Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Musical Thoughts

Certain songs trigger certain memories.  Some happy, some sad. Some bring you back to childhood, some bring you back to being a teenager.  Lately, I have been paying more attention to these songs, the ones that take me back.  More often than not, I have a smile on my face when I hear them.  Some make me sad.  Some I just turn off and can no longer listen to.

"Last Dance" and "I Will Survive" take me back to my early childhood.  My mom would put the records on for me and I'd just dance. (I still look like a 3 year old when I dance, only then it was cute. Now, not so much.) "Greatest American Hero" was another good one.  The theme songs from so many shows bring a smile to my face.

REO Speedwagon, Chicago, James Taylor, Air Supply-these artists and groups take me back to high school.  Boyfriends and mixed tapes, the highs and lows of those first relationships and first loves; the drama-these all bring a smile to my face. Some of those have more significance than others.  Certain songs played during those "firsts"--those moments in one's life that you will never ever forget.  I still have those mixed tapes in boxes in my basement.  I have no cassette player anywhere near my house, but I cannot bring myself to throw them out.  Other tapes, I loaned out and never got back. (Not that I hold any grudges.)

Other songs, they mean more.  "I Got You Babe"--as cheesy as it is, my late husband and I did a karaoke video to that song on our first vacation together.  When we got married, I walked down the aisle to "Endless Love". Our first dance was to "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You".  These songs mean the world, but I no longer can listen to any of them. Anytime they come on the radio, I immediately change the station.

When Andrew was a little over a year old, he used to wake up in the middle of the night. And, I had no idea what to do with him. He wanted to watch TV and eat Teddy Grahams. So, I let him.  We'd sit in our family room and do that.  However, I didn't put on any children's shows for him, hoping he'd want to go back to sleep. I would put VH1 on.  We'd watch Macy Gray singing "I Try". I always smile when I hear this song.

I met my husband Steve online. The first time we spoke on the phone, I was in a Bed Bath & Beyond. Etta James was on the radio there with "At Last". I love that song.  If you ask him how our relationship began, he goes with the song "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" by Elvis Bishop.  I'll save the details of our first date for another blog, but it's a great song and makes me laugh.

When my sister was in college, she went to Spain to study abroad.  During that time, she took ill several times and it was so hard with her being away, calling me, crying from the hospital and there was nothing I could do.  When a certain Killers song would come, I would burst into tears instantly. I have no idea why, but I would. To this day, if I hear it, I still tear up.

Right now, my boys all love all different types of music.  But I smile when I hear songs they love.  It makes me think of them and that always makes me happy.  Well, mostly. A couple of them are on a country kick.  Carrie Underwood is making a big impression. Because she is hot.  And, I don't want to let my mind go where their minds are going with her being hot.  Because they are boys.  Thinking of a hot girl.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pasta Neurosis

Noodles come in all shapes and sizes.  Spaghetti, Angel Hair, Fettucini, Rigatoni, Macaroni, the list goes on and on. They come in different colors too. Do they taste any different. No, they do not. Are some easier to eat than other? I believe so.  My late husband called those "stab-able" pastas. For example, Rigatoni or Penne would be a "stab-able" pasta.  Chefs say that certain pastas are better for certain sauces. Meat sauces go better with sauces that have ridges, the sauce sticks better to the noodle.  ( I watch a lot of Food Network) However, do the noodles themselves taste any different? HUGE debate in my household.

Yesterday, we had no dinner plans. Issac was scheduled to play a baseball game at 530pm. I was super psyched because it was my day off and I'd be able to watch him play.  But, alas, we were hit with tons of rain. Game was cancelled.  This left us with an issue: we'd actually all get to eat dinner together.  This is not really an issue as it is more of something to be happy about.  However, trying to make 6 people happy with 1 meal is near to impossible in this house. (and in many households, from my understanding.) When I grew up, we ate what was served. Period.  There was no discussion or complaining or asking if there was something else.  I decided to ask the kids that were home what they might like for dinner.  I actually got a couple of responses for Spaghetti and garlic bread.  Wow.  A couple kids agreed on the same thing.  Awesome.  I knew I needed to hit the store to pick up some garlic bread and frozen meatballs so I decided to do that when I picked up Andrew from practice.

I texted my husband to tell him that we actually had reached a decision on dinner.  He offered to go to the store, I said I would do it.  His only had 2 requests:  grated parmesan cheese and spaghetti shaped noodles.  I said fine, no problem.  I wasn't going to argue.  He's been on dinner duty for months and even though I have lots of pasta in the pantry, he knows the kids quirks better and if they'll eat if it's spaghetti noodles, then fine.

Andrew and I ran into the store and grabbed the few things we needed, including my coffee cream. (for those who read the previous blog, you know of my crisis with that) I wasn't sure if I should buy 2 bags of meatballs and 2 loaves of bread or 1 of each.  But, as I have learned, if I only make 1 of each, we run out and if I make 2 of each, we have a crazy amount left and 1 would have been enough. We came home and Steve and I got dinner going.  I told him how I bought 2 different brands of spaghetti so that the 4 princes who live here would be happy for not only this dinner, but one more.  And, much to my surprise, I found out it was not, in fact, the boys who wanted the spaghetti noodles, but rather Steve.  He is the one who insisted on having spaghetti over every other shaped noodle in the pantry.  Like, seriously??? You have to be fucking kidding me.  As if trying to feed everyone here isn't difficult enough, I have to deal with the other grown-up being noodle particular?

