Our hair, the ham, & a wonderful surprise

I promised, so here are pictures of my hair. I wish I could take a picture of the back, but I suck. Also? My camera is not as good as all those SLR thingys every blogger seems to use. So...ignore the bad photography, the lack of make-up, the mess in the background, and focus on the hair.

I decided to post a couple pictures of my crazy girl, who acts like such a ham in front of the camera. Take a look at her hair in some of these pictures. The poor kid is doomed.

She was so excited about her very own Romo jersey.
Blurry, but she's still cute. Jeez, what's up with my lack of photography skills??
And then!

A wonderful surprise. The day after Christmas, I went to my house to let my dogs out. As I was leaving, I noticed a box on my porch. An Anthropologie box. I suspected my husband at first, because he got this grin on his face when I held it up for him to see. I tore into it in the truck, and O.M.G. My new friend Chris completely caught me off guard, and bought me this gorgeous bowl! I had just been at Anthropologie a couple of days before, drooling over it. I was not expecting anything at all from her, and felt special, sorta like this lady. (Now, if someone could please offer up her writing talent & camera, I'd be sooo happy)

(I am again righteously miffed at how my pictures are coming out. WTF?)

But do you know what put the lump in my throat? The gift was heartfelt, sincere, spontaneous, unexpected, sweet, and lovely, but it was this:

My heart became a pile of mush at this little teeny tiny note. I marvel at this blogging community, at how the Internet has harvested new friendships, at how we can truly befriend someone that lives on the other side of the country (or in another country, for that matter), and they can be as close and dear to us as the friend we see every day.

Thank you, Chris. I absolutely adore it!!! And I am thankful for the newfound friendship, I truly am.


Advice, oh wise ones

1. I desperately need to do something about the state of my face. I am so damn pale! My whole body is, and I'm thinking of doing some tanning again, but I just cannot tan my face. Ever since I had my girl, when I tan, I get a ton of freckles and brown blotches. It's awful. I don't mind freckles so much, but the blotches look hideous.

I use all sorts of stuff for my face, including bronzer. But I am looking deathly pale these days, and even that isn't cutting it.

So, here's where all you beauty buffs come in:

I need a tinted moisturizer. One that doesn't make me look orange. What brand do you suggest? What works for you? HELP!!!

2. My mother in law turns 60 on New Year's Eve. Don't get me started on this, but I am going to be the big girl, and have suggested that we take her out to eat for an early dinner, to celebrate. If we don't do SOMETHING, she will pout. More than she already does. Another post for another day, I promise you (and it's brewing, let me assure you).

This woman likes to garden, sit outside in her backyard, drink, be the martyr, and...that's about it.

What do I buy for her? Something nice, something heartfelt. Help me out here!!!

3. Jeans. Jeans that do not give me saggy ass syndrome. You know what I'm talking about: they fit great when you get them out of the dryer, sometimes even a little snug. But after an hour or so, not only are they loose, but they are falling off, sagging in the ass area, with your muffin top bubbling out over them. Disgusting. So...HELP!

I've heard 7 Jeans are great. Also Joe's? Any other suggestions that will not cost me a coupla $100???? Seriously.

4. More make-up issues. My eyeliner blows. It looks like hell. Halfway through the day, I look like a damn raccoon, or like someone beat the shit out of my face. It's all smuggy and just gross. I need a good eyeliner (again, one that doesn't cost me a shitload). Also? How about some mascara suggestions? Mine has been all clumpy lately, and it's annoying the crap out of me. Noticing a trend yet?

