Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009...you've been a very good year...

Dear 2009, I have to admit I am sorry to see you go

So many things to be thankful for, I just thought I’d let you know


We started this blog sometime in May

So many things have happened since that momentous day


We’ve shared many stories about Ziggy, Moose and my boy

Because they are the ones who bring us the most joy


Sharon finished her book, no small feat

Now we’re just waiting for that special agent to make her literary dream complete


We’ve met some wonderful people and made great new friends

Just to name a few, the Blackie’s, the Faust’s, the Lapa’s and the Atherton’s.


We purchased a hot tub, ok Sharon and TK actually paid for it

But I’ve got my own spot with a plaque reserving the place where I sit


I met the man of my dreams and fell in love

Not a day goes by that I don’t thank god above


The Beck house has two new rugrats who now call it home

No better parents will they ever find for their own


So I will welcome 2010, and put the old year to rest

But I’ll never forget you 2009, nor the happy memories that I will always cherish

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I never feel relieved when the holidays are over.

In fact, I wish they'd stretch out just a bit longer.

I must confess, I love Christmas. And Easter. And even Thanksgiving.

But Christmas... What other holiday has an entire season dedicated to it?

The best part of Christmas? The memories it creates.

Sometimes it's the little things. Last year I saw the play "Christmas Shoes" for the first time. In the weeks leading up to Christmas our church performed one scene every week at the beginning of Sunday services. I couldn't wait to see the entire performance on Christmas Eve. And it was amazing.

Many years ago Spendy's mother-in-law sang Silent Night in German, the language it was originally written in, during a Christmas Eve service. As the last notes of Silent Night were sung last week and we blew out the candles at the end of the Christmas Eve service I had tears in my eyes, as I always do. My brother-in-law turned to me and said what I was thinking - "I'll never forget hearing my mother Silent Night."

Taking Moose to cut down a Christmas tree for the first time.

The Christmas I let someone else talk me into a scrawny, sad little Christmas tree that try as I might, still looked like the ugly stepbrother to Charlie Brown's tree.

The year Ziggy was allowed to choose her own gift for me. I wore those shiny gold slippers proudly. (But not publicly).

The best Christmas gifts don't have to cost a lot, it's the memories they create. I love the nook I received this year but I'll never forget the year TK framed the wrinkled and torn piece of paper we had written our wedding vows on.

We decorate our tree with ornaments that have withstood years of abuse - from Moose's Baby's First Christmas ornament that has the wrong year written on it to the red handprint from a three year old Ziggy. We have tried to purchase or make a special ornament each year to add to our collection on the tree. The tree whose theme is simply "Us."

Cinamon rolls and orange juice while opening presents. I can't remember a Christmas without them.

Santa wrapping his gifts in special paper that features his smiling, bearded face. Every single year. Something I just recently learned has gone entirely unnoticed by everyone but me.

This year, as we prepared for Christmas with the added bonus of two new members of the family, memories of Christmases past kept coming back while new memories were being created right before me.

We've had a lot of firsts. First Christmas with Moose. First Christmas with Ziggy. First Christmas as a single parent. First Christmas as a blended family. First Christmas without my family. First Christmas at Beck House.

This year we add another first to the list of firsts - our first Christmas with the Rugrats. And with that, so many happy moments and memories to reflect back on in the future.

Isn't Christmas great???

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Dark Side


I always wondered what tempted good people to go bad.


What would bring a respectable, decent, upstanding person to cross that line.


To leave a world of sanity and normalcy.


To voluntarily traverse to a world of sin, despair and darkness.


There are books written on it.


Religious leaders of all beliefs pray, talk and preach about it.


Parents warn their children about it.


Today I wonder no more.


I have found the answer.


The Dark Side has a marketing plan. And it's working.




Caution: they're coming for you next. And I hear they're serving oatmeal chocolate chip.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Gift Card? Oh, you really shouldn't have...


Um seriously? You really shouldn't have.

I have a hate / hate relationship with giftcards and it goes something like this: I hate getting them. I hate giving them.

Sure, I have exceptions to this rule. For example, weddings and anniversaries. Maybe. Especially if you know the couple but don't know the couple.

High school graduations, if the child is not related to you.

Nieces impossible to buy for (yes, you know who you are).

Gift cards for personal services, i.e. babysitting or a home cooked meal.

But when did we become a society that gives what equates to money that can only be spent in a store of our choosing instead of one that gives gifts that are chosen with thought and care specifically with that individual in mind?

I know, I know.

It's easy.

It's convenient.

You're only thinking of them, this way they can pick out what they'd like.

Ok, sure it's easy. But if you really want easy, just don't bother. What's easier than that?

It's convenient? For who??? Not for the person receiving it. Now they have to take that "gift" and go out and dedicate time and effort to purchasing a "gift" that they really want.

Which brings me to my next point - you're thinking of them. Really?

If you know the person well enough to exchange gifts with them, well then, don't you know them well enough to know what to get them? Do you listen when they talk? Or do you talk when they talk?

Been to their house for dinner? Ever notice they make a one-dish casserole every time because they actually only one one dish? Hey, here's an idea - buy them another one!

Know what the best part of a gift is? The surprise!

When I was a single mom purchasing my first home Trixie could have given me a Home Depot gift card as a housewarming gift. She knew I spent every extra nickel and every spare moment at that store.

Instead she bought me a toilet.

She dropped off the toilet and decorated my front yard with a ridiculous number of pink flamingoes when I was at work.

