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.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Boys

I know, I know, I talk about them a lot.  But, I can't help myself.  I just love them so much that I can hardly stand it.

Before I had children I had always assumed that I would be the mother of girls, or at least a girl.  The male quotient is lacking in our family, to say the least.  I have 3 sisters, 4 nieces and only one nephew.  So when my OB told me that my first child was a boy I was bewildered at best.  "A boy?  Are you sure?"  I thought maybe he had misspoken, after all, his French makes it difficult to understand him at times.

"Yes, madam.  This is a penis so I am sure it is a boy."  That was crystal clear.

A boy?  What the hell am I gonna do with a boy?  I was fully prepared to adorn, accessorize, primp and groom a sweet little girl.  But a boy?  Boys are stinky and dirty and there are just no cute clothes out there for little boys.

When I told my family most of them laughed.  It was hard to picture, and, even harder for me to embrace.

Shortly thereafter the testimonials of mothers of boys started rolling in:

"Boys love their mommies forever!"
"Boys don't go through those horrible hormonal teenage years."
"There's so much less drama with boys."
"Boys are less expensive."

Blah, blah, blah...This was going to take some getting used to.  I didn't have any ideas for names.  I wasn't even sure how to make a cute nursery for a boy.

On December 11, 2001 I felt my baby boy move for the first time.  It was right then that I fell in love with him and with the idea of my baby being a him.  I knew right then and there that I was destined for this, this mother of boys business.  My ex once overheard me telling my unborn son, "Someday you will fall in love with a girl and marry her but she will never love you as much as I do!"  He told me that was creepy.  Maybe a little.

When my doctor told me that baby #2 was also a boy I had to laugh in spite of myself.  Okay then.  Frankly, I was relieved.  Surprised, but relieved.  I thought, 'How lucky these two little guys are to have each other.  Brothers.'  The idea made me swell with pride.

My boys are polar opposites.  My little guy wants nothing more than to be just like his big brother.  He does everything he can to emmulate him, much to my 9 year old's dismay.  I try to tell him that immitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, but he won't buy it.  "He drives me crazy!!!"  Is what my first born says on daily basis.  Get used to it.  It's his job.  I speak from experience. 

My five year old son is very pestiferous.  (Somebody learned a new word today!)  In other words, he knows how to bring the mischief.  He's quite good at it in fact.  He has this look, and it is a dead give away that either he has done something wrong or he's planning on it.  I will have my hands full with him.  My mother waxes poetic about karma.  I suppose there's some sort of sweet justice in it, at least for her.  I tell my baby all the time, every day....several times a day, that it is a very good thing that he's cute.  But, he already knows it.  He works it with me.  I pity the poor girls that he will come across in his future.

My oldest son is passive aggressive.  He is my laid back king of the couch, and he is as sweet as they come.  He has always been my hugger, up until about 3-4 months ago.  He has started to give me the side arm hug and I HATE it!!!  I hate it because I know that he is growing up and that before too long he isn't going to want too much to do with me.  We have been buddies for the past nine years.  I know it's nature and all that but I wish there was some way I could hang on to it a little bit longer.  I adore my little boy.  He is sweet and confident and very funny!  I can be in a horrific mood and his little laugh brings me back to the surface every time.  It is so true what my parents told me, time passes too quickly when you're a mother.

They do not know this but every night after I know that they are asleep I tip toe into my boys' room and kiss them each and smell their heads.  I know.  That last part is a little weird.  But there is something about it.  I love to smell their heads.  It's the oddest combination of sweat and outdoors and oatmeal (?).  Yes, that's so weird, but that is the best way for me to describe it.  It's a little slice of heaven for me.

My babies drive me crazy, as I do them.  They fight nonstop and they love eachother fiercely.  I can't get enough of them.  When they're not home I will walk into their room and I think the same thing every time, "What is that smell?"  I can never pin point it.  And I can't make it go away.  There's no one culprit.  It's just the smell of boy.  And I wouldn't know what to do without it.

Just like every other mom out there I am in complete awe of my children.  I am so grateful that they are boys.  And, they are 1000% boy.  They sometimes stink, they are usually dirty, and there really aren't too many "cute" clothes out there for them.  Well, they wouldn't be caught dead in what I consider cute.  Seeing as our last names aren't something like Wellington and we don't live in the Hamptons then I guess I can't expect them to wear white button down shirts with seersucker blazers, Nantucket red Bermuda shorts and white nubuck oxfords.  A mom can dream.

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Adventures with Liz and Stella

Yes, they are back, in full form and loaded with movie quotes!  And, today I am dedicating this one to a certain birthday girl...she knows who she is.  But, the question is, will she know all of the quotes?

Best friends Stella and Liz continue their search for Mr. Right, however misguided it may be.  This time they have taken matters into their own hands and have set each other up for a double blind date.......