5. Okay, here's a biggie. And it requires some background drama. Get comfortable.

The problem: I need a new hairdresser, AGAIN. I had one for a good 16 years, but she works 3 days a week, has a huge clientele, and it takes a good month to get in to see her. So...about 2 years ago I went where my mom was going. Met a lady there that I went to high school with. She cut my hair awesome. Then she moved. Right next to the little town I had just moved from. I wasn't about to drive 45 minutes to have my hair cut. So then I moved on to my mom's lady. Then she moved. She had her 6th kid, and left (no, really). Then I just stopped getting my hair cut for awhile. Then I went to this spa a few minutes away, and cut 12 inches off my head. I loved that girl. But guess what?? She moved. And apparently, at this spa, the clients belong to the spa, not the hairdresser. So anyway, then I moved on to the lady with the (attractive) boobs at the same spa. Loved how she cut my hair, even if I was uncomfortable about her boobs in my face.
I called today, and guess what????? Mother fucker, she's gone. Moved to Florida. Okay, so I desperately need my hair cut. It's grown a good 2 inches. I no longer have the sexy Spice Girls hair cut. I need a cut, BAD.
So here is where the drama comes in (oh, you thought I was done?).
This girl, H, is a hair dresser in a snooty spa close by. She is married to B, who is friends with my husband. The first time I met H, she had just met B, and was talking about how she went home with another guy the night she met B. She then proceeded to get drunk, take her belt off and spank my husband (left bruises), and then pour a drink on his head. But wait: she then proceeded to lick the drink off of his shaved head, down his forehead, down his nose, and was stopped before she got to his lips, by B's sister-in-law (also a friend of mine). I was inside the house when this happened, and they were all outside. I go back outside, and my husband is sitting perfectly still, staring off into space, looking like he just saw a ghost. He then proceeds to tell me, "I didn't know what to do. She's fucking nuts". And my friend assures me that my husband was not condoning this at all, which I totally believe. But.
H continues to flirt with my husband. On several different occasions, in different settings. She marries B after a couple of months of knowing him. I get pregnant with my girl, and become everyone's designated driver. She gets hammered one night at a restaurant with some other of our friends, and I'm about 7 months pregnant at the time. My husband gives me sexy eyes across the table, and gets all excited. I'm confused, because I've done nothing. I look under the table, and H has her shoes off, with her fucking feet in my husband's crotch area. I then put my feet up there, my big, fat, swollen, prego feet. She puts them down, and makes no eye contact. She later tries to squeeze by everyone at the table to go to the bathroom, and 'accidentally' falls into my husband's lap. By the end of the night, she tackles him in the parking lot, lays him out, straddles him, and kisses him. B and I are both there, and B sees nothing. I am too pregnant to kick anyone's ass, and I also hate confrontation. But I do yell at him across the parking lot, and before that, I see him pushing her off of him, before she even tried to kiss him. Again, this is her, not my husband, I promise. He is in such a bad position, because B is his friend, and has been for many years, and he really can't say 'Hey B, your wife is being a whore'. It's just a bad situation.
Anyway, this was several years ago. About a year or so ago, B's sister in law (my friend, K), goes to get her hair cut by H. And H proceeds to tell her that she doesn't understand why I don't like her. So K tells H why I don't like her. And K tells me that H gets all red-faced, and says she doesn't remember any of this, because she was drunk each time.
Okay, so I buy it. I have seen her many times, in different social settings, over the past year. I have always been nice. Her son is only 6 months younger than my girl. She's pretty, she's funny, and honestly, minus the whole whore situation, we have a lot in common. So, I try to be nice. I don't avoid her. But she avoids me, and has never said anything about what her and K talked about.
Sooooo....have I lost you yet?
H is a great hairdresser. She's goooood. I mean, really, really good. So my question is this: Do I trust her enough to cut my hair? Am I admitting any defeat by allowing her to cut my hair? Do I bring up the issue of my husband? Am I fucking batshit crazy to ask her to cut my hair? I mean, the woman did molest my husband, for cripe's sake. She licked his forehead. She left bruises with a belt the first time she met us.
On several occasions, K, B, and my husband have suggested that I go to her to get my hair cut. Just in the course of the conversation. But I just don't know.

And you thought your life was dramatic.


The Hard Sell

I've been thinking about this for awhile, and haven't really said much to anyone, until recently. What's funny is that some of my bloggy friends knew before my IRL friends.

I totally have baby fever.

My girl will be 4 in July. I didn't want my children to be so far apart in age, but I'm sure it will be fine, no matter how it works out. My brother and I are 10 years apart in age. That made of interesting Christmas mornings. I mean, by the time he was 'getting' the concept of Santa, I didn't believe anymore. I was a nice sister, and totally played along, but still.

When I was little, and still lived in New York, holidays were different. Everyone went to my grandparents' homes, and I saw all my maternal cousins. The house was full of running and giggles. It was glorious.

When we moved here, I lost that. And I had siblings for awhile, when my parents were foster parents, and it was wonderful. But it just wasn't the same. Which is okay. It was just different. But I made the decision early on that I wanted to have at least three children, and I wanted them to grow up together. I wanted a house full of running and giggles, for Christmas Day, and every other day.