I am really not a fan of the longer noodles. I find them more difficult to eat. (It sure as shit doesn't stop me from stuffing my mouth though.) I just think the other ones are easier.  But, I will make this sacrifice for my family, one of many that I do.  I will forgo my love of rigatoni, penne, tri-colored pasta, etc... if it will make all of my boys happy.  I just hope they realize Mother's Day is around the corner.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Choo Choo Dance to the Bathroom

Woke up today to the sound of the rain hitting my window. I was snuggled in my bed, listening to the sound of everyone else getting read to leave the house. Monday is my day off and how nice to not have to get up right away and head out into the gross weather.  I laid in bed for a while and decided to get up and start my day. I came downstairs to make myself some coffee. I turned on my Keurig and got my coffee going. I went to the fridge and to my dismay, there was no cream. No big deal, I thought. I went out to the garage fridge because I always have extra out there. I opened the door and to my horror, there wasn't any. None. Nothing.  No extra cream.  I am drinking coffee with 1% milk....I might as well be drinking it black.  My oldest son, Andrew, must have finished up the cream and didn't bother to tell me.  Yes, my son drinks coffee. No, it isn't stunting his growth.  If you don't think kids/young adults should drink coffee, then don't let your kid drink it.  See, I am not one of those super patient, politically correct mothers. I never have been.

Yesterday, I went to breakfast/brunch with my 2 big boys, Andrew and Issac.  We had to wait 40 minutes for a table. While we were waiting, in came the "perfect" family.  Husband, wife, (both beautiful looking) 4 kids, (3 sons, and the youngest, a daughter) and grandma.  These kids were VERY close in age and were all adorable.  Mom had a flat belly and a gorgeous smile.  Dad was hot and really young looking.  But, all had dark hair, not your stereo-typical blondes.  They had a reservation and were seated before us.  Twice during the time we were still waiting, mom took different kids to the bathroom. (This, after she took all 4 to the bathroom before they even sat down in order to prevent mid-meal potty breaks.) She was still smiling during this and was still walking like a model in her heels. (They had just come from church...everyone dressed beautifully.) We were seated soon after this. We ordered our food and there went mom, again, on another potty break, but this time, making a choo choo train formation with the kid.  I told my boys she was unbelievable, that I'd be having a fit by now.  Issac asked me if I ever did a choo choo train dance to the bathroom when they were little. I told him no way.  The reason behind the pre-meal bathroom visit was to prevent running back and forth constantly.  Granted, all kids do that, need to make the extra visit, usually right when the hot food arrives, so that mom never gets a hot meal. I told him I was never happily skipping thru a restaurant on my 4th bathroom run. Shit, I didn't do it on any bathroom run.  Normal people don't do that.  He looked at me like I was a witch.  I told him and Andrew right there-I just wasn't that mom, I'm not that mom, I will never be that mom.

I give this woman a ton of credit.  She seemed to have popped out her Barbie-esque babies one right after the other. And, her body looked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  The kind of woman that you would normally give really dirty looks to.  But, her dress was totally appropriate, nothing revealing. Heels weren't crazy high, she had tights on. Hair was in a pony tail and her make up was nice. Her kids were all put together and super cute and well behaved. Most importantly, she was so patient with the kids and the whole situation.  She is the total opposite of me.  When my kids were that young, I would've been flipping out--about getting them to not be screaming, about getting them to sit still, about getting them to eat, about getting them to do their business in 1 or 2 trips, about getting my husband to split the trips, about not getting to eat, my list could go on and on. And, I certainly wouldn't have been dancing my way to the bathroom, smiling at everyone on my path.

These kids probably acted the way they did because their mother is a calm, happy person. (I don't know her...she may be heavily medicated.)  Articles I've read state that kids will reflect their parents behavior.  Happy calm parents equal happy calm kids.  Tense, stressed parents, equal, well, my kids.  Now that I'm getting older, I realize that there are many benefits to taking a deep breath and trying to remain calm. I wish I had known this when I started having kids. I was young and stupid.  I had no idea what I was doing. Many days now, I still have no idea what I am doing. I am just winging this whole motherhood thing-flying by the seat of my larger pants.  But, I do believe that if you are calm and happy and relaxed, your kids (if there are no serious issues) will tend to be calm and happy and relaxed. And, if not, there's always Xanax.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Coke & a Playboy

When I had my oldest son, there were complications. We discovered a couple days after he was born that I was loaded with gallstones. I had thought my gallstone attacks during the pregnancy were crazy heartburn. Realized, they weren't. The attacks got progressively worse after Andrew joined the world. So, one month later, I went back to the hospital for surgery. When I woke up post-op, I was told I had also had a herniated belly button, so they fixed it while I was under. No biggie, just don't lift anything over ten pounds for six weeks. Cool. One problem. Andrew was already over ten pounds. So, now what?

Enter the great-grandparents, my grandparents. I don't really know what I would've done without them. They said this was no problem. Once I arrived back home, (I ended up staying for five days at the oh so glamorous Rush North Shore), they took over. Mondays thru Fridays, from 6am until roughly 630pm, they were at my house. Every. Single. Day. For. Six. Weeks. My Bubby was not going to let me lift Andrew and disrupt my recovery. She took care of him. She took care of me. She cooked, she washed dishes, she fed him, she fed me, she fed Papa, her chauffeur. Bubby didn't drive. Papa would not only drive her to my house, but he sat with us all day, every day.

