Friday, December 23, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

I don't know of anyone who actually knows the words to this song or what they actually really mean, but, to quote my favorite movie of all time, "When Harry Met Sally", it's a song about old friends. 

And, while I'm thinking of it, I highly recommend that you download James Taylor's version of Auld Lang Syne.  It is, I think, the best rendition of the old standard out there.  Kind of makes you want to curl up by the fire with a hot toddy and snuggle up with your very own Hot Todd-y.  Okay, sorry about that.

So, at the end of almost every year people take a moment or two to reflect on the year and think about what it has meant to them....the good, the bad, the ugly.  I have already expressed that for the most part, this year has, well, sucked.  But, as I laid in bed this very early morning, thanks to the insomnia that has found it's way back into my world, I couldn't help but think about how extremely lucky I am for the relationships that I have developed, old and new, this past year.  I almost had to laugh, in spite of myself.  But, I do feel so blessed that in light of all of the sadness that has surrounded this past year I can recognize the beautiful connections that I have made that have made what should have been one of the worst years on record turn out to be one of the best. 

There are, of course, certain people in my life who need no mention.  Their relevance and importance in my life are implicit.  My children, to be exact.  They are my life.  My family, as a whole, is my life.  But, I need to express my gratitude towards my sisters.  They are my heroes.  These are the type of women that should make you proud to be a woman.  My sisters are, perhaps, the strongest, kindest, funniest, bravest, most generous and most loving women that I know.  I am proud to be their youngest (like how I slid that in there?) prodigy.  But, one of my sisters, in particular, has shown me this year that there are no boundaries to her love.  She is a gift from God.  She has gone above and beyond herself to care for our parents.  I worry about her constantly but know that I shouldn't because I'm pretty sure she's got a direct line to the big Guy.  He has put more fortitude and perseverance in that one woman than most of us could even recognize.  Anyone should be so lucky to know this woman.  I am so lucky to call her sister.

I have created new bonds this year that I think have truly changed my life.  I think when you get to a certain point in your life you recognize that you should really just focus your energy on positive relationships and not waste any more time on toxic and exhausting ones.  They just rob you of yourself.

It's important to me to mention a few individuals that have really touched my life this year.  If I were to acknowledge everyone who is important to me then you would be reading this blog up through the new year.  And, I realize that you are all very busy people.

There is a certain red-headed lady whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know.  Not extremely well, mind you, but enough to know that she is special.  She is a cancer survivor and she is fantastically fashionable.  I admire her and am so happy to have gotten to know her.  The brief and few conversations that we have had are of substance and I look forward to getting to know her even better.

As a child I assumed that you would have the same friends for the rest of your life and not make any others.  This is partially true, but, I am thrilled to know that you actually can make new friends, even in your forties!  I feel so fortunate to have become very close friends with a certain gal with whom I have a lot in common.  We bonded this past year over our life circumstances and have in the mean time developed a great friendship.  And, for that, I am thankful!

To a certain beauty queen, all I can say is, thank you.  You have been a rock to me.  I can not express my gratitude enough.  For as much as I know I have driven you crazy (and have actually been crazy) over the years you still stuck by me and helped me get through the tougher times.  I am lucky to call you my friend. 

Of course I have to mention a certain lovely Italian man!  I won't make you all squirm too much, but, I would be remiss if I didn't remark on this development in my life.  All I really want to say is, thank you....for making me smile, and for reminding me what "this" feels like.  Although, "this" is very different this time around. :)

I have had the same best friend since the day I was born.  How many of you can say that?  Yes, we've have our fair share of bumps over the years, but, for the most part, we have remained as close as two women can be.  She is more like a sister to me than anything.  I have to say that I feel like this year brought us full circle back to one another.  Not that we had drifted apart, it's just that there are miles between us and we were living very different lives.  It took a health scare for me to recognize how unbelievably important she is to me and that my world is much better with her in it.  I feel as though we have rekindled our relationship this year and I am so grateful for that. 

I wish I could go on.  In my head I have.  I am, I think one of the most fortunate people in the world because of the amazing people that have graced my life.  I thank you all, and you know who you are. 

Happy Holidays, to all of you.  I hope this finds you healthy and happy...and most of all grateful!  I am very grateful to all of you, for humoring me in my blogging/venting/journaling/writing efforts. Here's to another wonderful year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Sick" Day

As a child I was famous for being "sick".  I had some sort of weird aversion to school.  So, I took on being "sick" as a profession.  My mother was so proud. 

I became an authority at my trade by the 3rd grade.  It helped significantly that I was a toe-headed, shy little girl with the face of an inner devil-child was undetectable to all except for my family and close friends.  And, my 3rd grade teacher was easy prey.  She was months from retirement and had once even told me that I was "cherubic".  I had no idea what that meant, but I knew I had her exactly where I wanted her. 

It was an easy process, really.  First, transform eyes into puppy-dog mode with a hint of a glaze.  Second, pinch cheeks for a flushed appearance.  Third, bend over and hold stomach.  Fourth, breath heavily.  And, finally, exit desk and approach teacher.  Use standard line such as, "Mrs.  Denney, I don't feel....very well."  Proper English always impressed her. 

"Oh, you poor sweet dear" was usually her response.  "Come on now, let's go to the nurse."

Yes!  Score!!  I'm goin' home!  Ooo, settle down, don't blow you're cover.....

Tell nurse the problem, check.  Act extremely pitiful, check.  Go lay on cot while nurse calls mom, check.

The tough sell was, of course, Mom.  And, typically she wasn't in a buying mood.  Unfortunately for her I knew only too well that she would show up and she would take me home and she would save the condemnation for the car ride home.  She had to save face in front of all present school officials as they all too often had on their pooched lips, tilted head "aww" face as they watched my mother sympathetically escort her ill child out of the school. 

Manipulate much?

Well, a little.  Sure.  But, home was awesome.  School wasn't.  And, really, what was I missing out on in the 3rd flipping grade for pete's sake?

The standard speech from mom was, "Julie, you've got to stop doing this.  I know you're not really sick.  You have to stay at school.  I'm not doing this again!  Unless you are throwing up or have a fever, I will not pick you up!"

Until the next time.

I remember once she even sent my older sister to retrieve me.  She brought me gumballs.  That was awesome.

My career came to a halt after that year.  Mainly because I discovered boys.  Perfectly good reason to want to stay at school.

So, Karma, as they say, is a b.i.t.c.h.

Here I am today, using my last paid sick day of the year to stay home with my "sick" 5 year old.  I did take him to school this morning.  As we walked into his classroom I couldn't help but notice that he was particularly quiet.  And very huggy.  Hmmmm...he did not eat his breakfast this morning. 

Then his teacher said this, "He was like this yesterday.  Very quiet.  Kept coming to me for hugs.  Not his normal self."

As I became relatively alarmed I couldn't help but notice the little darlings eyes widen a bit.  But, these symptoms were usually an indicator that something was brewing.

