Friday, February 29, 2008


Okay, now that I've got your attention, first things first... I can't believe how many typos there were in yesterday's post! Please forgive me, I'll blame it on my cold, the jet lag, and oh yeah, the 3 hour time difference, yeah, that works. I am so embarrassed because those of you who know me, know that the one thing I do feel okay bragging about, is my ace spelling ability. (MAC - I know you're LOL right now!)

So, today is Friday! But this is no ordinary Friday: lunch with the FIL and family which took up my ENTIRE afternoon, a yelling match, albeit brief, with my own parents over how to discipline my son, and a big frizzy, head of un-tameable (looked up spelling!) curls because, though it's freezing in Florida, it's still so damn humid, and the revelation that these 5-10 extra pounds I've been carrying are here to stay (thanks peri-menopause) and squeezing my usually petite frame into my clothes is now not only fugly, but bordering on the obscene! Good-bye forever low-waisted jeans! I'll get my muffin tops from the bakery, thank you!

But since it's Friday, Fun Friday, I'll send your way a humorous email sent to me by my friend, Susan. It gave my husband and I a chuckle, perhaps it will you as well.


A husband walks into Victoria's Secret to purchase a sheer negligee for his wife. He is shown several possibilities that range from $250 to $500 in price, the more sheer, the higher the price. Naturally, he opts for the most sheer item, pays the $500, and takes it home.

He presents it to his wife and asks her to go upstairs, put it on, and model it for him. Upstairs, the wife thinks, "I have an idea. It's so sheer that it might as well be nothing. I won't put it on, but I'll do the modeling naked, return it tomorrow, and keep the $500 refund for myself."

So she appears naked on the balcony and strikes a pose.

The husband says, "Good Grief! You'd think for $500, they'd at least iron it!"

He never heard the shot.

Funeral on Thursday at Noon.

Closed coffin.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


So my last two blogs, about being under-appreciated and about being sick (again), led me to this blog because FINALLY I got some vindication! And it comes along so rarely, that I am doing the happy dance and don't nobody burst my bubble!
Waiting for our delayed red-eye last night (it's bad enough to have a scheduled departure at 11:20pm, the flight was delayed until 12:30p!). My kids held up pretty well, I on the other hand, was falling fast. My cold, which turned into asthma, which turned into bronchitis (again) in the course of one day, was keeping me down. We made it to the gate with little difficulty only to realize my son no longer had his suitcase with him. After numerous near-losses (my son would forget his head if it weren't screwed on), the suitcase was finally lost. In my phlegm-filled stupor, I walked out of the gate preparing for a re-tracing of all our steps since going through security. Instead, standing across the hall was an airport security guard looking very serious while holding onto a munckin-sized black plastic suitcase with the very threatening Darth Vadar on the front. I approached with a timid smile and tried to claim it.

"What's in it?," he asked in a stern tone.

"A white fuzzy blankie, some toys and some children's books," I said quickly and precisely, proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt,that it was mine (my son's).

"White blankie, yeah. Toys, yeah. What's your name?," he continued the interrogation.

I dutifully told him my full name.

"Your son's name?," he asked.

I told him, not sure why he was asking because my son's name wasn't even on the suitcase (bad mommy!) but he was so officious, I complied.

He nodded his head. "You know," he said," tell your son to be more careful next time. He left it down at the gift shop and they called the bomb squad."

I immediately pictured other, even more serious, people rifling through my son's bag looking for explosive devices and finding only webkins, Star Wars legos, and Captain Underpants books .

"I'll tell him, Sir. I've very sorry. It won't happen again. Thank you for your help," I said in my all-too-familiar, desperately despised, good girl tone.

I returned to my family where my son was engrossed in a tv show on the video I-pod. He pulled his earbuds from his ears upon seeing my disapproving face.

"I'm not watching Drake and Josh, Mom! It's I-Carly...oh good, you found my suitcase." He was done with the matter. Not me.
I thought maybe I could scare him into learning to keep a better watch on his things.

"Do you know that leaving your suitcase in an airport is very serious? The airport people need everyone to hold onto their suitcase. Remember? We discussed this?"

He nodded.

"Well, they had to call the bomb squad, honey, because they found your suitcase near the gift shop and didn't know who it belonged to. They thought it might have a bomb and it made them very scared."

I tried to make the lesson stick by taking his hand and escorting him to the stern security guard so he could hear it from a person of authority (because to him, g-d knows, I am not), but my son FREAKED out. He was terrified. I didn't have the heart. I still think maybe I should have followed through but I was just so tired and ill that I let the whole episode drop.

The one good thing about last night's flight was that my husband used his miles to apply for upgrades. The flight was full so a few minutes before boarding they called our name and offered only one first class seat. Normally, I would have taken the typical mommy road of putting all others before me and letting someone else enjoy life's cherries, but after the "washing dishes" episode from the other day and feeling absolutely miserable and all, when my husband asked, "What do you want to do?," fully expecting me to be the selfless one, I snatched the ticket from his hand and said, "I'll take it."

