Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hoping for Better on Another Day

I am having a week of exhaustion, and I'm hoping for a better week next week. This is a week of lethargy, if you will.

I came across something I had saved and enjoyed reading it in my state of mind. I often pull things out of magazines and then tuck them away in all sorts of corners of my life. In my journal, in my planner, in my desk, in a drawer. I then find these snippets and remember small insights that had inspired me before.

In the March 2011 issue of O, results were shared from an 80-year study on the discoveries related to long life.

Here was #3:

“Train Without Pain. You don’t need to enter marathons to have a good long run at life. Forcing yourself to follow grueling fitness regimens can shed inches, but it may not add years. In the long term, you’re more likely to stick with low-impact activities you truly enjoy than rigorous workouts you dread. Moderate swimming, a leisurely bike ride, and hour-long walks with the dog do as much good for your health- and survival – as an eight-minute mile.” (Amanda Schupak)

Well, “Hallelu-yar!” Is what I say!

I always knew something felt wrong when Jillian Michaels would shout at me on the 30 Day Shred DVD:

“You think you can lose weight by taking the stairs and parking far away?! THOSE ARE LIES, PEOPLE! Those are lies of LETHARGY!!”

I haven’t exercised to that DVD in a while.

I do not believe you need to punish yourself in order to feel better.

I was further relieved to read #4:

“Fret a Little. Think good things and good things will happen, right? Not necessarily. Friedman and Martin found that too much optimism could be as detrimental to longevity as high cholesterol and hypertension. Always assuming the best, they say, may leave you unequipped to deal with the worst – such as trauma or illness. A little worry keeps you warmed up for the curveballs life throws.”

Well, there you go. I am very prepared. Worry is no stranger.

But, for tonight, I’ll ask worry to stay away another day. I will only be kind to myself and look forward to next week. Next week, I’ll hopefully have the energy for living life with gusto again.

And since I am sharing some inspiring words of others, how’s about I leave you with yet another piece that speaks to me of gratitude, and fear, and judgment, and kindness.

Written by Naomi Shihab Nye (Lest you get into this beauty of a poem thinking I had the genius to write it. Alas, I did not. It's one of those poems that make you wish you had written it):


Before you know what kindness really is
You must lose things,
Feel the future dissolve in a moment
Like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
What you counted and carefully saved,
All this must go so you know
How desolate the landscape can be
Between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
Thinking the bus will never stop,
The passengers eating maize and chicken
Will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
You must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
Lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
How he too was someone
Who journeyed through the night with plans
And the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
Catches the thread of all sorrows
And you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
Only kindness that ties your shoes
And sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
Only kindness that raises its head
From the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for
And then goes with you everywhere
Like a shadow or a friend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Storytelling in 30 Photos, Part 2

You can see my Part 1 (photos 1-15) HERE!

16. An unusual picture

17. A picture of my spare time (Could not find my own picture of this. Ya'll know I love catching some good and trashy TV in my spare time - what better than watching it in a Bat Girl outfit?!)

photo from here

18. A picture of people who are closest to me

19. A picture of a person who is always there

20. A picture of a time in life I miss - Living on the farm in Iowa.

21. A picture from last summer

22. A picture that makes me sad - Thought I had more time with her.

23. A picture I always laugh about. We were all worried when Parker was a baby, including Parker.

24. A crazy picture - There I am, riding a bull! Outside of a NASCAR race in Michigan.

25. Latest picture of myself

26. A picture of my parents at my age - In their 30's

27. A picture from the best days of your life - The day after our wedding. Our early relationship was an exciting and adventurous time, and it was the start to all I have in my life now.

28. A picture from my favorite vacation - bike touring in very Northern California wine country

29. A picture of an accomplishment - My third degree, Educational Specialist in School Psychology

30. A picture I’m satisfied with (I must be. It has been my Facebook profile pic since the beginning of time.)

I found this inspiration from visiting After I Do, and she found her inspiration from SRSLYLIZ.

I'm linking up with Live and Love Out Loud for Wordless Wednesday!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Smut and Filth

You know on Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail when the old “woman” shouts, “Oh, look! There’s some nice filth over here!”

Well, I am like the other old “woman,” who runs over to get a good look at the nice filth.

Imagine how tickled I was to have discovered a new show on Showtime, Gigolos.

