Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Laughing Matter

As of yesterday my week was off to a crappy start.  Just your run-of-the-mill crappy week, and it was only Tuesday.

I had a glorious weekend spent entirely with my boys, exploring all of the fantastic events that were going on all over our fair city.  We had a blast and I was exhausted.  And, then Monday came. 

Mondays, for the most part, suck.  I was grateful that I had made it home at the end of my work day without going postal on someone.  Honestly, there wasn't just one good reason for my cantankerous mood, there were many.  We all have those days.  But, apparently it was my turn for a trip to Suckville.

And, lucky me, like everyone else, I got to get up the next morning and do it all over again.  I thought that maybe if I just didn't answer the phone or speak to anyone that perhaps this day would go off without a hitch.  But, alas, I work in retail.  No such luck. 

The day did go by a little better than the previous.  It hadn't occurred to me that I hadn't smiled in about a 36 hour period until a customer said to me, "You should smile, honey.  It'll make you feel better." 

Oh, god.  Please don't call customer service on me.  You see, it's just been a crappy couple of days and I....

Oh, who was I kidding?  She was right.  So, I feigned my best smile for the next couple of hours until I got home. 

So, I put the boys to bed, plopped down on the couch, put my feet up on the coffee table and turned on the TV.  Much to my delight this was the first thing I watched:

OMG!  Joe Pesci and Don Rickles?  I had a very zealous laugh-out-loud moment!  So, Kudos to Snickers, and thanks for breaking my mood!  I needed that!

My sisters think that I have a weird sense of humor.  Is it just me, or does anyone else find this commercial hilarious?  I think the recent collection of Snickers commercials are epic.  I mean, where else can you see Betty White getting tackled in a football game, Aretha Franklin squished into the back seat of a POS car, or Rosanne Barr getting pummeled by a swinging log?  This is good stuff, people!

So, my laugh was back.  And, fortunately it has been rather prevalent today.  However the day did start off a little on the shaky side.

My sisters and I were in a bit of a twitter for about half of the morning.  No, no, not on Twitter, in a twitter.  Our mother was taking her driver's test this morning, and, well, we had good reason to be nervous about that.  We had even begun to try to figure out who would be Driving Miss Alice from here on out.  You see, mom has become accustomed to the senior citizen's stand on driving; 1. Yours, mine and the middle, and 2. We don't need no stinking stop signs. 

Poor mom had worked herself into a lather over the test.  She knew that if she did not pass that it would mean the end of her freedom.  She just wanted to be over with it. Evidently she got tired of waiting for my sister to take her to the Secretary of State's office and she drove herself there. 

An hour went by and we hadn't heard anything.  Good lord!  Please tell me she hasn't been waiting there this whole time!  We were all getting a bit hysterical so I was elected to track her down.  As I drove to the Secretary of State's office I had visions of myself running in all Shirley Maclaine-like, "My mother needs to take her driving test now!  Do you hear me?  She needs to do it now!  She has waited and she is ready NOW!"  But, when I arrived her car was no where to be found.  I thought that maybe she was out taking the test.  So I waited.  And waited.  Finally after about 15 minutes my sister got a hold of her.  She was home.  Now, mind you, she lives about 5 miles away and it only took her about 20 minutes to get home. 

She had passed, just barely. 

"He said I made a lot of mistakes" she told me later on the phone.

"Like what?"

"Like driving in the wrong lane."

"Oh.  Is that all?"  Really?

Needless to say when my sisters and I caught back up with one another there were lots of snorts and giggles.  You really do have to laugh, so that you don't fall apart crying!

So, next I went home to get ready for work.  My mood was improving substantially. 

I am one of those odd balls who turns on the television as soon as I walk in the door.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame on the Nate Berkus show.  I love Carson Kressley.  I think he is witty and adorable.  He is my gay crush. 

Today he was doing a surprise make over for 4 employees of a beauty salon on Staten Island.  When he sprang in on them 1 woman in particular was having a hard time containing herself.  She was squealing and jumping up and down and practically hyper ventilating.  And then Carson dropped this one liner:

"Drink your juice, Shelby."

I don't  how many of you will pick up on this.  I can think of about 6 people who are laughing as they read this.  This was a four alarm howler for me.  I laughed myself silly.  The delivery, timing and relevance were spot on.

There is a scene from the movie Steel Magnolias where all of the main characters are in a beauty shop getting ready for a wedding.  The bride was Shelby, played by Julia Roberts, and she was a severe diabetic in the middle of, I believe, a blood sugar crash.  Her mother, played by Sally Field, was trying to get her to drink some OJ and attempting to get her to calm down.  "Drink your juice, Shelby" she said.

Okay, so the movie scene wasn't exactly humorous, but, like I said, Carson Kressley's brilliant use of the movie line was epically funny.  Or at least I thought so.  I laughed through my entire shower.  I have even caught myself doing a few shoulder shrug giggles all day long!

Carson Kressley and Nate Berkus, two gay hotties!

So, okay, things aren't so darn bad after all.  Sometimes it just takes a little laughter to put things back into perspective. 

Many thanks to Snickers, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Carson Kressley and my mom for getting my sunny disposition back.  Okay, that may be stretching it a bit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Family Matters

It has occurred to me that I haven't written a whole lot about my family, much to their delight, I'm sure. I suppose that is why I have held back, thus far.  But they are an amusing cast of characters.  I am very blessed to have a well-rounded, loving and happy family.  In the words of the Warlock himself, we are winning.