He stammered, unsuspecting was he, and tried to convince me that it would be better if we could all sit together because the kids needed both of us to flank them and protect them from the discomfort of sitting near strangers.

To this I said, in my ever-so-gentle demeanor, "The kids are old enough. they're gonna have to sit next to a stranger sometime, might as well be now."

He couldn't come up with any other arguments, particularly because having accepted the first class seat, he obviously thought it was worth it for ONE of us to use it.
Now, just in case you think badly of me, let's take a break from this moment and flashback to 15 years ago, when in our first year of marriage, new hubby and I were put in the same scenario - plane was full and one first class ticket was offered to the two of us. I hesitated and hubby leapt for the brass ring. I sat for six hours, seething, squished and hungry in my peasant class seat having refused the entree they dared to call dinner, while my loving spouse periodically visited me (empty-handed) to share his reviews about the wonderful champagne, salmon appetizers, and the aromal of the highly-anticipated warm chocolate chip cookies. As hard as I tried to instill guilt, he never felt badly about that day. He said it was my fault for hesitating. Well, fifteen years later, I had my chance at retribution, and kids or no kids, I wasn't screwing it up this time!

Sure, I felt twinges of guilt and created a few, dark, mental scenarios of the plane crashing and me, selfish mommy, not being near my kids during their excruciating, final moments. But I quickly kicked those hallucinations to the curb and wiggled into comfort in my wide leather seat.

Today, we're all safe and sound, and though I'm still sick as a dog, I feel empowered. I am woman- hear me roar!
Who ever said revenge isn't sweet??!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We're off on a family getaway to celebrate my FIL's 80th birthday. Sounds great, but prepping for a family trip always puts me on edge and to make matters more of a pain, my son and I were up all night with colds. And to make matters EVEN more of a pain, we're taking the red-eye. We don't depart until 11:20! Ugh.

You're asking why we did this to ourselves? The answer is, of course, $$$. Frugality being the root of all discomfort. We booked our flights during the writer's strike.

So today I took my clogged up head and achy body to the bathroom floor, surrounded myself with pretty little 3oz FSA (is it FSA or some other acronym? my brain is working on battery reserve) bottles and jars, and all our shampoos, face washes, sunscreens, etc. and did the looooong, laborious transfer because we hate to check baggage.

It's now 5pm my time and I just ate for the first time today. After packing, after laundering, after cleaning up for the house/dog-sitter, after running to school minutes before it closed to get my son's homework packet. A Subway sandwich never tasted so good.

I hate this part of traveling. I know once we get there it will all be worth it and perhaps even fun. But until then, I'm a bundle of nerves. "Did I pack that? Ooh, I almost forgot that." And I know my husband is working but I want him here to help me instead!

I remember my mother always freaking out the night before a trip. My father could do nothing right and she was one big short-circuit. So, here's another way in which I have become my mother. It's freaky how that happens.

We can discuss the other ways another day.

On a lighter note, I found this...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I know we all have these days but today is mine and, for better or worse, you're all going to hear about it.

When is it my turn?!!
When will I come first?!!!

And don't tell me when the kids are in college 'cause I'll virtually come through these internet waves and slap you right now!

I've lost count as to how many colds I've had since Xmas - I think this is number five or six. It seems when the kids are not laid up or calling me to pick them up from school, interrupting my "me time" (which is, of course, me eating bon bons watching daytime serials - you believe me?- oh pleeeeese!), I'm the one feeling shitty. But do I get to spend my days in bed? Sleep in? Have meals and tea brought to my bedside? Ha!!!

Which begs the question, "Does it ever balance out???"

I think what started this train of thinking, rather what brought it to the frontlines, is the moment on Sunday, when after a tough week with my son, and my husband just back from a business trip, I told asked my husband to do the dishes so I could get some work done. (I have a business in my home - ha! It would be a business if I could devote real time to it!!!) Anyway, when my husband saw the oatmeal pot from earlier that day he looked at me and said, (wait, if you're not sitting down, park it, fast!) he said, "Didn't you do the breakfast dishes?" Pointing to the dirty oatmeal pot he continued, "This is yours, I'll do the rest" and proceeded to put the pot aside for me.


I stood there motionless but inside I was screaming a Munsch-like scream and pounding my fists into his large, muscular arms. I could have let go with a tirade of everything I do for him and the kids but I'd be repeating myself and I didn't have the energy (it was all being used up by the Munsch-like scream). So instead I asked, "Are you kidding me?" in my most intimidating, once a New Yorker always a New Yorker, tone. At this point, I would have thought he'd get it and just quiet down and clean the fucking thing. But noooooo! He pushed his side of the argument asking why he should have to clean my dishes. He explained in his best voice that he washes his own dishes (bullshit!), that he would prefer to take care of his own laundry so he can wash them in cold as he prefers (bullshit! and not only that but now he's criticizing my laundering abilities!!), and, well, I won't bore you with his other excuses reasons because they were all BULLSHIT! Needless to say I seethed all day, and two days later, I'm still seething because, though he did ultimately wash the pot, that whole episode made me feel so un-fucking-appreciated.

