Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Ride

It has occurred to me recently that I might be going about this all wrong. This stupid silly little thing known as "love".

Love. What is it really? We all use it so rampantly and indignantly that it's almost lost all meaning. "I love those shoes!", or, "I freaking love mac-n-cheese!", or,  "I love me some Tony Parker, beotch!"  And, I don't even know Tony Parker. How could I possibly love him?

This I know for certain: I do love my children with every fiber of my being. That is love beyond measure. And, I love my sisters and my parents and my nieces and nephew and great niece and nephews.  I even love my brothers-in-law and all of my cousins and aunt and uncle.  And, I love my close friends. When I say this, it is genuine. And, I have no question that they love me. As it should be.

But, all that love is based on years of hard work and life experiences. It is love that is learned and earned.

It takes time. And, it should. Anything worth having is worth the investment you put into it.

When it comes to romantic love, level of expertise is nonexistent at best. I find it to be very confusing, to the level of calculus or macroeconomics. Frankly, it just plain eludes me. I thought I had a handle on it for the better part of 14 years. Turns out, not so much.

Now, the diminutive and ever shrinking hopeless romantic in me still clings to the notion that unbridled and impulsive romantic love is still very much alive and well. She is tiny but mighty and clever, that one. I currently have her gagged and hog tied in the corner.

I have to assume that such wild, magical and unexpected romantic love does exist. As I write this I am watching someone very close to me in the throes of such a fairy tale. I have even silently poo pooed it, but, there's no denying it. There is a very mutual and wistful love story taking place right in front of me. Who am I to be judge and jury that such things just don't exist? Just because I am currently residing in a different fairy tale, aka The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe (store), I shouldn't begrudge my dear friend of her happiness.

I don't. I wouldn't.

But, I have to ask, how do you know? How do you know when to take that little leap? And, by the way, when did I become so jaded and afraid? When did the prospect of love become so damn scary?

It just is. It's scary. Life is scary. You could get hurt. You WILL get hurt. It is inevitable. But, there's really no point in living your life full of regret. Live and learn. That's the best any of us can do, I guess.

So, back to my original point, my going about this all wrong. Ok, maybe I'll let little missy out of her hog ties. Give her some air time. In other words, freaking relax and allow the come-what-may to, well, come.

And, in the mean time I will enjoy the company of the people I love. Lucky them! Or me. Or both....not sure on that.

In the words of my highly enamored and giddy friend, enjoy the ride!

Monday, April 22, 2013


We knew it was imminent. It just took a little extra time this year. Poor ole Punxutawney Phil has had to go into the witness protection program. But, I think we can finally, safely say that spring as arrived.

And, by the way, WTF Al Gore?


The signs are everywhere. In fact, I've been practically ambushed by some sweet reminders that warmer weather is indeed upon us.

Just yesterday my gal pal and I ventured out on a walk. It was still a tad chilly. We even remarked about the small amount of condensation hovering in the air. Not rain, thank The Lord. Just a little dew. And, just like that, a rather large amount of "dew" landed on my head. Only it wasn't that kind of dew. It was doo. As in bird doo. A freaking bird unloaded his morning meal on my head. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate birds. And, in the moment I felt compelled to share this fact with the entire neighborhood.

"Did a bird just shit on my head?"

"Oh. Ohhh my god. Yep hahahah! Sure did!"

I began to throw a fantastical fit, somewhat of a cross between a 2-year old tantrum and a grown woman going into anaphylactic shock.

"I FUCKING HATE BIRDS", I shrilled as I stomped around and attempted to wipe the bird dung off of my head. I was entirely unaware of the 2 men unloading a truck in the driveway across the street.

"Heyyyy. What's up?"

And then we giggled and ran off like a couple of teenaged twits.