Nothing says "I know you and I love you" like a toilet. Or pink flamingoes for that matter. To this day it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received.

Last Christmas TK framed the scrap of paper he had written his wedding vows on. The scrap of paper he had brought back from Nevis and hung on to for over a year.

Ever get teary-eyed when you get a gift card from Applebee's? Yeah, didn't think so.

So this Christmas as you're standing in line at Barnes and Noble with a gift card you picked out just for me here's something to think about - if you don't know me well enough to figure out what would be a memorable and thoughtful gift, then we shouldn't be exchanging presents.

And if you get a gift card from me, well... that's just not going to happen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Feet Don't Smell

It's true.

It dawned on me after my shower this morning as I was putting on a semi-clean pair of socks.

And it hit me.

My feet don't smell.

It was somewhere between an observation and an epiphany.

An epiphservation. Or an observiphany.
Felt the need to share this with you today.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Traditions

On December 20th, the boy turns 16.

Our birthday tradition for years has been going to Friendly's for a birthday dinner. I never was a big fan of Friendly's but it was his birthday and his choice where we went to dinner. Every year at this time, I remember the one special year when Ryan was 8. We went to neighborhood Friendly's and as we sat at our table and talked about his day at school we played tic-tac-toe on those color pages that they give kids to stop them from wreaking havoc. That year one of his gifts was a chess set. He loves the game, and we talked about him teaching me how to play. I guess at one point I must have said something about it being his birthday.

After our meal, our waitress came over and told us that our dinner was paid for - including the birthday cake that she had brought to our table. Some very nice gentleman (she pointed him out - I only saw the back of his head as he walked out the door) heard that it was a birthday dinner and our meal was on him. I was shocked. Ryan thought it was the coolest thing. We talked about what a generous thing that was for a total stranger to do as we ate his ice cream birthday cake. Then my boy did the sweetest thing. He said "Mom, can I give one of my balloons to that little boy over there? It's not his birthday but I bet he'd like it because he keeps looking at them". I looked over at a middle aged woman and a little boy about 4 years old. They were sharing a meal, and the little boys clothes seemed a bit ragged. He was smiling when I looked over at him, his mother seemed tired but she talked softly to him as she wiped his face. My eyes got teary (because even though I act like a bad-ass, I really do get emotional about stuff like this). I told him that it was a very good idea. So he gave the little boy his balloon and his face lit up. His mother thanked Ryan and she smiled at me.

As we walked out I stopped at the register and paid for their meal. Ryan asked me why I was paying if someone already bought our meal. I told him since our meal was free, I thought it would be a nice idea to give someone else a free meal too. When we got in the car, he told me that it was the best birthday dinner we've had. I know it was the most memorable for me. Not because I got a free meal, but because of that really cool feeling you get when someone does something completely unexpected...throw in that the someone was a total stranger....then do the same thing for someone else and it just doubles that feeling.

Fortunately he's grown out of Friendly's.... we're stepping it up this year and going to Fudruckers! Woo-hoo! While I won't miss the food at Friendly's, I will fondly remember the kindness of a total stranger and the impact it had on us both.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Great School Debate, round 6. No wait, 7. 8 maybe?


High School.

Blech.

Ziggy is almost there, according to her age and the chronological order of grade levels.

Ziggy is already there, according to her intellectual aptitude as well her parent-directed attitude.

If we lived in a town where the high school was exceptional there would be no debate. Our public high school would be a great option.

But in our town, not so much.

It was a great school for Moose, who would rather die than have to wear a uniform to school every day (jokes on you Moose, I say to he who wears a tie to work now). Moose was, and still is, a bright boy. School just wasn't his thing and that's ok.

Ziggy however... school is very much her thing.

Kindergarten - already reading, the teacher had Zig tutoring the other kids in colors and the alphabet.

First and second grade - Ziggy wanted extra homework because she was bored. The teacher gave her what the other students did and then a special assignment.

Third grade - after watching some pretty intense surgeries on the Discovery channel, Zig decides she's going to be a doctor.

Throughout grammar school her favorite tv viewing time included watching a c-section, the seperation of conjoined twins and pretty much any type of surgery.

Ziggy's Master Plan takes shape. She will go to medical school at either Harvard, NYU or Stanford (how it's being paid for isn't part of her plan).

Sixth grade - Zig narrows her chosen field down to cosmetic surgery. I try to work out a barter - face lift upon graduation from her medical residency. Maybe a boob job too. No deal.

About this time she also chose her high school. Her decision was based upon some very important factors.

Ok, one important factor.

Her friends, the ones not going to public high school, are going there.

From that time until now Ziggy has made it quite clear. She will be attending Big Catholic High School.

TK and I are not against it.

We are not for it.

We need more information before we can commit one way or another. So together, with Ziggy, we tour four schools.

TK and I quickly eliminate one school, Dilapidated Catholic.

Ziggy loves it, of course. Second only to Big Catholic.

Ziggy quickly eliminates another - All Girl Catholic.

Naturally TK and I are completely smitten with everything about it.

The three of us do agree that Private Elitist Prep is definitely not for Ziggy.

And Big Catholic, Tour Number Four?

As the crowds pushed through the open house of this enormous high school, our tour guides skipped over classrooms that were too congested for us to enter. We nodded to a teacher from afar, his bespectacled face peering out from behind a throng of parents and would-be students.

He looked like a good teacher. He really did.

Hard to tell since we never actually spoke. But his nod was filled with vast knowledge and a deep understanding of the teenage mind. I could just sense it.