How many years have I spent (15, but who's counting) accepting compromises so my husband could build his business? There was always a reason why he couldn't wouldn't come home for dinners or spent weekends working; movie premieres, client dinners, it was pilot season, staffing season, development season, he worked for himself, he worked for someone else. In the famous words of Roseann Roseanna Danna (oh, how I loved her) - "it was always somethin'". Do I dare tell you about the time he went off to New Zealand for two weeks on "business" leaving me home with two very young children? Years, and some therapy, later, he admitted it was a pleasure trip. I'm over it now. Maybe.

These days, a few months into me actively pursuing my writing and a home-based business (what was I thinking starting both at the same time?), goals which, mind you, he has always pushed supported, he has already made numerous complaints about me not focusing on him and the kids, about having to help around the house, and, oh get this one, this one really burns my boobies, he complains non-stop about no longer having his man-space (now my office as well) to himself.


The day I moved in my office supplies , he literally threw a tantrum, a real pissy, puerile tantrum. Tough shit, baby boy. I've got enough children. Deal.

So, now that I've ranted and raved, expelling the venom from my body and onto all of you, I'm going to go take some cold medicine so I can clear my fuzzy brain and move to OUR back office to do some work before carpool shift begins at 3 and ends at 6:30.

Oh, and darling hubby, in case you're reading this, today's oatmeal pot is in the sink, just in case you feel the guilt need to make things up to me. Oh, right, you won't be home 'til late, karate, I think you said. Oh, and sorry for airing our dirty laundry (we know I'm a bad laundress) but you said the blog was a good idea! Ahhhhhh, you were right.

P.S In hubby's defense, he is a good guy, but a guy nonetheless, and right now I'm slightly peeved.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Since leaving "the business" and becoming a SAHM, I've had less interest in the award ceremonies, even skipping them at times. But last night, at a party, I was once again sucked in by the glamour, the celebrity, and the thrill of seeing people I knew walking the red carpet and sitting in the audience. Not to mention the adorable Jon Stewart who, if I wasn't crushing over him enough already, now I'm high-school-head-over-heels in love. Could he have been any funnier? Any nicer (bringing out the songwriter from ONCE to have her moment)? Any cuter?

But once the award show began, a familiar pang rose up within me. As I watched these artists, from all walks of life, whose passion and calling ultimately delivered them to this hallowed platform, I felt a powerful affinity toward them. Their outpouring of emotion, their tears, their vulnerabilities laid bare for everyone to judge see. Watching Diablo Cody accept her award, a one time unknown except to those who visited the lairs of strippers and bloggers, I felt there might be hope for me. Her raw, honest emotion unveiled itself from behind the mask of colorful body art, stark, asymmetrical hair, and a bold, leopard print dress, and I wanted to be her; to feel that jumble of intense emotions. To feel the love. As a child, I was deemed "the sensitive one" and coming from a family of medical professionals, the mind of an artist was not familiar, or always welcome, terrain. I don't say this to lay blame, my success or lack thereof is my responsibility alone. I say this to illuminate my connection to last night's winners.

Watching the Oscars awakened the dreamer within me. I wondered, "Could these accolades be my destiny as well?" With that kind of inspiration, I should have gone home and written the next best screenplay, or an award-winning short story, or even a publishable essay. But with desire comes pain. To want something is to set yourself up for possible failure and with the awakening of my dreamer came the resurrection of my demons.

I learned early on how to deaden hopeful feelings so to quiet the critical voices. To hamper further emotional hardship, I flew under the radar in social situations, academics, everything. I was a good student but if I'd worked harder, I could have been a better student. Putting myself out there, taking the risk, meant subjecting myself to too much attention. What if I failed, then where would I be? I rationalized that if I worked just hard enough to get a good grade, but not as hard as I could have, then there was always the possibility that I was smarter than I, and everyone else, thought I was. I could only go up from there. Taking risks, as I saw it then, would only lead to failure and negative attention. It never even crossed my mind (which I find astounding and sad from my current vantage point) that I might actually succeed.

So, for years, I remained a sizable fish in a small pond. Like in the story of The Three Bears, I was not too big, not too small - I was just right as to not beckon any shining lights. I'm not saying I was happy with this invisible position. I'd privately seethe when others, less deserving than me (in my mind), won accolades or were noticed for their achievements. No, I was not content but I was safe. It was a slow death to my confidence of my own design, but like with depression, I didn't see any other way out. I couldn't fathom myself deserving or capable of success. It wasn't in my cards.

I have moved forward since then with the help of experience and a lot of therapy. I am now, at least, a writer who is willing to share her words with others rather than squirrel them away for the winter. But watching the Oscars last night it became clear to me that while wanting success and thinking it possible seems like an improvement, it makes not having it more painful. I am no longer satisfied with being safe. I no longer want to fly under the radar. But I'm not yet sure I can handle the failures that come with the territory nor am I certain that I can live up to the dream.

Friday, February 22, 2008



Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 full hours.

