For as far back as I can remember, I wanted a kitten.  Farther back than that, I remember that my father hated cats.  My father was a Vietnam Vet and a raging alcoholic.  He did not mince words.  He once told me what he wanted to do to all cats.  It was clear to me that it was best that we did not get a cat so long as he was around.

I think I let the news of my parents' split rest for about 45 minutes before I started in about how now we could get a cat.  Finally, the only thing stopping us was gone and I wanted a kitten.  I'm sure I did the requisite whining and promising to care for it and clean up after it and, wait, what else do cats need?

One afternoon, my mother surprised me with a kitten.  A neighbor had found a stray near her job but couldn't keep it.  We got the litter box, cat food and some toys.  We learned the hard way that we needed a scratching post.  I named him Pumpernickel.  He was gray with a white patch, so his name made little sense.  I thought it was a cute name, I wasn't  going for grain accuracy here.  I took care of the cat, all by myself, just as I had promised, for one entire day.

I used to put him on a leash and let him roam around the back yard attached to the clothes line.  I didn't want him to get away or anything.  When he wasn't outside, he would sit in the kitchen window, seeming to long for escape.  In his attempts to leave us, he would climb up the screen and get stuck in between it and the window.  We'd have to pry the screen out, carry him back inside and then help him get his claws out of the mesh.  It was far too long before we decided to start blocking the window so he couldn't get up there in the first place.

Pumpernickel was the meanest cat ever.  He scratched and bit every chance he got. I tried to love on him and play with him, but he was 100% uninterested in human companionship.  If I made him angry, it was simply in my efforts to win his affection.  One Christmas morning, as my brother stood at the stove flipping bacon, Pumpernickel casually walked by, leaped into the air and bit the back of his upper thigh.  We don't know why, it was completely unprovoked.  If I hadn't watched it happen, I would never have believed that nothing had caused his attack.

One afternoon, just before my 12th birthday, he unleashed his fury on me.  He was looking out the window in the kitchen and he looked so sweet.  I went over, he looked at me and then went back to surveying our land.  I put my arms around him and hugged him gently.  Then I noticed that what he had his gaze fixed on was another cat who had wandered into the yard.  He was not looking out the window pensively, he was giving the look of death to the intruder.  I guess I must have scared him because he bit me in a way that I had no idea cats were capable of.

The next moment went so slowly.  As I turned around to run, Pumpernickel was still attached.  His front paws were wrapped around the wrist of my right arm.  Even as I held my arm up at shoulder level, he kept his face buried into my forearm with his back legs kicking like a bunny.  I managed to loosen his front-paw grip with my left hand and push him off of me.  He stood there, on the kitchen floor, hissing at me, blood on his mouth.  I grabbed a kitchen towel and fashioned a makeshift tourniquet, but not before I looked down and saw the inner workings of my arm.  There was blood all over the floor, my shirt and now the towel.  For the first time, I realized I was screaming at the top of my lungs.

It was then that my mother emerged from the basement where she had been doing laundry.

"Pumpernickel bit me!" I shrieked.

My mother, calm and seemingly oblivious to the blood everywhere replied, "Oh.  It sounded like you were being murdered up here.  That's why I didn't come up right away."  To this day, I have no idea if she was kidding or not.

She looked over the wound and was angry that it was going to need stitches, which cost money we didn't have.  We went to the urgent care center and I received 2 stitches to partially close the gaping hole.  I was told it had to be left open so as to prevent infection and this was standard practice for animal bites.  They cleaned out the Freddy Krueger style lacerations across the underside of my upper arm and across the palm of my left hand where I had peeled Pumpernickel's claws from me.  I was told how lucky I was that we knew the offending animal and I didn't need rabies shots in the stomach.  Yes, I felt lucky indeed.


Years went by and Pumpernickel had become even more antisocial.  He never attacked again, but no one would get close enough to give him the chance. We thought he might be sick.  He didn't do anything but sleep.  There was some talk that maybe he needed to go to the vet.  There was talk that it may be a one way trip for our feline friend.

It was a Friday night and my now-husband and I went out on a date to catch a quick movie.  We returned to my house to find my mother, in her usual position on the couch, crying.

"Pumpernickel is dead," she sobbed.  I looked around because, due to her disease, she was pretty immobile and if there was something dead lying around chances were I was going to have to clean it up.

"What?  What happened?  Where is he?" I was completely confused.

"I heard his ball with the bell in it jingling and I looked over and he was having a seizure. He's dead." She was gesturing towards the dining room.