Among my trashy reality TV viewing, I am also a big fan of the controversial-type shows on Showtime. I also love Oprah, but I do not share her moral need for responsible TV viewing. I say, “Bring on the filth.”

Gigolos. Wow. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to watch these guys whore themselves out to women willing to pay for sex AND BE FILMED WHILE DOING IT! (It is a “REALITY” show! Jackpot!)

I have not pondered male prostitution much before. I still don’t know quite what I think of it. But, boy, do I enjoy watching it.

One woman has fantasies of being a dominatrix. She paid a man to wear something called a “cock cage” for 3 days. It prevented him from ever getting hard. It was painful and uncomfortable. All the other gigolos wanted to take a look at it. When the episode ended, the gigolo said, “Sometimes when people say, ‘It’s been a pleasure,’ it’s really only been a pleasure for one person.”

I’m not making this stuff up, people.

In another show, the gigolos felt bad for one of their own, struggling to make child support payments. So, they all (four of them) fulfilled a woman’s fantasy of having multiple men at once. They made $4,000 and donated it all to their gigolo friend as a surprise.

These guys, apparently, also have very big…hearts.

When the show was over, there was absolutely nothing else I could watch. How do you top that?!

Have you checked this out? Isn’t it great?!

Note: The irony of posting this on Easter is not lost on me. However, isn’t it kind of fun to come across a blog with something a little more unexpected? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If my Mama was a Blogger

One of the prompts for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week was, “If my mom was a blogger…”

There have been times that I have heard my mom say, “I think your readers should know….!!” (what have you). So, I felt this a fine time to give my mom a voice on my blog, and I interviewed her.

Me: What do you feel my readers would be surprised to know about me?

My mom: When you leave me my grandson to take care of, you leave eight pages of instructions! I have had grandchildren before. You’re brother can attest to this. I don’t think your readers realize you are so ‘OCD’ like that.

Me: You ASK for instructions, Mom. Anyways. What have you been shocked to read on my blog?

My mom: When you called your husband ‘The Fucker!’

Me: Really?! (I figured it was when I called my son an asshole.)

My mom: Well, I know what an easy going guy your husband is, and I wasn’t thinking of him from a wife’s point of view. I was thinking about him from a mother’s point of view, and I wanted to protect him.

Me: What is it that you would want to know my readers to know about me?

My mom: You have a very unique gift of looking at life and giving a different way to look at things. If I ask you about something, you will be honest about it and give me feedback. I know you will level with me. And that has helped us have an even more special relationship.

Me: What has been something memorable from my blog?

My mom: Seeing all the dimensions of your life. There are so many different areas – your personal life, family life, work life, your going-out life/fun life. I LOVE when you write about the kids you work with. I’ve gotten to know you in an even more personal way by reading your blog.

Me: If you had a blog, what would it be about?

My mom: Raising a maniac! (my brother) No, it would be about you and Scott (my brother), and how you were the two kids that seemed to be raised by two totally different people growing up – you were so opposite.

Me: But now that we’re older?

My mom: Now it is fun! I love our crazy trips together and the holidays. But what I think really is there is the love we have for each other, how much we care for each other, and how much support you both have given me in hard times.

Me: What makes you laugh about me?

My mom: The stuff that comes out of your mouth! How do you think of it? You are so funny with Parker, and they way you look at life and the things he does. You have a great sense of humor. You also have this other side to you – you can be cynical and edgy. When you’ve had wine, your chin goes up, your eyelids go down, and you can let people have it. You have a sharp tongue. I love to watch you play Wii! You just get up there, and without even trying, you just get up and do it. You approach it with a hell-be-damned-attitude and you do great. I love to drive with you! It’s like I’m driving with myself and I don’t have to say a thing. You take care of yelling at all those stupid ass drivers out there.

Me: Do you know that I made my own cuss word for drivers on the road?

My mom: What?

Me: Fuckball. As in, "You're a fuckball!"

My mom: (laughing)

Me: So, on that note, how are we alike?

My mom: Well, we’re both Taurus women. We’re a little impatient. We have huge hearts and care about people. And, we both like wine. But, I like white.

Me: How are we different?

My mom: You’re more of a risk taker. And, you’re more determined. You’re more of a goal setter.

Me: What are your parting words of wisdom?