Bubby & Papa had a long marriage, 55+ years.  Something they did worked. Back then, if something wasn't working, you fixed it, you didn't discard it. (They were strong. They suffered tragedy and loss, sickness & health, good times & bad.) Or, in this case, she'd keep yelling. He'd let it go in one ear and out the other , until he couldn't take anymore, and he'd yell one thing back. That was it.  Then, she would just talk to herself for a while. This was always the way it went. Except for this one time...

During my six week hiatus from lifting, New Years Eve happened to fall. My husband and I were invited out with friends. We weren't going to go. My brother and sister offered to babysit and sleepover. (They were 13 and 10 at the time.)  We said ok. (Maybe not a brilliant move, in retrospect.). Bubby got wind of this and flipped her shit. (At least someone was thinking clearly.). She said she and Papa would babysit. I felt badly as they were babysitting daily. She said it was fine. (She never said no to me. Ever. She did anything and everything for me, always.) They'd  just "supervise" my brother and sister. So, they all arrived. We left. We came home right after midnight to discover the funniest Papa story. Ever.

During our evening out, the peeps at my house were having their own NYE celebration. And, during this time, Papa wanted some pop. Bubby said no. Apparently words were had. And, he decided, he was putting his foot down this time. He took a can of Coke into my powder room, the bathroom my husband did his quality reading in, and decided to celebrate NYE the way he wanted. Papa enjoyed his can of Coke and a Playboy in peace. This was a ballsy move, Coke. Bubby had said no, and he did it anyway. You didn't fight Flo. But, he did.

Yesterday would've been Papa's 97th birthday. He was a brilliant man who loved history. He would sit and discuss it for hours. He was such a strikingly handsome man in his youth. One thing I'll never forget is that he taught me when you're gas tank in your car reaches half a tank, fill it. Consider it empty. That way, you'll never run low. To this day, I still do. I feel so blessed to have had him and even more so that all of my boys got to know him and spend time with him.

I hope he had a wonderful birthday, wherever he may be in the great after life, celebrating with all who are with him. More importantly, I hope he got to have a Coke and a Playboy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


My oldest son is home this morning. The state is issuing a test to all juniors in high school so everyone else had the day off yesterday and gets a very late arrival today.  I reminded him that this Sunday, he has nothing going on, and that I am SO excited to watch how he will be cleaning his room.  He walked away, while eating his Cap'n Crunch, telling me he had something to send me. A couple minutes later, I received a text. It was a picture he copied from somewhere. Here is what it said:

Why You Should Not Clean Your Room

Situations of greater entropy are statistically favoured.  Things that are statistically favoured tend to happen, especially over time.  A disordered room has greater entropy than an organized one.  Thus an organized room will tend to become disordered over time.  The only way to reverse this is by continually putting in energy from an outside system. (i.e. making the effort to clean your room regularly.)

HOWEVER, at some point, a disordered room will be maximally entropic.  At this point, continually failing to clean one's room will not generally result in a more disordered state.  Thus no additional input of energy is needed to maintain the state of the room.

Therefore, cleaning one's room is futile- a task for the modern day Sisphus.  It is much more energetically efficient to allow the room to stay at its natural, maximally entropic state towards which it will always tend (and to expend that energy on more interesting things.)

Oy vey.  As if I don't know how to speak bullshit.

I asked my son, knowing what the answer would be, what entropic meant. He gave me his wonderful smile and mumbled some noise.  I asked him again what it meant.  Again, he smiled and then asked me what it meant.  I told him he sent me the picture, I wanted to know what it meant. Of course, he had no idea.  I asked him where he found the picture. He said he just looked it up.  I asked him why he took the time to look something like this up rather than taking the time to clean his room. His response, "It took me 30 seconds to find it. If I could clean my room in 30 seconds, I would."

Merriam's Dictionary define's entropy as the following:

a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder, that is a property of the system's state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system; broadly :  the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system

He should've saved himself the 30 seconds and said he wasn't cleaning. :o)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Method to My Madness

Yesterday morning, the forecast called for rain, rain in the late afternoon thru the early evening.  Crap, I thought to myself.  It was my day off and my oldest had a home baseball game. I wanted to be able to see him play. I got out of the shower and had a decision to make.  Blow dry my hair straight, or let it go as is.  Now, I know, this seems like a stupid thing to have to make a decision about.  But, there is a method to my madness.

It never seems to fail, that when I blow dry my hair straight and there's a chance of rain, it rains.  My hair gets ruined.  Superficial of me to worry about this, I know.  I don't really worry about it, unless I have somewhere important to go.  Yesterday wasn't one of those days. Just errands to run and laundry to do.  But, in my silly mind, my thought was, that if I dried my hair straight, the skies would open, the rain would come and the baseball game would get called off.  So, I made the oh so major decision to let my hair go as is.  Anyone who has seen my hair on a day like this would agree. I just wasn't born with free flowing locks that air dry nicely.  Life could be worse.

I left the house looking pretty blah, as I do on most Mondays, since it is my day off.  I went to Target, one of my most favorite places to go, especially alone.  I did my shopping and went to load my car. The skies looked iffy, but still no rain.  I made a couple more stops, still no rain.  When I went to pick up carpool after school, a few drops were coming down, but nothing that would stop a game. My youngest wanted to go with me to see the game. We grabbed chairs and jackets and headed over to the school.  We arrived in time to see the two rival schools take the field.  I was feeling a little self conscious over the state of my hair with the beautiful highlights. (Thanks, Helene!) They definitely deserve to be shown off in a much better way than I was sporting yesterday.  By game time, I looked like I stuck my finger in a socket.

