Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who is that?

When I use to work as a server for a local restaurant a co-worker and I would often joke about our "multiple personalities". We even had names for them, mine was Katrina. The reason for this, well, for anyone who has never worked as a waitress or bartender I hate to break the news but those perky servers who seem all too happy to give you your soda without ice, salad with extra croutons and no onions or carrots, everything on the side of your plate, water with extra lemon every two minutes, aren't so happy to oblige. Actually, sometimes we were, but for the most part not really. So at the table it was "Oh, sure - what ever you want - that's no problem - of course we can do that" and  as soon as we walked in the kitchen it was a different story that went more like this " Oh, sure of course that's not a problem I am so busy I can't breath but I will take the time to pick your [curse]carrots out of the salad mix - of course I can [curse] do that unless you would like to do it since you are just sitting there and I am running my [curse] off ". And so the multiples were born. Maybe we used them as coping mechanisms to make it through the night and maybe they were just fun and funny to talk about it.

Recently a friend of mine asked me some questions about my blog. Which reminded me of my old friend Katrina. I have a crazy morbid sense of humor at times. In fact one of my favorite things in the world to do is laugh. And I especially like to laugh at myself, I do some crazy and stupid things from time to time. In this blog I have tried to spread some of the knowledge I have learned while working in my current field and my life experiences and as a mom. So while I like to laugh, I like to have fun and I especially like to look at the little mistakes in life and even some of the big ones as funny and a lesson learned, I also have a heart. I sort of like to think of it like this, constipation and hemorrhoids. Both I have heard are painful. Yet when people talk about either of them they somehow work in a joke or two, and it's funny. So, while not everyone may get my sense of humor, I think most people can relate to my sense of compliance to help others.

 I am compelled at this point in my life to make a difference. I actually want to help change how others view things. So I am not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, my multiple Katrina is long gone and for now I am honestly just writing things that I think are important enough in life to mention and get the attention of anyone who will listen. I don't expect to change the world  but maybe my words will help a few people, and maybe they will change the world somehow.

Life is so difficult at times, it can be tragic and sad, it can make some of us want to give in and give up. There is one thing that we all have inside and it's free. A sense of humor. Why not use it? There is a television show where people send in home videos of people falling youngest son laughs the entire time it is on. The show has been on for years, people think it's funny when others fall. Laugh, but while you are laughing, reach out to help them up.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Second Glance

Three women walk into a coffee shop. One of the women is Jewish and the other two are catholic. The women sit at a table with 4 chairs. Trailing behind the women is a boy with a disability. Sitting at the table next to the women are two men. With the two men are two boys with disabilities. One of the boys is African American. Sitting at another table are three elderly men. The men can't seem to take their eyes off the show occurring around them. The boys are making loud noises, jumping, dancing, putting their legs up in the air (including the boy with the women). 

This scenario reminds me of the millions of jokes out there that begin with things like:

Three women walk into a coffee shop...

Two Irish guys walk into a bar and sit next to a rabbi...

A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Minister walk into a bar...

Three nuns in a church on a hot day...

A sailor and a priest were playing golf...

In the first scenario there isn't a punch line. Because it was an ordinary afternoon for some people. I wonder how many of the above jokes started out as an ordinary afternoon?  And unless you actually knew the women personally you would never know how to differentiate between them all. Unless of course the women were wearing symbols of their religion like a cross or the star of David. Just some people sitting in a coffee shop.

How many times have you been out somewhere in public and noticed someone different, someone of a different ethnicity or who was dressed differently, someone with a disability who looked/spoke/walked etc...differently, someone who was just plain different? Different? Isn't it funny that we are all so different in so many ways, yet some of us find it hard to accept these differences? Why is that we all want to conform to the ways of those around us [I admit, I do it] I even tell my children to do it.

Many people find it hard to accept something that is different to them. I can remember the first time I entered a classroom filled with physically and mentally impaired children. My heart raced. I couldn't imagine how I would ever be able to work there. In fact, I am sure I went home and announced that I couldn't do it.  After some time it was second nature. I guess my point here is that no matter how "different" others may appear there is usually something [even if it's small] that we have in common. These differences eventually become ordinary.

Next time you are out and you see someone who is different maybe it wouldn't hurt to look at what you may have in common instead. You might be amazed at how your perspectives change.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just Do It!!