So, I knelt down and asked him, "You feeling okay, baby?"

"Uh, uh."  Dumb question, mom.  You know how this works.  "I'm sick, mommy."

Crap.  Teacher heard.  Sigh. 

"Ummm, yeah.  I think I'd better take him home.  I have a feeling something might be on the horizon."  But, I knew better.  As soon as that statement came out of my mouth I caught a glimpse of a smile cracking on my son's lips.  Little s**t.

He has had a low grade fever, so I feel a little better about that.  Which, I realize, is a tad bit backasswards.  But, you know what I mean.  It wasn't a complete fib, on either of our parts.  It's just the "mom can I play, I'm, can I get up and play now" comments that are ticking me off. 

I'm on to you kid.  I'm a pro.  Don't mess with me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Life is Funny

Well, it is and it isn't.  For the most part, yes, I'd say it is.  My life, well, I think most of you know the rhythm of that tune.  It's noteworthy, for sure.  You have to laugh at it, or you'd just, um, cry?

I have been so ready to close the book on this year.  This stupid 2011.  Worst year yet.  Period.  I've been almost twitterpated at the thought of burning said book to fine ash and casting it out to sea.  "Be done with ye 'o damned year!"

I won't bother to list my grievances because most of you are well aware of how this past year has played out for me.  But, frankly, I wouldn't wish the experiences bestowed upon me last year on even my worst enemy, even if I had one. 

Yep.  It's worth repeating. This year has sucked. 

And, then, almost in time for my book burning party, something funny happened.  Not funny in the "ha ha" sense, but, funny in that it was a complete surprise.  A very nice surprise. 

I met someone.

A man someone.  A very lovely one, in fact. 

Funny, right?

After all of my cynical rants and blathering on about how fantastic it was to be single and now I find myself in a state of almost denial about the fact that I am in a deep state of "like"!!  With a man.  A very lovely man.  Did I mention that already?


Yeah.  I've been doing an embarrassing amount of that lately.  But, I have to tell ya, it's so great to be reminded of what "this" feels like.  If I could bottle "this" and sell it, I'd be set for life!  I know you know what I'm talking about.  We've all been there, at least once.  Or at least I hope everyone has had the opportunity to feel like "this". 

"This" could be the cure for divorces.  If everyone were to get a prescription for "this" when they were starting to feel a tad bit itchy in their marriage then all would be well again.  It would probably be better than well.  Things would probably be, well, wonderful.

It really is kind of funny.  I feel a little silly, like a silly little school girl. 

I am keeping the details relatively quiet from my boys as of yet.  But, my 9 year old did ask me who I was going to dinner with last weekend.  I wasn't going to lie to him, but, I was discreet.

"Mommy is going out to dinner with a man.  We're just friends.  That's all sweetie."

Excruciatingly long pause......

"Don't you think you're a little old for that, mom?"


It is soooo different, I will say that.  Even at my ripe old age, though, it's kind of like riding a bike.  But, not.  The difference now is that I am older, maybe wiser, well, probably not, but I do at least have the sense to know that I just need to enjoy the here and now.  Lord only knows what tomorrow will bring. 

What perplexes me most about my current state is that I feel somewhat guilty about being so stinking happy.  I do realize how stupid that sounds, but, I can't help it.  My mother is still sick, my father is still in failing health and there are 3 important people in my life who are in crisis mode as we speak and they are weighing heavily on my mind.  Who am I to be so happy?

Someone recently said to me, "Don't you think you deserve to be happy?"  I actually had to think about it for a minute.  Well, yes, I suppose so.  But, it's just confusing!

My body is certainly confused.  It has completely forgotten how to eat and sleep.  Again, I'm not complaining about the first part.  That's been a welcomed result of my current state.  I guess I am the opposite of most in that I don't eat when I'm happy.  I intend to ride this wave as long as I possibly can!

I suppose that I just need to accept the current circumstances of my life as a gift.  The good and the bad.  And, above all, I need to learn to relax and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.  Come what may.  Right?

As a reformed doubter and hater of all things romantic, I am happy to report that romance is alive and well.  It really has a tendency to sneak up on you when you least expect it.  And, you just never know where that someone is going to come from.....possibly even from some fantastic destination somewhere in the Mediterranean..... :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Sorry it's been so long....I've been feeling a little bit, "under the weather" lately.  It's strange, really.

I can't really put my finger on it and frankly I'm just too busy to get to the doctor.  I'm guessing it will pass eventually, but, we're going on almost a week now and I can't seem to shake it.

I can't sleep.  I am not a good sleeper by nature.  Never have been.  I don't know that I have ever slept through an entire night in my life.  But, recently, I am just not sleeping.  I'm exhausted, but, I can't sleep.  I go to bed, toss and turn for an hour or so, finally doze off, only to wake up somewhere around 4 am and then I can not fall back asleep.  I try to sneak in the occasional nap, but, even that's limited due to lack time.

I'm also having a hard time eating.  And, anyone who knows me knows that that is not even kind of normal.  I am actually forcing myself to eat for sustenance.  And, what's really weird is that I'm not even hungry.  I have even been forgetting to eat.  That is so not normal.

I'm not complaining about the last symptom.  I welcome it, in fact.  It helps the cause. 

I am also just a tad bit queezy.  Not enough to vomit, but enough to make me slightly uncomfortable.  I'm sure this must have something to do with the not eating part, but, frankly this is one side effect of my "affliction" that I could do without. 

My hands are sore.  That's weird, right?  I mean, I have been doing a lot more texting than normal lately.  That might explain this part.  I hope.  Because, that is a very strange symptom, I'd say.  Wouldn't you?

Okay, now here's the really weird thing that I have been experiencing.....I can't seem to stop giggling.  And smiling.  Lots of giggling and smiling.  Excessive amounts, in fact.  I'm starting to drive myself crazy with it.  And my friends.  They keep saying, "what is wrong with you?"  I don't know what's wrong with me.  Maybe it's due to the lack of sleep.  Fatigue does do crazy things to people. 

I entered all of my symptoms on Web MD.  I do not recommend this to anyone.  It is no wonder that this world is full of hypochondriacs.  The answers I came up with were: Bi-polar disorder, brain tumor or schizophrenia.  I choose none of the above.  So I added another symptom that I just unearthed: heart palpitations.  So now I can add congestive heart failure to the list of ailments I get to choose from.  No thanks. 

So, I ask you.  Any ideas?  Ever had these symptoms before?  I don't have any weird pains or any cold symptoms.  I think I may have experienced something similar to this before, but, it's slightly different this time.  I just can't put my finger on it. 


If you have any advice to offer me I would greatly appreciate it. 

For now, I am going to try to sleep.  I hope that I wake up feeling better tomorrow.  On second thought, no I don't.  ;)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A year of "Dangerous" Living?

Today it occurred to me that I have done a lot of things in this past year that I once would have never imagined myself doing.  Honestly, they're not really all that "dangerous", but they're definitely unexpected.  And, they have all played a starring role in my epiphany that change, though scary, can be a very good thing. 