My youngest saw the concession stand was open and he was happy to support them.  Our home team was looking good.  The game was going well.  The skies did start to darken up. The wind started to move in.  My boy went 3 for 3. (Had to get the mom brag in.) Once the hubs arrived to watch the game, I needed to leave due to a wrenched back, but, as dark as the skies were, that threatening rain never did arrive while the game went on.  The team beat their rival!!

So, as much of a "sacrifice" as it was to go around all day with my hair looking a wreck, I got to see my boy play. I knew if I let my hair go we'd be all good.  This was one very happy mom. Seeing my baby do what he loves and seeing him smile when he saw me arrive.....priceless.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I'm Such a Bitch

"I know, I know....I stood up for myself, I'm such a bitch."

I pinned a picture that said that last night on Pinterest.  I love Pinterest. I really do.  It's addicting. I pin all sorts of pictures of how I'd like my home to look, recipes I most likely will not make, jewelry I will never own and lately, lots of quotes and inspirational sayings.  This particular quote was from  If you haven't checked out the website, I highly recommend it. They have all sorts of sarcastic and funny cards for almost anything you can possibly imagine.  This card struck my fancy.

I'm a non-confrontational person. Always have been. I don't like fighting face to face with people. (unless you are really special lol) And, while I don't like to confront, I do believe in standing up for myself.  Yet, I also believe in being the bigger person.  Sometimes, it's hard to do both.  At what point, do you decide to be the bigger person? After you have done your best to defend yourself? How do you really know when you've done your best? Do you let it go and  become the bigger person, or do you continuing fighting? How do you know if it's worth fighting for?

I think over the last year, I am finding more of my inner voice, my inner self. I've tried for so long to be the bigger person. (insert your own joke) I've tried and tried.  Sometimes, it has worked out for the best. In fact, most times it has. I guess Idina Menzel had it right--let it go.  But, sometimes, being the bigger person just bites you in the ass.

I think it depends on the other person(s) you are dealing with. What if the people you are fighting/disagreeing with are just assholes?  Because, let's face it, some people just are.  I like to believe most people are actually decent human beings. But, there are those people out there, who think they are better than everyone else, are more deserving, whose shit doesn't stink. (as my Bubby used to say) Normally, I'd say fuck it. They aren't worth it...take the higher road.  But, what if you just can't? What if you just need to say what's on your mind?  It might stir up some drama.....too bad...some things are just worth saying.  And, if you know, in your heart of hearts, that you are right, you have to stand up for yourself.  You have to.  You must be true to yourself because if you don't stand up for yourself, you cannot expect anyone else to.

So, you've stood up for yourself. And, somehow, you're the bad guy. You're the bitch.  Here's the mistake I made. I got bullied into thinking that standing up for myself was the wrong move.  It wasn't the wrong move.  I needed to say what I was feeling, what was on my mind. For all this time though, I was doubting my actions. I was wondering whether  I should've taken the higher road. So, I tried after the fact. I tried to apologize. I made peace offerings. And, all I did was end up looking like a schmuck.

It took me until yesterday to realize that I did the right thing by standing up for myself.  And, I am proud of myself for doing so.  I admit, it was a little scary at comes easily for some people. I wish it did for me.  Now that I've done it, gotten over that first time hump, I realize the fear and anxiety of it was worse than actually doing it. (like going to the dentist)

Life is too short to not be who you are.  So, I guess a bitch I'll be.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Calm Down

Calm down.
Don't get so worked up.
Why are you so upset?
Do you have your period?

The above is a short list of words/phrases that have been said to me, and many, many other women, over time and never end well for the men who have said them. You would think, that after watching women get upset after being told and asked these things, men would refrain from saying them ever again.  However, they seem to repeat the mistakes over and over.

I decided to cook a nice breakfast this morning for my boys. The hubs is working since it is Easter. More often than not, he works Easter and/or Christmas so that those who do celebrate, can.  There is no religious school, no baseball practice, nowhere that anyone had to be today. So, I had this crazy idea that the 5 of us could enjoy some time together. It's a rare occurrence. I came downstairs this morning with my youngest, who was going to help me. I discover the kitchen table is not the way I had envisioned it to be. The boys swore up and down the night before they'd have it totally cleaned off after they ate dinner. HA! The garbage hadn't been taken out and my mixing bowls were missing. WHY?!?! So, I got upset. And, yes, perhaps I was yelling about it.  I believe the kitchen to be my space, maybe even the hubs space as he does cooking during the week while I'm at work.  And, when things aren't as they should be, I get a bit bent out of shape over it. I see nothing wrong with that. Apparently, I'm the only one on Team Kerry.  My youngest began running around, taking out garbage and helping clean up as the other kids who live here were in hiding.  Eventually, they came downstairs when they smelled food cooking. This, after I burnt some pancakes, spilled batter all over myself, and the floor, and kept tripping over the dog who wouldn't get out from under my feet.  The kids here think I cannot hear mumbling; the mumbling of the phrases listed above. I've explained to them, on more than one occasion, that no woman EVER wants to be told or asked any of those. That asking a woman if she has her period is probably the MOST disrespectful and rude thing that could ever come out of their mouths. And, that they should be prepared for the ramifications and consequences of them doing so.  For now, they tend to laugh it off. I'll be laughing later when they get things thrown at their heads by girlfriends or wives.