The one thing we did see was the gym, which was something out of High School Musical. I almost broke out in song and dance.

The truth is TK and I couldn't make heads or tails out of Big Catholic. If wide hallways and a cool gym were important factors then our decision would be sooo easy.

Sadly, neither were high on our lists.

Now if Zac Efron happened to be a student there, well, that's another story. I would be going back to high school too.

Ultimately TK and I loved the feel of All Girls Catholic. Geographically a bit far for us, we agreed we'd be willing to sacrifice the shorter commute in exchange for a smaller school. A keen sense of community. An annual mission trip. Full immersion languages. Beautiful campus. A freshman sleepover in August to begin the friendships that would blossom over the next four years. High ranking SAT scores. Not to mention college scholarships that averaged 65K per student.

So here we are.

Big Catholic vs All Girl Catholic.

Ziggy applied to both. She wrote her essay for All Girl last night and all I can say is, I'd accept her.

Tuesday she writes her essay for Big Catholic.

I'm fairly confident she will be accepted at both.

I am also fairly confident the next few months will be filled with all sorts of interesting debates and plea bargains.

God help me.

Ziggy, all I can say is if you really want to go to Big Catholic, really, really, really want to go, it's time to bring your A game. Sharpen your debate skills and do your research. Like you said in your essay last night, you need to be in it to win it.

Because this is it.

Decision time.

Oh yeah, it's on.

Let the games begin.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Caroling 2009

It's that time of year again... the Christmas music the malls have been trying to shove down our throats since Halloween is finally not only appropriate but also welcomed.

And who doesn't love a Christmas carol?

This year however, in the spirit of the craziness of the holidays, I have taken the liberty of writing my own words to several of the more well-known carols.

Sing along with me, won't you?

Sung to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Zhu Zhu the wonder hamster
It's what every kid begs Santa for
One more stupid toy craze
Not found in any store.

Sung to Silent Night

Baked Ham, Apple Pie,
Ate so much, Want to die.
Grandma's stuffing, had to try it,
After New Year's, start my diet.
Wearing sweat pants til then,
Elastic waist bands until then.

Sung to Let It Snow

Oh the shopping at the mall is frightful,
And the sales are so delightful,
But since we're all short on dough,
Just say no, just say no, just say no!

Sung to We Wish You a Merry Christmas

We wish we were in St Kitts,
We wish we were in St Kitts,
We wish we were in St Kitts,
And we'd stay there a year!

Sung to Deck the Halls

In-laws come and never leave,
In law law law law law, law law law law.
Visit too long and I can't breathe,
In law law law law law, law law law law.
Don we now Prozac and valium,
In law law law law law, law law law law.
Washed down with vodka til I am numb,
In law law law law law, law law law law.


Ok, now I'm in the Christmas spirit... :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Playing chicken with love

For those who know me, they know that I am very picky. I don't settle and I am a little hesitent with commitment. I've been single on and off for 8 years now. I am very independent and enjoy the freedom that comes with not being part of a couple. I do what I want, when I want and it has worked for me.

I've always hated dating. I get bored easily. I always find something wrong with the guy, and on rare occasions they find something wrong with me...but I know the truth, it's not me - it's really them. I find most men I've met are quite dysfunctional. I'm sorry but a 40 year old man should not be living at home with his mother. Oh and dude, how can you not have a car? It's not like you live in the city. Then of course there are those guys who want a "Friend with Benefits". Sorry pal, I've got enough friends...and the benefits you're offering really aren't all that beneficial. Um, no I don't believe you when you say your separated but are still living in the same house with your wife for financial reasons. Do chicks really believe that line? And if it is true, then seriously man - work it out with your woman or move on but lose my number please. I truly believed that I would never fall in love, that I just wasn't capable of feeling that way about any man.

Then I met Batman. We are going on 5 months now and I'm still amazed at how happy I am. He is everything I've ever wanted or could have hoped for. My friends tell me I'm glowing when they see me. There is a sort of calm feeling when you're in a normal, healthy, functional relationship. All I can say is that this is what Nirvana must be like. The fact is, I love him.

Sharon of course was the first to know, but I have not told him. I have no intentions of telling him first. I can say it here because he has no idea about this blog. My friend Pookie tells me that I should just throw it out there. I keep telling him that I'm not going to say it first. He insists that it needs to be said. He calls me a wuss. He continues to harass me on a daily basis "did you tell him yet?". All I say is that I don't need to tell him, and I'm in no rush. We are happy, things are perfect just the way they are. When he's ready to tell me he will, I know he's crazy about me. He tells me all the time, and for now that is enough.

It's kind of like the game "chicken". Who is going to be the first to flinch? All I know is, it isn't going to be me!

So I've decided to take a little pole...in your relationship - who said "I love you" first?


Friday, December 4, 2009

New Reality

I feel like I've entered a new reality.

Sort of Twilight Zone (the original series. Excellent stuff) meets Sesame Street.

Imagine, if you will, two little people. Little people who speak their own language. A combination of English, gibberish, Hindu and pig latin.

You come from a world of big people. Big people who don't cry when it's time for bed. Big people who do their business in the bathroom, not their pants.

You are comfortable here, in your safe world that you know. But suddenly you are thrust into an alternate universe. A universe that is like the one you came from, only very different.

You have entered the Toddler Zone.

Remember when Doreen redesigned our family room when TK and I were having a date night?

Yeah, well coming home to a houseful of furniture completely rearranged is nothing compared to what it looks like after having two toddlers move in with us.