Life is scary, at best.  But, sometimes you just need to grab a hold of the handle bars, put on a smile and hope and pray that every little thing is gonna be all right. 

There really is something about being over 40.  I do feel sage and secure, somehow.  I'm not really sure how that is exactly.  But, I do.  So, I just go with it. I tread lightly.  I don't want to awaken the god of false hope and security and have her go, "ha, ha!  joke's on you, idiot!"

So, as far as those "dangerous liaisons" go, here's the skinny:


I went to see Kid Rock in concert.  I went very begrudgingly, I might add.  But, I went. 

My very good friend is a HUGE fan, to say the least.  Once she found out that he was going to be at the United Center in Chicago she was on it!  Frankly, she would have been content to see the Rock-n-Roll Jesus with a group of toothless hillbillies, but, fortunately for her, she had 3 close girlfriends, myself included, who were up for the adventure. 

I've never been a fan, and that's being nice. The mention of him conjured up screeching lyrics, sweaty, stringy hair and Pam Anderson.  All of the above of which I am not a fan. 

But, I was due a trip to my favorite city with 3 of my favorite girls.  Game on.  I figured there would be enough beer and people watching to occupy my just-under-2-hours at the United Center.

But, here's the kicker:  I liked it....him.  I actually liked the show!  And, let me tell you, that dude puts on one hay-ell of a show!!!  Who knew?  Well, apparently thousands of people other than myself already knew.

So, I am a Kid Rock convert, much to my surprise.  I had no idea that he even played an instrument, let alone 3!  He even "scratched"!  Records, folks, not himself.  Well, he may have, but I didn't see it.

So, I guess the moral here is, "don't knock it 'til you try it".  If this wasp-y and relatively uptight gal can become a Kid Rock fan at 42 then anything is possible!


This truly is not something that I want to divulge upon but I will because it is to date my most life-altering event.

Divorce.  Just the word itself is ugly.

If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would have to go through this I would have laughed in their face, shortly after I had told them where to go.  But, it's not something that people plan on.  I certainly did not.  When we were married I signed on for life.  I was certain that it was my happy ending. 

But, life has a funny way of sneaking up behind you and yanking the proverbial rug out from under you. 

I have made it through all of the stages of grief, because it is, after all, a death.

If anything good were to have come out of this, I would say it would have to be my perspective. I have taken a very long and hard look at myself and my choices, good and bad.  I own my mistakes and I will stop condemning myself for them.  I realize that there are things that are entirely out of my control and I have to be able to walk away from them.

It was not a "dangerous" event.  It was a sad one.  But, as my mother would say, "life is earnest.....", and I'm sure you know the rest by now. 


I have wanted to write for over 20 years now.  But, the thought of it scared the bee-jaysus out of me.

As an artist, I understand that writing is a form of art.  And, as such, it is subjective.  There is no physical creation when you are finished, unless you are lucky enough to get published.  It is words that you have written.  Words that you find interesting.

But.........what if no one else does?  That is scary!

Blogging became a very easy introduction into the world of writing for me.  I can write as much or as little as I want.  I can even decide whether or not I want to publish what I have written. 

I suppose I should take a moment to both apologize and thank the victim of blog #1.  But, I was just so tickled by the events that were unfolding before me at the time that I felt completely compelled to write about it.  So, for that I offer a very genuine "I'm sorry, 'sir' ", and, "thanks for the mojo!" :)

To my great delight and surprise, you have received me very well.  I am eternally grateful to anyone who has bothered to take time out of their very busy lives to read my blog.  This is a gift that you give me every day.  It brings me so much joy to write and I hope that I do not let you down too often!

What I have learned so far in this life is that you should afford yourself the opportunity of trying something new.  Don't be afraid to take those leaps.  And, whether the outcome is good or bad, at least you can say you were brave.  At least for a moment.

So, thanks to a few small hops and a  couple of giant leaps I have found myself exactly where I want to be.  Right here, right now.  I am grateful for what I have in this moment and I am open to trying new things.  It's a pretty good place to be.

I do have another, um, "event", we'll call it, coming up in the very near future.  I'll leave it at that for now.  It's not at all "dangerous".  It is, however, a tad bit scary!  I'll give you a hint:  I haven't done this in 15 years! be continued?............

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sister Goldenhair

In the car today it came on the radio.  So, I turned it up and informed my boys that this was my all time favorite song.  "Sister Goldenhair" by America, circa 1970-something, for those of you who don't know of it.  My sweet little 9 year old informed me that it was a 'really cheesy song'. 

"There's no rapping in it.  How is it so awesome?" he was dead serious.

"That is exactly how it is so awesome." son of mine.....

So, I chose to ignore his rude statement and sang along, because, yes, I know all of the words.  I'm certain, in fact, that I have known the words since I was a very young girl, somewhere around the age of 5 or 6.  My older sister was in high school at the time and our bedrooms were right next to each other.  My bed was right up against the wall where she had her stereo.  A "stereo", for my younger readers, is an old fashioned type of equipment on which we used to listen to music, long before iPods and iHomes and music downloads.  We actually listened to music from radio stations, or on these round things called "records" or small square things called "cassettes".  Look it up. It's all true. 

Anyways, my mother was certain that I was learning the words to the current music of the day through osmosis, as my sister would play her "stereo" into the evening well after my bedtime.  I remember it very clearly.  I loved it.  It actually helped me to fall asleep.  To this day I listen to music at bedtime when I'm having a hard time falling asleep. 

I remember being in the car with my mother one day and Billy Joel's song, "Don't Ask Me Why" was on the radio.  I was singing along verbatim.  My mother thought it was precious until her toe-headed 6 year old got to the line, "as sure as I'm a victim of desire". 

Can you imagine that line giving pause considering the lyrics we have to deal with in today's music? 

Nonetheless, mom was appalled. 

"Julie!  Do you even know what that means?"
Well, even if I did I certainly wasn't going to tell her.  I knew what that would mean.  No more stereo at night.  That just would not do.


" shouldn't sing this song anymore."  that was a simple enough request.

"Okay."  Phew.  Dodged that bullet.

I had this same thought not too long ago when I overheard my 5 year old singing along to some of the not-so-appropriate downloads I have on my iPad.  But, as a parent you know you've done a fantastic job of child rearing when you over hear one of your off spring singing Flo Rida's "Low" with absolute precision.  It was a proud moment.  Oops?

I do have a lot of music with questionable lyrics downloaded.  Mainly because they make for good running music.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  I guess I need to do a better job of editing my files. 

Most recently I downloaded 2Pac's "California Love".  On what planet in my head do I live where a 42 year old mother of 2 young boys can download gangster rap and not expect said boys to come across it????  And, let's just gloss right over the whole middle-aged-white-woman-listening-to-gangster-rap thing all together, shall we?

So, I tried my mother's approach.  "Carter.  You shouldn't listen to this song."