My sisters and I are very similar and completely opposite of one another.  We are also wonderful friends. However, I do get the distinct impression that I manage to embarrass them on a regular basis. I am, after all, the youngest. That fact in and of itself provides me with reason enough to torture my elder siblings with my somewhat campy demeanor. And, if I'm not mistaken, I do believe that there are studies that say that the youngest of multiple siblings acts out in order to get attention in a full home. So, there, I've even got science on my side.

I can't help but want to write about my sisters.  There is enough witty and heartfelt material to launch a sitcom.  But, I will respect their humility and not tell anything too private or embarrassing.  I am committed to not humiliating anyone in my blog other than myself.  A little self deprecation is good for the ego.

The Anchor
My oldest sister is perhaps the most unassumingly funny person you could ever meet.  She was a blessing in disguise to our parents.  She is beyond special.  I could go on and on about her.  But what I want you to know most of all is that she is what has kept our family grounded.  She reminds us of what the most important things in life truly are. 

She goes to an amazing school in the South where she lives year round.  She comes home twice a year for her birthday and for Christmas and that is about all she can handle of us.  At the end of her stay she is always ready to get back to the normalcy and stability at school.  Honestly.  That's not to say that she finds us crazy or anything, though I've noticed that she will sign "you drive me crazy" to at least one of us during her visits.  Hmmm.

A few years back Mom and Dad were visiting my sister for parents weekend.  They were in their hotel room while our mother finished preparing herself for dinner. Now, mind you, our Dad is well known for his lack of patience.  He began jiggling the change in his pocket and clearing his throat which is code for "Let's Go NOW!!".  My sister took it upon herself to tame the beast.  "Keep your f-----g pants on."  Dead silence.  Truth be told our parents were doing everything in their power to keep from laughing.  I remember my Dad saying "Well, she is 42.  I guess she can say that to me."  I am 42 now and wouldn't even consider saying such a thing to my father.  She is, quite frankly, the only one of us who could have gotten away with such a statement.

This sister is a very passionate girl.  She accessorizes every outfit with as many pieces of jewelry as she can find.  She is an indulgent consumer of bath products and chewing gum.  But, most of all she is very enthusiastic about food.  She once was quoted as saying, "God they've got good food on airplanes".  Yep, she finds the absolute best in everything and everyone.

The Boss

She has even been deemed so by our mother.  But someone has to keep this motley crew in line.  And she foots the bill quite well.  She has a way of getting people to do things they had no idea that they wanted to do, even though they really didn't.  But, she has this innate charm that endears her to most everyone she meets.  It's very hard to tell her no.  You run the risk of making the "I hate you right now" list if you do.  She'd make a great drill seargent except that she doesn't like to be mean to people. 

My sister is perhaps the busiest person you'll ever meet.  If there isn't something that she has to do then she will find something to do.  She doesn't sit well.  And, people who do sit well make her nervous. 

She has had some pretty rough bumps along the way, but she is a shining example of what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.  She practices the Scarlett O'Hara school of thought.  But, at some point I can't help but wonder if she didn't think, "WTF?  Enough already!".  Though she would never say such a thing.  And certainly not in those words!

I think it is adorable how naive my sister is, especially for someone who has been through as much as she has.  I get a kick out of trying to shock her by making some crass remark or telling an off color joke to her.  Typically I get a blank stare for a good 10-20 seconds, then you see the light bulb go on, and then I usually hear, "Oh gross.  You are so disgusting."  But, she can't hide the smirk on her face.  Yeah, you know it's funny!

A few years back she was out with her board of directors from a previous job, most of whom were male.  They had been out to dinner and made a pit stop at a dive bar.  Apparently most of the evening one of the men had been giving her a hard time about her slip, not because it was showing but because it had obviously been trimmed rather unevenly to fit the length of her skirt. (Which I guess she had misjudged.  And, by the way, who wears a slip anymore?)  After several dozen comments and  a few envibations, my sister had had it.  She shimmied the slip off and threw it at him!  Legend has it that even today the slip is still pinned to the wall of that bar where it had been hung in her honor that night.

My sister is genuinely sweet and thoughtful, a rare find these days.  I have always admired her and strive to be more like her but I think she may have hogged all of the nice genes.  In fact, I think all three of my sisters got them all and left a little itty bitty one for me.  So, I have to work extra hard at it. 

The Practical One

This is the triple threat sister.  She's smart, pretty and fit.  You kinda want to hate her.  But you can't because she's also nice.  It's completely unfair. 

We are 6 years apart in age, enough so that I manage to get under her skin from time to time.  That and the fact that she is very logical and practical and I am, well, not.  I tend to lean more towards the impulsive side of life.  I think more than anything I am an enigma to her.  I wish that I could be a bit more pragmatic like my sister, but then I guess someone has to be the wild card.  I'm happy to oblige.

As a kid I was pretty sure that my sister did not like me.  It wasn't until I was in high school that I realized that she did in fact like me.  We were coincidentally at a John Cougar Mellencamp concert in Bloomington, Indiana and we actually bumped into each other in a crowd of about 25,000.  A bouncer had come along and was harassing me because I wasn't in a designated seat.  He grabbed me by the arm and told me I had to leave.  Next thing I heard was, "Get your hands off my sister!"  I don't even know what happened after that.  I was in shock.  Now, granted, a scant amount of alcohol was likely involved, but, she actually came to my defense!  That moment is carved in my mind as when my sister and I became friends.