Kris and I turned, there was no cat.  Then, with the same calm manner as the night the cat went crazy she said, "Grandpa came over and buried him." There was a pause. "Oh, did you hear Nixon died?"


Kris and I were talking the other day, many years later now, about just how odd it was that in the span of less than 3 hours the cat died and was buried.  We've talked about that night many times over the years, imitating my mother's voice, imagining my grandfather coming over in a huff to tend to the chore with his "get it done" attitude.  I have never understood how my mother could transition to crying about the cat, whom we were all a bit afraid of, to asking us about current events.

I realized that I didn't remember when exactly this all transpired.  The good thing about your cat dying on the same night as a former president is that if you ever forget the date, you can just Google it.  I grabbed the laptop and searched "Nixon death."

April 22, 1994.  Exactly 16 years to the day before my mother died.  Now if that is not the weirdest of coincidences, I do not know what is.

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Monday, April 23, 2012


The list topic is books.  What about books?  I suppose that's up to me.  I am 100% incapable of reviewing a book (or a movie or TV show, in case you're curious).  The best I can tell you is that I liked something or didn't, but I can't tell you why.  If we're watching TV and you get up to use the bathroom, when you come back I can't tell you what happened.  It's only gotten worse as I've aged.

The other thing that's gotten worse since I aged?  My ability to read a book!  Before I had a child, I was always busy.  Now that I have a child, I'm tired and always busy.  In high school though I devoured books.

So, here's a list of books and some things about them.  I do not claim that this list will do anything for you in any way, shape or form.

1.  The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer - I was a huge Twin Peaks fan when it was on which was when I was in high school. I've rewatched the series several times since it's then.  There were quite a few books on the matter back in the day.  I loved this because it was depressing and Laura was a bad girl - so different from how I was.  In a sick way, I wanted to be her.  Except for the dead part.

2.  All of the Jim Morrison poetry books that came out in the early 90s.  - Also, from when I was in high school.  Drugs seemed cool.  I wanted to be cool.  Being the female Jim Morrison sounded cool.  Except for the dead part (noticing a pattern here?).

3.  Lord of the Flies - Probably the only book in high school that I truly loved.  In college, I reread it and then wrote a lengthy paper comparing it with the two movies that had been made of it.  I got an A.  Lucky day for me.

{I think I'm done fixating on high school books and I'll move on to college now.}

4.  Summer Sisters by Judy Blume - This book made me sob when I read it about 14 years ago.  I remember the big twist that happened somewhere near the end (I won't spoil it for you).  Other than that, I just remember really liking it and it reminding me of a friendship that I had with someone from my past.  But then I read some Amazon reviews that said it was bad, so who knows if it's any good or not. Maybe I'll read it again. In all my "spare" time.

5.  A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley - A wonderful book about the dynamics of a particular family.  Really well written.  I think it won an award.  I'm too lazy to look this up.  But you can, I'll wait.  I read this in college and felt all smart writing a paper on it.  There was a scene where someone uses a plant to try to kill someone.  I read it before the internet was a real thing, but if I had known about Google, I'd have looked up to see if it was true.

{Moving on to post-college}

6.  Bossypants by Tina Fey - OK, I just love Tina Fey.  I also love her character Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, which makes me love the actress even more.  I wish I had written that book because it was hilarious.  Then I read the bad reviews on Amazon and they offended me as though I HAD written it.

7.  Running with Scissors and Dry by Augusten Burroughs - I cannot tell you a blessed thing about either of these books other than that I loved them, have wanted to reread them since I finished them and they inspired me to want to write.

8.  Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl - I read this on a plane going somewhere for work.  Chicago maybe?  Perhaps Nashville.  It hardly matters.  I love a good book about people's addictions.  This one did not disappoint.  The movie wasn't nearly as good though.

9.  Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar by Michelle O'Neil - This book was particularly interesting because I too was a daughter of a drunk at a bar.  She tells a compelling story of growing up in a less than ideal situation.  I believe it was self-published, which adds an extra element of cool for an aspiring writer such as myself.  I read this recently (did you notice how much more detail I gave you here?), just as I was getting back into writing so it added even more of an inspirational element to it.

{You know how at a fireworks display they throw up everything they have left for the big finale?  Well, watch this!}

10.  Books by J.D. Salinger, Chuck Palahniuk, David Sedaris, Dean Koontz, Stephen King and others that I'm sure I'm forgetting.  In one way or another, they all inspired me to want to write, to tell a good story, to entertain, to be enigmatic and clever and funny.  They were the foundations of many conversations with good friends and my husband.  They were the subject of school papers, they were the reason I didn't get to bed on time on many nights.  They were my reason for getting up in the morning just to finish them.