I've had baby fever for about 6 months. But, as some of you know, I have no health insurance. And yes, we are financially stable, but that could change pretty quickly, and also? Paying for the prenatal care and birth of a child is super expensive, damn it. Plus, with my heart issues, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to be uninsured during a pregnancy. So, the economy has put off Baby #2, which sounds ridiculous, but I've got to be sure that I can financially take care of my first child before I bring another one into the world.


Christmas Day was nice. We ate all day, we relaxed, we laughed. My daughter got lots of individual time with almost everyone she loves. But something felt off (besides the lack of alcohol for me-I just kept forgetting to drink!!). The next morning, my mom called me, and asked me if I felt like something was missing. I told her that I guess that might have been what I was feeling-something was missing, not off. She said she kept thinking about it, and finally realized what was missing: the sound of children.

And she's right.

There's a sadness for me that comes along with realizing this: My children will be older by the time they have cousins (my brother's only 20, my sister is 12!). And, again, it's okay, but it still sorta sucks. My girl doesn't know what she is missing. She has cousins on her dad's side of the family. Cousins she has never met. 2 uncles, one she has met ONCE, and another that she has never met. (His side of the family is not close at all) It makes me sad that our families are not close. Why aren't my maternal cousins involved in my life at all? Why has it been 10 years since any of my maternal uncles have talked to me? Why can't my girl have the sense of a large family like I did when I was little? Although, look where it got me. They were in my life when I was little, but now they aren't, and all it does is bring me sadness, so what good is it?

I think this is probably why I try so hard to spend time with my close friends who have children. My girl loves all of them, and is so very happy when she gets to be with them. Her face lights up, her eyes shine, and she acts like a silly little girl. It's wonderful. It's not the same as having cousins in your life, but all of these children are family to me, and to my girl. That's all that matters.

And I hope the next child (and maybe #3?) will feel the same. I hope none of my children ever feel that their family is small, loosely-tied, cold, or missing something. I will do all I can to keep my children close to one another, no matter how many years apart they are in age. I will continue to encourage the sense of family between Grace and my friends' children.


I am probably becoming one of those nutty wives. I have brought up babies several times the past couple of weeks. I have begged, pleaded, bargained. I have talked calmly and rationally. I have tried to suppress these feelings, but I really can't any longer. 2009 needs to be the year of baby #2. And I do realize it will be hard, since I'm in grad school and my husband is a workaholic.
I have seen him roll his eyes at me. I have heard him sigh when I say anything even remotely baby related. And it's not that he doesn't want more children. It's just the insurance thing.
I really don't want to be the wife that does the hard sell, and beats her husband down about it soooo much that he just lies down on the bed and says 'Have at it-get yourself knocked up.'
But I feel strongly about expanding our family.
Does that make me nutty?


Words from the weary

Every year, around this time, I say "NEXT YEAR, I am doing my Christmas shopping early!! I will be done by December 15th, I swear!" And every year, around this time, I am up in the middle of the night, making up for lost time. Time that was sucked up by someone getting sick (Last year the flu struck me on December 22 in about 5 minutes. I crawled to the couch, and cried because I was so cold, but the blanket literally hurt my body. I also ended up watching Mary Poppins, which may have been the highlight of that fiasco)(This year, my girl projectile-vomited all over herself in the car while Christmas shopping. And then puked 4 more times at home, every time she ate something bland, drank some water, or even thought about doing either one.).

This year, besides the sickness, I have just been too damn busy with school, work, and just LIFE in general. (By the way, since I'm apparently doing lots of asides in this post: I got all A's this semester! I rock! Have I mentioned that before?? Hmmf. Well, deal with it!)

So, tonight I was at Toys'r'Us at 10pm, getting last minute gifts. Then I was at JCPenney, snorting like a piggie with my mom, because she was making me laugh so hard.

I don't have enough wrapping paper. I have not done my food shopping yet. I still have several things to get. And then my husband informs me that he 'may' have bought me a 'small' gift, even though he made the decision that we weren't giving each other gifts this year (the whole backyard/landscaping thing is our gift). So now I'm scrambling, trying to come up with an idea of what to get him. Sheesh.

I am exhausted already.

I swear to you, if I get a couple of free minutes that don't involve puke, baking, wrapping paper, tape, or stupid stockings that won't stay hung on the mantle, damn it, I will post something a bit more witty/funny/intelligent/worth-reading.

Until then, Fill-eeees Nav-eeeeed-donna (Feliz Navidad, spoken by the 3 year old in the house).