What most people don't know about her is that she is wickedly funny.  I think her intellect allows her the ability to come up with one liners that most of us wouldn't be able to think of until that night in bed.  She is also a bit of a savant when it comes to popular culture.  I like to pride myself on my Hollywood trivia knowledge but she can put me to shame every time. 

She is my go-to-gal whenever I need sensible advice.  Which, unfortunately for her is more often than not.  She makes it all look easy though I'm sure it's really not always that way.  No one's life is completely perfect.  But from an outside perspective hers would certainly appear so.  There is a lot to be said for being practical, thoughtful and frugal. 

My sisters and I, back in the day

Well, we've all heard the expression "you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family".  If ever I had been given such a choice I wouldn't change a thing.  I adore my sisters.  I think they are awesome.  As different as we all are, we do have a lot in common.  We all love to travel.  We are all a bit klutzy.  We all snort when we laugh.  And, 3 out of 4 of us can chug a beer in less than 5 seconds.  I'm not kidding.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I am currently experiencing a writer's block, which is a bit disconcerting considering I have only been at this for just a few weeks.  It's not due to a lack of topics.  I have plenty of those.  I'm just not sure which one to tackle first.

I have opened up a big can of worms with my blogging.  My mind is reeling with all kinds of subjects to write about and I am having a very hard time focusing.  I suppose I could add Ginkgo Biloba to my pharmaceutical regimen but it's not at the top of my list of things to do.  Although, that's for memory, isn't it?  My memory is still relatively in tact.  As long as I don't run into someone that I haven't seen in a while.  I am terrible at names.  Don't you hate that?  Wait....see what I mean?  I CAN'T FOCUS!!!!

I guess more than anything I am feeling a bit stressed right now.  Like every other mom out there, I am feeling thinly spread.  My best course of action would be to take a step back, breath, and as my mother used to tell me, "get my priorities in order".  I'd take a yoga class to find my chi, or whatever, but who the bleep has time for that?

The fact of the matter is that my blog has become a big priority for me.  It is my current form of therapy, so thanks for humoring me, and for not charging me by the hour.

So, for a change I'm going to take on a couple of topics that are on my mind as we speak.


This, by the way, is my very first suggested topic.  It was proposed to me by a friend of mine who is quite so at the moment.  Smitten, that is.  Lucky girl.  We all know that feeling.  That new love, butterflies in your stomach, I can't eat, sleep or think feeling that keeps a perpetual grin on our faces.  We've all been there, or at least I hope that everyone has been there.  Because there really is nothing better than the excitement of being head over heels for someone new and knowing that they are feeling the same way. 

Turns out my friend just met this fella a little over a week ago.  They met, he asked her out, they spent a whole day together and the rest is history.  She took a bit of a leap of faith with this one because she is freshly out of a fairly toxic relationship.  Her suitor isn't at all her normal "type", but he was nice to her.  Isn't that what we're all looking for? 

Now, here is where I start seeing a multitude of red flags, being the cynic and all. 
A. They just met. 
B. She's not yet divorced. 
C. They've only been out once. 
D. He's already talking drawer space.

As a girlfriend I feel it is my job, nay, duty to play devil's advocate.  I don't want to be a spoiler but I can't help but wonder if  Mr. Nice Guy has ulterior motives. My friend is very sweet and currently vulnerable and there are guys who can sniff out that kind of situation.  But, then again, maybe he really is just a nice guy who has finally found the girl of his dreams.  Who am I to judge? 

Maybe I am jealous.  Okay, so I probably am.  I'd certainly like to be bitten by the smitten bug.  I faintly remember that feeling.  I remember liking it, a lot in fact. 

So be it.  I am happy for her.  She deserves to be blissful.  After all, this is the perfect time of the year to "fall" in love. (Sorry about that.)  There is so much to do together.  The cool air gives you the perfect excuse to snuggle. And you've got approximately 8 months before he sees you in a bathing suit. Unless, of course,  you go on some tropical vacation together in the mean time.


Have no fear, your girlfriends are here!  Wow, that was corny.  But, as a card carrying member of the BFFs club, I think everyone should be warned that the fairer sex will stick together through thick and thin.  When a girlfriend is in need all she has to do is shine the beacon high in the sky and those who are available will come running. 

The sisterhood of girlfriends is a very tight knit group.  And a very supportive one at that.  I could drop a massive cliche bomb on you right now, but I will resist.  As hard as that may be....

I guess I'm just expressing my gratitude.  It's been a tough couple of months/years and I have all but worn out my membership card.  But, my girlfriends have been there for me every step of the way.  A male friend of mine once remarked that I had surrounded myself with some great people.  Those words have resonated in my head for years now. 

So, when I saw the beacon go up a few nights ago I had to be sure to get there at all costs.  It's what we do.  It wasn't a high level emergency, but, a friend in need....sorry, couldn't help myself. 

I know, I know, you guys have your "guy code".  But, see, we girls do this thing, it's called "talking".  I know that you think we do too much of it.  But, it works for us.  We don't harbor in the murky waters of feeling crappy.  We get it out.  We counsel each other.  And then we braid each other's hair, have pillow fights and tickle one another.  As far as you know.


