Monday, June 30, 2008

Memory Monday - GAK

DATE: Late 1987-early 1988
ON THE SCENE: The Girl Next Door (TGND) and her College Roommate (CR)
Under the heading of "Brilliant observations from my roommate that I was too young and stupid to recognize..."

CR: (a normally very non-violent and calm person) "Gak Gak Gak" if I hear one more word about GAK I'm going to hit somebody!
TGND: (befuddled) GAK? What's GAK?
CR: the Gospel According to ken (aka EX). I don't give a rat's ass what KEN thinks. You are an intelligent, educated woman. What do YOU think??

Yeah, apparently I used to go around most of my senior year of college (we were engaged in September of my senior year) saying, "Ken says.... Ken says...." and it drove them crazy. HEY CR you'll be glad to know I've finally learned to think for myself!

And GAK still cracks me up...

Better late than never! (I seem to be saying that a lot lately)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Unexpected Bonus of Blogging

It was Saturday morning and I had a lot of things on my "to do" list. No kids this weekend, so let's tackle projects. First, let's tackle the newest issue of my newly leaking ceiling. Then let's do a quick check of some blogs......2 hours later I am in a completely different frame of mind.

Although I've been blogging on my other site for a while, that was just a small thing written mostly for family. I never made attempts to reach out to the masses - indeed I "delisted" it so it wouldn't come up in searches. I didn't go all the way private b/c of extended family. I did have the unexpected bonus there of "getting to know" my cousins again - and getting awesome glimpses in their lives. But I thought that was just a family thing....I couldn't make such a connection with total strangers in cyberspace...could I??

And this new site - just since April 2008 - has a whole different purpose from that other one. Part therapy, part relationship saver (I decided Friend had received enough earfuls about EX and would soon be heading for the hills if I didn't find another way to rant...), part creative outlet, part I don't know what.

I now know what the "other what" is. Friends. A connection. Support. Amazing people.

As some of my "regular" friends have noticed, I have lucked into a group of blogging friends from all over the world. Literally. A bunch of them seem to be true-life friends in San Diego. I am jealous of them and their circle. They are so cool. (Lest you think I'm an outcast, I do have friends here - in fact went to ladies night at the pool Saturday with my favorite friend Jenny and our neighborhood buds, which should be another post "Ladies Night in the Locker Room Because of Storm" You had to be there...). And there is "Dkuroiwa" over at ETC. ETC. ETC. who not only comments on my blog, but also sends me emails about comments on her blog and has become someone on my "want to meet" list. I also get emails from other bloggers, sometimes responding to a comment I've left, sometimes answering a question on my blog. This is all an unexpected bonus to the blogging world I've entered.

Perhaps I'm sappy, perhaps you think I'm in need of professional help (ya think?!), but these blogging friends somehow fill a void that I didn't even know existed. I suppose a part of me suspected it existed and thought that blogging could fill it. My professional life has introduced me to viral marketing and YouTube and Blogging for business purposes, so I am not completely uneducated about these things. And I think part of me wanted to try this blog thing to see if I could reach out to the world, if strangers would stop by and read my blah blah blah. Am I funny (like my friends claim and I think they're just being nice) or just annoying (like Ex said)? But did I expect to fall so fast for these virtual friends? Did I expect to have to run to the computer each morning and see how Jenn is doing, or what funny thing Katy is up to or what rockin idea Mrs. G has or where Manager Mom is in her life or if Suz has another chapter in her life posted or what's going on with those Dogs at Three Dog blog or what Cheri or Mama Milton or Persnicky ticker or We Make Three has to say? And Tootsie Farkelpants - who comes up with names like that?! Her header alone cracks me up every single time I visit. Oh the list goes on and on. (I haven't created much of a blogroll b/c I haven't gotten their permission, and I think that's a blogging etiquette thing you're supposed to do...)

OK so now you're calling in those men with white coats or feeling terribly sad for me that my life is so pathetic. NO wait. I do have a great job and wonderful friends and, let me tell you, the most amazing family in the whole world. I know some of you dread visiting your parents/families. Meanwhile I'm trying to convince them all to move to Florida with me and would like to live on the same street with them!! So it's not that I'm the next Uni-Bomber or anything.

But this Blogging thing? Maybe I'm just coming to the realization that many people have come to long before now, and my "awakening" is, like many other things in my life, coming late. Better late than never, eh? Blogging is ridiculously popular. People have been doing this for years. I actually met someone recently (a younger than 50 someone) who had never heard of the "blogging thing" and asked me what that was! So I'm not as late to the party as I thought. But I digress...

I guess this is a shout out to all the folks who stop by here - my family, my friends, and my fellow Bloggers. You do make a difference in my life. And I'm glad I've found all of you. And as Friend will tell you, I spend wayyy too much time blogging, reading, thinking, creating, posting. Although from what I read on my blogging friends' pages, this seems to be a common affliction...

Peace my friends. And thanks for stopping by. Now leave me a comment darn it!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Mosaic

OK Stephanie at BadMom just got me to waste spend an entire afternoon figuring this out. Creating the mosaic was fun. Figuring out how to post it? NO not priceless - about 1.5 hours worth. I am so inept. (and I quote "Set up an account [at flickr] it's quick and easy!" HA). Anyway, it is cool and here you go. Somehow I'm supposed to add the original picture titles to give the authors credit. OK I'll try!

First, here's the directions:
1. Answer each of the questions below.
2. Go to Flickr and type your answers (one at a time) into the search bar.
3. From the choice of pictures shown only on the first page, click on the one that moves you.
4. When the page with your picture opens, copy the URL.
5. Now go to the Mosaic Maker at Big Huge Labs and paste your URLs as prompted.
6. Click “Create” - it is SO exciting!