My mom: The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. (Lilly Tomlin) Also, don’t let the bastards get you down. Also, my mom always told me to take the high road.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Storytelling in 30 Photos, Part 1

1. Someone you spend a lot of time with

2. A picture of myself (My son took it!)

3. A picture of someone in the family

4. A picture of something that makes me happy

5. An old picture of myself - 1991, baby! Sophomore in high school

6. A picture of a sibling (He is passed out. I had fun with make-up.)

7. A class photo - Have you ever seen so much taffeta and lace in your life?! 1990, eighth grade graduation

8. A random photo of you and your significant other - riding a roller coaster!

9. A picture I've never posted before

10. A relative of mine - My Mama! I love her so much!

11. A person I can tell everything to - That's Juli and me on the patio in Mexico, smoking and talking. My husband took the picture of us from inside.

12. A picture from everyday life

13. A picture from a place I love - Mexico, the beach, ahhhh

14. A picture that reminds me of old times

15. A picture from a great night

Tune in next week for Part 2 (pictures 16-30 of my story). I found this inspiration from visiting After I Do, and she found her inspiration from SRSLYLIZ.

I'm linking up with Live and Love Out Loud for Wordless Wednesday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It Takes Some Naughty Behavior to Maintain Balance in the Universe

I promised an update on my weeklong grocery challenge. Remember the post in which I insisted I was NOT a zealot? Yes, that one.

Did I save money at the grocery store? Yup! I absolutely did. It was almost $100 under what I normally spend. Obviously, this is a fabulous outcome. I bought mostly produce in the most whole form, and I did the prep work myself (e.g., like peeling and cutting carrots, rather than buying pre-cut). I bought only a small amount of meat and then other necessary staples.

Another great thing to mention was that I ended up buying more than I needed. So, it could have been even more savings. That extra food is not going to waste, however. I over-estimated how much raw produce was needed. Some of it is going to last into this week. The stuff that I could steam, I steamed today, and we will have cooked veggies ready to go for this week (e.g., green beans and cauliflower).

Instead of buying lunch items or frozen lunch entrees, I ate small portions of leftovers at lunch. Because I focused on buying things that could keep me feeling full (e.g., beans, whole grains, foods full of fiber and protein), I was able to say satisfied while eating healthy and cheap.

Some of the meals I made were:

Eggplant, potato, and tomato gratin
Italian stew
Creamy chicken and vegetables
Pot roast and vegetables

So, I would say it was a success. I am definitely feeling like this is not a typical funny and self-deprecating post for me.

So to make ya’ll feel better, I’ll let you know that on Friday night, I got quite drunk with friends and smoked cigarettes. On Saturday night, I enjoyed some gooey-yummy Chicago style pizza. And, now I am quite sick. Cold, cough, and sore ears. (I was already coming down with something, but the hard living really kicked it into gear, I’m sure.)

For dinner tonight, you bet I’ll be making an easy and quick frozen, packaged dinner that I can just throw on the stove.

There is balance in the universe. You just cannot be perfect all the time. Peace out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

And You Thought You Knew Me

I must say MUCHOS GRACIAS to two special ladies at A Mountain Momma and Always Just a Mom! They have both been so kind to think of me for The Versatile Blogger Award.

Since the first and second times I accepted this award, I didn’t follow the actual rules, maybe this time I will.

I must list seven things about myself. (Since I have some new followers round here, I figured this would be a good idea.)

1. Sometimes I don’t follow the rules. Rules are meant to be broken, aren’t they?

2. I just now had the privilege of hearing one of my favorite lines in a movie. “Aw, don’t cry little lady. It makes my knees hurt!” (Monsters vs. Aliens)

3. I like to create new vocabulary around what I have termed, “The Psychology of Driving.” For example, the “Seabiscuit Effect” is whenever you try to pass someone on the interstate and they start to speed up just as you get next to them and they realize you are trying to pass them. (When this turns into a stale-mate of passing, I call this, "The Race of the Idiots.")

4. I have a large personal space bubble, and I’m very particular about where I sit in relation to other people. I don’t like to have people sitting behind me.

5. My second toe is longer than my big toe.

6. I use self-deprecation to get people to like me.

7. I am fiercely loyal.

So, there you have it. Some really interesting and important information about me. Now, I will award this to some ladies who have had me laughing lately:

The Suniverse

Mass Hole Mommy

Because Motherhood Sucks

I also want to do a shout out for a fab mom resource out there - The Mom's Guide at It is a guide for Mom's of children of ALL ages around the right kind of dental care and dental tips. Lots of funny and hard-working "mommy bloggers" provided input on this guide, and we are quoted in it, so please, CHECK IT OUT by clicking HERE!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baring my PPD Soul

Like many mothers, I look back on the infant stage with foggy recollection. This is not all due to sleep deprivation though. I feel like my experience as a new mother was also clouded with postpartum depression and anxiety.