Alright, so maybe I had a bit more to say than I had originally thought.  I think I'll go meditate now and clear my head.  Yeah, right.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Man vs. Shoe

In the life of a single girl the parallels between men and shoes are almost spooky.  The pursuit for the perfect pair of shoes is equally as hard as if not harder than the pursuit for the perfect man.  Now, I use the word "perfect" rather loosely here.  I tell people every day, "What may be the perfect fit for someone else will most likely not be what's best for you.  Every one's needs are very unique."  Pretty prophetic, huh?  Or maybe it's pathetic. I'm not sure.  But when I hear some of the shoe shopping advice that I dole out I sometimes feel as though I am also giving advice on men, and that really would be pathetic.  Am I a shoe expert? Maybe.  A man expert?  Not even close.  If only it were so simple.  But, then again, maybe it actually is.

If the shoe fits, buy it in every color!

On the quest for Mr. Right most of us are told the same thing, to "play the field".  Well yeah, you should.  We all should.  The same concept applies to shoe shopping.  I do not know one single woman who bought the very first pair of grown-up girls shoes that fit her and then never bought another pair ever again.  Even the simplest and most practical of girls has dabbled in at least a handful of different styles and colors.  Take for instance taupe. Taupe is basic.  Taupe is safe and it goes with everything.  But, why not try red?  Red is an unexpected pop of excitement!  Red is fun and makes you feel sassy.  Every girl should try a pair of red shoes at least once in her life.  Now black makes sense.  Black is classic and flattering.  A pair of black shoes will never let you down. When you have tried on every other color of shoes and none of them seem to make you happy you know that black shoes will always work. 

Never sacrifice comfort for beauty!

The jury will probably always be out on this debate.  And, your local podiatrist thanks you. I do appreciate the passion for beautiful and sexy shoes.  Most gals can get high on the feeling of being the most envied woman in the room simply because of her stunning accessories.  Let's face it, beautiful things make us feel, well, beautiful.

But, I do hear the same thing from mostly female customers every day, "I am looking for an extremely comfortable pair of shoes that are also totally cute."  Pffft.  You said a mouthful there, sister.  Aren't we all?  But, I'm not so sure that beast exists, in either the shoe world or the man world.  If I were to ever come across that holy grail of shoes then I would rush out and fling open the doors of my own  Absolutely Perfect Shoe Store and live happily ever after.  But, I'm not holding my breath. 

I don't mean to sound cynical.  But, I just don't think it exists.  What I mean is that we all have the need and desire for comfort and beauty.  The two just don't coexist naturally. The shoe label Easy Spirit thought that they had it figured out back in 1991.  See what you think.

See what I mean?  It's just not right.

What we should be looking for here is balance.  It's a much easier search for something that is attractive and relatively comfortable.  I am by no means talking about settling.  I do think it is possible to be blissfully contented, however.  And what one may find "cute" may not appeal to others.  But, that's ok.  Beauty is, after all, in the eyes of the beholder.  If your new shoes make you happy and make you feel good about yourself, then that is all that matters.

I wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first.

How many times have you made this mistake:

"Oh my god!  This shoe is sooooo cute!  I don't need to try it on.  I'll take it!"

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Hold up now girlie!  Don't rush to judgement.  Take a spin around the carpet.  Give it some time.  It's easy to want to jump right in with all of that stardust in your eyes.  But, if it seems too good to be true, well, you know the rest. 

Yes, it's pretty and shiny and new and it makes you feel good about yourself at this moment, but, will this feeling last?  Not likely.  Eventually you'll start to feel some pain and you'll discover some flaws that make you question why you made this investment in the first place.  But the lust for and lure of beautiful things is very hard to resist.  And, you're probably afraid that if you don't jump at the opportunity it will vanish before your eyes. 

We've all heard the expression "good things come to those who wait".  This is relevant in the shoe world and the man world.  I guess we all just need to remind ourselves of this from time to time. 

Someday, hopefully, we will all find that perfect fit.  It may last a lifetime, or it may only last a short while.  And it is usually irreplaceable.  But, at least you can say you know what it felt like.

In my perfect little dream world I can walk about life effortlessly and confidently in a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos.  And, then I wake up and see the Rockport faux croc loafers on my feet.  Hmmm.  Comfortable?  Check.  Reliable?  Check.  Do they make me happy?  Check and check. 

 Enough said.

P.S. I need to mention a mistake/typo from my last blog, "The most wonderful time of the year".  It was my junior year in high school that I went to the Homecoming dance with Mayor Ezard.  My apologies, Buzz!  Hope I didn't get you into trouble with anyone!  :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love the fall.  Love it!  It makes me so incredibly happy! Everything about this time of year makes me happy.  The smells, the weather, the events, they all add up to what I consider to be unequivocally the most wonderful time of the year.

Frankly, I think that the holiday season starts with Homecoming.  Which, by the way, seems to happen earlier and earlier every year.  I guess that it's no wonder that the Homecoming attire has changed so drastically to, um, minimalistic fashion, shall we say. I mean, we wouldn't want those poor little darlings to get over heated so of course they should wear skin tight strapless dresses with barely there hemlines.  Back in my day, pardon me while I conjure up the spirit of my grandmother.  Ahem, back in my day we used to wear something a bit more demure.  I remember only too well what I wore to my junior year Homecoming, which, by the way, I attended with Jacksonville's own Mayor Ezard!  Ah, memories.  If you want more details than that you'll have to ask me in person.  Because I do NOT kiss and tell!  Anyways, I wore a plaid wool skirt with a coordinating wool sweater with tights and cute little flats, but, that pretty much sums up what every girl wore to Homecoming back then. We thought we were hot stuff.  We were something, for sure.  Something straight out of the Preppy Handbook.  Not that that is a bad thing!  Preppy has made a resurgence.  However, as one of my girlfriends put it, "Why did we think it was hot to look like little old ladies?" I mean preppy has it's time and place.  Maybe we could have put a little more effort into it.  Why not bring back the cocktail dress, girls?  A la "Mad Men".  Now, THAT would be fabulous!  But, I digress...