This time of year I put a pot on the stove with oranges and cloves or apples and cinamon. Or sometimes this awesome candle from Yankee that smells like fresh baked cookies. The house fills with a wonderful aroma that smells so homey.

Right now? Not so much. More like a combination of Desitin and poop, with just a hint of barf.

I can't even tell you how exhausted I have been these past two weeks. I felt the same way last year. But last year I had mono.

This year I have toddler-itis.

Even with mono, by this time last year my ten foot tree was up and fully decorated. My staircase was draped with garland and ribbon. Candle light shone in every window and wreaths hung on every door. Christmas cards were written, stamped and ready to go and my shopping was just about done.

This year... well, your Christmas card may get to you by Easter.

I've gone from making major decisions, running meetings, reading spreadsheets and conversations that begin with "Based on my research, it appears that the best course of action would be..."

To clipping coupons for diapers, comparing brands of apple juice for their sugar content, fighting with a safety device meant to keep kids out of cabinets but instead keeps me out of cabinets and having conversations that begin with "Don't hit your sister, no, no, you can't scratch her either, share that toy, good boy, hands to yourself, wait, let me wipe your nose..."

It took me years to remember to take my car keys, laptop, cell phone, wallet, purse, sunglasses, regular glasses and wedding ring. And sometimes I still forget a thing or two.

Now add to that list diapers, wipes, books, sippy cups, crackers and toy du jour that if you don't bring they will ask for 100 times, like a broken record stuck on that one phrase "Where's Barbie?". 100 times on the 2 minute drive to the store.

The Toddler Zone is crazy, hectic and exhausting. But I have to admit, I'm loving it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Last of the Pie

The last piece of my apple pie is gone and I'm pretty sure the pan was licked clean. The delectable apple pie filled with tender, sweet apples encased in a flaky crust with just a dusting of cinnamon was the point of contention between TK and I this past weekend as he stepped on the scale.

TK insisted I was the cause of his over-the-holidays-weight-gain. I argued the very valid point (in my opinion, which validates it just by the fact that it's my opinion) that I only made the pie, I didn't force him to eat it. Like the people that sue McDonald's for making their calorie and fat laden food too delicious to resist, I stand by my argument that a lack of willpower on his part does not make me the guilty party.

As the great debate raged on it reminded me of another pie-eating, or pie-making, incident.

Read on...

http://realitycoveredinchocolate.blogspot.com/2009/09/pie-oh-my.html

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last Year, About This Time

Remember the ice storm that hit the Northeast last year?

Our friend and business asssociate Stephen had stayed with TK and I the night before. The three of us listened to the wind howl outside and the ice come down as we sipped wine and talked about everything and nothing.

As we said our goodnights and Stephen headed to the guest room I can only imagine he spent the night in much the same way as TK and I, and many others in the area, did - listening to the trees coming down around us.

We woke in the morning to no power and Stephen standing in the middle of our family room with a big grin on his face. He had just returned from a walk down our driveway where he snapped the pictures below.



Close to 20 trees came down on our property that night, the most significant ones being the four or five laying across our driveway and blocking our path.

Our neighbor came right over with a chain saw and cut away enough to get us out of our own driveway. Schools were closed, most of the town didn't have power and friends began calling to find out who was staying where for the night.

The atmosphere at the Hilton that night was festive - the kids all swam in the pool and some thoughtful architect put a half wall of glass between the lounge and the pool area so that we could watch the kids while socializing. Our friend Lisa was staying there as well, along with her daughter and several hundred other people. TK, Ziggy and I shared a room and stayed up half the night giggling. Well, Ziggy and I giggled. TK shook his head and probably told us to go to sleep. Moose met us for dinner and then went to a friend's house to sleep and shower, avoiding the chaos of the hotel.

Everywhere we went people were friendly, playing the "How long have you been without power?" game, comparing stories on house and car damage as little people in footie pajamas padded down the hallway, shrieking with laughter as they passed.

We were without power two or three days, I can't remember now. What I do remember was how something that could have pushed us apart as we argued over what to do and grumbled about the inefficiencies of our town to resolve the power failure instead actually brought us closer together.

W
e were thankful that we had neighbors to help us, a warm and dry place to sleep, hot showers in the morning, friends and family to spend time with and a home to return to.

When I found these pictures on my laptop it reminded me that it shouldn't take an act of God to thank God for what you have.

As much fun as we had last year, I'm thankful that when I woke up this morning my family was there. I'm thankful that the power was on and my shower was hot. And as much as I'd like to see Stephen smiling at me from the middle of the familiy room, I'm thankful that instead of listening to trees come down last night as I lay in bed the only thing I heard was Moose looking for a midnight snack in the kitchen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who am I to judge?

Sometimes I can be a bitch. A very judgmental bitch.

Batman asked me the other night why I was so quiet. So I spilled it.

I got into an argument with my sister (the Diva) and it had been bothering me all day. He asked which one (he's still trying to remember the names of my many siblings). When I told him the story he said he saw my point, but wasn't it a little to late for the situation to change now? He was right. But I still got on my soap box, pointed out how foolish I thought she was being and yeah I might have even thrown in that I thought she was selfish too. Nice sister I am huh?

Then Batman asked me a question that I had not asked myself. Would I judge my friends the way I judged my sister? Would I have made them feel bad about their choices? The answer was no.

I love my friends and I hate to see anyone make mistakes in life. I hate to see people I care about falter, stumble or get into situations that they could have avoided if they had just taken a different route. But with my family, when I see my baby sister stumble, when I see her fall it is a different kind of feeling. With family, you want to protect them. You want to help, offer words of wisdom, beg them to learn from your mistakes. And with family, more often then not...it never comes out that way at all.