After I stood and cooked for them (they had been eating as I was still cooking) I finally sat down to join them, and they were finished.  I got a bunch of "thanks mom" and off they went.  Well, that was worth it.  As I sat eating, alone, my hubs texted asking how brunch was going. I told him all that happened, and how the majority of the kids here were pissing me off. He then asked me a question about a subject that we were not agreeing on. I got upset (notice the theme of the day) and he told me to calm down.   I texted back "calm down?"  He said, "you seem upset."  Yes, I was upset. And, yes he was quick to pick up on it. But telling me to calm down never bodes well. Ever.  It's ok for me to get upset, it's ok to yell sometimes, it's ok for me to get a bit worked up. What I have learned though, is that I can have these feelings, these mini outbursts, and then move on.  Hanging on to the feelings only aggravate me and ruin my day.  It doesn't change the fact that the comments are stupid and uncalled for, that it's never, ever ok to ask a woman if she has her period.  No vagina, no opinion-that's my philosophy.

So, I decided to relax, eat my burnt pancakes, alone, and made a decision to not cook breakfast anymore. From now on, brunch will be bagels and lox, something I can't screw up. This chick is a dinner only girl.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Opening Day and Clowns

Opening Day: And, as usual, it's rather chilly outside. The sun is shining and it looks gorgeous out, but, it's breezy and cold. I dropped my oldest off at the school for his game. Then I took son #2 to team pictures at the Village Green, where, after only being outside for about 40 minutes, I am a popsicle.  Soon, I'll drive him to batting practice before his game. #1 will wrap up his game, and I'll head to work. So, all this baseball and I will miss all of the games today.  This mom, of course, is ridden with guilt for missing all of it. But, I work Saturdays, and this is life.

Driving home after team pictures, I was talking with son #2 about how I was in no mood to go home and put any make up on. He barked at me that I do not need any make up-who was I trying to impress? I said I wasn't trying to impress anyone, but when I don't wear any, people always comment that I look "tired".  He told me the next time someone says that, my response to them should be that they "look like a clown".  This got me thinking.  Why do people feel the need to offer their opinions and commentary when they haven't been asked for it? Why do people feel it's ok to walk up to someone and tell them that they think they look terrible? People don't know what's really going on in our lives, unless they are close friends or family, and even then, no one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors.  No one knows what battles we are fighting.  Sometimes we look tired simply because we are.  Sometimes it's because we haven't been sleeping well. It could be because we have a lot on our minds.  It could be because we are worried about our children, parents, friends, family, work, bills, our homes, etc...the list could go on and on.

I don't wear make up to impress anyone. I wear it for me. I like it, I enjoy it. I don't always enjoy taking the time to apply it. Today is one of those days. I'm tired, I'm in between running around and then off to work. And, I value the opinions of my children. I've come to realize that when kids tell you something, it's important to listen to them. Kids are brutally honest, especially the younger they are.  When a small child tells you that you are fat, chances are, you are.  They says whatever is on their minds. If a kid says you look tired, you probably do.  If a kid says you don't need make up, then you don't.  I value my children's opinions.  #2 isn't the only one who has told me I do not need to wear make up.  I still, ultimately choose to do what I want to do.  But, my kids opinions are ones that I truly value.  And, they're boys.  I think a lot of the male sex feel that make up covers up a woman too much.  They prefer a more natural look.

So, while I am definitely looking tired today, and not my most colorful and perky (HA!), I think the makeup will stay off until I go out tonight to dinner with the hubs.  And, even then, it could be a very minimal look. And, more importantly, I am ok with it. It doesn't matter if anyone else is.  If they aren't ok with it, or have commentary, I will remember what #2 said, and tell them they look like a clown. (or just think it LOL)

Friday, April 18, 2014

One Fabulous Chick

I am not like everyone else. I never have been. I'm unique. (Like all of you.). Do you remember Sesame Street? They'd sing about how one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn't the same.   That person is me. Do you remember watching Tom & Jerry? They'd run other little cartoons during that show. Do you remember the one with the yellow ducklings? And the one black one?  He would cry out to the mama duckling about not being left behind. Since I was a child, I have had nightmares that I'm the black duckling. The nightmare, I still have it on occasion. I don't really feel as though I've been left behind. But clearly, somewhere within me, I feel it.

I don't think of myself as different or odd. I don't see myself as strange or weird. I just do things the way I do them. The way I want to do them. Sometimes, it's the way others do it. Sometimes, isn't. I've never been the thinnest, but I'm not the biggest. I'm not the ugliest, I'm the not the most beautiful.  There are things about me that are sexy, that are intriguing , that are lovable & fun loving. There are things about me that are cold and stand-offish.   I don't appear to be a warm person, but I am one of the most caring people.  I may not be everyone's first choice, but I am an  incredible choice.

We're all born with certain strengths  and weaknesses. Beauty and size are not a strength, as much as some people believe them to be.  Extra padding on one's body isn't a weakness.  It just means there is more of someone to love.   Someone doing things outside the box doesn't make them wrong,  as much as perceiving it to be wrong is.