Why I should (NOT) be allowed out of the house

My dogs are currently living in the garage of our house. With the painter, and 4000 pounds of sawdust from putting in new wood floors, being inside is not really an option for them. And outside? Well, outside is a disaster. We had faulty sprinkler heads (and here I was thinking maybe I was crazy because there was always at least 6 inches of standing water in my backyard, and my husband didn't believe me when I told him over and over 'That is JUST.NOT.RIGHT.') and they are finally being fixed. And?

I am totally getting a beautiful backyard!!! It may be small, but it's about to have a patio under the beautiful arbor, and plants, and roses, and flagstone pathways, and, and, and! This is the best part!: A fenced-in area for my dogs to stay when I put them outside. I am so excited! You have no idea! If I had thought about it, I would have taken some 'before' pictures (standing water and mud holes galore!), but I didn't know that we were doing this! This is my Christmas present from my husband! How cool is that?

Now really, it's so frustrating. He always gives me awesome gifts (remember?: he bought me a telescope for my birthday!!!), and I can never compare! My gifts to him pale in comparison. And I realize that is not what gift-giving is all about, but just once!, I would like to be able to take his breath away by a gift. Sighhhh.

That little story leads to the whole reason behind my post (thanks for hanging in there):

My dogs are living in my garage. I am living in a temporary house, far too big for me, down the street. My dogs can't live in this house for several reasons, but mostly because they create mud holes where ever they go. And their farts make the paint peel. There's that. Oh, and the temporary house doesn't have a fence. That might be an issue.

Anyway, so the other day I got off work and went to walk my dogs. Due to the disaster in my backyard (oh! and front yard too! There's a leak in the sprinkler system there too! Front yard=mud hole), I have a 10 foot by 2 foot patch of grass for them to do their business on. Considering it doesn't take long for two large dogs to ruin that 10x2 foot area, I decided to run them to the park area at the end of my block.

Now, we have a way of doing things. It doesn't vary much, these walks. We walk to the end of the block, hook a right, walk to the end of that street, do a U-turn, walk through the park area, do another U-turn, and make our way back to our block. This isn't difficult, people. Same shit, different day, I tell ya.

We get to the end of the block, and.....something happens.

Namely, my old man dog hooks a hard left. Right in front of me. And, at the same damn time, like they are syncronized walkers who practiced this shit in the garage before I came home.. my old lady dog? The deaf one? She hooks a hard right. Right in front of me. Guess what happens? Just guess.

I trip over both of them.

I actually land on old man dog, who begins to lick my face, all 'Oh, so nice to see you down here'. Old lady dog proceeds to the right, like nothing else is going on, and gets choked by her leash. And then goes, 'Oh! Look! It's a pile of my favorite people!', and comes back, pouncing on my back.

This all happened in about 2.4 seconds, I'm pretty sure. And they acted like it was supposed to go down this way. And the best part? (Yeah, it always gets better): Someone drove by immediately after this happened. And stared.

And then?

We all get up, dust ourselves off, and continue like nothing happened.

Until old man dog begins to poop in the middle of the street.


My sister

My little sister's birthday was the 4th. Was I a little teeny bit busy with school work? Yes. Did I forget her birthday? No. Did I forget to post something lovely and kind about her? Well, yes, but....She doesn't read my blog anyway, and even if I did post it on time, she would still hate me. It's that kind of a relationship, apparently.