Writing this list made me want to go read more.  And isn't that just a little bit of why we read - so we can want to read more?

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Sunday, April 22, 2012


You know that nasty smell that dish sponges get after a use or two?  I hate that smell.  I've put the sponge in the dishwasher, microwaved it, washed it with other soap and soaked it in vinegar and baking soda to try to get rid of that smell without replacing an otherwise perfectly good sponge.

I even tried using the anti-bacterial soaps.  Of course, that was before I found out that anti-bacterial soaps will inevitably bring about the fall of man.

About a year ago, I switched to one of those all natural dish detergents.  One of those that was less environmentally evil. I've used it consistently with little desire to go back to conventional (aka cheaper) brands.  I noticed that the yucky sponge smell hasn't really been happening and I'm able to keep sponges until they are worn down to nothing.

Last week, we ran out of our usual dish detergent.  I thought we had another bottle under the sink, but we didn't.  We had a sink full of dishes and nothing to clean them with.  I didn't want to make a special run to the grocery store just for detergent, so I grabbed a cheap bottle from the drug store when I was running an errand that afternoon.

I have to admit, I was happy to have Dawn cut grease out of my way without scalding water and elbow grease.  It felt like the dishes were practically cleaning themselves.

Except this morning, I noticed the sponge smell is back.

I think it's pretty obvious that the sponge and dish soap industry is one giant conspiracy.

I have to go to the store today.  I'm going to buy the all natural stuff.  And a new sponge.  You can't fool me, Big Soap.  I know what's going on here.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Ramblings of My Child.

These are all actual conversations I've had with my son, who is 5.  He's been talking since he was 9 months old and hasn't stopped since.  Not even when he sleeps.

Him:  I just folded my pants.  Did you know you could do that?
Me:  Fold pants?  Yeah, I knew.
Him:  Usually you can only do that on Mars.  But I just did it here on Earth.

After many days in a row of waking up too early and being told he needed to go back to sleep for a "few more minutes," he again woke up before 6.  I went into his room and he held up his hand like a traffic cop and said, "Wait a minute.  Let me guess.  A few more minutes?"

Him:  Mom,  I want to ask you a question.
Me:  OK.
Him:  Mom, do cavemen exist?
Me:  They used to.
Him:  They don't anymore?
Me:  No.  Now there's just regular people now.
Him:  Mom, did cavemen have dogs and cats?
Me:  Probably not.
Him:  Oh.  Mom, how could you tell them apart?
Me:  Who?
Him:  The cavemen.  If they didn't wear clothes.
Me:  Huh?
Him:  Mom.  How could you tell which was a boy and which was a girl.
Me:  Oh.  Well, they had girl parts and boy parts like we do.
Him:  Like we do?
Me:  Yes.
Him:  Can you tell who is a girl and who is a boy if they aren't wearing clothes?
Me:  Can I?  Yes, I can.
Him:  Because the girls have long hair and the boys have short?
Me:  Yes.  That's exactly how.

Him:  Mom.  Are you almost done in there?
Me:  {from the shower} Almost.
Him:  Are you wearing your clothes?
Me: No.  I'm in the shower.
Him:  Well you could be.
Me:  No, I couldn't be, because I'm in the shower.
Him:  You could be wearing your bathing suit.
Me:  I don't do that.  People don't do that.
Him:  I do it.  Every day.  I wear my invisible one.

(In the car, on the way home from daycare)
Him:  Mom.  Can you please take me to Wendy's?
Me:  Not today, Honey.
Him:  Mom.  You are so mean.  You *never* take me to Wendy's and I'm starving for it.
Me: Nate, that's not nice.  And I just took you there 2 days ago.
Him:  But Mom.  That's soooooooo  loooooooong ago.
Me:  The answer is no.  Please don't ask me again.
Him:  Mom.  (Looking in the rearview mirror, I see him lean forward and he's pointing at me.)  If you don't take me to Wendy's right now I am going to throw up all over your car and you will have a BIG mess to clean up.
Me:  OK.
Him:  I want to go to Wendy's.
Me:  I thought your stomach hurt.
Him:  If you don't take me, I'll lose my voice.
Me:  That sounds perfect.
{A brief pause}
Him: (In a high pitched voice) Mom?  It's Bill.  I'm a friend of Nathan's.  He lost his voice because you wouldn't take him to Wendy's.

I love that kid so much.  He is clever and funny and even when he's rude, there's part of me that still thinks he's pretty damn clever and funny.  He's a quick thinker and some day that will serve him well.  As he tests the waters and learns what boundaries to push and when to bite his tongue, I'm going to be doing a lot of deep breathing.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Years.