"Whose idea was this anyway?" Stella quizzed her friend as they crossed the threshold to their doom, a.k.a. Stanley's Ristorante and Nightclub, their current favorite hot spot. 

"Uh, yours, if I'm not mistaken.  You keep telling me about Boy Wonder that you bump into every day at Starbucks.  Tell me again why he's my 'type' and not yours?"  Liz still hadn't quite figured out why her best friend was passing this guy on to her.  Frankly, it ticked her off a little.  "I mean if he's Cro-Magnon man then you realize, of course, that we can never be friends again." 

"Drink your juice, Shelby.  He's very nice.  I told you, he's just a little more man then I can handle.  And, he's gorgeous."

"Well you had left out that part!" Dammit!  She's going to HATE Cameron.  Which was Liz's intention.  Once back in college they had set one another up with joke blind dates.  She figured they were doing it again for a little entertainment. 

"And why is it that you think I'm going to be interested in my date?"  Stella had a feeling her gal pal was up to no good.

"He's very fashionable.  And....frugal.  Very frugal.  In fact, pardon my French, but, if you stuck a lump of coal up Cameron's ass in 2 weeks you'd have a diamond."

"There's nothing wrong with being fiscally responsible, Liz.  But that isn't necessarily something I look for in a man."  She's definitely up to something.

Cameron Workman was a women's apparel showroom owner at the Chicago Market.  Liz bought several lines from him for her boutique.  He lived under the guise of a straight male, but, anyone who met him knew better.

"Right this way, ladies."  They could hardly see their way over the statuesque hostess.  "Here you are.  Shall I bring your guests to the table when they arrive?" she smiled almost sympathetically at the two girls as she handed them menus.

"Sure, that'd be great." Liz snatched the menu out of her hand.  Not unusually her stomach was growling at ear piercing levels.  "I'm starving!  As God is my witness I'll never be hungry again!"

"That'll do, pig.  That'll do.  Remember, Carl will be here any minute.  Try to hide your insatiable appetite at least until your second date."  Stella was enviously bitter about Liz's ability to eat whatever and whenever she pleased.  At  5 feet 2 inches, Stella had always had to watch what she ate very closely.  She was just one stomach flu away from her goal weight and she wasn't about to blow it now.

"Second date?  That's very optimistic of you."  Liz was getting nervous.  Oh good lord.  "They're here!"  How was she going to explain herself?  "Fasten your seatbelt.  It's going to be a bumpy night."

"Uh, Cameron, say hello to my little friend, Stella."  Liz thought a little humor might ease the blow. 

"Stella, damn glad to meet you.  Liz talks about you all the time but she forgot to tell me that you were sooo fabulous!"  


"Oh, well thank you!  It's a pleasure to meet you."  Stella was grinning, genuinely.  She found him sexy, but she was always drawn to the metrosexual type for some reason.  That was the main reason she wasn't attracted to Carl.  He was a bulky athletic-type. "And, Carl, this is Liz."

"Hey, babe.  So, you wanna dance or would you rather just suck face?" Carl's laugh was reminicent of a gorilla's.  "I'm just kiddin' ya.  Sort of.  Am I right, brotha'?" Carl practically knocked Cameron over with his elbow nudge.  "And, by the way, does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"

Cameron sneered at the ape and took his seat next to Stella.

"May I get you gentlemen a drink?" the hostess inquired.

"I'll have what she's having."  Cameron nodded at Stella's cosmopolitan.  Of course.  Liz's head dropped.

"First things first, where's the shitter?"  Okay, so maybe Carl was a bit of a Neanderthal.  "Stella!  Hey, Stella!" Carl was bellowing from across the restaurant.  "Beer me!"  Stella was finding it difficult to contain her laughter.

"Carl, so glad you found your way back to the table.  You're not too smart are you?  I like that in a man."  Liz's contempt was evident to everyone but Carl.  "So, why don't you tell me a little about yourself."  Like she really cared.

"Well, I've got a head for business and a bod for sin.  Is there anything wrong with that? I like to think of myself as confident, but I guess some people might say that I'm cocky."

"Oh, I'm sure nobody says that about you, Carl.  As far as you know."  Liz was done.  Check please.

The foursome were temporarily quiet as they researched their menus.  Cameron was scouring for anything under $10.  "So, Stell belle, you wanna share something?"  Oh, cute!  He's already nicknaming me!  Poor little stupidly naive Stella thought to herself.

Carl noticed that everyone else had already placed their napkins on their lap.  He grabbed his but immediately began to struggle with the nature of it's shape.  "Huh. What do you make of this?"

"Let me see it." Cameron quipped.  "Well, you could make a hat, you could make a broach, you could make a pterodactyl."  He snorted at his own joke.

"Oh, my gosh, you are so silly!"  Stella was equally pleased.

"I know, right?  My mom has always told me I should be on Broadway.  She's my number one fan!"