Let me explain....
My sister just turned 12. That's right: we are almost 19 years apart. That's right-go ahead, do the math......She was born when I was a freshman in college. No, we don't have the same dad, but that doesn't matter to me. Well, wait-let me re-phrase that-I don't consider her a half-sister. She is just my sister. That's it. No 1/2 and a hyphen before it. Now, her dad? Well, that's another whole story. He is a bit of an ass, if I'm being honest (as I always seem to be).
I still remember the day my mother told me about my sister. It was one of the last weeks of summer before I started college. I was out all night, slept in when I wasn't working, and getting ready for an abnormal college life (I wasn't going to be living on campus; I was staying home). My mom and I weren't talking every day since she had left my dad almost a year before. Not that we weren't still close, but, well, it was different.
My father arrived home from work to tell me that my mom really needed to talk with me. By the look on his face, I could tell something was wrong. I immediately asked about her health, as she had several strokes when I was growing up. He didn't comment.
I arrived at the house my mom was sharing with my grandmother. My mom was sitting on the back of her car. She calmly told me that she was pregnant, and that it was a girl. She stated that she had just found out, and she would be having the baby in a couple of months. I vaguely remember her showing me a sonogram picture, and telling me that her profile looked like mine.
As is true form for me, I was supportive. I murmured encouraging, kind words. But inside? I was a bit numb, I guess. I just didn't really know what to think or feel. This was all brand new territory for me.
She later told my brother, and he took it hard. There were several outbursts about her, before she was even born, and many, many more after her birth. It was hard.
I am sad to say that I was not present when she was born. I didn't even know she had been born. By that time, my mother and I were having some issues (all pertaining to her disappearance from our family for awhile), so we didn't talk for days on end. It wasn't until 3 days after her birth that I went to my mother's house for help on something that I felt I couldn't go to anyone else about. When I walked into her room, there lay my little sister, Angelina, in a bassinet. She was so teeny tiny! I remember her head fit easily in the palm of my hand. She had the prettiest green eyes.
I will admit that I was not awe-struck right away. I had to sort out my emotions first. But pretty quickly, I was smitten. She was a happy baby.
I was the one that picked her up from daycare when my mom couldn't. I was the one that took care of her when my mom couldn't. I was the one that bought her clothes, food, toys, when my mom couldn't.
My husband taught her how to drink out of a straw when she was about a year old. He also taught her to say 'Aw, shit'. I fed her PopRocks for the simple, perplexed look on her face. I spoiled her, just as I had done with my brother when he was little.
Over the years, we have remained close. Up until I told everyone I was pregnant with my girl, we spent a lot of time together. Our relationship changed when I became pregnant. Both my brother and sister seemed put out by my pregnancy, like I had screwed up their lives by starting my own family. With the hormones and all, I wasn't always very supportive, or full of encouraging words. Sometimes, I was outright pissed off that they were literally mad at me for being pregnant! I mean, REALLY??
It was a hard transition for my sister and I, when my girl was born. I look back on the pictures from that time, and I see that she really was still such a little girl, only 7 when my girl was born. And it strikes me that she was near the age my brother was when he found out about my mother's pregnancy.
We are still learning how to be sisters to each other-we fight, we argue, we laugh, we giggle. There's no sister I would rather have. She is smart and funny and talented. She tells never-ending, no-point stories. She is a good aunt to my girl. She drives me crazy, but at the same time, she makes me smile. And as my mother always reminds her, I will get her back for all the hell she has given me over the years! Just wait, Angel! You will be an adult before we know it, and I will pop your bra. You will be pregnant someday, and I will be sure and make up a song about how you are a 'cranky, miserable woman'. Don't you worry.
Isn't she gorgeous!!!??


My Abandonment

I submitted some poetry to Tin House, a literary magazine, at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, I did not win, so I didn't make it to publication (which was one of my new year's resolutions). But they did send me a volume of the magazine, filled with wonderful poetry, essays, and fiction. I've had the magazine, which is more like a book (it has a thick binder and contains at least 200 pages!), since July. I finally opened it up today! And, OMG, these people are good! I would have been so honored to have some of my poetry sharing pages with these people, but, well, anyway, that's another story, I guess.

Anyway, I read an excerpt from this soon-to-be-released book: My Abandonment by Peter Rock. It is his fictionalized version of a true story about how a Vietnam veteran and his young daughter live in a forest in Portland. I am totally buying this book when it comes out!

What struck me was the fact that he got his idea from something that really happened. Of course, I had to google the story. Go here to read a little snippet of the true story. The father did all he could to raise his daughter well, given the surroundings. He taught her using old encyclopedias. When tested, she was at a 12th grade level!
I couldn't find anything current on them, so I have no idea if they are still living in a little mobile home, or if they disappeared into the forest again.

Can you imagine?

This of course, got me thinking about a kiddo that was on a friend's caseload back when I was still at CPS. I don't know all the details, but she received a case where the mother had no birth certificate on her daughter, which isn't unusual. However, what made it so strange was that this mother admitted to giving birth to her daughter in a forest and that she never registered the girl's birth. She home schooled her daughter, so this child pretty much didn't exist on paper. No social security card, no school records, no shot records, never seen by a doctor.....It was so strange!

Can you imagine??


Take THAT, Bah Humbug!