Damnit.  This child gives me no wiggle room.

"Um...." I wasn't even going to try to explain why it's not appropriate.  He's not quite ready for that lesson yet.  And, since we don't live in South Central L.A. I didn't feel it was all too pertinent.  So, we agreed that none of us should listen to it.  Except when I'm running.  Which, frankly isn't all that often, so no harm, no foul.  Right?  Just agree with me on this, okay?

So, back to "Sister Goldenhair"...this song takes me to many happy places, which is why I think it sparked such a conversation in my head today.  (Yes, that happens.  What's your point?)  It reminds me of my blissfully happy childhood.  But, it especially reminds me of a certain sister goldenhair of my own; my sister-from-another-mother.  It's "our" song. We're both certain it was written about ourselves, but, we've learned to share it over the years. 

I was reminded today to take time out to enjoy every possible moment.  Life is short.  Love and embrace those happy memories but don't forget to make new ones as you go along.

What I can not believe is that I don't have "Sister Goldenhair" downloaded.  The HORROR!!!!  I'm sure I have the cassette of it somewhere in a box in the basement.  I just don't have anything to play it in.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

'Tis Better to Give?


Well, within reason.  Maybe.

I mean, I do love to give gifts just as much as the next girl.  But, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to get presents!  It makes my heart palpitate and my palms get all sweaty.

So, with the holiday season upon us I started thinking, if I could come up with my own out-of-the-box, no-holds-barred and partially ridiculous wish list, what would be on it?  I'll tell ya, it was fu-un putting it together.  I in no way shape or form expect any of this to magically appear at my house Christmas morning.  I was just simply indulging my completely over active imagination. 

I do have to say that I felt a little bit misguided without Oprah's Favorite Things list.  In years past this had become somewhat of a go-to list for all things coveted.  Although, in recent years the lists were starting to be a bit reminiscent of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.  In other words, a bit of a stretch for the average Jane, to say the least. 

So, here goes nothing.........


Dear Santa,

Well, hey there!  Have I told you lately how good you look?  I swear you could pass for a 20 year old.  I'll bet you get carded every time you make an egg nog run!  That Mrs. Claus is a lucky lady.

So, now listen, Nick, I know you're a busy guy and all, but, I just had a few teensy things I wanted to pass your way.  You know, just some 'suggestions' of some things that a gal like me might be interested in receiving, should you be so inclined.

I realize it's a bit unorthodoxed for a 42 year old woman to send you a Christmas list, but, see, I've got this 9 year old son who's teetering on his belief of whether or not you actually exist.  Crazy, I know!  I just thought maybe if you were to bring his mom some gifts on Christmas morning then he'd once again be a firm believer!  I mean, that's a win/win!  Am I right?  That is the only reason I ask.  Really.

So, here's my list, short and sweet:

1. Michal Kors watch
(how freaking HOT is this?)

2. Christian Louboutin pumps
(covet, covet, covet)

3. Upgrade my phone to an iPhone 4Gs

4.  Hermes Birkin bag 
(I'm hitting for the fence here, Nick!)

5. Tory Burch Reva Ballet flats in cheetah

6. Monogrammed phone cover for my new iPhone

7. Crock pot with automatic shut-off

8. Bobbi Brown shimmer brick
(It's my youth dew, or so I think)

(Oh, it's sooo yumm-ayy!)

10. A tall, dark and handsome man :)

So, thanks for your consideration, big guy.  You're the best!

Julie Rowe

p.s. Seriously, if you ever get tired of that old ball and chain you know where to find me!  Wink, wink!


Okay, so maybe a bit over the top, but it's all in good fun!  No harm in dreaming, right?  What would be on your ideal wish list? 

Get busy being jolly, people!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Coffee Wars

My whole life I have coveted the Starbucks coffee cup.  To me it symbolizes the fabulous yuppie lifestyle that I once so vigorously sought.  I envisioned myself like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" sipping on my Espresso Macchiato seated in the front window of a Starbucks while flipping through the pages of Pride and Prejudice.  My very own version of Tom Hanks would tap on the window and startle me.  We would both toss our heads back in delight and he'd come in and join me in a rousing conversation about sharpened pencils and Joni Mitchell. 

There's just one problem with this picture.  I don't like coffee.  I have tried time and time again.  I adore the smell, I just can't get past the taste.  My nostrils flare and my lips purse uncontrollably as I sip on what I hope will be a newly found love.  To no avail.

Okay, so there's more than just one thing wrong with the aforementioned dream sequence.  I've never read
Pride and Prejudice.  But the rest is spot on.  It's my dream world, alright?

In my early thirties my sister introduced me to chai tea latte.  She had discovered it as an alternative to coffee as she too had a fondness of the cup and lack of appreciation for the brew. 

Shortly there after I was in the Chicago Merchandise Mart on a buying trip.  There amongst the scuffle of the weary a.m. commuters I saw it.  A Starbucks.  Like a beacon drawing me in.  I felt a little uneasy as I stood in line.  These people were all pros.  And, then it was my turn.  I placed my order and scooted to the side as everyone in front of me had. 

I was practically twitterpated as the barista shouted the dispatch of my order.

"That's mine",  I gleefully whispered to the man in front of me.

"Whatever", he sneered.

Sorry, buddy.  Nobody's going to pee on my parade.  I have my very own Starbucks coffee cup.  My hands almost trembled as I brought the warm beverage to my mouth.  I was instantly transformed into an uber-professional, city-dwelling, card carrying Starbucks coffee cup owner. 

'Check me out', I eye spoke to the line of impatient urbanites.  'I'm a big girl now.'

My new best friend and I then hopped into the elevator.  'Oooo, look!  A fellow Starbuckian.'  I nodded my head in acknowledgement. 

"Nothing like a hot cup of Joe on a cold Chicago morning, huh?"  She spoke only to me as we were both members of the elite club. 

"Mmmmmmm, hmmmmmmm!"  I was a little over zealous.  'Settle down, girl.'

"Whatcha havin'?"

"Oh, it's a chai tea latte.  My sis...."  she didn't even let me finish.

"Oh, now, those little foo foo drinks don't count!"  When she chuckled her belly moved up and down.

'Yes, well, neither do those Crocs as a fashion statement.'  No, I didn't actually say it.  But I sure thought it.  I could not believe she just outed me, a mere 5 minutes after my glorious purchase. 

'Hi, my name is Julie and I pretend to drink coffee just so I can have one of the cups.'

'Hi, Julie.'


My brother in law owns a fine establishment, The Three Legged Dog, in downtown Jacksonville,  They serve all kinds of delightful coffee beverages, none of which I consume, much to my dismay.  I have, a few times, whispered an order for a chai tea latte and then hang my head in shame, all thanks to Chubby Mc Crocman.

So, recently I have been focused on knocking a few things off of my "list".  I've started what I hope will be my last adventure in weight loss.  So far, so good.  I've also been cutting back on my diet soda consumption.  I am, however, a caffeine devotee, so I've been contemplating a substitute. 