Nothing beats a good Homecoming parade, either!  I think I look forward to them as much as my boys do.  I love scouting out our spot and plopping down on the curb to wait for the excitement to begin.  Before you know it there is a round of gunfire shot off by a handful of soldiers announcing the start of the parade.  They proudly display Old Glory as they march by. I am such a simple fool because I get a bit weepy at this site, every dang time.  Next comes the police car and fire truck. I think it is such a hoot to watch the faces of the youngest parade goers debating whether they are going to laugh in delight or scream in pure terror at the wailing sirens. C'mon, you know that's funny!  I remember once watching some poor dog right at the moment the fire truck started blaring its' sirens.  The sweet little thing was manically chasing its' tail and then it suddenly stopped to vomit. And, then it began chasing its' tail again.  So, it's not for everyone.  Again, I digress.  I think that quite possibly the best part of the Homecoming parade is the marching band.  Who doesn't love a marching band?  Well, probably not that little dog, but I sure do!  It's the part of the parade that I wait for in baited breath.  Well, that and banana Laffy Taffy.  My boys both know that if they happen to come across banana Laffy Taffy in their parade loot that it is mine.  It's a rule. 

Football.  Now, admittedly I am not a true "fan".  But, I enjoy a game every once in a blue moon.  And, football truly is the sport of the fall season.  When most people, and by people I mean men, think of fall they think of football.  I will be a bit of a football patron this fall.  My oldest is playing flag football at the YMCA for the first time.  It actually is adorable watching these little squirts learning to play the sport that will someday leave them with broken bones and concussions and arthritis.  I kid!  Now, my son is the one who "runs with the herd".  He's built like a line backer but he's got the demeanor of Nelson Mandela.  So, he just runs when everyone else runs.  It may not be in his future but it's fun for now.

Coming up in October I get to go to a REAL football game.  I will be joining a fabulous group of ladies that I have not seen since college on a little reunion weekend in Tallahassee, Florida.  Home of..........

        FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY!!!!!    GO NOLES!!!!  >>>>>>>--------------------->

So, that should be fun!  Ya THINK?  I can not wait.  I am certain that I will have lots of stories to tell after that weekend. But, most of what happens in Tally will stay in Tally.  For a fee. :)

It's only been 20 years since I've been there.  And, there is something just so incredibly awesome about seeing a big university football game.  I remember taking my parents to a game when they came to visit me on a parent's weekend.  My dad was in complete awe.  He was like a kid in a candy store.  And, just when he thought it couldn't possibly get any better, he got to do "the wave".  Never mind that he was watching the National Champs play at home.  And, never mind that alum Burt Reynolds speared the field that day.  He got to do the wave!

Fall fashion has always made me weak in the knees.  This is the time of the year when the fashion mags are thick and loaded with all of the hottest and trendiest fall looks.  I pour through them looking for clues of how to make it work with my wardrobe.  I can not wait to layer sweaters over long sleeved tees and boots over leggings.  I had a preemptive fall fashion strike one day last week.  I could wait no longer to wear opaque tights with a skirt and long sleeved top.  The thermometer topped out at 88 degrees that day.  Needless to say I was a bit warm.  And, I would have looked super cute had it not been for the flop sweat that melted away any recognition of makeup or hair product that I applied that morning. But, then, I've never really been known for my patience.

The air outside right now could not get anymore perfect.  I love days that consist of a temperate high of 78 degrees and low of 58 degrees.  I adore actually needing to put on a jacket or light sweater in the evening because it's "chilly". I would be completely content to have that type of weather year round.  But, then, we wouldn't have the change of seasons to look forward to. 

This is the season that I missed the most when I went to school in Florida.  I missed the fall.  I missed the leaves turning their gorgeous fall colors. I missed the harvest and the pumpkins.  So, I am going to enjoy every possible second of this gorgeous fall season that we are having.  Because, before we know it, it will be, well, freaking cold.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


First things first, HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY, KIMMIE!!  I'll quote our friend, Jean, here...don't you "love friends who count backwards"?!  I hope you have a wonderful birthday, in spite of the circumstances that surround this date. 

And, a very Happy 10th Birthday to Miss Victoria!!!  I hope today is the best birthday ever!  I'm sure that your mama has a bouncy house and a pony in the backyard and a 10 tiered pink cake for your surprise party later today.  Oops!  :0

And, that is correct, little miss was born on this day, 10 years ago.  The day that none of us will ever forget.  Her name is a family name but her parents did agree that it was beyond special considering the events that took place on her birthday.  And, how rude, by the way, of those stupid dumb terrorists to muck up a precious little girl's special day. 

I don't mean to make light of it.  And, I really can't believe that it has been 10 years since 9-11.  I remember exactly where I was when it happened, as does everyone else, I'm sure.  I was just 6 weeks pregnant with my now 9 year old and was out on a walk.  My walks were starting to get shorter as the amount of time I was allowed between potty breaks had shortened substantially.  Anyways, I came in my back door and immediately turned to the TV. (I always left the TV on for the dogs.  Seriously.) At first I thought I was watching an action movie trailer, but, I could tell by the distress in Katie Couric's voice that this was not the case.  And, then I saw it. A second airplane hit tower #2. 