Suppository that eliminates melancholy and loneliness by reminding you of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out!

Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to two days.

Liquid silicone drink for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and prevents conception.

When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low IQ, resulting in enjoyment of country music and pickup trucks.

Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

Potent anti-boy-otic for older women. Increases resistance to such lethal lines as, 'You make me want to be a better person. '

Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency, duration, and credit limit of spending spree.

Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary, phone number, or to lift the toilet seat

A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers in elevators.

When administered to a boyfriend or husband, provides the same irritation level as nagging him, without opening your mouth.

courtesy of Fun Friday

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I laid with my son tonight helping him drift off to sleep when suddenly he turned, tears in his eyes, and said, "I had a nightmare."

I spared him the literal translation of nightmare since he wasn't actually asleep and asked, "What was it about, baby?"

"I was dead," he cried.

"Oh honey, I'm sorry," I said as I proceeded to repeat our recent mantra assuring him that this past week had been hard for everyone, kids and adults alike. That I was sorry he had to experience this tragedy so young because it was not common. In fact, this was Mommy's first time having a young friend die and, everybody knows I'm ancient! Once again, I assured him that Mommy, Daddy, and his sister would be around until we were very old; until he had children and maybe even his children had children." (After our two dogs died within 9 months of each other, we used that last part to soothe his anxiety with positive results.)

My husband and I went out for a dinner with friends this past Monday. As the sitter helped my son to sleep, he told her he was having nightmares about dying. He was afraid that Mommy and Daddy wouldn't make it home and would she take care of him if they didn't. Upon hearing the sitter re-tell it, my heart ached to hug him and whisper in his ear that everything would be alright, whether he could hear me or not.

As I continued to soothe him earlier tonight, we talked about heaven; what it looked like, what our spirits looked like. His answers: a big cloud and a big cloud. I thought we were making headway toward sleep when,

"But Mommy," he cried all over again, tightening his face to hold back the tears he could barely get out the words, "there's nothing to do in heaven!"

I tenderly wiped his face with my sleeve while inside I chuckled. Ahhh, to be a child.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The always eloquent slouching mom has aimed her bloggy dart at me. I am no longer such a newbie that I don't appreciate the chore challenge of the meme. But, since I tagged her first, I'll cheerily give it a go. Since she actually tagged me a few days ago (I've been busy, not lazy!), I 'm having trouble recalling the exact format of the meme but I think it was to write "7 things about yourself." If not, oops, sorry, and whatever!

1. Growing up everyone thought I was so innocent. I was, relatively, but I sure did love smoking my "Mary Jane." A LOT. EVERY DAY. WITH FRIENDS. WITHOUT. Sigh. Can't do that now. I'm a mom, you know.

2. As my future husband walked toward his car after our first (blind) date, I told myself, "I'll never date that guy". I married him instead.

3. When I start a new hobby/ exercise/ business, I become completely obsessed. I used to knit in restaurants until my husband forced me to stop because my balls of yarn kept rolling underneath other people's tables.

4. I wear totally ripped up pj's to bed, to my poor husband's dismay.

5. I don't miss much about my former career.

6. I used to be scared of everything and everyone.

7. I eat dark chocolate every day, at least once. It makes me happy. I used to be particular to Vahlrona, but now I'm addicted to Trader Joe's dark chocolate non-pareils. If I eat too many after dinner, I don't fall asleep until 1am.

I hope I've sufficiently bored you all with my blandness. So now, I think I have to tag 7 more bloggers. This is tough considering I haven't been doing it very long and I already tagged everyone I knew with the last one. If I repeat myself, I apologize, I just ain't that popular in the blogosphere yet. I tag - i obsess (whom I met under the funniest/oddest of circumstances); Because I Said So (because she doesn't know this but I started blogging because I heard her interviewed on NPR - so this is how I thank her); a new blogger friend, MamaGeek, who doesn't seem like a geek at all; Dawn , 'cause I like her blog and her new haircut; Travelin' Tracy, 'cause she's so talented and sweet - check her out if you are looking for a great family vacation; In The Fast Lane because her comments are always so nice; Manic Mommy, because though we had a brief glitch with a case of mistaken identity, in my eyes, she is the one and only manic mama. You're all it!!!

OMG, I did it. Sorry, if I double targeted tagged anyone. Just ignore the damn thing if you want too! Does that make me a bad blogger??!?!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Today, I went to the funeral of my neighbor. The priest shared with the congregation a theory. He explained that some people believe we enter this world as an empty battery. We spend our lives filling it up and when we are fully charged, we die. Others believe, he said, that we come into this world with our battery fully charged and when all our juice is gone, it's time for us to die.

I may be 46, but this was only the second funeral I'd attended and the first where I was actually friends with the deceased. (I know, I've managed to get away with it until now.) I am not the type to cry in public. At my kids' kinder and elementary graduations, and other emotional milestones, I am often one of the few dry eyes amongst a river of tears and soggy kleenex. Today, I thought, would be no different. But the minute I walked in and spotted Steve's handsome, youthful face smiling from the pile of wallet-sized photos the family had made for the guests, I knew I was wrong.