Today's walk started off just as comically. No sooner had we exited the door of my house did a prehistorically sized wasp descend upon my friend. She screamed and ran as I bobbed and weaved. Apparently he fancied her because "he", I'm just guessing here, chased her off the front porch and into the drive way before she had noticed that he was hot on her tail. Next I know she's off like a shot into the street screaming, "HE'S FUCKING CHASING ME!!" Not the first time she's said those words. Again, I'm just guessing here.

I couldn't help but wonder if there wasn't bacon or jelly beans in the middle of the street based upon the velocity in which she moved. Nope. Just another sign of spring.

So, today I figured I would make it official. I would attempt to mow my yard. I was relatively apprehensive only because I was certain my mower would not start.

I geared up and put on my iPod for a little motivational music.I figured I'd need all the help I could get. I kept the mower in the garage for my attempt to start it to avoid any and all ridicule. Only the neighbor boy had other ideas.

The little darling was perched on his big wheel at the end of my driveway. I'm gonna guess him somewhere around 4 or 5. He was mouthing something to me but I feigned deafness thanks to my iPod. I'm not a fan of this kid. He's mouthy and rude. So, as per normal I ignored the little bastard and went in for the kill. I stopped just short of dislocating my shoulder and shoved the mower a couple of feet. You know, for good measure.

He was still there, taunting me.

I tried again. To no avail.

He was still trying to communicate with me. Though I played dumb, I got it. He was telling me that it needed gas. You think I didn't think of that you little wanker? Oh wait. Crap! I looked into the gas tank. Yeah, okay, it needed to be topped off. But, I'm sure that wasn't the problem. I only filled it up because that was my original plan. Had nothing to do with Nosy McNeighbor boy.

Lo and behold. It started.

I made the mistake of removing one of my ear phones only to hear him say, "told you it needed gas" as he triumphantly peddled home.


Fortunately the smell of fresh cut grass improved my mood. That is after all the surest sign that spring has arrived.

Yes, folks. It's here. Chalk full of bugs, bird crap and precious little children, running amuck and terrorizing the neighborhood. Wait, why was it again I was so excited about spring?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Funny and Handsome

As a young woman, this was my list of qualifications for a perspective boyfriend. Funny and handsome. That was it. That was all I felt was necessary in a suitable companion. He just had to be funny and handsome.

Oh my how times have changed.

I suppose as young women we should be allowed to be so carefree and simple when it comes to matters of the heart. Eventually we learn. And learn. And then learn again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a sucker for the funny and handsome boy. But, now that I find myself as a forty something single mom back in the dating game, I recognize that funny and handsome will only go so far. My list has evolved thanks to personal experience and the sage wisdom of friends and family.

1. Funny is still important.

This is still a top priority. It's just the type of funny is different. For example, when you're young and dating a boy and he farts, you laugh, because farts are funny. When you're dating in your forties and the man farts it's funny because you know that he has no control over it. These things happen. And it's funny. I mean, you have to laugh about the side effects of aging, so that you don't cry. And, frankly, there's nothing more attractive than a man who can laugh at his own expense.

A boy in his twenties works hard at being funny. He seeks approval for his shenanigans and story telling. He will slap his buddy on the back and give him the universal "that was some funny shit, right?" hand signal. Whereas a well seasoned funny man is completely confident in his finely honed humor. Basically, he's funny, he knows it, but he doesn't flaunt it. He is pure sexiness. Stick a fork in me.

2. He must be age appropriate.

When we are young we date our age. Because, well, we can. The older we get, the more challenging that becomes. So, you have to set parameters; an age range if you will. And this requires a tad bit of "research".

I recently had a conversation with a friend of a friend who is a professional singleton. She has a thick Chicago accent, a permanent smile and invaluable wit and wisdom.

"So, you're having a fling with a young one, huh?"
"Yep. That I am."
"Good for you! You know, younger men are like puppies. They're cute, fun to play with and they're eager to please. But you gotta let someone else train them. Have your fun and move on."

Wise woman that one.