I have spent a lot of time this week explaining the events of 9-11 to my 4th grader.  He is curious.  He was especially amazed by the story of the passengers of the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.  He asked me if they were scared when they stormed the cock pit.  I told him that we would never know for sure, but I could only imagine that they were.
"Were they soldiers?", he asked.
"No.  They were civilians.  But at that moment, they were indeed soldiers.  Because they were brave and they knew that they were probably going to die doing what they were doing. But, they did it to save the lives of innocent people."
"And that's why dad had to go to Afghanistan, right?  Because of the terrorists?"
"Yeah, baby.  That's right."
"I want to be in the Army some day, ok mom?"
"We'll see about that. "

The welcome home parade, ironically, on 9-11-09
 Both of my boys are infatuated with all things Army.  And, of course they should be.  Most little boys idolize their fathers, and mine are no exception.  They play for endless hours with their Army guys, they beg for any and all possible Army video games.  And, how many 9 year olds do you know whose favorite "movie" is Band of Brothers?  I sort of think that maybe the more I let them play Army while they are young that the more they will get it out of their system.  I know we need more soldiers in this country, but I'd just prefer it not be my babies, thank you very much. 

Alot has changed since that horrific day, globally and personally. The best of which for me are these 2 little stinkers who make my life better every day.  So I will squeeze them both today and be grateful that our world is relatively safe for them to live in, thanks to the civilians, first responders and soldiers who rushed in and put themselves in harm's way to ensure that safety and our freedom. 

And, as you know, I like to end with a little something to put a smile on your face.  Even on days like today we all need to find a reason to smile and maybe even laugh!  This video is sort of/not really relative, but it is hilarious!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Mommyhood

 A few things caught my eye today as I strolled around my house.  They are symbols of what my life is all about, which is being a mommy to my two awesome little boys.  I had the morning off from work and after taking my 9 year old to school I went ahead and took my 5 year old to day care.  He is in Pre K but his class does not start until 12:30.  I don't do this very often because I feel guilty.  I feel like if I'm not working then I should keep the boys at home with me if they are not in school.  Which 9 times out of 10 I do.  But every now and then I feel the need for a little "me time".  I hate saying it because it sounds so selfish.  But, I think we probably all need a little time to ourselves. 

So, today for my "free time", I like that better, what did I do?  I went to spinning class, came home and got on the computer searching for some fun new blogs.  Check out my list, by the way, I found some really great sites!  I peered over the top of my laptop at one point and saw this: 

This is a vintage cut glass bowl that was my grandmothers filled, rather thoughtfully I'd say, with Army guys and other action figures.  I love this piece and can never find the right thing to put in it.  I've tried filling it with candy, but, c'mon, that never lasts.  Not in this house.  So, I think I quite like my boys' idea of decorating.  I'll let them have this one.  But, of course, they're probably going to want to play with them later today.  Maybe they'll put them back?  Doubtful.

So, it became time for a potty break.  I had waited too long so I popped into the boys' bathroom as it was nearest.  Now normally I avoid their bathroom like the plague until it's cleaning day.  Boys are gross.  That's all I"m going to say.   Here is what I found:

Yup.  Gooped up, dried up, nasty tooth paste spat. I know. I'm guessing about 5 days' worth.  Yucko, right?  Lucky for you I used my camera on my phone so this picture isn't quite as clear as it could be.  Because I'm pretty sure I recognized some cereal remnants from this morning. Perhaps I need to add an extra cleaning day to my calendar.  But, what fun is there in that?  It almost looks like artwork, you know it?  I mean, art is subjective.  Maybe some day I'll walk in and see a replica of the Virgin Mary in their sink.  You just never know!

Next step in my leisure time was to do laundry.  Always a bright spot.  I made my way into my laundry room and low and behold my two young snipers had left me a present:

The little darlings were having target practice on the dryer.  At least it wasn't a paint gun or air rifle.  My house is infected with Nerf bullets.  They are under the couch, on the basement stairs, under the kitchen table and various other hiding places along with their comrades silly bands, Lego parts, gum wrappers and my favorite, crumbs. 

Honestly, I was grateful for all of the little "souvenirs" they had left behind for me.  And I didn't share them all with you, by the way.  Some are meant for mommy's eyes only.  Anyhoo, I couldn't help but grin and giggle at each of my discoveries.  It reminded me of them.  And how much I love them and couldn't wait to see them when I got home from work.  They may aggravate the crap out of me most of the time, I mean sometimes, I mean never.  But, usually about 5 minutes into my "free time" I am wishing they were with me.  I know, I'm a glutton for punishment.  I just can't help myself.  I loves my boys!!!

That's the view from my Mommyhood today.  Everyday is an adventure.  Today was certainly no exception!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

So, has anyone out there ever watched the show Wipeout?  It airs on ABC on Thursday night.  It is, perhaps, the guiltiest of pleasures for me.  The premise of the show it to put a collection of odd-ball average Joes on what is perhaps the most outrageous obstacle course ever.  And, it is done completely over water.  It is ridiculously funny.  Because, honestly, there is nothing funnier than watching someone get pummeled with a 10 foot tall foam padded mallet.  The piece de resistance of the course are the "big balls".  Contestants try and mostly fail to jump across 4 giant red dodge balls which are grounded and, of course, over water.  Recently the show has added the "motivator" which is a large scoop-like device that pushes them onto the big balls so as not to allow them time to think before making their way across.  I have only ever seen 2 people make it all the way across.  Usually they bounce onto ball #1 and are flung maybe onto #2 and then their contorted bodies are sent flailing into the air and they land face first into the water.  It is pure genius!  It kills me every time.  But, what makes it even funnier is watching it with my boys.  They fall apart every episode, laughing until they cry.  I can't decide which is funnier, watching the poor schmucks on the show take a pot shot to the groin or watching my little boys laughing hysterically at the expense of strangers.  Then, to top it off, one of the commentators closes the show by saying, "Good night and big balls", to which my 9 year old ends up on the floor, barely able to speak and holding his stomach.  Every time.  And, it never gets old.  Who knew a person could get so much joy from such a silly TV show?