Steve's childhood friend and brother recalled details of the life he led which made the reality of why we were gathered all the more incomprehensible. Steve was loved by so many. He was one of those people who lived life to the fullest. As a child, he led the kids on his block, always inspiring and pushing them to make the most out of even the smallest, most boring moments. He remained that way as an adult. I had tried in the last week to make sense of his death. To wrap myself around and find comfort in intellectual reasoning. These stories weren't helping.

Why would someone so vibrant, so loved, give up? Leave his family to go on without him and create such hardship? His childhood friend said it best when he remarked that all those close to Steve knew that he loved them, knew that he loved life. He said that many, including himself, were struggling with feelings of anger and confusion. He suggested we all find some comfort in knowing that Steve, in the last few months, was no longer the Steve they knew. He was someone entirely different. The person they knew, the person they loved, who loved them, would never have done anything so selfish.

I think that's the only way I can truly digest this. To believe that Steve's brain was no longer his own. That he had been overtaken by a dark, corrupting force that was more powerful than he. Steve was a fighter. If he could have won this battle with his demons, we all must know, he would have.

In terms of the priest's analogy, it sounds like Steve was a member of the group that began life with their battery full. He just used up his juice faster than his loved ones would have liked. I, on the other hand, think I'm a member of the group that starts out empty and charges their battery up slowly over time. So, I'm going to pick up my kids from school and take them out for ice cream. I might even actually cook dinner. My battery needs some charging.

Friday, February 15, 2008


One more for good measure...

A joke:


A few months after his parents were divorced, Little Johnny passed by his mom's bedroom and saw her rubbing her body and moaning, "I need a man, I need a man!"

Over the next couple of months, he saw her doing this several times.

One day, he came home from school and heard her moaning. When he peeked into her bedroom, he saw a man on top of her.

Little Johnny ran into his room, took off his clothes, threw himself on his bed, started stroking himself, and moaning, "Ohh, I need a bike! I need a bike!"


This has been a strange week. We've had two deaths. The first - the suicide of our neighbor which I wrote about in my last post. The second - the loss of my daughter's beloved P.E. coach who died in a motorcycle accident night before last.

It's confounding, the process of grieving. Seeing the wife of my neighbor yesterday, I expected to find a shell of a woman, unable to dress, or groom herself. I pictured her with red eyes, red face and squeezing tear-stained tissues like a child's security blanket. Instead, my neighbor greeted me at the door. She was better dressed than I, her hair blown out and looking, well, great. She was busy, purposeful, composed. When we hugged, I expected tears and sorrow in tandem with my own, instead she whispered in my ear with indignation, "It's just not right, Fran. It's just not right." I was speechless. Of course, I understood why she was angry. We get angry with our husbands for not taking out the trash. Her husband left her with a real mess to clean up. Life for her will never be as she had planned, as they had planned. She was now the single mother of two fatherless children. His abandonment, his choice to check out, like it or not, is the legacy he has left for his children. And she will be cleaning up that untidiness for years to come.

I just didn't expect her anger to rise up so soon. It took me by surprise. But Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' well-known "5 Stages of Grief" is helping me to understand and hopefully to help. By her estimations, my friend will be hitting the depression stage of the cycle soon and knowing this I will make an extra effort to be there for her at that time, despite her current strength.

For those of us not family or close friends with the deceased, the stages of grief are no less puzzling. I wonder how I, and others, can so quickly transition from a state of utter shock and disbelief to acceptance. The first days after I heard the news, I could not walk or drive by their house without covertly glancing in their direction. The usual vibe of joy was replaced with an eerie, ghoulish tenor. But by the end of the week, it was as if Steve had been gone all along. The shock wore off and a new sense of normalcy developed in it's place. The loss of his presence had become part of the natural landscape. A given. A friend and I were discussing this today and we both thought perhaps it's an innate defense mechanism. A way for our brain and body to help us make it through the adjustment. I'd like to think that's right. I'd feel better about myself if it were true. Otherwise, what does that say about how we value our friends? Our lives? Are we that dispensable?


In addition to my own dark ramblings, I've noticed this week that many fellow bloggers seem unsatisfied, forlorn, and even depressed. Maybe it's S.A.D., maybe it's a lunar cycle, whatever it is, it's still FUN FACT FRIDAY !!! (I will come up with a new name because I hate that one and I'm sure you do, too.) We need it now more than ever. So... I will share with you this funny with hopes that it garners a smile, maybe even a laugh, because I believe, laughter truly is the best medicine.

Next time your child picks his/her nose, forget the words, the threats, just show them this:

Have a great weekend! Have some fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


It's funny how events in life can seem random until something happens that makes you question whether they were random at all. Last night I quoted Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night". Today, I played and re-played NPR's "This I Believe" essay about the importance of NOT minding your own business. It struck a chord though at the time I knew not why. The writer told of the lesson she learned when a neighbor of hers, a young boy was beaten to death by his abusive father. The neighbors interviewed by the media, her neighbors, were a cliche. "I don't know how this could have happened," they all claimed. "We're shocked. Quiet man. Kept to himself a lot." But this writer said the neighbors, including herself, were all liars. That they heard and saw many things which made them uncomfortable but they all decided to mind their own business. Well, minding their own business, the writer said, cost a little boy his life.