(I wish I could make this bigger but I have no freakin' idea how so it will have to be small....)

These are the titles that go along with my photos - the link will take you to the original (OMG I cannot believe this worked. I guess I AM learning!)

1. The Mary Ellen, 2. "I, PiĆ³rko, like Cheese!", 3. Ballinskelligs Bay, 4. The Chesil Beach at Portland - Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, 5. Matthew McConaughey, 6. Stormy Coast, 7. Indigo & Aqua, 8. Photo laide et sans but (pour les chacaux laids et sans but), 9. Blue Horizon, 10. When Waves Collide, 11. Time And Tide Wait For No Man, 12. 085 Caesar the Parrot Came for a Visit

Whew. I really have to get OUT of the house now! I have been on this computer for 36 days 36 hours so long my butt is asleep too long...

Friday, June 27, 2008

FINALLY Welcome to my Favorite Room....

Mrs. G, in a way that somehow only Mrs. G can, created this wonderfully fantabulous idea for the Heart of the Home sharing among bloggers. (check this out - it's a free giveaway). I am a little late, but it's still Friday so I'm ok. After all, I did get a last minute visit from my wonderful, supportive, loving and awesome cousin DF last night (more on that later maybe) so I couldn't take the photos last night, and well, I do have a day job people. SO it had to wait until tonight. But here it is - the heart of my home. My ROOM. Yes, I have posted previously on the whole pink thing, but here's more on why this, above all, is my favorite room of the house...

Here is MY ginormous king size bed. Ok accent on "my," yes. This is new, this sleeping alone and being myself thing. I love sleeping alone, in my own bed. And I love it that it's PINK. I love the comforter. I love the "M" pink pillow in the middle (does that stand for my first name or "mine" the world may never know). I am NO martha stewart and in fact a horrid decorator. I have made more home-fashion faux pas in the past 20 years than anyone would ever admit to. I am a lousy decorator. Oh well, next, move on, I have other talents. But when Ex moved out and I realized I couldn't keep the wedding quilt on any longer and I could go out and do my own thing with my room, well, it was better than sex with George Clooney liberating to say the least.

Ex was Bob Vila and redid and redecorated most of the house, using his own ideas and his own tastes, with me getting in a snippet here and there. To be fair, Ex and I generally had the same tastes and he was better at it, so I didn't always mind that he was so dictatorial opinionated suggestive on what we would buy or decorate with. And there was just a smidgen of angst when I would actually endeavor to buy something for the house, knowing I had to get by Captain Bligh. So Exit Ex, enter answering to me, myself and I. Enter Pink Comforter and My Bed and My room..... (why yes, I do make my bed every day. Do you? I I weird or normal?) . No I don't usually blog from my bed - I have an office for that. but I read there, I sometimes watch late-nit-Nextflix movies on my laptop there, and, well, I get to be ME there. Sometimes My kids hang out with me there. But when it's time for bed, all are banished...

Here is the top to what used-to-be-ex's cluttered and totally ugly chest-on-chest (I think that's what you call it). Now it has MY stuff, stuff I didn't have "before. " Stuff that I look at and smile. Like the pink build-a-bear named "Candy." My sisters gave me a gift card for my 40th birthday and I made her. And She cracks me up. She's dressed for skiing and so cute. OH in my former life I collected Bears. I don't anymore. I still have the ones I did collect, in a box somewhere, but Candy Lives. And the cute little champagne glass candles? Target. My favorite store. And a cute, whimsical "spa day" bank that my mommy (and dad) gave me for my last birthday. It's silly and reminds me mommy loves me. And an old doll I bought Daughter in Spain when we lived there. She outgrew it, but I think it's precious...

And here is a jewelry chest that I always wanted but never had. Now I do. My sister helped me buy it on QVC. I adore it. Really. And my sewing basket is below it. Lest you think I am at all talented with sewing, I do buttons and the occasional crooked hem.

This is my triple dresser. (please ignore the crooked miniblind hanging down in my bathroom off to the left) I have always loved my triple dresser. The first suite of "real" furniture that we bought was our bedroom set. (sans the bed - that came later). We saved and saved and saved. And I love my triple dresser. I just realized I didn't take a photo of my lingerie chest - oh well, I like that, too. But this dresser, it has stories. And memories, old and new (see below)

My photo shop abilities are limited: here's the stories of my dresser treasures:

1) that's a jelly fish in a glass enclosure. The jelly fish glow in the dark. I think that is so cool. Friend Gave it to me as a present. And I love it. My kids think its creepy. I just think it's cool. And I like it. And it's my room. If you think it's creepy, leave.

2) that's a statue of the Virgin Mary that was given to my mommy by the "Mother's Circle" when I was baptized. That puppy is old. And it reminds me of my mommy and my heritage and my religious base. It says, "Home."

3) Those are shells that Friend and I found in the "Great Clam rescue of 2008." Some day I'll blog about that. It was a great day. A smiley day. And I look at those shells and smile.

4) That's a crazy jeweled blue crab that I found at Friend's Son's art boutique. It's cool. it's different. I bought it for myself b/c I like it. Another silly smiley thing.

5) OH my goodness, it's my Velveteen Rabbit. I got that bunny for Easter when I was like, 3? 4? I love him.... again "Home."