Last week I ran into the gas station to pay and noticed a tray of samples on the counter.  "Great white pumpkin latte".  Why not?

My eyebrows lifted as I sipped the concoction.  Was this for real?  I actually liked it.  No, I really liked it!

"What's in this?"

"It's a caffe latte with pumpkin spice and white chocolate flavors."

I stopped listening at 'caffe'.  I peered over the attendant's shoulder to survery the cup situation.  Relatively decent cups, elevated lids with the sip hole and flip top. 

"I'll take one."

I had a little extra spring in my step that day.  Not sure if it was the heightened levels of caffeine and sugar or the sheer glamour of finally making the ranks of coffee drinker.  It didn't really matter.  Life was good.

On day 2 of being a coffee drinker I upgraded to the pros.  I drove through the Three Legged Dog and ordered my new found addiction.  Oooohhhh, this is what a latte should taste like!  Oh my soul.  It just keeps getting better!

I made another pilgrimage on day 3.  Well, apparantly you can aquire new tastes, even in your forties!  I was a convert.  I considered it, but having 2 in one day just seemed indulgent.

The next morning my scales had a bit of a surprise for me.  They presented me with a bit of an upswing.  'What the fuh-udge?'  I had been so freaking good!  I was very careful about what I was eating and had been to spinning class.  And, then it hit me.  Hmmm.  The latte.  'I wonder what the caloric content is in a pumpkin spice caffe latte?' 

Well, for a medium with whole milk and whipped cream, we're somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 calories!!!  Talk about a caffeine buzz kill. 

Pain.  Scorn.  Disillusionment.  Sigh

Day 4, I settled for a small pumkin spice caffe latte skinny no whip.  Not bad.  Lengthy name.  But, it'll do.  After all, I am now a coffee drinker with a really cool cup.  Welcome to my world, sad as it may be.  :)

Monday, October 31, 2011


I have said and thought it so many times over the past couple of years, but, it merits repeating.  In fact I want to scream it as loud as I possibly can, I HATE CANCER!!!!!!!!!!  Cancer is the most hideously evil mortification of man.

If I were given the choice of my fate I would rather be shot in the head.  It would be quick and painless.  My soul could rest easy knowing that my family did not have to endure the excruciating heartache of watching me suffer unholy pain and my body slowly decay.

But, life is not fair.  And, cancer is not selective.  I feel very strongly, however, that it has selected the wrong person this time.

In a lucid moment yesterday, my mother said to me, "I hate that you girls are having to take care of me."  I curled up next to her on the bed.

"I know, mom.  I'm so sorry."  I could not control my whimper.

It broke my heart to hear her say that because I know it's true.  It is so grossly unfair that this once strong-willed and proud lady should have to sustain the pain and humility of having cancer eat away at her body and spirit. 

It is unfair.

Every day I marvel at the ignorantly blissful people that I see who go about their lives as if everything is okay.  How nice for them.  But, it's not okay.  Not in my world.  Not in my family's world. 

My father's heart is shattering as he watches his beloved slip away from him.  All the while he doesn't understand how or why this is happening because his mind has betrayed him. 

My mother would tell me to pull myself up by my bootstraps.  "Come on, now." she would say. "This too shall pass." 

Yes, it will.  It will pass.  And it will be agonizing.  There will be an indescribable void in my family.

It is so completely unfair.

I have not been mindful enough of my sweet little boys.  But, children have a very innocent and delicate way of reminding us that they need us. 

"Mommy," my nine year old quizzed, "why were you angry at us?"

This was a few days ago when my boys and I were on dinner duty at my parents house.  I had lost my patience with my children because I was feeling frazzled.  They both needed my attention as did my parents and the dishes and the dinner table and.....I basically snapped. 

"I am so sorry, sweetie.  I'm not doing a very good job of managing my emotions.  I'm just sad and scared.  There's just been a lot going on and I need to not take it out on you.  I am so sorry."  I began to sob.

"I know, mommy."  he said as he rubbed my arm.  "I've had a pretty bad year too."

Dear God.  It is so unfair for a little boy to feel this way.

I felt horrible.  I can not let them get lost in the shuffle.  This is inexplicable to them.  They should not have to understand this at such a young age.  They have been through so much already.  I have to do a better job of protecting them. 

And, then my man-child said this to me, "Mommy, when you are old I promise that I will take care of you." 

I hope he does not have to.

My five year old son has been getting into trouble at school recently.  The final straw was when he threw numerous screeching fits for the babysitter over the weekend.  After he had spent an adequate amount of time in time out, I went to talk with him.  I asked him, "Baby, are you mad?  Are you mad at the world because Mommy and Daddy got divorced?"


"Are you mad because Ninny is sick?  Is that why you're acting out?"


"Then, what is it?  Can you tell me?  What do you want?"

"I want you."  he was very clear about this.  "Are you going to die?"

UNFAIR!  My child should not have to worry about this.  

No, no one told me that life would always be fair.  I don't expect it to be.  We all have our crosses to bare.  We all have our "stuff". 

I can whine and complain about Karma and all of the bad s**t that has consumed our lives for long enough.  But, I have these two little bright spots that make this life a very fair thing to me.  For that I am eternally grateful. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can I get an Amen?

Religion is a tricky thing, at best.  And, given the circumstances that we find our world in today it is a highly sensitive topic.  So, allow me to dive right in.

I would consider myself a religious person in that I believe in God, I'm raising my children as Christians, as a family we pray, and I attend church  on a not-so-regular basis.  I am what our pastor refers to as a "C & E" member, or those who typically attend only on Christmas and Easter.  But that still counts, doesn't it?

As a child I was never really quite certain of why it was that I had to go to Sunday school other than because my mother said so.  The retention factor of what I learned was slim to none, mainly because I developed the skills of a professional daydreamer at a very early age.  My mind quickly adjourned from all biblical lessons and became busy deciding how to decorate my doll house, or how to rearrange my closet or planning my wedding in which the groom was Donny Osmond.  You know, important stuff. 

And, as for church service, as a child it seemed excruciatingly long and dull.  If it hadn't been for my good friend, Julie, it would have been unbearable.  We had developed a sign system in which we would talk to each other from across the sanctuary about whose house we would be playing at once we were released from our present doom.  Once we were deemed "old enough" by our parents we were allowed to sit together in the balcony.  That was, until, our pastor was kind enough to inform our parents that we had conveniently disappeared right as the sermon was starting and then reappeared as soon as it was over.  I think we got away with this for about 3 times before the jig was up.  I'm sure our parents were significantly proud of us.

I have not done a very good job of seeing to it that my children have a better appreciation of the Bible than I did.  As I already said, we do pray together every day.  When my now 9 year old was about 3 years old he was in the process of learning how to say his prayers.  There really is nothing quite as cute as watching a little nugget babytalk his way through his prayers.  But, what made his presentation even more cute was when he finished, instead of saying "Amen" he would say, "oh man!" and then clap gleefully.  There was no way I was going to correct him.  It was far too adorable!