My neighbor committed suicide yesterday. I found out this evening. It came as a shock - at first. But like the essay writer, a few moments of thought, of putting things together, and I realize I should have seen it coming.

Steve was a loving husband and father of two little children. They were the family you thought you ought to be. Always riding bikes together, taking nature walks, playing ball outside past dark. They ate only the most nutritious foods. Giggles and laughter were often heard on warm nights when windows were left open. They were happy. Steve was the mayor of our block. Always the first to strike up a conversation with one, or more, of us and never the first to end it. He owned a good deal of real estate and he could talk about his business for hours. That was before the sub-prime fallout.

Sometime during the summer, Steve stopped coming out. When I did see him, he didn't offer his usual gregarious greeting. I thought maybe I'd done something to offend him but I never asked. With Fall, the days got busier and shorter. The few times I saw him, as I was driving a kid to school or off to run an errand, I waved but he didn't wave back. I thought it strange but I decided it was best to mind my own business. That, and I was busy enough with my own problems. A month or so ago, my husband and I did discuss the change in Steve and we attributed his behavior to tough economic times. But who wasn't having them right now, especially here in the land of the writer's strike?

And then I heard the news. With his wife and kids on vacation, Steve killed himself. Planned? I don't know. That is one of my many questions. But do I have the right? Talking with neighbors as we spread the tragic news and shared stories, I realized that we all had the same concerns about Steve. That we'd all noticed the shift. My neighbor across the street who lives right next door to the family said she noticed the house had fallen strangely silent in the last few months. She noticed, too, that Steve's wife, was less likely to stop and chat. She talked with her husband wondering if maybe there was marriage trouble. They minded their own business. A few days ago, I saw Steve's wife as I was driving toward my home. We waved as usual but there was something in her gaze - I couldn't read it then other than to think it queer - but now I wonder what she was thinking? Did she want to tell me to look after Steve while they were away? I don't know, I was minding my own business.

In an instant this woman's life was turned upside down. I want to scream at Steve for taking the coward's way out, for leaving his wife with financial and emotional debts to pay. Didn't he know the bad times were temporary? But I learned that Steve was sick. Depressed. And when you're in darkness it can be difficult to see the light, or believe it even exists . He could have thought he was doing his family a favor by checking out; relieving them of the burden of a failed provider.

My heart cries out for Steve tonight. For his wife and beautiful children. I hope he went gentle into that good night. I will no longer mind my own business and I will be there for his family however I can. I wish I had been sooner.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I don't say this for reasons that D.T. did; because a loved one is sick or is dying.
My reasons are far less serious.
Nevertheless, coming home today from a visit with my OB-GYN, his words came to mind.
It seems, at 46, my body is signaling me to prepare for the big "M". It comes as no great surprise but hearing it from my doctor gave it gravitas.

Menopause? Really? But I've only just begun to live! Corny, I know, but it's how I feel. I was a late bloomer after a youth pockmarked with depression and a full blown case of PPD following the birth of my son, I have finally come into my own. In my 40's, I'm enjoying life rather than enduring it. I no longer question the roads not taken or wonder about the "what ifs". I'm happy with who and where I am. I'm ready to rock.

But menopause scares me. I fear it will bring with it the dreaded demons of my past and darken the halls that have only recently opened up to the light. My time in the sun has been brief, too brief, but long enough to feel it's warmth and appreciate the difference. I can only hope that when the demons knock, I will no longer find comfort in their company. I want to rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light. I hope that I'm able. I hope that I can laugh and dance and spin my way into the long good night.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Remember that tune we used to sing before making a wish and blowing the heck out of the wispy remains of a dandelion? Little did I know then how true was that childhood ditty. That later in life, when I dropped 8 lbs of baby out of my virtually virtuous vag, my brains were going to fall out behind it. I think it's the doctors' dirty little secret. During our moments of exhausted bliss, they overtly trash the placenta and quickly stash the brains selling them later on the black market.

Brains of a 29 year old Ivy League educated mom, former Wall Street banker: $50k.
Brains of a 35 year old college educated, vp of large publishing corporation: $35k.
Brains of high-school dropout, crack addict: $$$??? Maybe not, but you get the idea.

If the doctors told us about this unfortunate side effect of having a baby, they'd have no business birthin' babies, and god knows with the state of health insurance as it is, they need something on the side to make ends meet.