So I judged her. I made her feel worse for a situation that had spun out of control. I pointed out her flawed plan, I told her how I would have handled the situation. I told her she was selfish. Like most people who are backed into a corner, she got defensive. The conversation escalated into an argument. I never raised my voice, but the damage was done.

The good news is that we are sisters and we love each other. We've both let the moment go and have moved on. But I've been reminded that I am not put on this earth to judge people. I'm not perfect, I've made mistakes in my life. I'm older by 12 years, so I've learned from my mistakes. I have to let her learn from hers too.

Although I tease her and call her a Diva, I love her and am thankful to have her for a sister. Life is shorter than we realize. In a blink of an eye it passes you by. We only have this lifetime to treat the people we love with respect, kindness, patience and understanding.

In this situation, I am the one who faltered.





Thursday, November 19, 2009

One of Those Days...

Today was one of those days.

It was good.

It was bad.

It was good again.

You get the idea. It will definitely take a few weeks before I figure out if the actual outcome of Wednesday, November 18th was a good day or a bad day.

Woke up next to my husband, who I had been cuddling with. Good.

Husband forgot to reset alarm clock before he left for the airport. Bad.

Woke up anyway because my body told me to. Good.

Ran out of milk for the Rugrats. Bad.

Got the car sort of defrosted before the Rugrats and I drove Ziggy to school. Good.

Forgot how much work it was getting Rugrats ready to leave the house in the morning, so left 15 minutes late. Bad.

No traffic, made it on time. Good.

Took rugrats for visit with foster mom they had lived with since January, Rugrats seemed very unsettled by visit. Bad.

My other BFF, my soulmate Trixie, was coming over for lunch and to meet the Rugrats for the first time. Good.

Trixie found a lump yesterday, followed by a series of mammograms and ultrasounds this morning and there appears to be reason for concern. Bad. Very very bad.

Biopsy is scheduled for next week and I am going with her. Good.

My soulmate might have cancer. So bad I can't write it without crying.

I didn't cry while she was here. Good.

I just don't know what I'm going to do while we're waiting to find out. Bad.

TK listened to me cry and offered to come home from his trip, because he is the best husband in the whole world. Good.

An employee that was problematic sent an email that said "I quit" and walked out. Both good and bad but more good and in the grand scheme of things, who cares???

Had a great dinner with Ziggy and Rugrats, followed my wonderful, sweet, beautiful Ziggy giving the Rugrats a bath and helping me put them to bed. Good.

The dog ate pizza off the table today, is allergic to wheat so will probably be up all night either barking, barfing or worse. Bad.

Rugrats are almost asleep, Ziggy and I are going to snuggle and watch a movie and the day is almost over. Good.

If Trixie doesn't have cancer but just lumpy boobs - then the day will go down in history as one of the best days in my entire life.

I will remember it as a day when I was reminded, in a very huge way, how my life rocks. How important family is, whether they are born to you, like Moose and Ziggy, brought to you, like TK and Trixie, or given to you, like the Rugrats.

My life has been blessed and I will thank God for it every day for the rest of my life, no matter what the outcome.

But if Trixie has cancer...

Oh God, please don't let Trixie have cancer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Empty Nest

When my niece Jessica was born she weighed in at about 9lbs. Her mother blames me for this - I used to work at Dunkin Donuts and I was her supplier of blueberry crumb cake donuts. Jess was a chubby little cherub with big cheeks and lots of rolls. But, she was my beautify baby girl. I love all my nieces and nephews but this child always had a special place in my heart. She was always my "favorite". I used to call her Jessie Moo (Moo is Greek for the word "my", and put after the person's name instead of before). As a toddler she lost most of her baby chubbiness but gained a whole lot of attitude. She was so funny with her little "miss thing" tude. She was cute and it worked for her. When she was 4 years old, we lost her father (my brother) in a tragic car accident.

Her mother and I (I'll call her K) have always remained very close friends. Years later K got married to a great guy. I feel very fortunate to have her as my friend, and to have been able to be a big part of Jessica's life as she grew up. Jessica's teen years were rough, she went through that whole Goth phase, she used to have dolls heads hanging in her room and she wore nothing but black. She was a rebellious teen and gave her mother a run for her money, things were not always easy for them.

Jessica is now 23. She is beautiful. She has full lips, almond shaped eyes and a smile that could light up a room. When I look at her I see my brother and it warms my heart. She has grown into a responsible young adult and I'm very proud of the young woman she has become. The troublesome years are far behind her and she has a bright future ahead. I still call her Jessie Moo from time to time. She tries to be serious and says "don't call me that"...but she always smiles when she says it. It's our thing, she pretends she doesn't like it but we both know it's my term of endearment for her.

Last month she decided to get her own apartment. Her mother confided in me that she was a little freaked out about it. She'd miss having her around, she'd worry about her. The house would seem quiet without her. The empty nest syndrome. She knew it was bound to happen eventually, but wasn't prepare for eventually to come so soon. K helped her get her new apartment ready, she went shopping and bought all those little incidentals that one needs when moving into a new place and in a few weeks Jess had moved out.

Ironically they are even closer than they were before. Jess calls her mom every day, she invites her over to dinner or to watch a movie. They go out to breakfast on the weekends. She laughed when she told me "I see her more now than when she lived here". I think Jess is feeling the empty nest syndrome too.