6) That's the only photo taken of my on my 30th birthday. It's Daughter and me in Portugal at the entrance of a Portugese version of "Sea World." It wasn't really a happy time - it was the first time Ex said, "I don't love you - I want a divorce." But it is a cute photo of Daughter and Me. So I like it. Plus she's holding a live parrot and she's so cute (my daughter, not the parrot) I can't help but smile.

So welcome to my world - my heart - my room. Thanks for stopping by...

Blogger Open House

I am going to do this as posted by Mrs. G ! TONIGHT (eastern daylight time...) please come back!

The Girl Next Door....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Being a Joiner - 25 Things I Like about Myself

Playing along with Party of 6 (and Jenn at Juggling life) I'm posting 25 things I like about myself. I have been silently beating myself up lately. About everything. And having very secrety (ok and sometimes not so secret ) sad moments. Time to BUCK UP and BE HAPPY.
So in 10 minutes or less, 25 things I like about myself:
1. The very blue color of my eyes.
2. My boobs
3. my sense of humor
4. my love for my kids
5. my love for my sunday school class
6. I appreciate my family - my whole family, even the extended parts that make most of us crazy. And I am not afraid to tell them "I love you."
7. I am financially self-sufficient
8. I am smart (ok I had trouble saying that and feel the need to qualify it. I'm not the smartest person I know, but I'm not dumb!)
9. I'm a good soccer player
10. I am getting good at gardening
11. I'm a fast reader
12. I am a good mentor and take time with the newbies at work
13. I stick up for people even when it's not the popular thing to do
14. when I'm wrong, I admit it, even if it's hard or embarassing.
15. I have resisted the urge to hurl rocks at the house next door, or otherwise throw things in that direction
16. I laugh out loud when something is funny
17. I am a speedy reader
18. I am a wicked typer
19. I am not afraid to learn new things and tackle projects I haven't tried before.
20. I cheer loudly for everyone's kids at the games - positively only. the worst I say is if something "wrong" happens, we yell, "Oh unlucky, unlucky. Good try."
21. I am pretty good at taking photos and keeping the kids' lives photographically documented.
22. I am organized
23. I am reliable
24. I can talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere, which the partners love about me (i.e. I'm good at client development)
25. I'm a joiner - see I joined in on this exercise!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who Took My Smarties???

Along the lines of "what were they thinking" I have to ask who put giant JAWBREAKERS in the conference room candy dishes? And what happened to the smarties? now that was a funny pun! And the tiny chocolate hershey bars and krackles? Where did they go?
OH I'm sorry, are you lost?

See recently our conference rooms (and we have oh 20 or 30 of them) replaced the boring mint candy dishes with funky candy. Sometimes there are jolly rogers, or butterscotch or caramels or tootsie rolls. On a great day you get some Hershey mini-candy mixed in. (remember, lawyers are cheap bastards who will stop at nothing for free food) Sometimes there are smarties, which I think is a hilarious pun. Plus I love them.

Yesterday I went in to raid the candy dishes - Monday mornings are the best because they've refilled them for the week - and what do I find? GIANT JAW BREAKERS. Ok, that's funny, too, because who the hell can have a conversation with a mouth full of giant candy? So they're trying to get us to either 1) stop stealing the candy or 2) shut up during meetings. Or both. Well hell, you can't stop me, I took the jaw breakers back to my desk while writing my latest report, and lamented the loss of the chocolate and the smarties.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Memory Monday: The Lady With The Shoes

DATE: 1990
I was a young, newlywed corporate auditor, more interested in where the next beer was coming from and would we win the softball game than corporate fashion or accessories. My shoes consisted of this

or on a really hip, important day, this :

O yeah, I was powersuiting it all the way.

Enter Co-worker Lily, a 50-something, brightly garmented, beautiful and happy executive assistant. I swear in the year I worked there, I never saw her in the same outfit twice. But perhaps more amazing, never in the same shoes. I kid you not, the woman had a unique pair of shoes for every outfit. Every. Single. One. She was awe-inspiring. This was in the days before Internet shopping, living in podunk MI, closest real mall was well over an hour away. We did have great mail order catalogs, but shoes by mail order? I think not. But Lily, oh man, gorgeous multi-colored shoes that perfectly off-set the jewel toned outfits, the gem style earrings to match. Shoes that on the rack I would have looked at and said, "What was that person thinking?!" but on Lily's feet? "Oh yeah, that goes so perfectly." I lived for the morning when Lily would show up and brightly bop her way through our set of cubicles. It got to be "our thing" - "OK Lily, show me the shoes." and she would model for me. Rain? yep, cool shoes. Snow? Cool shoes. She was truly ALL THAT and a bag of spicey jalapeno chips, ladies and gentlemen. And somehow, before I came along, she said no one ever noticed! Huh? No one ever complimented her on her shoes or her amazing fashion sense. Of course we had lots of band wagon fans after I got her started on her daily modeling shows. Truly, Lily was an inspiration.

It took me almost 20 years, but I finally caught the Lily-bug. After years and years and decades of "black funeral shoes" at work (as Daughter calls them), I started slowly with these:

and then these, which BossMan actually complimented as beautiful shoes and Daughter has asked to borrow:
I then graduated to these
which goes with this...

Why Yes I do have a pale pink suit to match...

and then the shoes went a little crazy:

and lest you think I only do pink, these

And a few more tame but fun to wear with a suit (because who would expect it?!)

and Friday? my newest happy shoes,
Choosen by Daughter and they fit her, too, meaning they qualify for "shoe math." You've heard of New Math? Well, shoe math = price of shoes/2 = new price of shoes b/c we can both wear them. Expensive shoes become so affordable, you can't NOT buy them!! (Oh these were on a ridiculous sale AND I had a coupon, making them even more adorable.) I happen to have the perfect black and white almost zebra top that set these babies off perfectly. Yep, it was fashion show day at work.... Thanks Lily. Here's lookin' at you, Kid.

oh no, we won't even talk about my sandals...