For a long time, it appeared that how I looked or the way I chose to do, or not do, something made me who I am. That couldn't be further from the truth.  My experiences have made me who I am. Not the size of my jeans or the glasses on my face; not the college I attended or the sorority I didn't join. I am more than all of that. I am me:  take me as I am or watch me go. But, if you go, you're missing out on one fabulous chick.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 17, 1996

18 years ago today, I had my first date with my late husband, Allan.  It is mind blowing to me to think it was 18 years ago.....I think about all that has gone on during this time. Sometimes it is seems forever ago, sometimes it seems like all I did was blink my eyes.

18, for those that do not know, is a symbolic number in the Jewish religion.  18 means Chai, which translates to life.  Life has gone on since he passed away, as I knew it would. So many people told me that would happen. And, sure enough, it did.  Sitting there that night, across the table from him at dinner at Rossini's (which has since gone out of business), I never imagined I'd be sitting here today, with my life being so much different than I anticipated.

We met online, years before JDate showed up, years before it was ok to meet someone online.  He had suggested meeting for a drink. I, however, was only 20 years old. I didn't want to remind him of that fact, thinking he wouldn't want to meet. So I suggested dinner, telling him I'd be coming straight from work and wouldn't have had dinner yet. (A girl's gotta eat.) He thought that would be a good idea. I had just gotten a new haircut. (Ick, ick and ick again. I have never again let a hair stylist just have her way with my hair.) It was awful. And I was wearing jeans, a white tshirt and one of those very cool sleeveless denim shirts over it along with platform white gym shoe things. I was rockin' it.

I arrived at Rossini's and waited a good 15 minutes, thinking I had been stood up and was feeling humiliated.  I was having a conversation with the hostess and feeling mortified telling her about this when she told me there was a guy sitting in the back waiting for his date.  So I went back and sure enough, there he was, eating some grilled calamari and having some wine.  Oh, please, go right ahead and start without me.  We sat there for hours eating and talking. We were the last ones there that night.  We decided we should probably let the wait staff go home. I did not offer to contribute to the bill. I don't believe in a woman offering on a first date if she's been asked out, but that is a whole other blog entry for me to write. ;o)  We walked outside and waited for the valet to bring our cars up.  I saw he was driving a black Jeep Cherokee Limited and I always loved that car so I was feeling pretty excited. I did not kiss him, hug him or even shake his hand. I thanked him for dinner and got in my car and drove home.  Later I realized, that was probably really rude, but he ended up marrying me anyway, so I couldn't have screwed up that badly.  I found out from him later that he totally thought I was going to kiss him good night and he was shocked that I didn't.  Eh, whatever, like I said, he married me anyway. Must have been the really cool haircut.

We didn't date very long before he proposed and we married. We had 3 sons, as most of you know. As most married couples do at some point, or so I think, you have that discussion; that discussion about what you'd want for the other spouse if you should die. We had that talk. We both told the other we'd want them to marry and find someone good for the kids. (There was also some other details that went with the discussion, lol, but I'll leave that out.) We had that talk because life does go on.  There are moments that you think it won't, that you won't be able to survive, that you wish you died too, because in reality, a part of you does die.  A part of your life, your heart, goes with that person.  However, so much more of you goes on.  He gave me the 3 greatest gifts in my life.  And, EVERY SINGLE DAY, I see him in all of them. He lives on because of them.

He used to celebrate this anniversary. He was NOT a Valentines Day fan. (again, a whole other blog entry) I remember April 17, 2001. I was home, alone with my two older boys. They were 2 1/2 years old and about 6 weeks old. He was in North Carolina every week for work and was only home on weekends. I was beyond exhausted-like couldn't keep my head up straight exhausted. (I don't do well with no sleep. I become a super crabby bitch, instead of just a crabby bitch.) A delivery came with a really sweet card.They were an arrangement of beautiful tulips, bright, spring colored and simply gorgeous.  The flowers symbolized our first date, the life we had built, the hope he'd be done traveling soon and that our life would move forward with him home. Again, life goes on.  There will not be a flower delivery today, but the sun is shining. Life has been, and will continue, to move forward with my husband of almost 6 years, my 4 boys and the life we have built. I have found someone who is good to me and amazing to the boys, just as he wanted me to, because, life went on.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Doritos and Character Mac and Cheese

I saw a Doritos truck this morning. I smiled. They're good doubt.  I remember when Cool Ranch flavored Doritos came out. Delicous-ness.  My mother never bought us Doritos. Well, at least not for me. Perhaps she did for my siblings and hid them, I'm not sure. I had a friend, a very close friend growing up, whose mother ALWAYS had Doritos in the house. And, her mother packed them in her lunch every single day. I felt her mom always packed her great lunches.  I was envious.  My mom would buy us Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. But only the original. Never the spirals or the character boxes.  As a kid, I was so pissed about it. I would buy my kids any character mac and cheese they wanted. But, since they are now older and eat like there is no tomorrow, I find myself lecturing my kids the same way my mom did about it. I explain how the character boxes have less in them for the same price, making them more expensive.

I remember when Rosie O'Donnell had a talk show. She talked about how growing up, they never had Dixie cups in her house.  I think the reason was because they were too expensive.  But, she decided to always have Dixie cups in her home for her children, simply because she didn't have them when she was a child.

As a child, when my mom would pick up McDonalds for us, we were never allowed to get a drink. After all, we had drinks at home. Why did we need to buy them at McDonalds, just to bring them home? I let my kids get the drinks. Mainly, because it comes out cheaper to get a "value meal".  Sometimes they want shakes instead. And, I let them do it.