I realize that there are some out there who consider soap operas such as All My Children to be silly shows.  But, it is, indeed, a very guilty pleasure of mine.  I love it and I am so sad that it will be coming to an end in a matter of weeks.  What will the world be like without Erica Kane and Tad Martin and Ryan Lavery?  As the show is winding down they have been bringing back characters who either moved or went to the nut house or even died. Today they are rerunning the episode that aired a few weeks back and brought back the character Leo Dupre, otherwise known as actor Josh Duhamel.  I am in absolute heaven.  I am snuggled under a blanket on the couch and am completely glued to the TV.  I am feeling guilty about not being outside on such a gorgeous day, but, I mean, how could I possibly not watch?  Even though I have already seen it, I am absolutely mesmerized.  He is a feast for the eyes and I adore that he came back to the show that gave him his start.  Big, HUGE, sigh.....

My list of edible guilty pleasures is embarrassingly long, however I would like to point out a few highlights.  In Ludington, MI there is a gas station that houses a small bakery and there you can find their famous Smiley Face sugar cookie.  It is a soft sugar cookie about 6 inches in diameter topped with a thick layer of bright yellow buttery icing and then decorated with red eyes and a smile.  They may sound horrific, but they are nothing short of decadent.  In fact, rarely does one manage to consume a whole cookie.  Well, I have managed. But, I rationalize it by telling myself that I only get to eat them in the summer so I should enjoy them while I can.  Right?

Giordano's famous stuffed pizza is at the top of my list.  It is also another reason I had to move away from Chicago. It was more than a little convenient to be able to pick up the phone and have a 12 inch pie of layers upon layers of meaty, cheesy, crusty goodness arrive at my house in an hour or less.  But, if you have ever tasted it then you know exactly what I mean.  It is pure heavenly evil brilliance. My roommate and I would order a pizza for dinner, sit down to eat and not speak for the next 20 minutes.  The first sound to come out of our mouths was usually "oof", which translates to "I am so disgustingly full but it was totally worth it".

I used to treat my boys and myself to Dairy Queen every once in a while, usually to celebrate something like good grades or good behavior.  They have a dessert called the Oreo Brownie Earthquake.  It is all that and then some.  And, I'm certain, it has somewhere around 5 million calories.  But, it was a rare treat for me until we moved basically down the street from DQ.  It's proximity mocks me.  I guess we'll have to move again.

Every rare once in a while some of my girlfriends and I will take off on a very indulgent shopping trip to the windy city.  We will stay at a downtown hotel, peruse the magnificent mile and eat at fantastic restaurants.  I can't help but feel guilty because it is such an extravagance, but, I have to admit, it is so fun to play fabulous city girl who shops and dines out at leisure, even if only for a couple of days.  Most recently I had to miss out on the trip, but my friends were kind enough to make sure that I was there in spirit.  They posted a photographic journal on Facebook of the virtual adventures of "iJulie". They pulled up my profile picture on one of their iphones and attached a paperdoll body to it and carted me all over town!  iJulie had her picture taken with all kinds of new friends and at several hot spots.  Who knew you could have so much fun in the city without even being there?

I think guilty pleasures are a necessary evil. Without them we would simply consume at will and watch reality and completely unrealistic TV without consequence.  But, really, what's so darn bad about that?  I think that it's important to allow ourselves some pleasure.  In moderation, of course. Because, let's face it, you can only watch Bachelor Pad so many times before you just start to feel dirty.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I am officially old.  Today I bought a pill organizer.  And, not just your average, compact pill organizer.  Oh no, we're talking the mack daddy pill organizer with compartments for every day of the week roomy enough to fill with half a roll of quarters.  It even has a built in cutter.  I made the command decision to buy one not just because I am an organizational freak (which I am) but mainly because my vitamin, supplement and prescription pill bottles were starting to consume my bathroom vanity.

My son watched in amazement the other day as I began my morning ritual of dispensing my daily dose.  "Dang, Mom.  What are all those for?"
"Well, I'll tell ya.  These two are fish oil supplements.  They help with my dry eyes and are also good for my heart."
"Do, they taste like fish?"
"Nope.  No fish burps even."
"Yeah.  These 2 help with my stiff joints...because I'm old."
"Oh, yeah."
"This is a multi-vitamin.  This is the most important one of all, my "happy pill".  This is for allergies.  And, this one helps me not feel bloated."
"Bloated?  Ohhhh.  You mean like the fish on Nemo?"

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, thirtysomething was a prime time show that aired in the late 80s and early 90s.  It examined the lives of 7 friends in their 30s.  It had a cult-like group of followers, myself included.  I was in my early 20s and I wanted nothing more than to be thirty something.  I wanted to be a yuppie with 2 beautiful children and a ridiculously hot husband like Ken Olin.  We would have a perfect house in the suburbs and we would be fantastically happy.  When I actually made it into my thirties, all I wanted was to be 20 something again.  Someone forgot to tell me about the responsibility that goes along with having those beautiful children and maintaining that perfect house.  And, I don't know if anyone else has seen Ken Olin lately, but, let's just say he's definitely "healthier" than he used to be.  What are you gonna do?