2 years.  I figure I should be saying something like "It's been a long time."  Has it been?  Feels like yesterday, feels like an eternity.

I miss you.  Sometimes I miss the you I had before you got sick.  Sometimes I'm not mourning my mother who died 2 years ago, sometimes I'm mourning the one who died long before that, the one who died that day when I was 14 and a doctor confirmed a diagnosis we all suspected.  Or the one who died before that when Dad left four years earlier.  Or the one who died a little bit every day he was still there.

Sometimes I mourn the mother I never had.  The mother who might have existed before I was born or before my brother was born.  Or maybe it's the mother who never could have existed.  Maybe it's the mom I wish I had who was like the moms on TV:  Carol Brady or June Cleaver when I was younger;  Lorelai Gilmore when I was older.

I thought I did a really good job of preparing for the end of your life.  You told me you were going to die.  No one knew what the future held but there was (and still isn't) a cure for MS and we didn't know how long it would take but if one thing was for sure, it was that you were going to die.  You were always clear about that.

But the days were long and the years were short, just like they say with raising children.  Somewhere in there I forgot you were my mother and you forgot I was your child.

And then the call came in that you were going to the emergency room again.  What was it, the 6th time in a year?  Each time I thought there was no way your body could survive one more infection but each time you'd pull through.

Something was different this time.  I could see it, hear it, feel it.  People kept saying to try to be positive, that you could recover again.  That made me furious.  I looked in your eyes.  I knew you would not.

More setbacks.  A 3 a.m phone call from the Critical Care Unit.  Another call to say it was time to remove life support.  To say goodbye. To wait.  10 days after the onset of your last infection, you finally let go.

And now, here we are, 2 years later.  I always thought people went through a numb phase up front, then gradually started to deal and at some point they looked back and realized they've accepted.  Somehow I'm still numb, except when I'm not, until I can stuff it back down.  I'm not sure if I'm starting to deal.  I'm not sure I'll ever accept.

Grief is a pretty strange thing, indeed.  Some days I know that your release from your physical body was probably a relief for you and that makes me happy.  Some days I am glad that your suffering is over.  And some days, selfishly, I'm glad that my days of watching you suffer are over.  Those days I feel like the worst daughter in the world for thinking such a thing.

I'm still angry that you're gone and I'm still angry for how long you weren't there before that.  I'm angry that I was robbed of a mother.  I'm angry about so many things.  I'm not sure who I'm angry at.  You? The universe?  I really don't know.

At the same time, I'm sad.  I'm sad that I didn't know the woman that I suspect you once were before everything went wrong.  I'm sad that we didn't have the connection that so many women have with their mothers.  I'm sad for everything we missed out on - you enjoying your daughter, your daughter enjoying her mother.

But also, I'm thankful for what we did have, for the good times, for the good memories that do exist.   And some days I'm OK.  I can laugh, and smile, and poke fun at you like I did when you were alive.  Some days things feel our brand of normal.

It's exhausting to feel all these different things, sometimes all at once.  Some days it's easier, safer, to just not feel any of them.  Some days I use all my strength to just not think of you and to keep all of the feelings at bay.

Two years is not enough time to process it all.  It just isn't.

Rest in peace, Mom.  
November 17, 1948 - April 22, 2010

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Sunday, April 15, 2012


There are no less than 8 Supercuts within a 5 mile radius of my house.  There are 27 within 10 miles.  And yet, we drive to one that is 16 miles away so that my son can get his hair cut by the stylist he has a crush on.  Kristi is her name.  When I say her name, he smiles and sometimes I see those little cartoon hearts coming out from behind his head.

The child did not require a haircut until he was 18 months old.  Even then, it was just a little trim.  I accidentally shaved his head when he was 2 1/2, so he didn't need a cut again for a long time after that.  He hated (and still does) to be touched or poked or prodded.  He reacted to getting a haircut in much the same manner as he reacts to going to the doctor or dentist.  And he reacts to those events as though you are pouring hot acid straight into his eyeballs as you rip all of his finger nails off while he's swimming in a vat of rubbing alcohol with paper cuts all over his body.

But then we met Kristi.  She didn't do anything differently than any of the other ladies who have tried to cut his hair.  She used the buzzer and the scissors and put the cape on and all the regular haircut stuff that made him freak out.  He still squirms a bit.  He complains that the hair makes him itchy, he doesn't like the snaps on the cape or having his arms covered.  He does, however, make eye contact with Kristi and smiles at her.  He puts on his flirtatious one man show where he says silly things and forgets things like what he got in his Easter basket.