We never had video games at our house. EVER. I'd go to a friends house and I couldn't even play Pong. I felt like a moron.  I'd babysit for this one family, and they would let the older daughter stay up. The younger one would be asleep most times before I even arrived. Most nights, she would try to teach me how to play Super Mario Bros.  To this day, I still cannot jump on a mushroom, or whatever the hell I am supposed to do on level 1-1.  I have bought my kids every gaming system they've wanted since my oldest was about 3 years old.

When I wanted designer jeans as a pre-teen, I had to use my baby-sitting money to pay for them.  When my kids now ask for a certain brand of shoes or shorts or socks (don't even ask about the weird socks my sons keep wanting) I buy them.  I don't ask them to save for them. I don't tell them they cannot have them. I just buy them . When they want apps for their phones, however, they have to pay for them. (Buy the apps for the iPhones that I purchased for them and pay the bill on every month.)

Why do I do this? I don't know. Is it making me a better parent? I doubt it. Do the kids really appreciate any of it? Sometimes.  Am I trying to live vicariously through them? Perhaps. In the end, do I feel better doing any of it? Nope. So, why am I doing it? I do not know. Does it really make me feel better to buy shakes at McDonalds or more video games? Does it matter that the kids have really cool gym shoes that they will outgrow or destroy in 3 months? I don't think any of it really matters.  All I know, is that Doritos and character mac and cheese taste pretty fuckin' good while wearing really cool jeans and shoes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Club You Don't Want to Be a Part Of.

I received a text from my brother a little while ago. He asked me if I remembered a girl we went to school with. There was a death in her family, leaving yet another mother with two small children to raise alone.  This friend reached out to my brother, remembering what happened to us almost ten years ago. She wanted to know if I would be willing to speak with the newly widowed mom. I said of course, to pass along my number.

The newly widowed mom, she's part of this "club" for lack of a better word now. The club no one ever, ever wants to be a part of. There are so many of us out there. Whether it was expected thru illness or sudden, there are so many of us left standing with children wondering what the hell comes next; what the hell just happened to our lives; what just happened to our worlds.  At first, its mind blowing numbness. The reality doesn't sink in. From there, I think everyone handles it differently. But it's raw and it hurts in a way you would never even imagine.  And, for everyone, it is different. No matter who you are or what the circumstances are surrounding how you ended up here, it's different. I am almost ten years into being a member of this club. I almost feel like I have a board position now, here to help others. And, while I never imagined life this way, I am here for whoever needs me.

People who haven't seen the kids and me in a long time, will ask me how the kids are doing, but more specifically, how old my youngest son is. You see, he was just 18 days old when tragedy struck us. So, natural association, I suppose, is to relate the two life events.  They'll look at me and say, "Oh! So how old is he now?" And, I know what they are getting at. It kills me a little bit each time I hear it. It breaks my heart. Because, you see, I know what they are really asking me. And when I respond with his age, I get the same look from everyone and the head nod with "Oh, wow...."X" number of years...I can't believe it."  Well, believe it. Because it is true. Maybe not for you, maybe not for your daily reality, but it sure as shit is for us. And, that is a horrible part of our reality. Truthfully, just my reality. I don't think the kids associate it the way I do.  I hate that people connect my baby's birth with his father's death. It brings me to tears every time someone does. He's an incredible boy; tough, adorable, sweet as sugar and on days, yes, full of piss and vinegar, lol.  Yes, it happened that way. I don't know why. I don't know why the higher power(s) made it that way.  I've spent the last ten years wondering. But I have chosen to not make it a daily thought anymore. It would literally drive me insane if I did.  INSANE. There are plenty of other things in life that can drive me insane, so I can't allow that to do so. I made a CHOICE. I made a choice to accept that this is what happened. I don't have to like it, I don't have to agree with it,  or understand it, but, I don't have to pity myself or feel pity for my children either. My children are strong, beautiful, amazing individuals. Yes, tragedy struck them, and at very young ages.  But they are survivors; they have empathy, sympathy and love for others. They have turned this life event into something a bit more positive. They know how it felt and how it feels and will continue to do so forever. Losing their father will impact the rest of their lives; their first everything's, graduations, weddings, children's births, etc.....but on a whole, they choose to move forward and live and love life. I'm not saying they don't have bad days..everyone has bad days...they are human, after all. But they have made a choice too. They've made the choice to be happy, loving, sweet people. I am always and forever proud of them. They are the reason I survived. They are the reason I can be happy. They are the reason I can love and be loved.

So, this new "club" that this newly widowed mom is now a part of--membership sucks. No question about it. I hope she will take my number and get in touch with me. I'll go meet her anytime, anywhere. Or, i'll speak with her anytime, day or night. I'll listen to her vent, I'll sit with her as she cries. She will get thru this because she has to. Her kids need her. The members of this club are tough as nails, and sensitive and sweet and caring. We're there for one another no matter what. I hope she knows that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fireman in the House?

Last Tuesday, I raced home from work to watch the new show "About a Boy" with my youngest. This show premiered several weeks ago and thanks to my brother, we've discovered we really like this new comedy.  My baby (who is almost 10 years old) and I snuggle in my bed and spend thirty minutes watching this show. It's our time.  I didn't change the channel after the show ended. I was busy doing some things. (texting and emailing, as usual) Later on, Chicago Fire came on. I had never watched this show but I had heard rave reviews. I left the channel on and slowly got absorbed into it. It was really good and staring at some of those actors certainly didn't hurt anything. The next day, I looked On Demand and realized I could go back and watch Season 1 and all that have aired during Season 2. men, saving Chicagoans, and condensed into 42 minute episodes. This had potential.