Christmas parties, holiday joy, family, friends etc...It's that time of year. The time of year that should bring out the best in us. The time of year when we feel the spirit of the christian world coming together to celebrate a great day. Well, maybe...I am trying [really I am] to concentrate on the joy of it all. It is just so difficult with the demands that have been placed on us by society [especially for families with children].

So, my 7 year old's Christmas list has changed probably 20 times and he has included on it an ipod touch, a Nook, PSP, X-Box with Kinect and about 20 different games and various other toys. Then there is my 17 year old, a new laptop, and other very expensive gifts. I CAN'T afford to be the mom who gets it all. My children will return to school after break to find friends who actually do get it all. [curse those families]

Where do we draw the line? There has to be a line. [right? there should be a line if there isn't one!] So, once again here comes the Santa lies, here comes the pick and choose game, here comes the financial struggle, and there goes the spirit.

I will somehow afford to purchase some of the items. And will just explain that life isn't about getting everything we want. [not an easy concept for a 7 year old] I just wish I didn't have the pressure of it all.

My next thoughts are with the children whose families can't afford to make that one big purchase. And the children who return to school after break to hear of their friends who did get it all from Santa. Last year after Christmas I worked with a child who actually asked me why Santa didn't bring everything on the list. HOW THE [curse] do you explain that? This child got one toy. Not a big toy. A simple one toy. And guess what, the child was happy with that toy, until school.

 I can't let the holidays slip away without putting my thoughts out here. PLEASE DONATE!!! PLEASE!

 I can go on and on with very sad stories, but I won't. I am just going to simply ask that you look for a local organization and donate. And, both of my children will be donating as well. Maybe explaining the idea of not always getting what we want, will be a bit easier. [again the Santa idea pops into my mind and how to explain that to my son who still believes] Curse that jolly old man![ I have to think about this one some more].

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jingle all the way!

Many times in life I have been faced with some major moral dilemmas. I have once [ok, maybe twice, or more] used a little saying that guided me through some really difficult times, [I am a little embarrassed to say this but it's funny so I am saying it] "when in doubt-throw the truth out". Yes, I did... HOWEVER, as I have grown as a person and found that this little saying hasn't really helped much, in fact it made things much worst at times I have changed my motto. Now, I can honestly say [yes, honestly] that it is a lot easier just to tell the truth. No cover ups, no back tracking, no excuses, just plain and simple truth. It's easier. And, with the craziness of my life at times making things easier is just the way I need to go.

With the little exception of Santa and Jingle [our elf on the shelf] and well, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, The Birthday Fairy [that one I made up, she decorates our bedrooms on our birthday and leaves a small present--again, a lot of work], when someone asks "does this look ok" and I say "Yes" even if it doesn't, and well anytime I can spare someone’s feelings, I tell the truth even when it is hard to do. This brings me to my thoughts on Jingle. At first the concept seemed awesome. It was cute. It was a little incentive to get my son to follow some cardinal rules in life, however, I am questioning all of it now. I don't want to take the fun out of it, I just can't help but to think what did I do? Jingle is one more cover up, one more lie, one more thing that my son will eventually know I lied to him about. Will he grow to think "what else has this woman lied to me about"? Will he just think it was fun while it lasted? Will he appreciate the hard work I put into moving this thing around my house nightly for a month? And most of all I wonder why I decided to allow an elf to dictate the behaviors of my son? Really I have lost control that much? I need a pretend elf to hold over his head to tell him to behave? Same with Santa, same with the rest of the clan of pretend people who sneak into our home and leave gifts.

I have to put it out there that the little guy is also a creeper. Those eyes follow me! I made the mistake of telling my son that the second we took him out of the box and I had to take him out [not him because he can't touch him or he will loose his magic] that Jingle made a kissy face at me and winked. Yes, a "kissy face". So now every time I look at this baby faced little devil I envision him puckering up and and blowing kisses, not to mention the wink. What the [curse] have I done here? I am now paranoid, my son is paranoid and asking me to talk to this thing to tell him specifics about his life!!! If this all isn't the definition of insanity I don't know what is! HOLY [curse]!