Kristi is young, probably in her early 20s.  She's cute.  When I first met her, her hair was white-blond with pink streaks.  Today her hair was black with a greenish-blue thing going on.  It works for her.  She is tattooed and generally cool-looking.  I can see why he is smitten.

She used to work at the Supercuts close to our house (one of the 8).  One day we called to get him on the list and we found out she was transferred to one that is in an area we otherwise have absolutely no reason to go to.  The truth is that I will continue to drive him 16 miles, paying $2 in tolls if I go the quickest route, to his haircut by a girl that makes him smile, does a nice job and doesn't induce a panic attack.

I mean honestly, with a face like this, how could I refuse him?

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Friday, April 13, 2012


That's what I have for you today.  Nothing.

I spent my morning at work catching up on some things.  I'm still nowhere near caught up.  I know it was productive, but I don't feel like it was.  I like to cross things off lists.  There was very little crossing going on.

I have a bunch of posts started and I tried to work on them to be able to publish.  They are funny posts and I don't feel funny today.  I know some would argue I'm rarely funny and to those some I offer a hardy-har-har.  But I don't even have the strength to pull off a slightly humorous chuckle-able post.

One post is a big one that I've been working on for about 2 weeks.  It's not ready.  I'm not in a place where I can work on it.  It's a tough one.

I don't even have the energy to rant, though I'm sure if I was in a ranty mood there would be no shortage of things to rant about.

You see, there are many sides to me.  One of them is this side.  This is a very blah side.  No one likes this side of me.  I, especially, am not fond of it.  The blah side of me gets nothing accomplished.  It's not lazy, it's incapable.  There's a difference.

I'm probably depressed, but I prefer to say "in a funk" since it sounds way less depressing than depressed does.  The fog will lift, hopefully sooner than later.

I would probably be better served to not post anything today and just go with a real post in a few days when I'm in a better mood.  I'm the kind of person, though, who likes to set arbitrary goals and deadlines and such and then force myself to stick to them.  Like my Friday posts.  No one says I have to post every Friday.  The blogoverse would not shut down if I skipped a week.  Probably hardly anyone would even notice!

{The blah me tends towards the self-pitying, in case you haven't noticed.}

But I will feel immensely guilty if I take a Friday off.  Tomorrow will be super busy so I can't even delay it a day.

So you get this post. Which really isn't much of one.  If this is your first time reading, go back to my last few.  Those are better, I promise.  I hope you'll come back.  For my old friends, stick with me.  There's better stuff in my head.  I just misplaced it all.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Lesson.

When I was about 11 or 12, my mother declared she would not be cooking Easter dinner and we officially had no plans.  In an attempt to avoid the prior year's Easter dinner at Burger King, I decided that I would cook the Easter meal.  It was to be a feast fit for 5 - my brother and mother, my grandmother and grandfather, and myself.

Everyone agreed that it was a lovely idea.

I spent the entire day before Easter crafting our after dinner entertainment:  An Easter themed board game.  I drew the board.  I crafted the markers that would travel around the spaces.  I created cards with trivia, all of which was carefully researched inside the many volumes of The World Book of Knowledge that graced our dining room bookshelf.  I wrote up the rules so as to avoid any accusations that I was making them up on the spot for my own personal gain.

I pulled out my book of children's crafts to fashion place mats, napkin rings and name plates.  I put far too much thought into the seating arrangement.  I used construction paper and markers to write a menu for my guests to view prior to our meal.

And, oh, what a menu it was!  A canned ham, delicately scored with whole cloves inserted at the intersections, complete with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries fastened with toothpicks.  I saw this in a cookbook, so I knew it was the proper way to cook a ham.  Mashed potatoes topped with McCormick's pork flavored gravy.  Not one, but two cans of green beans.  I even got my mother to buy the rolls in a can that I loved so much.

My mother helped, but not too much, because I insisted I was cooking this dinner and I did not need help.  It was to be my first official dinner party and I wanted to do it all on my own.

As dinner time approached, my grandmother called to say she wasn't coming.  She had hurt her knee and was going to stay home.  But my grandfather was still coming and he was on his way.

When Grandpa arrived, I eagerly showed him the menu.  He looked it over carefully.  Since he was a cartoonist and experienced calligrapher, he gave me some notes on what I could have done to make the poster nicer.

We finally sat down to eat.  I explained that I had made a fun game for us to play after dinner.  I was so excited.  Why weren't they?  Did a hand-drawn, fairly complicated Easter trivia game not sound fun?