All of this has made me realize once again that time goes by too quickly. In the blink of an eye, your child went from a new born to moving out on their own. The people we love the most can be there one minute and gone the next. It reminds me never to take friends and family for granted. To let the little arguments go, to forgive. To cherish them always. To appreciate them and not to forget to let them know that your world is a better place because they are in it.

I think about that chubby little girl with major attitude who is all grown up now. I'm thankful for her mother who has been a wonderful friend to me, but more importantly a great mother to the child that I couldn't love any more than if she were my own. I know my brother is looking down from heaven and smiling at his baby girl.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Plan B

Today I'm a Type A with a Plan B.

The original goal was to have my synopsis and first 75 pages to the agent-in-waiting last week. Following the South Carolina's Writer's Workshop, I had three weeks to accomplish this goal.

Plan A, as it were.

Ordinarily I thrive on deadline. Love, love, love time frames, deadlines, due dates - anything with an end date, hey count me in.

However.

P
lan A did not have a "due by" it had a "due after". Agent-in-waiting said, and I quote, "Please send to me after..." Not on. Not before. But after.

So technically, I am still on time. And today, one week later, is still after. Conversely, January 2012 is also after. Which begs the question - how after is after?

Yeah, not a question I'll be asking the agent-in-waiting. Let's just assume she meant immediately after. Near future after. Within this year of our Lord two thousand and nine after.

So Plan B.

Plan B is a self-imposed deadline. It's the only way.

I need it.

I crave it.

Must. Have. Deadline.

Like water to a plant (it seems they need it desperately, I've experimented in my own garden and tested the theory), I cannot thrive without a definitive, heart-pounding, stress-causing absolute must-have-in-hand-by date.

With everything else going on in my life (grown up time with TK, job-that-pays-the-bills, condo shopping with Moose, two new little Rugrats, and well, Ziggy is 13, need I say more?), there is not even a slim chance that I will get this done if I am left to my own devices with a "send to me after" date.

So.

My new official Plan B deadline is, drumroll please... Saturday.

Why am I telling you this?

Several reasons.

First -don't bother me with unimportant crap. And I mean that in the most loving way. Really. Call me if your cat died. Or if your car died. Not sure if you should call me?

Ask yourself this first - do I actually have anything to say? Or ask? Or offer? If your answer is no then stop dialing and go away. If your answer is maybe, stop vacillating and make a decision. Yes or no. If the answer is yes, hit that #1 and send (because I should always be speed dial #1). If it's no, well reread this paragraph.

Second - Feel free to taunt me. But please do it at respectable intervals, not incessantly throughout the day. And via email whenever possible. Suggestions for taunting include "Hey how's that synopsis coming? Done yet? Are you? Are you? Are you?" or "Did you fix that major character flaw yet or is your main character still as interesting as dishwater?" Or impress me with your own, carefully thought out taunts.

Third - Give me a break. I am lost in Elmo's World and could use the company on occasion. Come by for coffee (Call first. Duh). Bring intelligent conversation with you. Talk about things that don't involved poop, Sesame Street or um, poop.

Before you get all "How do I know what to do and when?" on me - relax.

I'm not talking to you.

I'm talking to the other people.

The ones that don't ask that question.

The ones that get me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Four Letter Words, second in a series


Steph in the City nailed it with her comment a few weeks ago (check out her blog) The next four letter word in the series is...
HOME

It sounds good.

It is good.

Not all words are created equal. Some sound horrible but mean something wonderful.


For example - Doreen's cakes are awesome, especially her coconut mango cake. Delicious, sweet and moist. Eek!

See what I mean? One of those words that means something good but just saying it is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Moist. Yuck. Sorry coconut mango cake, don't make me say it again.

But home.

Now there's a word that sounds so good even if you didn't know what it meant well, just saying it makes me feel better. Like sinking into a cushy chair. Ahhhhhh. Home.

Dorothy had it right. Not only did she wearing a pair of shoes that totally rocked Oz, they also had that magic power that took her to the one place we all want to be.

Yeah, home.

Home is where the heart is. Not Home is where the cool plasma tv hangs.

Home on The Range. Yes home. Not House-I-Live-in on the Range.

Home Alone. Excellent movie.

Home Run. Woooo!!! But only when we're talking Red Sox.

Home Depot. I adore that place.

What's the first website you go to when you boot up? That's right, your home page.

So what makes a home? Four walls? A roof? Running water?

I'm pretty sure my office has all of those things but I sure don't call it home.

I love where I live. And as houses go, it's an incredible structure of glass, wood, metal and other things that I know nothing about (but pretty sure I could find out about at Home Depot).

But a house is not a home until you fill it. With people, not stuff. Whether it's one of you, two of you, four, six or eleven it doesn't matter.

My definition of home?

Home is where my people are.

TK, Moose, Ziggy, three furry friends and soon, two ankle biters.

I just can't think of a better four letter word.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Miley Cyrus the new Lindsay Lohan?

Little darling gone trampy rocker?

Maybe.

I have to admit, I may have missed something. I thought Miley was still sixteen.

A teenager.

A minor.

A role model.

Hannah Montana.

Disney.

Yeah. But um, no.

When Miley performed Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll" I realized I may have missed something.

Ziggy tried to warn me.

"I like her music mom, but I really don't like her."

Huh?

"Well, I like her music. But Miley's a slut."

Oh. But we already have tickets so...

I can't say for sure but if I took a peek back stage it's very possible both Britney Spears and Madonna were on her costume staff. And perhaps gave the girl a few pointers on dance moves too.