Liz couldn't take it anymore. She could see that her girl was actually buying his 'straight' schtick.  "Stella,
let's go to the ladies room. K?"

"Honey, I can see that you are enjoying Cam's company, but, you do realize that he's gay, don't you?"  Liz could tell by her expression that Stella was floored.  "You can't really be surprised by that!"

"Liz, if I woke up tomorrow with my face sewn to the carpet I wouldn't be any more surprised than I am right now.  I just thought he was sassy, in a manly way.  Oh, God.  He really is gay?" Stella was disheartened. 

"Sorry. You know I love you sweetie.  I thought we were doing the blind date thing, you know?"  Liz felt like a complete jerk.

"It's a good thing I love you too.  "Because love means never having to say you're sorry.  And, I was positive we were doing the blind date thing!"  Stella was beaming with pride. 

The girls fell apart giggling.  "Okay, okay. Let's blow this joint.  We came, we saw, we kicked ass.  Now let's get the hell out of dodge!"  Stella felt her inner Bond-girl kick in.  "We need an exit strategy."

Just then Leggy McHostess curled her way in around the bathroom door.  "I figured you gals would need a ticket out of here.  Follow me."  Who would have known that they would find a commrade in her?

As the girls hunkered down behind their new found best friend they couldn't help but notice that their dates seemed to be deep in conversation.  "Well that's interesting.  Looks like the start of a beautiful friendship.  Never saw that one coming!" Liz whispered.  "Homo Erectus and Homo Suspectus make nice with one another!"

The two girls harmoniously blurted out in hysterics and made a b-line for the door.  Liz couldn't help herself and turned around and blew a kiss at the boys.  "Hasta la vista, baby!"

Our girls took off down the street arm in arm to a destination yet unknown.  Maybe next time!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life is earnest....

....and you know Ernest.  This is one of my mother's many pearls of wisdom.  And it is one that we frequently use in our family.

The last time I wrote I told the story of  mom's adventurous day getting her new driver's licence.  Little did we know that in less than 24 hours our lives would be completely changed. 

My mom is such a gracious and lovely woman.  She is the quintessential lady.  So, it's no surprise that she is handling the horrific news given to her by her oncologist with complete dignity. 

Couldn't help it...I adore this photo!

But, honestly, how are you supposed to handle it when your doctor tells you that your cancer has spread, it's inoperable and your time is very limited.  I don't know.  I do know how you handle it when it is your parent who is given this news.  You fall apart.  You weep uncontrollably.  You gasp for air.  And you get angry.  Very angry. 

My father reaffirmed a notion that I expressed in a previous blog.  He said to me yesterday, "With all of the horrible people that exist in this world I don't understand why this should happen to such a lady."  Amen.  It really does not make any sense. 

I have taken too many things for granted.  It never occurred to me that my mother wouldn't be here for at least another 20 years.  Her mother lived to be 104.  Even when she was first diagnosed with lung cancer I figured she would lick it and that would be that.  She is very strong willed. 

I wish that I could go back in time and smack the spoiled, superficial, selfish and irresponsible teen age girl that I was.  I would tell her that she is so much more lucky than she has a right to be because she has an amazing mother who adores her unconditionally and is somehow still proud of her even though she has acted so unbecomingly and ungratefully.  I would especially want her to stop taking her life for granted because someday she will experience the most unthinkable and gut-wrenching emotional pain that will drop her to her knees because she will find out that her mother's cancer is incurable.

Most teenagers do live their lives in a bubble and assume that nothing can hurt them.  They consider themselves to be the center of the Universe.  I was no exception.  Looking back I am ashamed of how thoughtless I was and how much unnecessary drama I put my mother through.  I know it's not healthy to live a life with regrets.  And I am well aware that life is all about learning from your experiences.  But, I can't help but feel guilty, especially now. 

So, this is a lesson for me to try to impart on my children.  I want them to understand that life is a gift and that they need to appreciate each and every day.  And, even though at some point in their lives they will hate me, I need them to know that I will love them hard and forever.

I was so blessed to witness a beautiful moment between my parents yesterday.  Mom had just told Dad the news and he was trying to digest it.  He has dementia so it was confusing to him.  He was looking at her  from his scooter chair with puppy dog eyes.  He grabbed her hand and pulled it to his chest.  "You can't do this to me" he said.  "You're the love of my life.  You are my beautiful girl.  I love you."  He will be lost.  He has adored my mother for 58 years. 

We will all be lost.  But, for now we have time.  Time to make the most of life.  Time to give back an ounce of the love that mom has given us our whole lives.  She is adored by so many people, for good reason.  She is kind, genuine, loving, gentle, funny, classy and very silly. 

Check out the picture crasher!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  They will not go to waste.  There is still a lot of life left in that gal.  She's never been one to leave a party early!