Halfway through the meal, we heard sirens and saw flashing lights. A fire truck was headed up our small, dead-end street. Concerned for our neighbors and perhaps with a touch of nosey-ness, we jumped from the table to see what was going on.  It turned out that there was a small fire in the empty lot that butted up against our street.  No big deal, things were under control.

"Come on, you guys.  Dinner is getting cold.  And we have to play our game!" I was still so excited.

That's when my grandfather spied the rusty frame that used to be our swing set.  That swing set, in its hay-day, provided hours and hours of amusement for my brother and I and our friends from the neighborhood.  It was typical of those you would see in the late 70s:  Two plastic swings held on by metal chains, a metal slide and the 2-seater thing we would call "the bus."  It started out red and white, now it was peeling and rusty.  The swings and the bus were gone.  The slide was dented and bent.  But that contraption, cemented into the dirt by my father a decade or so earlier, was still standing.

This swing set had been in this dilapidated state for years.  Why it became such a focus of his consternation on this particular afternoon still befuddles me to this day.  Grandpa went into the garage and found a shovel.  He set about digging that thing out of the ground and taking it apart.

I went inside.  I finished my dinner.  We cleaned up our plates, and made a plate to send home to Grandma.  We packed up the leftovers for tomorrow's dinner.

When my grandfather completed his deconstruction mission, he was a sweaty, dirty mess.  The swing set was out to the curb for heavy trash pick up later that week.

"Welp, that's done.  Is this for your grandma?" he asked me, pointing to the plate on the kitchen counter while blotting his face with a paper towel.
"Alright.  I'm going to get going.  I need to clean up.  It's hotter than you think out there today."

He said goodbye to all of us and he left.  I picked up my game and threw it into the garbage on top of all of the food scraps from his half eaten dinner.

My mother later asked me why I was so upset.  I'm sure I cried and ranted about feeling unloved and dismissed.  She told me the food was good, everyone thought so.  She said she appreciated what I did.  "You know how your grandfather is."  Despite knowing how he was, I was hurt and I wasn't done being hurt.  So my mother told me to give it a rest and go watch TV.  She was done comforting me.

So what's the lesson?  It's this:  Eat the mediocre dinner.  Play the stupid game.  Show up for the meal, limping if you have to.  Don't dig outdoor play equipment out of the ground when there's a tween sitting inside who just wants to impress you.  Pretend you're impressed, even if your not.  Because nearly 25 years later, every year at Easter, even if it's just for a moment, she's still going to remember that either you weren't there or you weren't impressed.

I'm linking up again with Yeah Write.


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Sunday, April 8, 2012

On The Road.

Before we moved to our current home in 2010, we lived in rural Sussex County, New Jersey.  There was a farm at the end of our street with horses.  You had to pass farms to get to our house.  To get anywhere from our house, you had to pass a ton of other stuff since our house was located far from everything.  Except maybe farms.

As a result, we spent a great deal of time on the road.  Now that we've moved, we don't spend nearly so much.  Here's a list of the top ten things I don't miss, to link up once again with Monday Listicles.

1.  Gas prices.  I mean honestly. Even when they go down a little, they are still awful.  And when you can't do anything without driving at least 10 miles, you spend a fortune just thinking about leaving the house.

2.  My child loved to play games where we named everything we could think of in a particular category.  And by we, I mean that I had to make these lists for his amusement.   Name all the colors!  Name everything that starts with Q!  Name all the big birds!  Name all the numbers!

3.  Since there were only 2 main roads that connected us with civilization, everyone and their mother was always on them at the same time.  There was always traffic.  Always.

4.  It seemed like there was constantly construction going on.  It didn't matter if we were driving in the dead of night, rush hour or the middle of the day, there was always a road crew exactly where I was.  

5.  The other by-product of construction was all of the flying rocks and debris that I could guarantee would hit my window while riding on Route 80.  Less than a month after getting a brand new car, I replaced that brand new windshield with an even brand newer windshield courtesy of a giant rock kicked up by a construction vehicle pulling out of the construction site as I drove past.  Thank you very much.

6.  In the span of 6 months, we had two car accidents (both times my son was in the car - he was about 2.75 the first time, 3.25 the second time).  No one was hurt, thank goodness, but the second one lead to the new car mentioned in #5 above.

7.  20 miles to the closest Trader Joe's.  40 miles to the closest Whole Foods.  Need I say more?

8.  You could not go ANYWHERE at 3pm unless you wanted to be stuck behind a school bus on a rural road for the next hour.  You might as well wait at home until 4pm and you'd still get where you wanted to go at the same time.