I am my mother's daughter, in many ways. I love Christmas. I love to buy things for others, and I really believe that it is better to give than to receive. I don't wear Christmas sweaters (my mom has one that she wears any time she gets cold, regardless of the season) and I gave up my Christmas socks a very long time ago. I love to decorate my house, inside and out, but I don't cover my front yard in Santas, deer, snowmen, etc. I don't listen to the Christmas station non-stop, but you can find me humming a Christmas song.

My husband is Bah Humbug. I mean, REALLY. Christmas is always interesting in our house, because I'm all jingle bells, trim the tree, ho!ho!ho! and he's all f- this, if another needle falls off that tree I will shove it out the back door, who the hell needs presents anyway?

It's really quite interesting, let me assure you.

Anyway, several years ago at work, an old lady Bah Humbug was in the office directly across the hall from mine. She said she loved Christmas, and even put this stupid motion-sensored wreath on her door that scared the living shit out of me when it would start bouncing against the door and sing The 12 Days of Christmas or whatever. Actually, come to think of it, she decorated her whole office.

But she was still so damn crabby.

While I appreciated her decorating efforts, it drove me crazy to hear her mumbling and grumbling about her clients and 'f- this' and 'what the hell?' that. Not that I am all fa-la-la during this time, because I too get stressed (I am far from done with my Christmas shopping right now-Ack!), but come on.

So here's what I did, and I really urge you to do it sometime, because- Squeee! So.Much.Fun. :

I took all the little papers from my hole-puncher, and everyone else's hole-puncher in the building, and I filled her umbrella with them. She always bitched when it rained, and always grabbed her umbrella. I put it back where I found it, by the back door, and waited.

I actually wasn't there the day she whipped it out and dumped 100,000 teeny tiny circles on her head. BUT!!, the next morning, when I got to the office, I saw them all over the ground around the back door, and I laughed until I cried. And a co-worker, whose office was right next to the back door, saw it happen, and said that her reaction was classic-she cussed and yelled and stomped off to her car, covered in those circles.

That morning, when she got to work, I heard her making her way down the hallway to her office, grumbling about something. When she got to her office door, I asked her if she liked her 'snowstorm' the day before. As I tried to keep my giggles in, she walked in her office, slammed the door, setting off her motion-detector wreath.

My hubby being a good sport and letting me photograph him in antlers & a Bah Humbug sign!


Are you F-ing kiddin' me? Monday

I have some good posts coming up (if I do say so myself!!), but for now, on this freakin' freezing Monday, I am going to give you some random shit, and you.will.like.it.

Or not.


*I know way too many pregnant bloggers right now. Okay, maybe not "know" them face-to-face, but you know what I mean. I am so excited for all of them, but really, it sorta makes me jealous. I mean, wow. I am about to admit that I have a teeny tiny case of baby fever. Holy hell.

*And if I'm being perfectly honest with myself, and all of you, it is not a teeny tiny case of baby fever, but a holy-shit-i-want-another-baby-now!-let's-get-this-party-in-my-pants-started!-Really-want-pregnant-belly-and-cute-little-teeny-tiny-baby-outfits case of baby fever.

*I was attacked by geese awhile ago. I'll give you the condensed version: Feeding ducks and geese with my girl. Sitting in the grass right next to the edge of the water. About 50 ducks and geese get out of the water and surround us. They are not shy. They walk right up to us, within a few inches. All is well, until...we run out of bread and English muffins. Squawking, hissing, and webbed-feet stomping commences. I shoo them away. My girl tries to grab their tails. Most leave. Except 2 geese. One stands behind me, and is as tall, if not taller, than my girl. I tell it 'buh-bye', and it proceeds to peck (?) my head. And my face. And flap it's wings. So I jump up. And then it goes after my girl. Pecks her arms and shoulder. WTF?

*I have a mosquito bite on the bottom of each foot. It is hell scratching my feet all day. It tickles.

*It's 10 days before Christmas and I am NOT EVEN CLOSE to done with my shopping. Seriously, I've bought 5 gifts.

*I had just started reading All is Vanity by Christina Schwarz last week, when I left it at my doctor's office. Darn it. I've since started reading two other books, and I think I might be getting some characters confused! My mind must be tired of multi-tasking.

*I'm renting my textbooks for next semester on Chegg.com. They plant a tree for every book you rent or buy from them. How cool is that? And I actually emailed them to ask where the trees were being planted, and this time around, it's in an area of Guatemala. Fun!

*Still hate cold weather, just in case any of you were wondering. My fingers are icicles today.