After a restless night and exactly one week of little Jingle in our home, I have come to the conclusion that 1. I can't tell him it isn't true now because there goes the whole concept of every other magical creature in his world. 2. I can't stop moving him because he will think he did something wrong. So I am left with 3. While it can be fun [if I stop over analyzing it] I have to stop using these magical people to control behaviors. I HAVE TO CHANGE not Jingle, not Grant, and I don't have to ruin the innocent fun of it all. I just have to set boundaries as I have prior to Jingle and I have to stop reminding Grant to behave because Jingle, Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and yes even the Birthday Fairy are watching. I have to explain that he needs to behave because it is the right thing to do. Just like I remind myself when I am faced with a moral dilemma, little lies to bring out some fun, little lies to make others feel better, little lies to protect the best interest of someone’s self-esteem.

With my new found outlook on Jingle, I will enjoy the fun of it. And it really can be that simple. As for him making those kissy faces, NO MORE!!!

The most important thing I have learned from my week of insanity is that when something doesn't feel right, change it. Change is the only certainty we have in life.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for many things. I can sit here and list a million thanks. I am not going to start there. What I am going to do first is list what I am not thankful for.

- I am not thankful for the insanity I witnessed at WalMart on Thanksgiving night at 10:00PM. WHAT the [curse] were the people who run that store thinking? If you say a sale begins at 10:00 PM do not open the store early and allow people to get "tickets" and camp out until the sales times. Yes, there were people literally laying in aisles with pillows etc...Here is another point - why weren't they home enjoying Thanksgiving with their families? People said they were sitting at that store from 5:00. Ok, I was there, but it was 10:00!!! NOT 5:00! So I am not Thankful that the retail industry has ruined a Thanksgiving tradition of shopping for my mom, my sister and I at 4:00AM on Black Friday.

- I am not thankful for the feathers I found still on my turkey before I cooked it.[ I couldn't eat it].
- I am not thankful for not being able to have a glass of wine after a long day of cleaning and cooking and eating because I had to drive to WalMart only to find the horrible mess of insane shoppers.
- I am not thankful that people have not learned it is not polite to expel bodily gas in public, especially in an over crowded store where you are waiting in lines shoulder to shoulder, back to front.
- I am not thankful to see that somewhere the spirit of Thanksgiving was lost in a world of retail insanity. 
- I am not thankful that I found it necessary to participate in this mess [NEVER AGAIN].

My lesson here: I discovered that the best part of my day was looking down my table and seeing all of my nieces and nephew, my mom and step-father, my sister and brother-in-law, my brother, my boys, my fiance`s children and him. We gathered for one meal, we ate together, we laughed, we enjoyed each other. My sister and her family drove 4 hours to do this [that's love]. I learned that the best part of the holiday isn't how much you spend on the meal, the preparation, the time you eat, or even what you eat. It is being together. 37 minutes of a meal, made me the most thankful sibling, mother, fiance, daughter, friend and person in the world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Hairy Situation.

My best friends and I recently went to dinner for my friend's birthday [Happy Birthday Shannon]. It was a great night as always. We ate, we drank, we ate, we laughed, we drank, we laughed, we laughed [you get the point here]. If there is one thing I can count on that does not change in this world EVER is that when my girls and I are together we laugh. We always have fun together [ALWAYS have and ALWAYS will].

We were merrily enjoying our time together and our dinner, when there IT was. IT can mean a few things here- either the thing of the night that makes memories- the thing of the night that left us all laughing for the entire night - the thing of the night that left us with a personal joke for a long time to come [maybe forever] - the thing of the night that left us feeling like who better to share this moment with than each other. IT in this case is a hair. One long blonde hair [thank GOD I have Brown/Black hair]. One hair that was pulled out from my poor, poor friends mouth just after she took a bite of her food and had just exclaimed how wonderful and delicious her meal was. Just after we all exclaimed and bragged about our meals. Just after we all shared bites of our meals with each other, including hers. IT, was not only the thing that made me laugh until my stomach hurt but the thing that made another one of us ill [sorry Stacy but you did look sick over it]. Thank god my friend took IT with a grain of salt as she often does with most things in life [I love that about you Rachelle].

IT was her bee. Her bee in her drink. She did not fuss over it. She simply whipped it on the floor. [As Lori interpreted IT "she flung it like it had a dead weight on the end of it"]. She didn't even want tell our waiter. We all laughed wildly at this one hair, we laughed so much the waiter looked at us like we had 10 boobs each [admiring yet confused]. One of us did tell him [Thanks Dionna, at least he knew he weren't an anomaly and the Babe got a free drink].