My little guy is going to Pre-K at a Lutheran school.  He has "Jesus time" every afternoon which I think is really great.  He's been teaching me a thing or two.  One day after I picked him up from school he questioned me from the back seat, "Mom, did you know that Jesus died on the cross for us?"

"Yes, I did know that sweetie", surprisingly enough.  That's what Christmas is all about, right?  No, wait, that's Easter.  I'm KIDDING!  But, you almost fell for it, didn't you?  I'm not that pathetic. 

I hate to admit it, but over the past few years I found myself questioning the big guy quite a bit.  I can actually feel some of you squirming right now, but, hear me out.  Most anyone who's found themselves in a position of having their plate a little too full, even overflowing, might wonder, Why The Face?  I think it's human nature.  Don't get me wrong, I have never questioned his existence, but I have wondered if maybe he was on an extended vacation, not that I'd blame him.  I couldn't help but ponder if I had been such a horrible person and this was simply my lot.  I know he doesn't punish, but it seemed like a relevant question.  Or, maybe this is just his way of getting people to better themselves.  I'm certainly no philosopher, but it kind of makes sense.  And, it helps to think of it this way, otherwise I'd still be wallowing in my own self misery thinking "well, I suck, so why bother?"

My boys and I visited some very good friends this past spring break.  I think I was starting to freak my friend out a bit because she overheard me saying prayers at dinner with the kids one night.  The next day we were stuck in traffic and she was having a road rage episode while I was busy reading the literature on the bumper of the car in front of us.  In the midst of her rant I said, "Kelly, you need Jesus."  Dead silence ensued.  I looked at her and she was in a full blown trance, mouth agape, staring at me.  "The bumper sticker, in front of us.  It says 'you need Jesus'.  See?" 

I've definitely got some work to do.  I think maybe I should add to my list "Start going to church regularly".  It's not that I don't want to go, but, quite honestly, I work typically 2 Sundays a month and I really just want to spend those other 2 sleeping in and relaxing with my boys. 

I suppose it's on my mind now because we are nearing my next visit to church.  It's a long break between the "E" and the "C" sessions.  I'm not a Catholic, but I'll certainly feel better after my "C" attendance.  I've a few, offenses,  shall we say, that could use a good forgiving.  And, besides all that, I love the music.

So, for now, I'll just say that, yes, I am a faithful person.  I am religious.  I think I could, however, use a refresher course on the good book.  That is, if I can tell my brain to shut up for a while.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Going back to Tally!


Tallahassee, Florida, that is.  Home of Florida State University, my Alma mater.  This is the most exciting thing that I have done in a couple of years.  And, I have not been away from my boys since a year ago September, so, look out!

I get to spend a glorious weekend with some of my sorority sisters.  I haven't seen the majority of them in 20 years.  I did get to see one of my very good friends somewhere around 1999, if memory serves.  Right, AM?

So, this is just a forward to what I'm sure will be a weekend loaded with fun, laughter, reminiscing, and more fun...LOTS of fun!!!  I just wish people would stop telling me to behave myself because I really have no intention of doing so.  Would you?

I love reunions.  I think it is amazing to be able to reconnect with people you haven't seen in years.  How lucky are we that we get to do such a thing?  I don't look at reunions as an opportunity to one up anyone else.  That just seems silly.  You are what you are at the phase of life you are in, good or bad.  If you're happy then that's all that should matter.  All things considered, I am happy!  And, I am especially happy to be meeting up with this fantastic group of women!

So, I'm off to St. Louis shortly to catch my flight to Atlanta where my friend will pick me up.  From there we will drive to Tallahassee and the rest is history in the making......


It all came rushing back to me.  The sights, the sounds, the atmosphere.  College life at FSU.  I thought that I had forgotten so much of it.  It's true what they say, "use it or lose it".  Just being there made me remember so many of the wonderful memories that I had forgotten. 

This fountain, in particular, reminds me of how numb the collegiate mind is to rules and regulations.  It was very much against the rules to get in, but, all I remember hearing in my 20 year old head was, "I dare you to get in!"  'Nuf said.  What I didn't know was that the inside of the fountain was inclined.  Upon surfacing I heard the sirens and saw my "sister" running off in the distance.  She was kind enough to get my shoes.  Somehow I managed to get myself out and elude the authorities.  Good times.

After touring the campus my good friend, Ann Marie, and I were off to lunch with four of our sorority sisters.  The dear girl was kind enough to warn me seconds before I almost stepped in this:

Yup, vomit.  Just a part of college life.  Right there in the student union.  I apologize to those of you who are weak stomached.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to take the photo.

I'm telling you, it was as if a day hadn't passed.  Everyone looked fabulous!  And, I won't say that no one had changed because fortunately we had.  We had all stopped getting perms and started using tweezers.  But, other than that I'd say we all were all feeling pretty youthful, up until the waiter called one of us "ma'am".  And, here we thought we were blending in.

After regrouping and recouping a few of us shared a couple of cocktails while one by one our sorority sisters trickled in just in time for our reunion night out.  It is amazing to me that so many years have passed and we still managed to pick up where we left off.  The only difference between now and then is that we are older, definitely wiser and we have more insurance. :)

Some of my pledge class!

Jennifer and Ann Marie...
or is that Ricki Lake?

More vomit

Game Day!

Here is when I got lost.   

A few of us started the day off at a brunch at the Chi Omega sorority house.  I lived in the house for 2 of my 4 years at school, but it looked nothing like what I remembered.  Talk about an upgrade.  I think I can tell my father that all of that money was put to good use.

The house was gorgeous!  We even snuck into what used to be the chapter room, only now it's more of a study/storage room.  Remarkably our composites were still hanging up on the wall.  Ah, memories.

But, frankly, the most improved award, without a doubt goes to...........Kristen Beeman!


I mean, wow.  Get it, Beeman!

An FSU home game is a marvel, to say the least.  Even 20 years ago it was a huge production.  Now with the 90 million dollars worth of additions to Doak Campbell Stadium it's an all out tour de force. The stadium was completely unrecognizable to me.

"The Doak"

It was now time for the tailgating to begin. It was well worth the 5 thousand lb. cooler bag that I carried to our spot.  We agreed that next year we will invest in a wheelie cooler.  I think that decision may have been reached in part because of the tad bit of whining that I did.

The tailgating Gamma's of Chi Omega
I hope that some day I can take my boys to a home game at Florida State.  We have some of the coolest pre-game ceremony traditions in college football.  I had chills as I watched and remembered what it felt like and what it looked like.  It is a sight to behold.  My 9 year old asked me if we could go to the game when FSU plays Illinois College.  I assured him that when/if that game happens, we will definitely be there. 

This kind of reminded me of a home game at IC.  Sort of.