I have judged myself before for how I felt during that time, and there has been shame. After being able to read so many other blogs that have been beautifully honest about this issue, I feel comfortable in owning my experience as my own.

Still, there are times when I see new moms, and they look so relaxed, so comfortable, so peaceful.

I marvel at this. I am jealous of it.

I look back on pictures of me holding my precious boy, and I look happy in the picture, but the woman looks like a stranger to me.

I remember feeling scared. Fear and anxiety completely consumed me. Many of my memories of that time felt FRANTIC. I was completely frantic for about a year. I was always sick to my stomach. I felt broken. Like something was seriously wrong with me. I was wound so tight, I would startle if I thought a bug sneezed. I could not relax. I didn’t enjoy eating. I felt very fragile. I was lonely, and confused for feeling lonely. I could not sleep. I cried. A lot. I was scared to go anywhere. When I did go somewhere, I cried in public too. I had a very, very hard time making even the simplest decisions, fearing that every small decision was monumental, and potentially scarring, for the development of my child.

All of this was not the experience I had expected, and this derailed me. I am a person who is usually PREPARED for things.

I tried really hard to act like this wasn’t my reality.

It took a long time to get back on track, but I did get back on track. I eventually began to trust my instincts, relax, and take comfort in simple pleasures. (Well, and I FINALLY admitted to needing some help with medication. When I made that choice, the relief was immense, and I thought, “Why the hell didn’t I try the medicine earlier?”) I started embracing and enjoying motherhood, myself, and LIFE again.

I get to live in the present moment, rather than worrying about the next moment, the next possibility, the next thing that could go wrong, and 50 chess moves in the future in my son’s life.

Why have I gone for the overshare? This is my truth. And I know others are out there who share it. And judge themselves for it. Well, I’ll stand next to ya. I’ll have a cup and stay a while.

Tell me. If you’re a mom, do you relate to some of this? Even if you didn’t have PPD, were there feelings you had as a new mom that surprised you?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I am not a Zealot

I am not a zealot. I feel sorry for zealots. They must be tired all the time from putting so much energy into following the rules of their various causes.

I try to be a good person.

I try to spend smartly, most of the time.

I try to be “green” here and there.

But, I am not a zealot. I try my best to do some things right, and I am good with that. I have no need to GO ALL THE WAY with green living, nutrition, etc.

I figure sometimes ease and convenience is really worth it (e.g., disposable diapers).

I figure some indulgence is necessary for happiness and ease of living (e.g., Cheetos and frozen lunch meals).

I mean, really, even sanity is good in moderation.

So, I am doing something this week that is uncharacteristic of me.

I have taken a personal grocery-store-challenge for a few different reasons:

1. I am about out of money before the next paycheck, and I am tired of putting more on a credit card that never seems to get paid off. In the past, I would not want to stress out about this and so I would use the credit card to get what we need, figuring I could pay it down the next month. But paying it down has not been happening. I am tired of this.

This means I need to drastically cut-down my grocery spending. I also need to really get creative and use what I already have in my fridge, freezer, and pantry, rather than letting it go to waste.

2. I have had interest in the buy-whole-foods movement, rather than pre-packaged, processed, frozen stuff. This sounds and feels so much healthier and can be cheaper.

This means I need to plan well and take a little more time with preparation of food.

3. I am still trying to lose weight (only 5.5 pounds to go!), and need a diet that is naturally low in calories (vegetables), but high in satisfaction (beans, lean meat).

This means I will need to buy a lot of fresh, healthy ingredients that I will prepare myself and be responsible for the portion sizes.

So, here I embark on a challenge to: use what we have, decrease spending at the grocery store, and buy whole, healthy foods and ingredients.

But, I am not a zealot. I’ll try it for the week and let you know how it goes!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life is Good

Life is good when surrounded by the people you love and who love you.

-I received a voice mail today that put a huge smile on my face. My dear, good friend, Jen, called to thank me for a birthday present I sent her (Happy Birthday, Jen!). She was so happy on the message, and that made me SO happy! I sent her some of her favorite wine. She thinks alcohol cannot be shipped into Pennsylvania, so I will just let her think that I performed feats of awesome-ness to accomplish this (really, it was no problem). Not only did I send her one bottle, I threw in two for good measure. Love you, girl.