In the last 6 days, I have watched 23 episodes of this show, 11 of those were yesterday.  I allowed myself a "marathon" day of TV watching. I've never done that. It did feel weird parking myself on the couch and staring at the screen, but it was so nice.  When I needed to stretch, I'd get up and work on organizing my kitchen a little bit. So after all day, it looks the way I want it to.  (this could've probably taken all of 30 minutes had I done it in one shot) Maybe it's just me, but I love seeing Chicago in TV shows. There was an episode where I got to see Skokie and it was so exciting to me to realize I knew the exact spot.

The real issue to me, is questioning whether or not allowing myself to get absorbed into the TV show and overdose on it for days is harmful or not.  Is it ok to let ourselves leave reality for a little while and let Calgon take us away? Granted, this morning, I am feeling sad for Dawson after Mills dumped her. And, I am left wondering if Shay will get pregnant. I had some very sweet dreams of Severide in those dress blues.  Obsessed much? Maybe. Was it a bad example for my boys? Perhaps.  Did it relax me and make me feel good? Hells to the yeah it did.  It's been a long time since I've gotten wrapped up in a good TV show. When I was younger, there seemed to be better TV on. Now everything is reality TV and it gets old after a while.  This is a "drama". I don't know if it is accurate as far as how life really works in a firehouse in Chicago.  (any firemen who would like to discuss with me, shirtless, and wearing their hats, are more than welcome to come over for coffee.) But, I love seeing these firemen, risking their lives, and saving people. They put their lives on the line everyday. It's truly amazing. I don't think they are given enough credit. They deserve it.

The side issue is me, as a woman, secretly loving the idea of being "rescued".  I never thought I was one of those. I never thought I was a woman who loved a man in uniform.  My husband works in uniform.  He refuses to drive to/from work in it. He changes at work.  One time, he left work to come to school to watch one of the boys in a classroom play. He wore a jacket over his uniform that I had never seen. It was a "uniform" jacket.  I told him later that day something that I cannot write here as my oldest and my mother read this blog. He just rolled his eyes at me.  However, after watching this show, I am all for a fireman.  I see why women throw themselves at them.  I was rescued once by firemen and EMT's.  Too bad I don't remember any of it. Chances are, they weren't as hot as Severide and I looked like ass and would be embarrassed if I did remember any of it.

The point of all this, I'm ok with overdosing on this TV show the last week.  And I will overdose this week as I start watching Season 2.  Life has enough complication and stress. Maybe I have become a little bit obsessive with these fictional characters.  We all need an outlet sometimes. This has become my new one.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Coffee and Tears

I'm staring at my kitchen table. My husband is reading the Sunday paper. And, my four sons are sitting and all eating breakfast. It's a rarity to witness this. I can't even tell you the last time this happened.  Something about watching them brought me to tears and I left the room with my coffee. Now I'm sitting here in front of my computer.

I don't know how I got so lucky. I don't know how I was lucky enough to get to be the mom to these incredible human beings. They are brothers from another mother, as I like to joke. But, at the end of the day, they are my boys; they are my heart and soul, literally.  They are my everything, they are my all. When they are happy, I am as well. When they are sad, I hurt. When someone hurts them, I feel my heart breaking. I don't know what I did to become so lucky. Here come the tears again.

There are days I feel I fail them...all of them.  Lately, I feel it moreso. It's that time of year where our schedule gets crazy. Baseball season is upon us.  In the past, every night is a different game, a different field, bone chilling cold watching a game and late night dinner pick ups.  The weather hasn't allowed for a lot of games thus far, except at the high school level.  It's the first year he's playing. And, I'm missing it.  Not because it's too cold or I'm at another game. I am at work. He understands. Everyone understands. But I am overwhelmed with guilt and tears. I love my job. I feel appreciated at my job---which is a first for me. I love my employer. I truly feel so lucky to be working where I am. Enter more tears. But with any situation, nothing is ever 100% perfect. And, in this situation, I am missing out on baseball season. Sure, there will be games I will be at. And, this year, I will have to treasure them.

What makes me so lucky is that my children understand the situation. They aren't upset or angry or disappointed even. They are remarkable people who don't make me feel badly or guilty for missing out. Yes, they comment that they wish I had been there. That is to be expected. But, they don't ever get angry with me. Neither does my husband. He's bearing the brunt of all of this. He works all day, comes home and starts the shuttle and dinner service. He packs lunches too. He's tired and worn out and when I do get home, he barely has the energy for a conversation. But, he does not complain. We do talk about it, how his days are exhausting, and sometimes he's crabby and it's best to leave him be. I feel badly about this. I try not to nit pick about things not being done "my way". Still, I admit to doing it sometimes. I'm me. I'm a control freak. This is a daily lesson on how to let some things go. I need to work on it. It's hard. More tears. The truth is, I am lucky. Even if things aren't done my way or if things aren't being held to "my standards", they are being done, whereas, in a lot of other households or families, they wouldn't be.  Sure, there is some more arguing and short tempers due to lack of sleep, but at the end of the day, everything is getting done. I am lucky. I'm lucky that the brothers from another mother get to have a dad who makes sure they don't miss out on anything while this mom has taken on a new schedule. More tears. Time for my coffee....maybe I should switch to decaf.