9.   I only went into the office 2 days every week, but it was still dreadful.  43 miles to my in-laws' house to drop off Nathan.  6.5 miles to my office.  6.5 miles back to their house, 43 miles back home.  Nearly 100 miles and 2+ hours on the road for about 5-6 hours of work.

10.  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet? Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  I'm bored.  I'm hungry.  I'm tired.  I'm uncomfortable. It's hot in here.  It's cold in here.  I have to go to the bathroom.  Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

There you have it, the top ten things that I do not miss from my days of being on the road all the time!

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Friday, April 6, 2012


My acupuncturist refers to putting a needle in me as "needling."  She says she enjoys needling me because I rarely complain (about the needles that is) and agree to just about any needling she suggests.

Can I needle your eyebrows to help with your hormones?  Sure!
Can I needle your belly?  Absolutely!
Can I needle your sinuses to relieve congestion?  Why not?!
Can I needle your uterus and ovaries to move your chi and lessen your cramps?  Um, I guess...
Can I needle your neck and put a glass cup over it and draw blood - we call that bleeding - to help your sore throat?  Well... If you *really* think that will help...

You're fun to needle.  Gee, thanks.  I think.

I learned the hard way that some needles hurt.  Toes and finger tips for example. She says they are "pinchy" but I think that might be putting it mildly.

She generally uses gall bladder and liver points to alleviate my womanly issues.  Since I hang around a preschooler all the time, we do some immunity boosting points.  She sticks needles in my ears for stress.

She will sometimes needle local areas for pain or symptoms.  Case in point, the sinuses.  They go pretty far in but it doesn't really hurt and it really does help.

Basically, I'm a pin cushion.  And I'm OK with that since I have only had one migraine since October.  Considering I used to have them semi-monthly, needle away!

After the eye-twitching was becoming beyond annoying, I decided it was time to speak up.

Her:  How was your week?  How are you feeling?
Me:  OK.  I'm going to tell you this, but if you try to stick a needle there, I swear to you I'll run.
Her:  Oh boy.
Me:  My eyes are twitching and they won't stop.
Her:  Oh.  I wouldn't stick a needle in your eye.  That would be bad.
Me:  I agree.  So yeah, can you help?
Her:  That's your liver.  I'll needle your feet for that.

{Did you catch that?  My eye twitching is caused by my liver so she'll put needles in my feet.  I try not to find logic in any of this.}

Me:  OK.
Her:  Are you excited?
Me:  Sure.

{She always asks if I'm excited.  I'm not.  But I always say "sure" and smile.  Because I'm polite.}

As she's needling me, we get to chatting.  She informs me that a question on the state board exam is what three places is an acupuncturist not allowed to needle. The answer is the eyeball, the nipple and the belly button.

I promptly informed her that my list of non-needle-able places is actually a bit longer than that.

She laughed.  Then she told me that there are acupuncture points in the perineum.  I foolishly didn't ask what that treats, but it hardly matters because she will never be putting needles in mine.

And THEN she told me that there are points near the rectum for hemorrhoids.  Now, I have delivered a child, so I know a thing or two about hems.  I mean this with complete sincerity and I want to be very clear here:  I really can't see a day coming where they would be so awful that the best thing I could think of to do would be to have someone put a needle in them.  Or near them.  No, Miss Acupuncture, not even if I couldn't sit down.  Kinda not even if they were overtaking my entire body.

Acupuncture treatments consist of being either face up or face down on a massage table and being still for about 30 minutes.  I couldn't help but wonder if one would have to retro-fit a table with stirrups for  treatments of the nether-regions.  Can you imagine staying in that position, with needles THERE, for 30 minutes?  No?  Me either.

Thankfully my needle-wielding friend and I are on the same page about the acceptable places for needles and she's really quite kind to always ask if I mind if she sticks something somewhere.  But, should a day come where something truly abhorrent happens to my undercarriage and for a split-second I feel that maybe I might consider that sort of treatment, if she asks me if I'm excited, there will be no more politeness.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Guilty Pleasures.

I'm going to link up with Monday Listicles for the first time this week.  The topic here is guilty pleasures.  I'm human, so I have a few.  These 10 are a start.

1.  Teenagers Melodrama - I love a good TV show about teenagers with drama.  Gilmore Girls has always been a favorite of mine.  I love the interaction between Rory and Lorelai.  My current TV Guilty Pleasure is The Secret Circle.  Sometimes I will watch it at the same time as my friend and we'll text our reactions as we watch.  You know, because I'm actually only 13.