That's a whole other genre (and a whole other closet) for a whole other day...

See Suburban Correspondent, it really can be fun!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

WHAT Was she thinking?

OK I'm probably going to hell for this. But this woman's "taste" in ensembles so rocked my world - and not in a good way - that I actually took a photo with my cell phone. In real life, the colors were a horrid, horrid combination of pinks and reds, all clashed. She even put this grossly and obviously fake redish gunk in her hair. Where were her friends when she was getting dressed?? I swear, if my friends ever let me go out like this, I would never forgive them. ...

Friday, June 20, 2008





Sigh, if only life were as easy as photoshop....

(Oh that's me on the left.... - thanks to my buddy Ajay for the photos...)

[Edited to add: I can't take credit for the photo shop - my friend Ajay, who is a professional photographer/videographer took this at a show and sent them to me. He's very talented indeed! I can't even figure out "paint" which my technocousins tell me will help me play with photos a little....]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brain Surgery? Rocket Science? I think not....

So today I'm in my "marketing committee" meeting. Rumor has it when "big firm" starts appointing you to committees, it's a good sign and you go. Besides someone in marketing has kick-butt taste in menus, and we get great free lunches. Lawyers are the cheapest ass bitches you will ever know and will do anything - anything for a free lunch. SO an hour with a bunch of folks I kind of like for chicken Caesar salad and all the diet cokes I can drink? count me IN.

Our monthly task: come up with a "checklist" for "responsible partners" who have farmed work for a client out to another practice group to help them improve the client relationship. HUH? Follow me now - it's not that hard:
Pretend you are a lawyer. OH COME ON it's not that bad. No no, you don't have to stick your head in your butt or chase an ambulance. You just have to pretend you are smart. I pretend every day. I am an expert pretender.

Now, you practice - let's say - "litigation" meaning, "Some bastard didn't pay me and I want to sue him." So you meet CEO from Company Toymaker and you help them sue some bastard. Then CEO of company toymaker says, "Hey I think we want to run this ad and maybe there are some issues with claims we're making - do you do marketing advertising law??" And you say, "No I don't, but my buddy Sam does...let me introduce you."

NOW you are the "responsible partner" getting paid to do.....nothing. Because your client - Toymaker - is working with another partner in your firm. And you get a piece of that pie. Even if you do nothing. Sweet.

Except you should keep tabs on Advertising Lawyer. Right?

But gee no one at Law Firm knows how to do that - keep tabs on lawyers from other groups. Enter marketing committee. Let's draft guidelines.

ARE YOU FRICKIN' KIDDING ME? It's called "communication" boys. O. M. G. I do this every day. I "cross market" with people all over the firm. Some people want daily updates. Some want to be copied on every email to the client. Some say, "Just tell me when it's over." ALL I DO IS ASK when the matter starts. Du-h.

And As my head was about to explode so I left the meeting early, after scarfing down my share of awesome chicken Caesar salad, I turned to the two FEMALE partners who were also escaping early, and said, "Was that just the biggest f'ing waste of an hour ever? Or am I naive? Is that, like, client management 101????" And they rolled their eyes and said, "Yeah, can we just talk maybe about the new dumb stationary marketing revised and leave the rest alone?"

And as I walked back to my office I realized something. The head-exploding lawyers? WOMEN. The people who stayed behind to discuss this conundrum? MEN.

They really do NOT know how to communicate. Whether Husbands. Ex's. Sons. Or Lawyers. They. Just. can't. Sigh.....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Last night it happened. I've been waiting for this night for almost a year now. I heard the warnings and watched for its arrival. Last night it arrived.

It came innocently enough - a cool breezy night of 70's air after many weeks of oppressive heat. I stood and watched daughter play 7v7 soccer in her summer league on a perfect summer night, chatting with mom friends old and new, fielding phone calls from friends in between. Went grocery shopping leisurely with Son, enjoying his attitudes toward junk food (yuck) and hearts of romaine (yum can we buy this?). Where did I get this boy?

After a lovely dinner menu developed by Son( gambas al ajillo, ham steak, fresh baguette bread and spinach salad) we all watched a movie together: "P.S.I love you."

I cried for two hours.

And then I cried for more.

And I'd try to fall asleep but I couldn't breathe for the stuffy "I've-been-crying nose" so I'd get up to blow it only to wake up enough to think, and wham the cycle started again.

I awoke with two large "I've been in a street brawl-or-crying-all-night" eyes. Please pass the visine and the cold cucumbers ...

The Movie: He loved her. And she loved him. He loved her enough to send letters for a year after he died, setting up a path where she could let go. Oh they fought and yelled and had problems in their marriage when he was alive. But under it all he loved her. He loved her crabby ass and her inability to keep a job. She loved his reckless dreaming and the stupid things he said.

He loved her the way I wanted to be loved. The way Ex promised me he'd always love me. But he didn't love me. Ever. I came to know that over the years and learned to live with it - or I thought I did anyway. Last night something about the movie, the kids, the night air, the weekend, the proximity and distance all at the same time of next door, somehow it all came together to a place - a cliff - where I have to face it. He never loved me. And he never will. And it's truly time to move on. To move past that place. To thank God for my excellent kids and my life today and let go of yesterday.

Yes somewhere in the last year I've gone from tears of "why am I not lovable - he didn't love me like that and it's all my fault" to last night when I finally realized "He didn't love me like that. Ever. Period." Not his fault. Not mine. He just didn't. So I viewed that as progress.