-I received a text last night from my dear, good friend, Juli, saying that she can visit me this summer! Holy crap, I could think of nothing more exciting. (Hopefully, Jen can join her too?!) Us girls, we could take over the world if given enough power to be dangerous!

-My son and I are excited for a play date at another dear, good friend’s house this weekend! Yes, I attend the play date as well because it really is more about me getting to hang with The Awesome Amy.

-My family just booked a trip for the summer in Mexico! We get to relive the excitement of Rude Behavior is Inevitable! What an amazing time – beach, aqua-bar, AND family. I am beside myself. So much to look forward to.

In the midst of some stressful times and remembrances of past, sad events, my heart is full of love for the people in my life.

Sappy of me, I know, but ‘tis true.

Now, I will go and take an opportunity to watch The “Real” Housewives of Miami bitches duke it out on their reunion show. Yessss. Life is Good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Masters of Manipulation

For a few days, we had to fight a good fight while Parker adjusted to The Big Boy Bed.

We have learned that there will be no new idea or change that occurs without some back-lash – kind of like the kick-back after shooting a gun.

Parker would try to hold me down on his bed, not wanting me to leave. He would hang on to me. He would lie on the floor and cry. He would scream, “Mommy, help me!” over and over.

All of this served to rake my emotions over the coals of hell, making me wonder, “Did we do this the right way?” “Is he ready for this?” “Are we cruel people for making him sleep in his room?” “Should I trade in the husband so the maniac can sleep with me?”

As if all of this wasn’t hard enough, Parker pulled out the big guns one night. I was holding him as he whimpered, getting ready to say good night. Parker reached his hand down to my stomach and said, “Mommy, I want back in your tummy!”

Ohhh. I melted. I felt so bad for him! He must NEED his mommy!

I know that other moms out there may think, “Hell no! My tummy’s the last place I want you!” But, is it strange of me to think that I sometimes want the same thing?

I thought to myself, Yes, Parker, I could have you in my tummy again warm and safe and tucked away, and we could both go lay down and go to bed.

Those kids, man. Masters at manipulation. They know JUST what to say to push the right button.

But, I’m no sucker. I didn’t let it work. I did what any other smart mom would do. I made my husband put him to bed for a few nights.

Now, I am again back at the bedtime duty without any emotional warfare going on. We are all sleeping peacefully in our own space with no more pre-bed battle cries or regression to fetus stage.

Until the next thing comes along, this parenting hurdle can be considered jumped.

Manipulation in Progress

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Has 2011 Done for you Lately?

A third of the year has already passed!

What the hell has happened to my “resolutions?!” Well, I will tell you.

In January, I wrote that I wanted to do things to help me feel the following:




I said I would buy small bottles of wine instead of big ones. I would try to bum cigarettes less. I would eat better and move more, and all that hoopla. I would follow my passion and continue to write. I would write my way out of my full-time job eventually, dammit. (This part related to the INDEPENDENT adjective above there.)

And, I would NOT commit to swearing less.

My update:

I fit in some pre-pregnancy jeans – how is that for confident and energetic (and damn sexy)?! In order to get there, I ate a whole lot better, and moved a little bit more. I bought smaller bottles of wine and drank wine on less days! Unfortunately, I kind of take almost any opportunity to bum a cigarette, but no one is perfect, for crying out loud.

To illustrate:

One Friday morning before work, my husband shouted, “Look at Mommy in her hot jeans!” (He knows what’s good for him.)

Parker, replied, “My pants are just warm.”

My confidence is getting so much better that I often think of the scene from Pulp Fiction when the robber is going to fish Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet out of the trash bag.

The robber says, “Which wallet is yours?”

Samuel L. Jackson coolly replies, “It’s the one that says Bad Mother Fucker.”

(Obviously, I have continued to enjoy my right to swear at ripe opportunities - when little ears are not around.)

I have not written my way out of a job yet. I still want to work on that one. There’s only so much work place drama you can endure before your heart shrivels into a prune, sucked dry and unavailable for any patience and understanding.

So, for the rest of this year, I am ready to continue on my way to Bad Ass Mother Fucker-ness! I will write more, wear hot jeans, and keep moving my bad ass through 2011 MY way!