I am so grateful that I was able to make the trip.  It was so wonderful to rekindle old friendships and to create new bonds.  We all shared intimate details of our current lives and laughed about the crazy times we shared a mere 20 years ago. I think we were all in agreement that we had a fabulous time while we were in college, but are all happy to be in the stage of life that we now find ourselves.  

Someone suggested we bring our kids for our next reunion.  Um, yeah, no I kind of liked being able to "let the freak flag fly", as was suggested by a friend.  If it's all the same to everyone, I vote gals only.  Or is that just me? 

And, as a side bar, I didn't fly the flag all that high.  I definitely had fun, but I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss a thing.

A huge shout out goes to Lori Raskin for planning this weekend!!  It was perfect!  I missed you gals all so much!  And, you all look fab-u-lous!  Thanks for the amazing memories!

So, checking this one off of my list.  Again, I love reunions.  Next up is my high school 25th reunion next summer.  That can't be right.  Can it?

by Ann Marie Conti

College is not just books and papers!  It's Greek life, it's lifelong friends, it's sports, it's bars & parties & vomit.  It's Tallahassee, Fl on a sunny , fall, football kind of day.  It's busting out on your own & living your life - until your parents pull your butt back home because they're not sending you to school on their dime to party.  Ahh, yes.  I only know people that happened to.  Really.  After being a full-time mom for the last 13+ years, I recently went back to school to get a new kind of life.  My 10 year old asks me, "Mom, what time do you go to college?"  My response, "Mom's already been to college, son.  This is serious."  What I'd like for my kids to get out of college is simple: a useful degree & the interviewing skills to go along with it, a less-than-average weight gain, knowledge of how often to change your sheets, and friends that they can turn to at a moment's notice - for anything.  I have that.  Those friends.  Those amazing ladies that will ask not, judge not, repeat not, fear not!  I have used up more minutes talking to my therapist, Persephone, than I can count (you can call her Chi O Jenny).  I love them.  I couldn't live without them.  boy am I glad they can handle my sh*t.  Everybody needs someone to tame them when they're a hot mess. 

For my fellow Gammas... I love a good reunion weekend.  You hold a special place in my heart, and the following is for you.  What is it?!

To live constantly above snobbery of word or deed; to place scholarship before social obligations and character before appearances; to be, in the best sense, democratic rather than 'exclusive', and lovable rather than 'popular'; to work earnestly, to speak kindly, to act sincerely, to choose thoughtfully that course which occasion and conscience demand; to be womanly always; to be discouraged never; in a word, to be loyal under any and all circumstances to my Fraternity and her highest teachings and to have her welfare ever at heart that she may be a symphony of high purpose and helpfulness in which there is no discordant note.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The List

I am a list maker, always have been.  I'm very good at it.  I make lists for my babysitters, grocery lists, daily, weekly and when-I-have-time To Do lists, people to call lists, and the list goes on and on....I even keep paper by my bedside in case I think of something to add to a list in the middle of the night.  Although those notes sometimes look a bit cryptic because of the hour at which they were written.  I once woke up to a note that said "look at nose".  Still haven't figured that one out. 

As of late I have been feeling very melancholy and I am wanting to create some sort of positive change in my life, I just don't know where to start.  I think about my mortality a lot, not in a scary way, but in a reminiscent way.  I want to make sure that I leave some sort of a mark.  And, I want to be sure that I don't waste anymore time wishing that I could do certain things, feeling sorry for myself or regretting things that I have done or said.  The past is the past, time to move forward, dummy.

So, I have created yet another list.  And, I'm sure you've already figured it out, but, I have made my Bucket List.  It's really more of a combination of a bucket list and a karma list.  If you ever caught an episode of the sitcom "My Name is Earl" then you'll know exactly what I am talking about.  I am now a woman on a mission.  So much to do and so little time, as they say.

When I started writing down all of the things that I want to accomplish before I kick the bucket it began spiraling at warp speed.  So, I did a tiny bit of condensing.  As ambitious as my ideal list is I have to be realistic, so there's nothing too out of reach on my current version.  I will allow myself an addition here and there.

I'll be honest with you, writing all of this down was very cathartic.  It's as if I relieved my brain of the stress and tension of thinking of all of the life goals of mine that have been taking up real estate there for far too long.  So, now I can look at this list and check things off one by one, whenever possible.  Let's just hope I don't get hit by a bus or trampled by an elephant anytime soon because it would be a real bummer to not be able to finish my list. 


1. Lose 50 lbs.  I'm sure you're just as tired of hearing about it as I am thinking about it.
2. Learn how to Tango   I just think it would be awesome, it looks so sexy!
3. Apologize to a certain ex-boyfriend   May seem trivial but it has bothered me for many years.  (I was young and stupid and not nice.)
4. Write a book   I have wanted to do this for 20 years.  I have started.  Eeek!
5. Run a 1/2 marathon   That's as ambitious as I get.
6. See Madonna in concert   Assuming she tours ever again.
7. Take my boys to Disney world   :)
8. Fall in love   Someday....I watch my parents after 57 years of marriage and they are still completely in love.  I hope I get to have that feeling again someday.
9. Go to a hockey game   Just have never been to one.
10. Go back to my Alma mater, FSU   I get to check this one off of the list after this weekend!!!!!
11. Visit Graceland   I'll honor my mom by visiting the king.  Next visit, Poochie, okay?
12. Buy a pair of Christian Louboutin stillettos   They may not be so fabulous in a size 11, but I don't care!
13. Cook dinner for my boys 4 nights a week, minimum   I am horrible about this!!!
14. Wear a bikini again   After losing those 50 lbs., 'cause, lordie, that would be a HOT mess.
15. Quit drinking diet soda   Something I know I need to do but it's gonna have to be gradual because I am a severe caffeine addict.
16. Get fitted for a bra   Again, probably best after losing the lbs.
17. Re-open my Etsy store   In the process, I'll let you know when it's ready!
18. Go on a Princess Diana tour in England   There has to be one!
19. Take my boys on a vacation to Hawaii   It's something we talk and dream about. 
20. Write thank you notes   I think I quit this after getting married, but, it's one of those little things that mean a lot.
21. Become a volunteer   For something, I don't know what, but, it's so selfish not to!
22. Be content   This may be the hardest one of all.  But, it's up to me.

Well, there it is.  Now I have it in writing and I can refer to it from time to time and see what I can be working on.  Like I said, this weekend I will be working on #10!  And I am going to have to start on #1 as soon as possible after this weekend.  Shew!  It's going to be fun!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I hate me right now!

Yesterday I indulged in a rather gluttonous self-loathing episode.  You may be wondering why I would consider this to be indulgent, so, let me explain.  I am a firm believer that you have to needle at yourself, pick yourself apart and tear yourself down in order to figure out why you are so unhappy and then you can move forward and formulate a plan to fix it.  I do recognize that this sounds a bit drastic.  But, as they say, the truth hurts.