But why does it still hurt so much? Perhaps it's the letting go of the idea that I can change myself into someone lovable - at least in his eyes. Perhaps it's the hard look at 20 years of life together and really seeing the way we lived and the way we didn't fight. We had some good times and shared many similar interests. And in the beginning we shared some deep feelings of what we called "love." But even in the first year we started cutting each other out as he looked at who I really was and said, "Egad am I married to that?" and I cringed and wondered what was wrong with me. And I remember moments like being pregnant with the twins and seeing how distant he was. How hard he had to try to be around me. How other men commented on the beauty of my pregnancy or regaled me with stories of when their wives were pregant while mine made fun of my vomiting and admitted he thought I just looked fat. How he disappeared for 4th of July with his friend for a weekend sail and I've never seen anyone so happy to get away and so sad to come home. Crying myself to sleep even then listening to Reba sing, "I can't make you love me." But oh I tried. And then, eventually, I stopped trying. And things got ugly.

And somewhere along the way, mostly this past year or two, I realized: "Nope I can't change my stripes." I am who I am. My family loves me the way I am. My friends love me the way I am. Sometimes even I think maybe I might begin to love me the way I am. So I have to be happy with that.

And Ex? Well that just wasn't meant to be.

And so today, I try to start new. To accept that life was the way it was. That he is the way he is. And I am the way I am. To stop blaming him or me or Fate for the fact that we were together and lived apart. To realize that life isn't to be lived as a movie or a book or as someone else's life. But to be lived as my life, in whatever way God meant my life to be. Apparently without Ex. Perhaps with someone else, perhaps not. But to find me, to be comfortable with me, and to enjoy the gifts of love that are in my life: My kids, My parents, My siblings, My Friend, My extended family, My friends, and the people yet to come.

It all makes so much sense when I write it down, but the living it part, that's the challenge...

Monday, June 16, 2008


Memory Monday just became Quick Post Friday - I'll figure it all out next week maybe...
Back from a stellar weekend - thanks to all of you for letting me rant without condemning me. For cheering me on. For reminding me that my kids will choose my nursing home (DF)... (Oh and no worries on the "posting hi-jack" carol P - loved your comment. Sadly, Ex doesn't get that excuse. He is generous to a fault....with others...)

Funny that with that rant I am now able to release those feelings and move on. The peace that is within permeates. My job is crazy which actually makes me happy. My friends are close. My spiritual path improves. My cousin JO is reported to be nearing the neighborhood. Life is indeed rich and blessed.

And I have great yogurt.... who could ask for anything more?!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008



I joke about it, hell I centered the whole freakin' blog around it, but truth is I hate the freakin' fact that he lives next door. I hate that he's in my life. I hate that I am where I am. And it pisses me off more than it did when we were married that the kids blew off Mother's Day and he let them.

When we were married, they didn't do much for mother's day. He always said, "You're not my mother." Oh he'd get them up to help make the obligatory breakfast in bed. And I enjoyed that. Ex actually makes the best french toast in the universe. But considering he insisted on serving my favorite with the glass of OJ that he knows makes me vomit...well.

This year, weeks before Mother's day, I reminded the kids that it was coming. Weeks. Every chance I got. Daughter is a planner, I know. She takes after someone of the same gender who lives with her every other week...

So When Mother said, "Hey, Mother's day is in ____amount of time___" Daughter responded, "What do you want?" Of course I responded, "Peace on Earth...barring that, I'm easy. Bath gels, or some Tommy Girl which you can even buy at Target, or any book because you know I love to read, or a candle." Lots of options easily purchased at places they frequent. And I added, "You know Dad won't volunteer to take you - you'll have to ask to go shopping...."

Mother's day arrived, Daughter was sick with fever of 102, son the slacker slept in.

To his credit, Son installed my garage door opener. Spent many hours on it. And It was an awesome mother's day present. And I thanked him. A lot. repeatedly. Son is NOT a planner and never gets anyone presents on time. So I didn't think he would've bought me anything. And I really really really continue to appreciate the garage door opener.

But Daughter? My planner? The one who was out shopping numerous times just prior to the day? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And I know she was upset she was sick on Mother's day. She said that we'd have a "do-over" day next time she stayed with me. Which she didn't do. And she's been here twice since Mother's day, and nothing, nada, zip, zilch in the whole "do-over" category.

And now it's Father's day.

And where did I take them last weekend? to the mall WHY? to get father's day presents.
And Son came by tonight why? To hit me up for a card for father's day - which I just happened to have an extra of, and for wrapping paper to wrap Ex's gift...sigh.

We bought Ex simple stuff: a CD, some cool REEF flip flops. Nothing expensive, just "hey I know you need/want this and I'm thinking of you and glad you're my Dad."

Meanwhile, I'm seething.

Why didn't they do this for me? Why is he such a jerk? Why can't they stop being ego-centric teenagers for one damned minute and remember something about which I reminded them 30 times? I birthed the little slugs. Carried them 9 months. Threw up most of the 9 months. Have the veins and stretch marks to remind me of that lovely 9 months. Spent countless sleepless nights tending to them. Did what mothers do. And all I ask is 1 measly day a year for a little measly "thanks mom." Some cheesy presents (I admit it - I like presents. I like stupid store-bought bath gels or candles or whatever. And they know it!) Nope. Couldn't do it.

I've started reminding them NOW that my birthday is in September....God help them and the eastern seaboard if they "forget."