Black leather short-short body suit thingy for opening act. Black spandex and mesh short-short body suit while she dance/grinded with a young man a la Madonna. I forget what she was wearing when she sat on a Harley that flew on tethers over the crowd but it was short short something or other.

Hey I'm not her mother but I am a mother who paid the premium price for the tickets. Considering the average age of her fans is somewhere between 6 and 16, you'd think there would be some sort of disclaimer.

Concert Warning: Strobe lights used during show. Excessive noise levels in stadium. Hoochie clothes worn and inappropriate dancing by trampy performer.

A little pre-show warning may have prevented a stadium filled with little girls, dressed in spangly shiny Hannah Montana-esque attire, from getting lock-jaw while their mouths hung open.

And don't even get me started on her opening act, Metro Station. Brother Cyrus screamed, jumped and flipped his guitar around, channeling Axel Rose while lifting his shirt to wipe his nose, exposing more of his tattoo-riddled body.

Yeah, family entertainment at it's finest.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Concept vs Reality

Sometimes reality just can't be covered in chocolate.

But it's so much better.

You have the concept of reality.

Maybe you've had the concept for a long time. You know the concept. Intimately. It's familiar and comfortable, like oh I don't know, less like a pair of shoes and more like that oversized sweatshirt you wear to bed when you're out of sorts.

You wrap it around you. It envelopes you and just knowing it's there, you feel better.

And it's ok, that concept.

It's great, actually. It's something you should do, something you will do.

You're confident in the concept. You puff out your chest and you walk with a swagger. There's not a doubt in your mind. You're all like "Yeah, concept, it's me and you, baby. We're solid."

And then reality comes along. Faster than you expected, barreling at you with such force that you lose your breath.

Blam!

Oh hello, reality.

Wasn't quite expecting you so soon.

May I offer you some chocolate?

Wow.

Today, concept becomes reality for me. For us, actually.

Today we are going to change our lives and the lives of everyone around us. And the lives of two people we've never met but whose faces we've seen and whose life stories we've become as familiar with as our own.

In a few short hours, we are going to meet two little darlings whose concept is going to become our reality.

A reality sweeter than any chocolate you could ever dream of.

A reality bigger and scarier than the concept ever was or could be.

I can't imagine my life without Moose and Ziggy. They have made me who I am and they are what I live for.

Loving my children and knowing that there are other children out there that need love... well. Yeah.

Reality is here.

And it smells an awful lot like dirty diapers.

I can't wait.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Facebook, oh Facebook... again

In light of the retarded recent changes to Facebook, I thought I'd repost this classic. Because some things never change...

Dear Facebook,

We have to talk.

You're not the same as you were when we first met. You've changed.

In the beginning I will admit I was a bit reluctant, but my friends insisted I give you a chance and so I did. At first we had so much fun didn't we? We'd spend hours together. You wanted to know everything about me, how old I was, where I lived, what I did for work, where I went to high school, who my other friends were...you even encouraged me to share my pictures with you. The more time I spent with you, the more I got to know you and the more I liked you.

You even helped me reconnect with old friends, and I thought that I was so lucky to have you.

But lately, you've changed.

At first the changes were subtle. I don't know why, but you changed your whole look. I didn't say anything because hey, sometimes we all feel the need for a little make-over from time to time. Who am I to judge?

But now, you're moving things around without asking me and frankly I just think that's rude. You don't do the same things you used to do for me anymore. What brought this on? Why do you have to make it so difficult for me to see my friend's status updates all at once? I used to love that about you and with no regard to my opinion you just stopped showing them to me. What have I done to deserve this?

I know you have insecurity issues, but how many times do I have to tell you that I am not leaving you for Twitter? I have no profile there. You can check, although I'm sure you already have. But even if I were to have a profile there, we had no commitments. This was supposed to be casual fun, remember? Yes I know you think I have a commitment phobia, but this isn't about me, it's about you - so let's try to stay focused.

And seriously FB, the stalking emails have got to stop. At first I looked forward to your notification emails, but 20-30 a day? It's really getting out of control. It's a distraction for me at work, I do have a job you know.

I have to be honest with you, my friends have noticed the change in you as well. They are starting to resent you too. I hear them talk and it hurts.

I'm not saying I want to break-up, but I miss the way things used to be. All I'm asking is that you stop worrying about what Twitter is doing, stop being so insecure (it's really kind of a turn-off) and stop changing.

Just be you.~ Doreen

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I got nothin

I sort of borrowed this idea from LiLa. They are two sisters who blog (and recently sold their book). I found them from another awesome blogger Little Ms. J. Thanks LMJ, I'm kinda addicted now!

Ok, so here we go, top four reason why I can't think of anything to blog about.

Batman called me this morning because he missed me. There was a moment where we talked about our future... after we hung up I spent the morning jumping ahead a year from now and imagining living together in happy bliss. Yeah I'm a chick, it's what we do. Don't judge.

I am thinking about Sharon and TK. I'm very excited for them and can't wait to talk to her later today.

I had a project due at 8:00 AM, didn't finish it on time and am now anticipating the fall out.

Once I finally finished the project at, I spent the rest of the morning reading LiLa's blog. Funny funny girls!

So that's it, like I said... I've got nothin - but I've just posted links to two great blogs that if you're not following you should!

So what are you waiting for?

Go, go read them. Now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two Years... and no one got hurt!

That's a direct quote from my husband... it's what he put on our calendar for today, our second anniversary.

Gotta love him.