Now, I in no way was able to conquer yesterdays session on my own.  My sisters and my lifelong best friend were "lucky" enough to play witness and counselor to me.  And, thank goodness for that.  Things were getting way too intense.

It all started when I spilled my Coke Zero all over my shorts as I was driving to the YMCA.  "Julie! You stupid f-----g idiot!"  What makes that statement even worse is that I hate myself for saying such things, to myself.  Figure that one out.  I mean, I am human after all.  Accidents do happen.  Guess I need to lighten up a bit.  Easier said than done.  I will never ascertain whether or not being a perfectionist is a good thing or a bad thing.  I think it's a lethal combination of both.

Unfortunately I think that most of us are guilty of beating ourselves up more often than we should.  We are all our own worst enemies.  I do know of someone who is very comfortable in her own skin.  In fact I've never heard her say one bad thing about herself.  I honestly don't think it's conceit.  I think she is genuinely happy with herself.  Who knows.  Maybe it's all for show.  If it is then she's doing a bang up job of it.

So, I'll needle a bit for you.  Allow me to pick apart the top 5 things I hate about me right now, if you will.  I'm stopping my list short at 5 because if  I expounded then you wouldn't like me either. 


1.  I am fiscally ignorant

It's not so much that I don't know how to be frugal, because when push comes to shove, I know how to make a budget, and how to stick to it.  But the almighty dollar and I have had a long time love/hate relationship. 

As a child and even as a teen I was spoiled, to say the least.  I think I may have actually believed that money grew on trees.  As a parent I want nothing more than to be able to give my children the life that my parents gave me.  Unfortunately life circumstances make that a bit of a stretch.  But, sometimes I find it nearly impossible to tell my boys no.  For instance, my oldest son and I went to a pumpkin stand around the corner last week hoping to load up on the giant sized pumpkins and mums that we had eyeballed.  So, we each grabbed the biggest 2 pumpkins we could find and took them to the table to put down so that we could go find the world's biggest mums.  It was then that I heard the Pumpkin Stand Overlord tell my son "That's $30."

 Um, sorry...30 what now?

"$30.00?  They're $15.00 each?  Oooohhh, um, yeah I don't think...." and then I saw his eyes.  Oh come on, don't do that to me.  Yes they are awesomely huge and yes we've been talking about this all day, but.... "Okay, then.  That's it for us."

"Mom!  Didn't you want some flowers too?"

"Oh, no, honey.  This is great for now!"  Yeah, how much do you suppose those are?  Do you realize how many groceries I could buy at Aldis for $30.00?

I realize that I did not teach him a good lesson here about the value of a dollar.  But, I just want my kids to be able to get what they want from time to time.  So, "hey, kids, we're having cereal for dinner every night this week!  Isn't that awesome?" because your mom's a boob.

2.  I'm middle -aged

Yes, thank you, I'm completely aware that there is absolutely nothing I can do about this.  But, that doesn't mean that I have to like it.  I just wish someone would pass along a cheat sheet to those of us who are heading into the trenches.  It would be nice to know what to expect. 

There are certain bio-chemical changes that are taking place at this ever-evolving phase of my life.  In particular I noticed a certain something this week that put me into a bit of a tail spin. 

For the past couple of weeks I had been noticing a rather peculiar, uh, "fragrance" after I had worked out.  I had targeted the culprit on a sports bra that I had worn.  I had 2 of the same kind and they were both rather old, so I tossed them.  Problem solved.  Or so I thought.  A day later I was at work and had been doing a significant amount of physical labor, so, I was hot.  At one point I leaned my head in to my shoulder to scratch my nose and BINGO!  There was the smell!  But, I wasn't wearing a sports bra, I.....ooooohhh, the common denominator here is....drum roll  B fucking O.  Pardon my French.

What a bunch of crap!  I have never had body odor ever in my life.  I've never worn deodorant.  Well, I do now.  I suppose I can expect a fresh batch of acne sometime next week.  Fabulous!  Not.

3. I'm unfulfilled at work

Don't get me wrong, I am entirely grateful to have a job.  And, it's not that I don't like my job, I actually really do.  I enjoy the work and in particular I really like my staff.  They are the main reason that I look forward to going to work.  It's just that I wonder if I'm not living up to my potential.  I wonder if I haven't settled and gotten lazy. 

Retail is my gig and has been for 20 years now.  But I have a lot of creative energy that I think I am letting go to waste.  I find myself using the "I don't have time" or "I'm too tired" excuses for not pursuing my creative ambitions.  But, realistically, I have to have a guaranteed paycheck.  Don't we all?

Last week I heard parts of a speech that Steve Jobs had given at a commencement several years back.  The jist of it was that if today was your last day would you be happy knowing that you were going to do what you were planning?  If after several days of asking yourself this question it's not, then you need to reevaluate your situation. 

I do feel that this blog has opened up a lot of that energy for me so I thank you for even taking the time to read it.  Who knows, maybe it will lead to more.

4.  I'm plump

I use this word because I really hate the "F" word.  The three letter one.  I am rather fond of the four letter one.  Anyways, this is the bane of my existence.  And, I am the only one who can do anything about it.

Argh!!  It's so frustrating battling the bulge.  My biggest problem is that I am a stress eater.  It's been a stressful couple of years, folks.  I know why I eat.  I know how this works.  But, the damn brain in my head has learned that eating something generally bad for me will make me feel better, if only temporarily. 

I'm a smart woman.  I've run multi-million dollar businesses.  So why should this small thing elude me so?  It makes me so mad!  It's as if I need to have an on going conversation with myself to keep myself from taking that next comfort bite.  But, then people might think I'm losing my ever-loving mind.  Not sure which is worse.

I remember Oprah saying, "if you change your way of thinking you can change your life".  Hasn't exactly worked for her either. 

5.  I'm single

Well, here's a simple summation:  1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 5.  If I don't like me then why would anyone else?  But, then again, this is just a temporary thing.  Until next month when I hate me again.

It's not that I really even want a relationship.  I appreciate being on my own.  I like my space.  I don't particularly want someone up in my business 24/7.  But, I've said it before, I'd just be happy to have the company of a man every now and again. 

This isn't a single ad, either.  I mean if someone were to actually to respond as such then sorry about their life!  I'm just stating the facts.  Living in a small town makes the whole dating thing complicated, and, that's putting it nicely.  Try finding a man in this town who is close in age, doesn't mind that I have young kids, hasn't "dated" any of my friends and doesn't mind a relatively neurotic, pain-in-the-ass, middle-aged, plump and fiscally ignorant woman.  And, there are several other qualifications that I would like to add to this list, but, beggars can't be choosers.


Well, if we are already friends then I hope we still can be after all of this.  And, if you would like to be my friend after reading this blog, then, I like you already.  As for my family, sorry, you're stuck with me.

So, a new day means a fresh perspective.  It really does help to get it all out.  I highly reccomend it.  I'm not saying that I am now in love with myself or anything of the sort.  It's more of a like thing at this point.