Oprah Winfrey did a fabulous job of glamorizing being a forty something woman.  She encouraged women to anticipate being in their 40s and to not be ashamed of it.  Thanks to her show it is no longer taboo for women to talk openly about aging and even about menopause.  Now I am not yet a victim of "the change", but it is on the horizon.  I was recently witness to the life cycle of a hot flash.  I was mid-conversation with a friend of mine when suddenly she peeled off her jacket and then her button front shirt.  She was left in just a camisole.  I watched in awe (and horror) as her face went from flesh tone to tomato red in less than 60 seconds.  Next came the flop sweat.  Her face, neck and chest were completely moist and the back of her hair was sopped.  And, then, almost as fast as it came on, it stopped.  Dear lord.  Really?  is this what I have to look forward to as a fifty something woman?  Can't wait.

A few months back I had to get my eyeglass prescription renewed. Talk about a rude awakening!  Shortly after I got them I was seated next to my good friend's husband at a dinner event.  "I like your new glasses."  I wasn't sure if he was being facetious with me or not, as it's hard to tell with him.  "Can I try them on?"
"Sure."  Good luck with that.
"Holy s*#t!  It's like being on a carnival ride!"
"They're verilux lenses."  I was quick to defend.
"It's a nicer word for trifocals."  Just saying it made me quiver.  What the heck has happened to my life?  I do not feel like I am middle-aged.  But, here I am!  Wearing trifocals, loading up on pills and supplements, crossing my legs when I sneeze and "dressing my age".  All of the things that I used to make fun of as I watched my mother go through it. 

It's not really all that bad.  If I could go back to my 30s or even my 20s would I?  Not likely.  I appreciate where I am because of the experience that I have gained.  I would be interested in telling my younger self a thing or 2, like sunburns really do lead to wrinkles and you really are better off dating nice boys and everything will be OK.  It really will.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Excuse me, miss. I speak Jive."

I speak fluent Movie Quote.  It's a language that is becoming wildly more prevalent.  In fact I think it is a close second now to Chinese. The language itself originated somewhere in Nebraska in the late 1970's, I believe.  I have many friends who are also well-versed in Movie Quote.  I appreciate the opportunity to come across someone who speaks the language so as not to lose the ability.  I know of approximately 6 people with whom I can carry on a conversation in M.Q.  Every now and then I'll throw out a line to someone I've recently become acquainted with just to see if they understand me.  Always a dissapointment when they don't.  But, those who pick up on it, well, they've just inherited a life long friend.  Like it or not.

So, here's a little story to test your movie quote skills.  I'll highlight the quotes in bold. 

Liz and Stella met up outside of their favorite haunt for their regular Friday night girl's night.  "Hang on", Stella quipped. "I need to feed the meter." "Well, it's gonna be a long night so we're gonna need a shitload of dimes to fill that baby up!" Liz always had a way with words. "Come on!  Let's go.  I did the old wax on, wax off treatment and times a waistin'!"

Just then a car swerved by and the male passenger yelled out a few choice words to our duo.
"Nice manners, babe!", Stella screamed.  "He called me a baboon.  Thinks I'm his wife."
"Yeah, well, stupid is as stupid does.  Come on.  Let's go inside."  Liz was ready to get this evening started.

The bar was swelling with hopeful singles, as usual.  "Check out Romeo coming towards us."  Stella was always cynical when it came to trolling in bars.

"Hey, ladies.  I got a salami I gotta hide.  Any takers?"  "Oh, surely you're kidding me with that approach?", Stella hissed at him.  "No, ma'am, I'm not.  And stop calling me Shirley."  Liz grabbed Stella by the elbow, "Come on.  Let's sit at the bar."

"Ladies.  What'll it be?  Manhattans, mojitos, cosmos....".  Liz's mouth was beginning to water. "OK! OK!  You had me at hello.  Just surprise us."

Stella heaved a lingering sigh. "What's the matter with you?" Liz mumbled over the top of her martini glass. 
"My brother had the day off today so he came over to vent about his cheating wife. And, while he was there his boss called and laid him off!"  Stella ranted. "He's so confused he doesn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt!"
Liz shook her head. "You gotta be one dumb mother f#*@$r to get fired on your day off!"

"Liz!  You know what your problem is? You're afraid to talk about anything real!  You can't handle the truth!"

Liz knew that Stella was right.  "I'm sorry sweetie.  You know I like Dan.  In fact, tell him I'm available.  But, the clock's tickin'!  He should just take me to bed or lose me forever!"  Liz's cackle was as charming as her creative use of the English language. 

"God, Liz.  It's a good thing that I love you more than my luggage.  Let's just turn the serious off and enjoy the rest of our evening.  I'll deal with Dan's issues later.  After all, tomorrow is another day."

Soooo, how'd ya do?  It's a silly thing, I know.  But it's all in good fun.  Thanks for humoring me!  This one was short and sweet today.  Parting is such sweet sorrow.  But don't worry.  I'll be back. :)

p.s. I want to thank you all so much for giving so much attention to my little blog!  You are motivating me to forge ahead and continue writing.  I have loved every minute of it so far.  I will do my best to continue to entertain you.  And, humiliate myself! :)