I remember when I was in my late 20's, on my way to a promising television career, I worked with another woman about ten years older and ten years ahead of me on the corporate teeter-totter ladder. Despite the fact that I liked this woman very much, I couldn't help privately judging how often she was late for morning meetings, how often she was battling a cold, and how often she was missing something, whether it be her notes, a pen, or her coffee. Her reliable, young assistant ran in with consistency and efficiency to save the day. This woman shared stories with me about her days before she had kids, when she was a crackerjack executive. How almost overnight she became the woman who drove off from the local Starbucks with her steaming coffee cup, or her wallet, still on the roof of her car. How some days she'd manage to get the baby safe and sound in it's car seat but would drive off with the trunk open and the stroller left behind in the parking lot. I laughed with her but my mind was full of pity. Surely, her fate was not my own.

I prided myself on my organizational perfection. What I feared I was lacking in creativity, I made up for with efficiency and intelligence. I was always well-studied, well-stocked, and on time. Having a baby would not change that.

Cut to over a decade later, this past Saturday, as I'm rushing to deliver bagels to the open house for my daughter's middle school. I've already spent the last ten minutes on the freeway checking my trip computer and biting my lips as I wonder if I'll make it to school before my gas tank hits empty. 5 gallons, 4, 3, 2.... Thankfully, the parking gods find me a spot because I'm not sure I have enough gas to go around the block again. I carry the big "nosh box" of bagels and accouterments into the school. I set it up next to the assorted Krispy Kremes and banana breads and head to the office to fill out a form. As I'm leaving, I reach into my purse for my car keys and, you guessed it, empty. No matter how many times I check that same pocket, where they should be, where they always are, nothing. I check the counter where I had been standing. The refreshment table where I lay the bagels. I look up, I look down, I look all around. I return to the street and look through my car window to the ignition. I even step to the driver's side and look on the ground near the tire (having once lost my diamond necklace and finding it an hour later in that very spot). No luck, but I did almost get sideswiped by a city bus! I walk back to the school and by this point people are staring at me. I imagine they, the frequent volunteer moms, are thinking, "Who is this bitch? She drops off a few bagels and thinks she owns the place!" I sheepishly make my rounds again, even patting the top of my head and inside my blouse, as if I were looking for the sunglasses that were there all the time. I go inside the school for the third time, hopelessly checking the same places I'd checked before, and suddenly an office worker familiar with my comings and goings says,

"They're right behind you!"

I spin around like a dog after it's own tail but see nothing.

"Right behind you," she repeats. "In your pants."

And just like that, with my palm resting on my keys, I suddenly remember how I earlier wedged them inside the waistband of my sweats. I make some self-deprecating, mildly funny attempt to save face and take off.

So yeah, now I understand that working mom and I pity us both.

Mama had a baby and her head popped off. Poof!!

Friday, February 8, 2008


It's Friday.
Fun Fact Friday
as I so creatively appointed it last week.
Well, here's a fun fact... I'm drunk.
It's 4pm in the afternoon, my kids are watching tv downstairs, the dishwasher repair man just left after 20 minutes work with $300 of our hard earned $$$, and I'm at my computer... D.R.U.N.K.

Not, if I stand up now I'll fall down, drunk. More like, having trouble getting my ass downstairs to make dinner and fingers slipping off the keys drunk.

It 's all been accumulating since last weekend. If you've been reading my blog (my Feedburner feed's not working so I have no idea whose even reading my damn blog!!), you know I've had a week of computer hell, sick child hell, and post-sickness child-in-regression hell. I've been accosted 14/7 with ear-splitting shrieks, whines, and full-out screams. I 've been a hair's distance away from self-igniting.

No amount of exercise or hot baths are helping. Even going to my usual supermarket today, the one I know like the inside of my own kitchen, the one that in that strange only mommies can understand way, sometimes gives me peace, only contributed to my frustration. I must have tranversed the market at least 6 times having forgotten this and forgotten that. Arghhhh!

So here I sit, with my glass of merlot (okay it's syrah - shhhh, don't tell anyone), reading blogs and worrying about pondering what to write. But I think I've pondered too long because my glass is near empty and so, too, is my brain. But I need to write. I need to write more than I need to mother, more than I need to run my new business, more than I need to be a wife. It's true. And feeling as if I'm giving that part of myself the short-shrift is most probably the root of my condition.

But, before I bore you with more blather...I'm going to share with you (it's Fun Fact Friday!!!) something funny a friend sent to me.

"When all creative coffers are kaput, when all you can manage is to cut and paste," I say,"steal from the tried and true, the genius." So without further ado...

"Next Life" by Woody Allen

In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm! I rest my case.

I'm going to set myself or my house on fire now....have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Volunteering in my son's 2nd grade classroom today, I was helping a small group with an art project when the conversation turned to politics.

Boy1: "Clinton is ahead but I like Obama."
Girl 1: "Yeah, I really like Obama. But my mom likes Clinton cause she's a woman."
Boy 2: "Me, too. I like Obama. He likes change and we need a change."

Granted it was 8:30am and I hadn't had my tea but I had to shake myself awake to confirm that I was sitting with a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds. I was so pleased that these kids were aware and interested enough to have political opinions. I knew they were likely repeating what they'd heard at their dinner tables and that made the following statements that much more disturbing.