And now, I am taking the weekend off to go on a little vaca all by myself -ok with Friend ;-) while my ingrateful slugs spend the weekend with Ex and his family.

Happy Father's Day! I will return a happier, more balanced person. Promise.


Ah yes, so what happened after Mom received THIS TEXT?

No, I managed not to crash the car.

Yes, First I hit "SPEED DIAL SON." I didn't really read the text (I was driving. I, ahem, never text and drive...) Not surprisingly, Son didn't answer.

Second, I texted back. "CALL. ME. NOW."

Yes, he called rapidly.

Third, I congratulated him for contacting me and not "hiding" anything. Oh, you think I'm crazy do you? When you realize the Ex had custody and there's no reason I would ever have found out about any of this - oh except for the eventual phone call from the insurance company - I decided to start with a positive by recognizing the honesty involved. Yes, many of you got a kick out of the part where he said, "stick to our story...." and yes, I thought that was hilarious. Indeed it was what made me freak out most, second only to wondering if he was, in fact, physically ok. Fact is, he leveled with me on what "story" he was "sticking to" so I gave him credit for at least being honest with me.

Fourth, I told him to read me the text, then I deposed him on the subject of text and details of said accident:
"R U HURT? [no]
Was anyone hurt? [no] ...
Who, what, where, when, how, why...
What "story" are you sticking to? [oh, the one about only 2 kids were in the backseat, not 3 or was it 4 really piled in back there?]
Did Dad know and approve you were riding with child driver [yes]?
Did Dad know and approve you had too many kids in car [no]?
Did you call Dad yet and tell him about accident [no]?

Snarky aside - he called his momma first, he called his momma first. Who does he turn to? momma. [um and no not because I am the more relaxed disciplinarian. We both kick their butts equally....]

I explained why he had to call Dad and tell him and why I had to check and make sure he called Dad (no, not because I don't trust you but because I have a legal obligation to inform him when a child has been in an accident... "divorce 101").

I explained why if he ever gets in a car again that does not have 1 seatbelt per rider, and, indeed, that seatbelt is not WORN, he will never, ever be allowed to:
1) get his permit [which is only 6 weeks away]
2) get his license
3) ride with anyone but his mother or father AND
4) the same restrictions will apply to his children and grandchildren until I die...

Ironically, Ex called Son while we were talking. Son said, "Don't tell Dad I told you first - he always says has to be first." I responded, "I can't lie to him, but I doubt the subject will come up anyway..." As it turned out, Son dropped the dime on himself b/c Insurance Agent found Dad (Sister/Daughter was at my house getting something, answered the phone, heard insurance agent ask about brother's accident, panicked, ran phone over to Dad's house next door, and voila, Dad finds out about accident from Insurance Agent, not Son. Oops) Son's excuse to dad? "I was talking to Mom - I was about to tell you....."

Yeah and if you are still reading and following any of it, you know that after all the convoluted story telling and coincidences, no one was hurt, but it was a giant wake-up-call/reality check. No, I didn't ground him for life - first, he wasn't in my custody, second, he turned to me when it all hit the fan. The old me would've ripped his head off and spit down his neck, then stopped to ask questions. The new me says, "Listen to what he's saying, try to understand how he got into this situation, make it perfectly clear that he shouldn't have been in it in the first place, give him options for how to handle this predicament in the future, and love him. Love him so he knows how precious he is." And that's what I chose to do.


what's that I see? a few gray hairs? wrinkles? high blood pressure? where'd I put that bottle of wine...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Life Imitates Art

Ever mock a silly, stupid commercial, only later to realize they weren't lying???

As an attorney who specializes in false advertising, I watch all commercials with just a tad of skepticism. This one didn't get my attorney bells going off, I just found it annoying...

Then one day, my grocery store is running a ridiculous sale, and having chunked on a few extra pounds, I decide to load up the fridge with yummy yogurt (if there is such a thing) and get rid of the 10 pounds. I tend to stick to boring flavors like strawberry. No wonder I get tired of it after 1 day and the other 10 containers sit well past their "eat it before it tastes like a cross between sour cream and cottage cheese" date. And I see this flavor called "Apple Turnover." I like pie. I like apple pie. Apple turnovers? A sin from my youth I haven't tasted in ages. Can't even begin to count those calories. So I daringly splurge $1 on a few containers. I get home and try one...

Oh. My. Goodness. I run upstairs to Daughter, who can't even LOOK at a container of yogurt, never mind taste one. Has always Hated It. I beg her to try it - and she snatches it out of my hand after one bite and declares it "hers." I kid you not. And we start going off about how good it is. And I am embarrassed to admit, we sound like the damned commercial....

Oh, the boston creme pie and white chocolate mousse? Not so good. Definitely false advertising there. But Yoplait Light fat Free Apple Turnover? It's better than Mrs. G's secret boyfriends good...

Monday, June 9, 2008


Starting a "monthly" thing - This award is just what it sounds like -
"The best text of the month that I get from my kids."
(or maybe someone else, but most likely them. They text me constantly, not wishing to speak to me out loud when in public...)

And this one? Well, no contest.

SCENE: Driving up north - without kids - to see my family for the weekend.


SON'S AGE: 15 1/2 (not driving yet...)



mom i was in a car accident with marians sis on the way home today -- noone and nothing of ours was damaged at all. weve been at marians for a while and their insurance agent asked for who was in the car and they have YOUR hosue info. if they call u kno nothing and plz just let me handle it we need 2 stick 2 our story. oh and she was rear ended not at all her fault ill xplain later.

I swear, I don't make this stuff up. It's still on my phone....

Did he really think he could text me this?????????????????????????????????