I had a near miss encounter with a man 14 years my senior. My brother in law allowed as how I didn't want to date someone that much older than me. When I asked why he pointed out that I'd end up being his care taker some day. This coming from a man 13 years older than my sister.

Live and learn. And then set your age range accordingly.

3. He needs a healthy bulge.

To quote a very dear friend, "The bulge in the back pocket is more important than the one in the front."

Uh huh. Okay. Yeah I see that. But, I have to say that experience has taught me that a healthy bulge in the front pocket is an equally charming quality in a man. If not a novelty. If you happen to come across this mystic being who has healthy bulges in both the front and back pockets, then marry him. NOW, sister!

I guess the point is that at this stage of the game, a little financial security goes a long way. So does a healthy front bulge, but, okay, fine, beggars can't be choosers.

4. His background has to be clean.

This is important. Ladies, lets face it, you just can't be too safe. There's this little thing called Google. Use it, preferably before you sleep with him. Again, we live and learn.

And, do as much local research as you can on him. I live in a very small town, and the dating pool is very, very small. Tiny, in fact. And, as a friend ever so gently put it, everyone has peed in it. You can find out a lot about a man just by knowing who your predecessors were. Though, another good friend very earnestly said to me, "I don't care who came first, but I do have to ask why they left." Another point well taken.

5. Handsome still helps.

Though as my dear mother, and most all dear mothers, pointed out, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, when we're young that's pretty much all we see, the beauty before us. The poor schlepp underdog boy struggles to let you know how awesome he is. He has a graduate degree from MIT, his mother raised him to treat women with respect and to have good manners, he can carry on a conversation without once having to say "uuuhh, I dunno" and someday his front bulge will likely be substantial. But, we just can't seem to take our eyes off the dim witted chiseled Neanderthal who keeps saying "uuuhh, I dunno" to us. Again, we do eventually learn.

Pretty really is as pretty does. As we get older we do figure out that sometimes it just takes a little time to get to know a guy before you can ascertain whether or not you find him attractive. We still have qualities we are drawn to. I still am mesmerized by a set of beautiful eyes. And I turn full idiot in the presence of tall, dark and handsome. But, if a short, gray haired, relatively attractive man with brown eyes came along and was funny, nice and polite and took me out for a steak dinner I'm certain I'd find him attractive.

It's still okay to be a bit particular in the advanced dating game, however. My friend with the bulge requirement also deems teeth necessary. Real or not, they just have to have a set of teeth.

6. He's got to move slowly.

Lesson nĂºmero uno in dating post divorce: do not move in on your first relationship after your divorce like a rat on a Cheeto. This is your rebound relationship. It is your gateway drug. You still have a significant amount of baggage to unpack. Do not let him convince you that he's the one. Maybe he is, but not yet. Take your time. My very good friend told me as much. "You make sure you like him. I'm sure you love him. But he may never leave, and then you're stuck with someone you don't like that much."

To be completely honest with you, I hate dating at this stage of the game. I really, really hate it. I avoid it at all possible costs. But, I greatly appreciate the valuable lessons and advice I have gotten. It makes it a little more tolerable. And humorous. Funny really is the way to go!

I owe a special thanks to a lot of people for this one: Sue Brosmith, Linda Standley, Stephanie Griffitts, Kim Mitchell, Mike Molyneaux, Joe Racey, Kelly Miles, Diane Turilli, my beautiful mom and of course my single sisters in crime, Gigi Patterson and Christine Grojean, because we are living it. Like it or not.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thought for Food

Spring is finally here. Well, it's supposed to be. The calendar says it's here. I'm guessing Old Lady Nature has extended her sabbatical. Can't say as I blame her.

It's been a long winter. A long, cold, crappy winter chalk full of drama, illness and injury. Well, at least it has been in my household.

I'm over it.

Oh, spring....where for art thou? We all need you so.

To say I've got the fever would be a gross understatement. I've got it. And BAD.

I'm ready for the return of all things warm and friendly and happy. That is, after all, what spring is all about, n'est pas?