Girl 2: "Obama could never be the President."
Boy 1: "Why not?"
Girl 2: "Because if he was President, he would live in the White House and black people can't live in the White House."
Boy 1: "Why not?"
Girl 2: "Because then they would invite black people over for dinner and that's not allowed."

I told the girl and the group that that simply wasn't true. I further explained that anyone, no matter what color, who was worthy of being elected our President, could live in the White House and invite to dinner anyone they pleased. Anyone.

Change, you can't come fast enough...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


i've been held captive since friday
first by my computer
then by my son

my computer is well...i say cautiously
my son is not...well enough to go to school but well enough to think me his slave and drive me crazy

i beg my husband for a break
a small walk in the fresh air to blow out the mental dust

a few steps with my dog and I feel a change
a lighter sense
an energy flow
and I see this

and I realize
life is good

life is beautiful

and later
at the dermatologist's office
while waiting for the injections
that calm the inflamed mounds
that make me look like a teenager
and not in a good way
i look out and see this

and all is right with the world

at least for a little while

Monday, February 4, 2008


I love my MAC. I'm a devoted MAC user, never to switch back to PC. But when they, and everyone else, told me it would take 5 minutes to set up my new, gorgeous, hyper-speed IMac, even I didn't believe it. And you know what???? I was right.

"You just have to plug it in, enter a little info, and you're all set," said my husband who recently bought himself a MacBook.

"I hear it takes only five minutes to set up," said my sister who was eagerly awaiting her very own recently ordered IMac."

Our desktop is just over four years old and in computer years that's about 100. I suspect it had Alzheimer's. The once johnny-on-the-spot keyboard now clean forgot it was supposed to transmit the letters I typed to the screen. The formerly nimble scroll bar was now unresponsive and would, without warning, suddenly go screwy, driving the screen up and down at warp speed.

But this senile old coot possessed ALL our personal information, scripts and stories I'd written, pictures, everything. I knew transferring that to a young turk was going to be no walk in the park. No matter what anyone said. But I gave it the ol' college try. I even ran a firewire between the two computers to transfer everything over instantaneously two hours later. It did move everything over but nothing to the right place. Brand new applications remained childless, their orphaned folders floating aimlessly in search of home. Our wireless airport suddenly thought me a stranger and locked me out. Our trusty printer was no longer compatible with the new software.

So, 5 minutes 3 DAYS LATER!!! everything seems to be working but I've lost my entire weekend and my Monday. On Friday eve I was full of optimism and plans. I was going to chill out with family and friends and get ahead of the game on my new endeavors (one being this blog). Instead, I spent 13 hours on the phone with Apple Care. I kid you not, 13 hours over 3 days. One Apple rep even told me he was writing a letter to his boss to explain why he helped only one customer on Sunday.

I tell you this LOOOONG story, not to bore you silly as I was this weekend, not to steer you away from MACs (because I still love them), but to tell you that I'm soooooo sick of sitting at this damn computer that I'm getting the hell away from it right now! Until tomorrow...

Friday, February 1, 2008


It was my one month blogging anniversary on the 30th and I let it slip by unnoticed. I was never the mother who wrote down her babies' first words, first steps, first anything. I don't keep fancy scrapbooks with decorative doo-dads and cute captions. But as I get older, I mourn not marking the milestones. My overloaded brain has taken on the practice of spitting out old information to make room for the new. It does not discern between the memorable and the disposable. It's a mental crap shoot. So these days, I'm paying more attention to life's markers, big or small. What else are we here for if not to celebrate? Life's hard work. Without the joys - WTF??? I'm patting myself on the back today and coming up with ideas to keep myself motivated improve my blog. Suggestions are welcome.

Here's my first: Fun Fact Friday
I will share with you an informational (hopefully useful) tidbit. It might be a random factoid, a tip on a good product or service, a recipe, or even a nugget of spiritual enlightenment. A chewy, non-caloric bite to take with you through your weekend. I hope that you will share with me and other readers interesting little crumbs of your own.

I'll go first:
I have finally switched most of my beauty products to clean, non-cancer causing formulations. Between the lead in lipsticks and the parabens in just about everything, my daily routines had become tainted with anxiety. Was my rich, creamy moisturizer streaming deadly carcinogens into my bloodstream? I was told about SkinDeep and it changed everything. It's a database where you type in your exact make-up and it tells you how clean or toxic the product is, on a scale of 0-10. The studies about methyl, ethyl (and all other) parabens are not conclusive as of yet (my dermatologist confirms this). But other studies have found parabens in cancerous breast tissue so I'm not taking any chances. Through this website, I found my current choice of make-up, Larenim. It is a mineral makeup sold at Whole Foods and is reasonably priced. I really like it. As far as my body lotion, I use Avalon Organics; Earth Science for make-up remover and toner; Sanitas for face cream and a great sun-block. These are all sold at reasonable prices at Whole Foods or Pharmaca Pharmacies. Other inexpensive, clean brands like J.A.S.O.N. can be found at CVS and the like. Make sure to bring your reading glasses and read the labels before you buy!

Have a great weekend.

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