2.  Troubled People Reality TV - Give me a show about hoarding, addiction or obesity and I. Am. Hooked.  I don't know why I like to watch shows about people who are so desperately troubled, but I do. It's not like I'm rooting for them or against them. I actually don't care what the outcome is.  I like the story.  I want all the details.  I tend to watch these shows when my husband travels and they depress the hell out of me.  I stay up way too late watching.  It's really unhealthy.  Maybe I could be the star of one:  I am addicted to shows about addiction!

3.  30 Rock - My husband and I rewatch the series on Netflix Instant over and over again.  We have the current season on DVR so I can just put the show on when I'm getting sleepy and let Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey send me off to slumber.  The truth is I'm very Liz Lemon-y and I get a huge kick out of her.  My husband will point out when she's making a face I would make or doing something I would do.  It's probably a bit narcissistic that I love a show that reminds me of me but, well, I don't care.

4.  Potatoes - Mashed is my favorite.  Cheddar cheese, scallions, bacon (or vegetarian bacon if I'm being good).  Or gravy.  Gravy is good.  Lots of butter.  Sometimes fried onions, which I love, but is a total PITA with all that cutting and what not.  I prefer made from scratch, but I'll make instant.  Because when you NEED potatoes, you just can't waste time futzing around peeling them and such.

5.  Cheese - I love pizza, disco fries and nachos.  All together?  Sure, why not.  In case you don't know, disco fries are fries with mozzarella cheese and brown gravy.  I think it's a NJ diner thing, but I highly encourage you to try it.  I will admit though that when I'm not totally hungry, I sometimes just pick the melted cheese off of whatever vessel it's located on and I eat it by itself.  If it was socially acceptable to go to a restaurant and order a plate of melted cheese, I'm absolutely certain I would.

{Let's take a brief moment to reflect on the fact that my top 5 guilty pleasures are TV and food related.  Carry on.}

6.  Social Media - I cannot tear myself away from Twitter and Facebook.  I need to know what each and every one of you are eating for lunch, what you're complaining about, what your kid ate for lunch, what movie you're seeing, what your current malady is, and so on.  And then I will tell you all those things about me.  It's the first thing I do when I wake up, usually the last thing I do when I go to sleep.  It's kinda sad when I think about it.  But it's better than when smoking used to play that role, so there's that.

7.  My iPhone - Related to number 6, I cannot function without my phone.  My favorite jammie pants have a pocket so I can put my phone in it.  I'm mean, I'm sure that's not WHY they were made that way, but now I want all my jammie pants to have pockets. If my phone isn't in my hand, it's in my pants pocket.  Or on my desk.  Or at the dinner table.  I have, more often than I care to admit, taken breaks from dinner to check my phone.  I have 3 email addresses on there, the weather, the news, Twitter and Facebook.  And I can't forget Words with Friends!  IMDB app, Pinterest, pictures, texting, Pandora, GPS...  Cannot live without it.

8.  Burritos - Yes, we are back to food.  If I'm happy, I'll want a burrito.  If I'm sad, I'll want a burrito.  Angry?  Burrito.  I am pretty sure my son is 85% burrito.  I used to go to this one place for lunch while I was pregnant.  I was there so often, they recognized me and knew my order.  I'm talking 3-4 times per week.  My husband would sometimes offer to meet me there for dinner since he knew I was always craving it.  One night the manager said, "Oh, you're here again?" and that's how my husband found out that sometimes I'd go there twice in one day.

9.  Office Supplies - I probably shouldn't admit this, but I get way too excited when I get to acquire new office supplies.  I love pens and notebooks and filing supplies.  When I was little, there was a period of time where I wanted to be "an office worker" just so I could have access to supplies.  I loved going school shopping for new binders and loose leaf paper.  I, for a time, worked at a company where the mailroom guy was ridiculously organized and it's entirely possible that sometimes I'd sneak in there and just LOOK at all the supplies.  It was his job to organize them.  How lucky was he?  (Totally serious here, by the way.)

10.  The Bridge on Sirius - The Bridge is a channel on Sirius that features the mellow jams of the singers and songwriters of the 60s, 70s and 80s.  Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, Billy Joel, The Eagles, Carole King, Cat Stevens, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce...  Seriously, I cannot get enough of this!  I belt out these tunes like I'm old enough to be my own mother.  Great stuff.  They just don't write 'em like that anymore.

So there you have it, my Top Ten Guilty Pleasures.  Thank you Monday Listicles for providing the inspiration for this post!  Hope you enjoyed them.  It's OK if you're laughing at me.  I am.


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