I'm ready for slightly chilly morning runs, warm late afternoons on the patio "sipping" wine with my gf's, and reading in my soccer mom chair on my front porch while my boys ride their bikes or play basketball.

Hell, I'm so freaking ready for spring I'm even slightly pumped to get out and clean up the nasty yard shit left over from last fall.

And, yet, we wait. And, wait.

So, in an attempt to ready myself for warmer days I have recently begun to kick the workout routine back up about 5 notches.

I mentioned the injury thing earlier. Yeah, for those of you in my past who shared war stories of back injuries with me all the while I shared my best GTFOI look, I'd like to apologize. Sincerely. I get it. I sooooo get it. There really are no words to describe the pain of a back injury. You have to experience it to really get it. And, then you personally get to experience the pure joy of the GTFOI looks. Which is awesome. Well played, karma.

Back injuries lead to pain meds (opiates, to be exact) which lead to silly and sometimes slightly inappropriate behavior. And, then next you know you've got the flu. Well. Okay, you're actually in full blown withdrawals from your pain meds. Which of course just makes you feel bad about yourself so you then opt to self medicate with food and a little more wine than is totally necessary.

Then one day you decide to tempt fate by dusting off your scales. And, surprise of all surprises, you've packed on a few. You and the bears and the squirrels. Good job, gal.

And THEN the Sports Illustrated swim suit issue is slathered all over the news and social media, which, of course, reminds you that warm weather really will happen some day. Soon. And you're sitting there donning your new chubby suit wiping Dorito dust off of your face.   Perhaps you need to GTFO yourself and get back to it.

So. Yesterday I went to toning class. Where I expected the normal routine of weights and squats and lunges etc. Not on this fine day. Oh no. Our instructor had other plans for us. A little something called the yoga swing.

The room itself looks like a torture chamber.

"This will be fun!", adorable, perky little instructor says. "You'll each need a hammock and a set of stirrups and handles." A what now? It all appeared slightly kinky to me. That didn't bother me near as much as  the unnerving creak of the wooden support beams when I clumsily lifted and shifted myself into the swing.

As we began three words quickly came to mind: awkward, cumbersome and pathetic.

I felt compelled to frequently announce, "Whoa, I can't do this one". You know, to save appearances. Because I totally resemble someone completely capable of performing circus tricks gracefully and on command. I was slightly appeased by the gal behind me who would gasp a response, "Me either, Julie". At least I was not alone in my feebleness.

But, it was, after all, all in the name of my personal spring clean up. Just like the proverbial bear I have resurfaced from my winter slumber ready to take on the world. Well, okay, maybe just the near vicinity. Don't want to over extend myself anymore than the yoga swing already did. Every muscle in my body will gladly attest to that fact.

So, bring it on, spring. We're ready for ya. No, seriously. Any day now would be nice........

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Go home, Cupid. You are drunk.

The other day a couple of friends and I delved into the topic of emotional cutting. Just in time for Valentine's Day.

Emotional cutting: the practice of purposely seeking out things that you know will only hurt you, such as creeping on your ex's Facebook page, or blathering incessantly about an ex as though you were still in some sort of relationship, or even hopelessly watching romantic movies with the full knowledge that those kinds of endings never happen. Emotional cutting is often used as a painful and unfortunately effective procrastination technique for moving on.

It is a term made popular by the ever eloquent Miss Carrie Bradshaw. Yes, I am aware that she is a fictional character. But she is THE fictional character who's goddess quotient I aspire to daily. Hence the over abundant use of Carrie quotes.

So the gal pals and I journeyed through a plethera of failed relationships passed. We collectively scratched our heads and shrugged our shoulders. Where had we gone wrong? Now, I'm not certain that I would recommend this type of group toxic purging therapy to just anyone. Especially so close to Valentine's Day. But, it works for us. We have lovingly come to refer to our sessions as kitchen table confidentials.