And hey, here's an interesting fact - we share our anniversary with the movie "Say Anything". Maybe TK will stand outside my window with a boombox over his head?

One year ago our first anniversary was spent wandering the West Coast - from fireside massages at the Carmel Valley Ranch to cocktails at the Ritz Half Moon Bay to dinner with friends in San Francisco's Chinatown to a private wine tasting at the Ledson Winery in Sonoma.

No, not all in one day.







Two years ago today we married on the island of Nevis in the West Indies. Six days on the island with a small group of friends and family.Bonfires on the beach and days spent lounging by the pool all led up to the most romantic wedding I could've ever imagined. Six more days in St Kitts after waving goodbye to the friends and family. Bliss.










How can you top that?

Year Two.

The Big um, Two.

Doesn't sound like much. Two. Which is nothing compared to how long some of our friends have been married but for us - wow.

The fact that we are even married - to each other no less - still amazes me.

When TK asked if I wanted to return to Nevis for our second anniversary, or if we should run to St Thomas for a few days or maybe go to NYC where he proposed for a weekend getaway well, I did my thing. I jumped online, researching hotels and packages and flights and dates...

Then I thought about it.

We are spending the day, and night, playing tourist in our own backyard. Something I've been wanting to do all year. We've never been to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. Or walked the Freedom Trail. Or had a drink while listening to the music that plays 365 nights a year at Wally's Jazz Cafe.

I can't wait. It's the perfect day spent with my favorite person.

Happy Second Anniversary baby. Thank you for the past two years - looking forward to at least two more!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown... or why marriage is like tv


I watched It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown the other night.

All by myself.

Ziggy was in the shower, Moose was in the cave and TK was traveling.

And I loved watching it. For the ninety-seventh time.

Don't get me wrong, I love having my family with me, cuddled up with popcorn in front of the tv. But it just doesn't seem to work out that way often enough.

TV doesn't fascinate my family like it does me.

Let me rephrase - my family is so used to seeing the tv on, whether they are watching it or not, that they are no longer fascinated by it.

Ziggy records everything and anything and watches it whenever she feels like it. Which is pretty much all the time.

Moose downloads the two or three shows that he follows, every movie that comes out and watches them all on his computer.

TK thinks the tv only gets two channels - Fox News and ESPN.

For the most part I don't really watch tv and while there are several shows I dvr the truth is I very rarely get to watch them. Nor do I usually want to.

I know I can call up any show on the dvr, Netflix online or on demand or even run out and rent what I want to see but...

There's just something about stopping what you are doing at a certain time and watching a show when it's being aired. Planning for it and around it.

You see, I don't take the show for granted. I don't pause it when I'm distracted. Ignore it when I'm busy with other things. I don't tell the show "Not now but maybe later." I give it my time and attention. I don't answer the phone or read a book. I'm focused. If it's important to me, I make the time.

It's kind of like dating vs marriage.

When you're dating, you know you have to go/be/meet somewhere at a specific time. If you don't, well, you miss out. And may never get another chance to "see the show" again. No recording, pausing or putting it back on the shelf for later will recreate that particular "show" again.

But once you're married? The "show" is always on, always available. Morning? Yep. Dinnertime? Yep. Holidays, weekends, golf season, flu season, middle of the night? Yep, yep, yep, yep and yep.

So we might not be as fascinated as we once were. You might even say we begin to take the "show" for granted.

We might hit pause a little too often.

Keep one eye on the "show" over the top of a newspaper or laptop.

Busy? Well, the "show" isn't going anywhere. Come back to it later.

Weeks later.

Heck, months later - it'll still be there right? Right?
Maybe. Or maybe not.

Hmmm.

Just to be on the safe side, personally, I'm going to make sure I don't take my "show" for granted.

I'm disabling the pause button and throwing away the remote, baby.
Because the "show" is on and I wouldn't miss it for the world. It's the best "show" ever.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love Language

I've never really been an affectionate person. I don't know why, or how I turned out this way but it's just the way it is. Don't get me wrong, I love those close to me and would do anything to help out a friend but when it comes to displays of affection, I'm at a loss.

I'm not the "huggy" type, I do hug but I don't really care to hug strangers. I like my personal space. Now sure, on the outside it may seem like I'm this cold hearted bitch who is devoid of feelings, but I assure you that is not the case. Hey, I cry at sad movies. I even cry at happy movies. And, I admit...some commercials - you know the really sappy ones around the holidays - they make me cry too. It's just that I show my affection in other ways. If you've ever read the book The Five Love Languages it discusses the five things that people need, their love language.

They are, in no special order:

  1. Quality Time
  2. Receiving Gifts
  3. Acts of Service
  4. Physical Touch
  5. Words of Affirmation

In the book it says that you typical do what you want. For example, I am an acts of service person. I'm this way with friends, family and even with Batman. I show that I care by doing stuff, it doesn't mean I go and clean their house, or do their laundry. Seriously, I can barely keep up with my own house! But if for example, Sharon is throwing a party....I'm there, whenever she needs me to be to help her with the planning, the shopping, the setting up or the cooking. Batman works two jobs, some weeks are crazy busy for him... so I'll make him a big pasta salad so that he can just pack a lunch and go - he doesn't need to worry about making a sandwich or grabbing a sub on the way into work. When my sister was moving I took the 3 hour drive with her (round trip) to help her get the last of her things. This is how I show I care.

Sure there are times when I give gifts, want quality time and physical touch and even use words of affirmation ... but my true love language? Definitely acts of service.

What is your love language?