Memory Monday

COUNTRY: Spain (where we lived)
DATE: Circa early 1996
LOCATION: Living Room Couch
KIDS' AGES: 3 1/2 years
PRESENT: Ex, Daughter, Son - Mom looking on
SETTING: Ex (then "Dad") & Kids rough-housing in the living room. Mom watching

Son hits Ex. Daughter says, in her sweet yet articulate and quite serious voice, "Don't hit him - he's ooooooold."

Ex has yet to live that one down....

OH and for the record, did mom say, "What about mommy?" And the reply? "Oh no, you're not old mommy." Out of the mouths of babes....

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hey Carol P - You Missing a Goat?

Heard this 911 call on the radio yesterday - seems someone lost their goat. Yep, a goat on a bus. I thought it was snakes on a plane? Well out in Oregon, you have goats on a bus. Alls well that ends well. Thought you might enjoy hearing the call.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Quick Post Friday

Call to House approx time 2:45 pm: Teens have been dropped off at home after driving class. Mom: at work Outside temperature: Nearing 90 and humidity 90% i.e. "oppressive"
After discussion of class and their day....

MOM: Stay home, OK guys? NO pizza parties (like yesterday when I was home to superivse and, oh, buy the pizza that showed up at the door before you arrived from the pool. I guess you called it in from the pool...), no friends over (like the day before that), no "I have to go here's now" (like the day before THAT) I actually have some billable projects I need to finish today, ok?
KIDS: Sure mom, we're not going anywhere. We got you...
DAUGHTER: OH yeah I'm going to Alyssa's at 6 for her but I can walk...
MOM: [knowing Alyssa] isn't this her birthday party?
DAUGHTER: OH yeah that I need a present for her...and the gift card drawer seems to be empty...
MOM: Um how long have you known about this party????
DAUGHTER: Oh only like, you know, a week, but, um, I forgot until today
MOM: SIGH....If I can get home by 5:30 I will [note: commute 1 hour], and I'll drive you. I have a conference call now... I'll call you later....but I might not make it home. You know, I have to work today?? {NOTE: 1 year ago, when married, I would not have done this. But feeling compelled to be the "good" mom I feel compelled to get home and support this. I'm sure this is the wrong thing to be doing, but, well, here I am doing it anyway}
DAUGHTER: OK thanks mom, see you later....

Do they hear me? Anything I say???

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Getting it off my Chest

I need to get something off my chest. And what better place than a blog?

Or maybe its more like clearing the air about my chest.

See, back when I started this blog, I didn't think about anyone actually reading it. And in my stream of consciousness, I wrote this. See that third line tossed in there as an aside? the Boobs thing? Geez, I can't believe the stir that caused. Emails. Phone calls. Comments. Funny!

Once and for all yes I had "breast augmentation." Really. I didn't realize it was such a big deal. And for those of you who haven't seen me since May 14, 2007 ("D" day - or more accurately "C" day), I am not the next generation of Dolly Parton. No, it was the opportunity to fix the ravages of breast-feeding twins plus add a little to the before-kids size that I never quite thought was big enough. And I did it for me. To feel better about me. I posted about it on my other blog, under Self-Indulgences. That's how I felt about it a year ago. Today I sing it loud and proud.

The funniest thing is I didn't say anything about the specifics when taking time off work - I just said it was for "girl stuff." And I wore clothes to try to "hide it" at first. Because I had some silly fear that they wouldn't take me seriously as a lawyer if I had bigger boobs. (HUH? Don't ask...) Anyway, I later discovered that the men in the office noticed in 30 seconds or less. I guess they are not as sweet and innocent as my cousin DF. (see comments) But fortunately, they were too wary of a lawsuit for harassment to say anything. Then how do I know? Bossman told a friend who told his brother who told me....twisted but true.

I am happy with the "new me." I don't regret doing it - I only regret that I didn't do it 10 years ago. And I don't ask for people to understand it if they can't. I have friends who think it was silly of me. And that's ok, because I didn't do it for them. I did it for me.

Truth Is Stranger than Fiction

Wednesday night salsa lessons, just me and Mini-Me (my coworker, blonde, blue eye, 2 inches shorter than I, 8 years younger). Mini-Me is quite the salsa-er and has hooked me, too. She goes weekly, I go during the kidless weeks. After lessons we stay for "open dancing." Being a Wednesday, it's quiet, but "Tito" from Puerto Rico spins us around the floor. He and mini-me start stirring it up, and I get stuck watching. I beg to go home, but mini-me is getting her groove on, so I stick it out. Eventually I get moving myself and am learning some sophisticated turns from a more experienced dancer when suddenly Mini-me is gone. I sit down next to Tito (really, that's his name) who says, "Man did you see what happened?"
ME: What do you mean?