Valentine's Day. This is the time of year that most all Singletons abhore. The commercials alone are enough to make you want to pull out a bow of your own and fire it off at the next hint of anything love related. A la Katniss. Cupid be damned.

I have an affinity for Brach's cherry heart jube gel candy that only come out this time of year. But, heaven forbid I set foot in the Hallmark store. Emotional cutting 101: by all means, go to the Valentine's Day headquarters between January 1st and February 14 as often as possible. Never will you feel so emtionally negated and homely than during this particular holiday season at this particular locale.

Yeah. Um, no thanks.

Now, emotional cutting is not reserved for the fairer sex alone. Oh no. I realize that some of you male figures consider this to be a female's area of expertise. I think you may refer to it as unleashing the crazy, or topping out at level 5 clinger. But, I have seen some of the most verile of you crumble to your knees when the object of your desires rejects you like yesterday's bacon.

The male version, however, looks a little something more like a scene from a Tarantino movie. For example, I recall a certain "man" who changed his regular route home from work in hopes of discovering the identity of the owner of a suspicious looking vehicle which had been parked in the near vicinity of his ex's home on a regular basis since shortly after the demise of their relationship. He was simply concerned about the safety of his former love. Uh huh.

Regrettably,  we all have the calculated means by which we torment ourselves over the one (or more) that got away. It really is an unfortunate step in the whole moving on process. That same process which allows us to open ourselves up to new and exciting possibilities. To, oh, I don't know, love again?

But, for now, I implore you, Cupid. Keep on moving. I know you see the no solicitors sign hanging on my front door. I mean it....go away.

You're still here?  BEAT IT! Seriously.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Good Day

So as all days end, I kissed my boys good night and tucked them in. All's well that ends well, right? Just another day.

And then I proceeded to tuck myself in. Quit judging me, Judgy McJudgerson! Yeah, I "tuck myself in"! What's ths issue?

So, as I was saying, I tucked myself in and had a thought. "Today was a really good day."



I was a tad bit perplexed at my own thought. What exactly was it about today that was so damned special, you ask? (I couldn't help but ask myself the same question. Again, don't judge.)

Well. Allow me to recap.

1. I woke up. This always makes for a good day.

2. I got to sleep in a little. My boys had a late morning dentist appointment. So. We slept in. Bite me, haters.

3. My boys had dentist appointments. Forgive me a little, but, honestly, when you're  a parent, nothing quite drives the "brush your teeth" argument home like having a cavity filled. Albeit a short lived point. But, a good point, nonetheless.

4. I got to post funny pictures of my kids at the dentist on Facebook. I mean, come on. This is good stuff, people.

5. My kids got to go to school late. As I recall, this always made for a five star day when I was a kid. And, I'm quite certain it was for my boys as well. Don't tell him I saw this, but, #1 actually skipped when he headed to the front door of his school. God love him.

6. In the 2 hour's time that my boys were at school I was able to get groceries at Aldi's, get stuff I couldn't get at Aldi's at IckyMart, make 4 necklaces, start a pot of chili, and sneak in a 10 minute cat nap. It was nothing short of glorious.

7. Took my boys to see my dad. This is always a treat. At 89 he is always full of business. Today was no exception. I think my boys may bring out the cantankerous side in him.

8. Got home, doctored chili, invited friend and child over for dinner and counted the minutes until the appropriate time for a glass of wine.

9. Had a pleasantly palated and fabulously scheduled evening of events for friend and child. Ok, fine. We had a really nice dinner. Yes, chili and wine for the "grown ups" and chicken and french fries for the children. You only wish you could have been here!!

10. Went to bed and realized that I had a really good day.

So, here's the kicker: it really is that simple. I just had a really good day. For no real reason other than it was. How nice?

And, how lucky am I?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Sweetest Thing

Today I pose this question, if a child yells "Mom?!" repeatedly in a forest, will a mom answer?