My Sock Drawer

I was a child of the 80s, and also a product of hippie parents. Well, sorta hippie parents-the part where they smoke pot, share everything, and hug trees. That's neither here nor there now, but it will make you understand this (maybe?):

I had socks in every damn color. And I layered them. Remember when we used to do that? I had hot pink, lime green, dark green, highlighter yellow (just to name a few)...and several different shades of black and white. I even had polka dot ones. I also had socks for every holiday-St. Patty's day, Halloween (they glowed in the dark), Thanksgiving, etc. I thought I was hot shit. Didn't we all?
My mother was young when she had me-23. So by the time I was in middle school, she was still smokin' hot and feeling like she was 18 inside (hell, I'm 30 and I still feel 17 or 18 inside; my damn body just shows me reality every morning when I groan out of bed!). We wore each other's clothes. And my mom? She always wore my socks. As a matter of fact, years later, after she had divorced my father and lived in another house, I had casually opened her sock drawer to borrow a pair, and found that she only had 4 or 5 pairs. All white.
My mom would come into my room every day and grab a pair of my socks. She would sometimes wear hot pink ones with jeans, just for the hell of it. It was not out of the question that she would wear this one dark green Christmas pair, with red bows and bells, in the middle of the summer, just to make us smile.
Every month or so, my mom would walk into my room and dump out my sock drawer. Right in the middle of my room. And she would announce that I needed to 'clean out' my sock drawer. I would groan and whine, but I came to expect it.
I was forced to match up all my socks and fold them into one another. I had to get rid of the ones worn thin from walking outside without shoes on. I sewed up the ones with little holes on the heel or toe. Then I organized them by color. After I was done, she would buy me a couple of new pairs. There came a time when I had to put the Christmas socks in the donation bag. And of course, there came a time when I didn't mind getting rid of those awful yellow socks.
All those years, I never realized my mother was teaching me a lesson, and preparing me for my future. She forced me to get rid of things I still liked, but in doing so, I learned to appreciate what I had. She forced me to realize that nothing lasts forever, but I learned that sometimes you have to let go of something to experience something new, different.
I am still trying to learn that lesson today, as I come to terms with leaving behind my past self, and my previous homes (that I still miss in little ways), and the way my marriage used to be. I am not always prepared, nor am I always happy with the changes, but I have come to accept them, and find peace and hope in the new that replace the old.


I'll be home for Christmas

You may need a tissue. It's so very sweet though. Really warmed my heart.

Click here for video


My Love List

I realize I may be 8 months behind on this, but so be it. I stole this from Jodifur, who stole it from Jennie, both of whom have awesome ideas, thoughts, and hearts. I love them both! I have had the pleasure of meeting Jennie, and really hope I get to meet Jodifur some day! Anyway, enjoy, and feel free to steal it from me, even if you do wait 8 more months to post it on your own blog. The only requirement is this: You can't include a single person you know on your list.

I love the crisp feeling of cold on my face when I walk outside in the winter. I love the smell of a fire-either in a fireplace or a bonfire. I love the smell of honeysuckle. I love the soft feel of puppies' ears and the smell of their breath. I love orange roses. I love the smell of the beach, and how it stays with you even after you shower off the salt and sand. I love the colors of the sunrise. I love winter clouds. I love music, the feel of the bass, the melodies of love, and the rhythm of words. I love the chest-cracking pride I feel sometimes. I love books-reading them, and dreaming of writing one. I love reading a whole book in one day. I love walking. I love working out so hard that my legs are weak the rest of the day. I love the smell of vanilla, cookies baking, and Italian food cooking. I love creme brulee. I love colored pens. I love little hands and teeny feets. I love strong jawlines and cheekbones. I love when the leaves change colors. I love to stomp on them after they have fallen off the trees. I love the sound of the wind blowing through big pecan trees. I love the bray of donkeys. I love horses, and the feeling of peace they give me. I love when the sun warms my skin. I love the purr of a cat. I love memories. I love helping others. I love that I have hope, even in my darkest times. I love tequila, and Riesling wine. I love eating, especially Italian food. I love to sing, even if I don't sound perfect. I love the smell of dryer sheets. I love the feel of a brand new shirt. I love sexy bras. I love feeling sexy in them. I love shoes, purses, and accessories. I love lying on the beach, directly on the sand, right where the waves wash up on shore. I love Halloween, more than any other holiday (close second is Christmas). I love pastries, caramel, apples, peaches, pomegranates, and kiwi. I love a warm towel when I get out of the shower. I love the comfort of my bed after I turn off my alarm (never before). I love watching silly shows that make my stomach hurt from laughing. I love kids' movies and romantic comedies. I love the smell of coffee. I love Cool Whip. I love cheese and crackers, with or without the wine. I love getting massages. I love staying up late and sleeping in. I love staring at the stars, willing one to fall. I love crossing things off my 'to do' list. I love sharing a connection with a new friend. I love homemade banana pudding. I love buying for others. I love a cold shower when I am sunburned. I love floating in a pool. I love being silly and sassy. I love pulling weeds, and planting flowers. I love watching birds bathe themselves in a puddle. I love listening to squirrels chatter and fight. I love when I wake up NOT tired. I love romantic comedies, and laughing until I cry. I love the unexpected. I love dreaming of where I will be someday, the places I can go, the things I can see. I love walking down every aisle in Target. I love wandering in the woods near my favorite park. I love the sound of water rushing in a small creek. I love loud music and quiet mornings. I love sending 'thinking of you' e-cards and snail-mail notes. I love closing my eyes and counting my blessings.