TITO: Mini-Me hit her head and is bleeding everywhere...
ME: [on full alert and panicking] WHERE IS SHE?
TITO: In the bathroom
I bolt to said ladies room to discover mini-me with a now red head instead of blond, perched on the counter, looking into her tiny compact at the back of her head. She looks up at me with doe-eyes and says, "I can't figure out where the blood is coming from...." I wipe her down, take a quick look, bolt to the bar for a bag of ice, "Hielo en una bolsa ahorita por favor!" (Freaks them out when the blond, white chick speaks Spanish). Assess damage to mini-me, determine that although not deep it is long, so we head to the hospital. Tito follows us to the car, apologizing for dipping Mini-me into the giant square column that's in the middle of the dance floor that he forgot about. Dipped her right into the column. With great force. Nice... Oh did I mention that Tito is taller than average, works out (and/or takes steriods) and is somewhat...well. orange. Kind of looks like a giant oompaloompa...anyway.
Mini-me checks in at the hospital (fills out a card and drops it in the box. She says, "I want to see a Dr not leave a comment!) and is seen in record time. Note to self: Although salsa dancing is hot and we wear shorts and tank tops and dancing shoes, bring a jacket so that you don't walk into hospitals at 12:30 a.m. in 50 degree weather looking like a street walker. Once the Drs and nurses determine we are:
1) not drunk (we only drink water - salsa is a workout!)
2) not hookers
3) not dying or otherwise mortally injured
they get a huge kick out of Mini-me's drive-by dip and run injury story. I try to explain that Mini-me is a really good dancer. Nurse John Smith rolls his eyes and says, "Oh yeah, obviously..." Mini-me escapes without stitches after some debate among the Drs. She's asked 7 or 8 times when her last tetnus shot was. She repeatedly answers, "I don't know." Finally Nurse John Smith (really his name) asks again, and the lawyer in me answers for her, "You know, you can ask that question as many times as you like and the answer isn't going to change. She said she doesn't remember." He knows we are both lawyers and starts cracking up. We leave an hour later with some pain pills, a sore arm for Mini-me after the shot, some bacitracin (sp?) and rants from another patient about "molotov cocktails."
Who knew Salsa could be so dangerous?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Memory Monday - Going Home

Went home for the weekend - home as in to my mom and dad's and where most of my siblings live - to celebrate my niece's college graduation. She was 2 when she was a perfect flowergirl in my wedding. I have a photo of us standing beside my yellow subaru hand-me-down station wagon just before I left Home - right after the honeymoon as I went home one more time to collect my "stuff" and drive to my new home with my new husband. She was 2, chubby and gorgeous with big blue eyes and cute brown hair. (if i could figure out my scanner i would post it. alas, not tonight). She doesn't remember me living close to her. Only I carry the memories of that phone call while at college, "She's here - your new niece is here!" and rushing 45 minutes from school to home to see her in the hospital. Only I carry the memories of her first christmas and the "bapple" [apple] she wanted from "Tanta" and putting together piles of toys "some assembly required" until the wee hours of the morning with my brother (yet another family ritual I gave up when I got married and moved). Ex came into my life shortly after she was born. She was the youngest "baby" he ever held (she was about 10 months old!) Now she is 22 and a striking young woman.That's my two flower girls - once 2 and 6, they are now 22 (left) and 26 (right), holding the artwork the 26 year old painted for her sister's graduation. Along the way we created memories when I came home to visit - trips to the movies, the week I stayed and babysat them while their parents went on a vacation (before my kids came along), the trip to "Dirvinga Veach" [Virginia Beach] when she was 6 and I was pregnant with the twins. The time she came to visit for 4th of July and was in my house about 5 minutes when she slipped and fell outside and went to the hospital for stitches in the chin. The summer she came and lived with me and was Nanny to her cousins.
And as I left home - again - for the 100th (??) time - leaving her graduation party early so that I could get back home at a reasonable hour, I felt the anger and the bitterness creep in to where a happy girl once stood. Gone is the newlywed full of hopes and dreams and a future. In her place is the divorcee, who has spent the better part of 20 years away from her family, missing out on birthdays and graduations and births and mother's day and father's day and picnics and christmases and easters and thanksgivings and surgerys and car accidents and nursing the sick. And what am I left with? Living in a place where I don't want to be. Surrounded by his family, a family Ex wants me to "leave alone." Spending hours on the phone with my mom, my sisters, my brothers, texting my nieces and nephews, planning the "next trip" home.
No, I don't really want to live Home either. It's cold. And my profession has much more opportunity where I live currently than at Home. Indeed, I am toying with moving another 1000 miles south. But while driving away from Home back to my house and my kids, I can't help but wonder what life would have been like if I had stayed Home all those years ago. If I hadn't missed out on all those family events. And I wonder, how many more years will I be blessed with the gift of my parents and the ability to go back HOME?
And as I drive down the road, I hear this song, and I know I want to go Home....

P.S. "interesting mail" and Same Keys

A number of you have asked for a follow-up, "What is interesting mail to a teenager?"
Answer: the latest netflix movie and a lovely thank you card from her Aunt regarding some get well flowers we sent. She is also getting inundated with college materials since taking her PSATs and is always looking for information on colleges.

As for the keys - remember that the in-laws used to live next door. FIL is a regular McGuiver. Seriously. He does stuff like built me a light (the actual light) so that when I open my corner cabinet under my sink, a light magically goes on. And when you close the door, it goes off. And that's small potatoes for him. Anyway, FIL keyed ALL the locks in both houses (deadbolts, everything) to work to one key. And the alarm codes on both houses? the same. Made it easy for us when they lived next door to check each other's houses, FIL could come over at will and fix things (I used to joke about the Fix-It Elf who visited while I was at work - lights in pantries magically appeared, new electrical outlets, etc. Oh he's a licensed electrical engineer...). When they moved out and Ex moved it, it made sense to leave the keys and alarm codes as is so that the kids could move between the houses freely. NO I do not worry about him coming over here. He won't step foot on "my property" as he calls it. literally will not. And He has asked that I "stay off his property." Yes, he is many things, and many strange things at that. But he does have an interesting set of morals and ethics such that I do not worry about him sneaking about in my house.
And yes, I do leave things a certain way and can always tell when someone has been here. But I can also tell that the "someone" is a child....they can't figure out how to come and go without leaving a trail. And that's not a bad thing when they could be trying to be sneaky teenagers!