Okay, well the knee jerk response will probably be, "Why is this child in a forest? That seems rather dangerous. And sad. Is he lost? Where is his mother?"

Fine. So, hypothetically, if a child were in a very safe and well lit forest and had a cell phone on him but instead of using it he chose to yell "Mom?!" repeatedly, would a mom answer?

Odds are, yes. Somewhere within a 1 mile radius of said child are approximately 10 mothers awaiting to spat a blind response of "Yeah?"

Every mother has at one time or another been in some public venue, distracted by her surroundings, and answered the beacon of some random child.


"Yeah? Oh, sorry. Wrong mom."

When our children are babies we mothers wait in bated breath for that precious moment when they gurgle out their very first "mama". Never has anything sweeter ever been said. It melts us to our very core.

Strangely, though, 9 times out of 10, their first word isn't "mama". God help us, it is typically "dada". Why, yes. Why shouldn't their first word be "dada"? I mean after all, their father was the one who carried them in their womb and developed every little organ, tissue, fiber, hair, nail, soul for the better part of one year. Yes, the daddy IS the one who's skin was stretched beyond repair out of pure love for his offspring. And, daddy WAS the one who sprang their pride and joy from their very loins. Of COURSE our baby's first word should be "dada".

Maybe it's easier to say. Mama. Dada. Mama. Dada.

Nope. Don't think so.

Well, be that as it may, I suppose we mommies should be careful what we wish for. Because once our sweet little boogers have fully captured the essence of cooing out "mama" and watching as our hearts melt a little more each time they say it, they never stop saying it. EVER.

Take tonight, for instance. From the moment I picked my children up from child care until their angelic little backsides hit their mattresses, I'm guessing the "mom" count somewhere in the arena of 5000. Give or take a few.

It's freaking exhausting.

But, as moms do, we learn avoidance techniques. Or, something you men may better understand, selective deafness. Oh, yeah, we're on to you.

So, back to tonight in mother-of-the-year-land, once my darlings were fed and settled in (or so I thought), I opted for a little me time. I plugged my head phones into my iPad, cozied into the couch and logged onto Pinterest. Life was good. For possibly 4 minutes, or less. I'm not certain.

Kelly Clarkson was yelling at me about being stronger when all the while child #1 and #2 had been jockeying for my attention from the floor of their bedroom.

"Mom!!  MOM!"


To no avail. I was in my happy place. Don't judge me.

Next I know, #1 is limping into the living room holding the back of his head. And, in a much more dramatic performance, #2 scooches in on the floor dragging what appears to be a dead limb behind him. (It was very much alive, I assure you.)

Apparently I had missed a modern day throw down the likes that "Wrestling at the Chase" had never seen in the mere 4 (or whatever) minutes I had been out of touch.

It would appear that perhaps I had become too adept at my selective deafness.

"Mom! Why didn't you answer me? Mom! Mom! He pushed my head into the dresser. Mom, it hurts so bad! Is it bleeding? I feel a little sick. Is there blood? Mom?"

Nope. No blood. Lil' bit of a bump. Awesome. Now for #2.

"Mmoooaaaaammmmyyyyy. Aaa ah haaa. He eeee hurt me! Mom I hate him so much!"

"No you don't."

"Mommy, moooommmy! He broked my leg! Look mom it's broke!!"

"No it's not. You're standing on it."


"Why didn't you answer us? We were both yelling for you and you didn't answer!"

Two things come to mind, DCFS and that cute outfit I didn't get to pin because I was interrupted.

"Listen. Here's the thing, mom couldn't hear you because I had my headphones on." Great, now I'm  referring to myself as mom. "And, quite frankly, you were both supposed to be in bed." who's really at fault here, huh?

"Come on guys. Back to bed. It's been a long one. Can you please just ease up on the yelling of 'Mom'? Please?"

Once we have all finally settled in I hear #2 yell from his bed, "Julie? I need to go to the bathroom!"

I shit you not.