That's my list.


The smell of memory

After turning in the dreaded research paper, I made my way to a mall I never go to, just so I could exchange that gorgeous dress for a different size (don't ask). Thankfully they had it, and thankfully they held it for me.

As I was walking out of the store, I was overcome by a smell that is hard for me to describe. It smelled like bacon, eggs, italian food cooking, the inside of an old oven, tomato plants, my grandfather's aftershave, my grandmother's perfume, fresh-baked bread, soapy dishes in the sink, and a crisp morning newspaper. These are the smells of my grandparents' house in New York. My grandparents who are no longer alive, and haven't been for many years.

I was so overcome that I actually stopped walking and stood in the middle of the mall. I turned around in a circle, frantically looking for a sign that would make sense-maybe someone was carrying one of those things? Maybe an older person walked by? Maybe...?

No one was around me. I sucked in my breath, trying to hold on to the smell, and tears filled my eyes.

I believe that those we love (and those that love us) visit us after they die. My mother says she has felt her mother riding home with her after a visit to the cemetary. Over the years, my grandmother has visited me in my dreams, sometimes looking as she did when I was very young, sometimes looking as she did before she died, and sometimes somewhere in between those two times. She used to visit me regularly, but over the course of the past 3 or 4 years, it is more sporadic, yet just as treasured (if not more).

I have always connected memories to smells. Orange roses remind me of a summer where things were different. The smell of chlorine is full of summer nights that never ended, splashing in the pool with friends. Cold weather & a fireplace burning are full of strong love, and lost love. Some men's colognes propel me back to middle school, while others push me towards times where I sat in my father's lap or held his hand in church. The smell of Red perfume brings me right back to watching my mother get ready for work, and stealing her makeup after she left. The smell of all different foods are attached to so many memories, I can't even begin to explain it.

I called my mother, trying to explain the smell. She immediately 'got' it. She always 'gets' me, and I am so very thankful for that. I have a huge smile on my face, realizing that she is right: my grandparents came to visit me today, for the briefest of moments.


And then.....

(No 'And then'!!!!) (Anyone know what movie that line is from??) (You don't get a dang thing from me if you figure it out) (I'm pretty sure I'm one of the only females that loves this movie, so I'm thinking Alan will know what movie I'm talking about) (Or not).

And then I fell over from exhaustion. My paper is done. I turned it in without re-reading it. Who knows what my very sleepy, 3 am brain wrote?? No telling! It was interesting material, but after soaking myself in over 100 pages of research on self-cutting, I am thinking I want to curl up in a ball, cry, and then sleep.

Oh, and eat. Lots and lots of comfort food, please.

I promise I will have more to say after I get some rest!


Uber Amazing Blog Award

This sweet work in progress (her words, not mine) nominated me for the Uber Amazing Blog Award. Thank you, dear Chibi!

And we all know how this works. But just in case:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing.

3. Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.

4. Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

I am nominating:

  1. Dynamita
  2. Jodifur
  3. Scary Mommy
  4. Lil Foot's Mommy
  5. A Round World Through Square Glasses
  6. Lawyerish

And since I can't possibly nominate every blog I love, I will just say this: To those of you who read me, and know that I read you: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for blogging, sharing your world with me, and making me feel like I belong.