IT could have been handled in several unpleasant ways. But IT was not. A joke, a good memory and esp. a great laugh. My point here... [I am getting to it] we all have learned specific ways to handle different events in life. Her way seems to work and I like that. I admire that. I on the other hand do not always deal with every event this way. So IT has taught me a lesson, laugh at what can be laughed at. Enjoy the humor in it. Worry? What a useless emotion. IT will remind me of that when I worry about getting everything done. IT will remind me to take a moment and re-examine the whole picture. IT will remind me to look at the positive. [sometimes, But I am going to make this a real effort].

I am sorry she experienced this, however, I am glad I was with her. [wishing I had a glass of wine to raise here] Here is to good friends, good memories, good laughs, and looking at our own IT's in a different way. Life is so funny, isn't it?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The last time I posted I asked for comments regarding my decisions as a parent, and found myself questioning my role as a parent. Not long after I submitted my post the whole horrible news regarding the victims of the Penn State Scandal came out. I am not going to go into all of my feelings here, I can only say as a parent and an advocate for children's rights and for those who can't advocate for themselves I am sick!!! (enough said)

As I have said numerous times I live in a small town. Every Sunday there is a local newspaper printed with local news, current events and there are some really great articles. In this weeks edition of the Sunday Dispatch, Ed Ackerman wrote an article that I felt answered my question about my parenting style. In this article he stated some very important things that I have to share. He qouted Thomas Hardy in the book Jude the Obscure (I have never read this book but would like to based on this qoute) "The children of a time are the responsibility of all of the adults living at that time". Also, Mr. Ackerman talks about how while his daughter was growing up he would buy her girl scout cookies rather than allow her to go door to door selling them, and how different it was from when he was a child. How his wife was able to walk with her families business banking at the age of 10 or 11 free from harm, and how his parents "never shirked from their responsiblity to protect me, even and especially when it meant protecting me from myself". He also noted that his neighbors, teachers, clergy, etc..."never hesitated to reprimand me and never worried that they might be sued for doing it. But they also never hesitated to look out for me and believed it was their responsibility to do so". And finally I would like to point out that Mr. Ackerman also wrote " In the future, if civilized people look back on this time, our time, and say it was a horrible time to be a child, then they also must say it was a shameful time to be an adult".

Upon reading this article it made me think about what I had posted previously. It made me realize that maybe my last question about "what is wrong with society", is that it is us. Maybe as the adults we need to step in and set limits, ask questions, stay informed, remain open, talk. Maybe just talk. Maybe just open up and say it no matter what the consequence is. Talking to our children, their friends, their parents etc...Which leads me to another important point in my life. As a child one of my best friend's mother's came to my house and asked me to go for a walk. On this walk she talked to me. She gave me advise and she cared enough to take the time to do this. (at the time I was a resentful brat who thought I knew enough about the world to make some really bad decisions...oops sorry about that) My point here, was she did reach out and as an adult I appreciate it. I have had the opportunity recently to tell her this. And I am grateful that she was there.

So thank you Mr. Ackerman. You answered my question. I am not crazy, I care. And I will continue to do so for my son's and their friends and any other children I may come across, regardless of the opinions they may draw and regardless of their reactions. Because for those of you who knew me way back when, if this stubborn, hard-headed girl could grow to an adult who looks back and appreciates and learns from all of the efforts of the adults around her, one could only draw the conclusion that it does make a difference.

Saturday, November 5, 2011



I am asking my readers/followers to help me out here. I am open to critique and criticism. I will not be offended by any feedback. I WANT real/honest/true responses. PLEASE...

So, here it goes. I am a mother of a teenage son. And I have been accused of being "overly concerned". Please continue reading and post comments I NEED some feed back here.

Is it really so wrong to worry about my children? As a mother I just can't help but to worry. I worry a lot. I think I do a good job of drawing the line between insane worry and real worry [well for the most part I keep the insane worry to myself. Yeah maybe worrying about them catching on fire at a camp out, or that a common cold could lead to some sort of terminal illness, or the pierced ears could lead to an infection that I won't know about which will ultimately lead to paralysis might be a bit insane. But I honestly do keep most of that to myself] My teenage son is graduating from high school, he is very independent, however, I have many issues with many things that go on with him. I really do try to keep things to myself unless I feel they can actually happen. My perception of what really can happen and what REALLY CAN happen may be distorted at times, but we live in a crazy and cruel world. However, in my defense I work in a profession where I see many of societies worst things. And if I can prevent any of them from happening to my boys I WILL...So here is a small list of things I have worried about with him this year: 1. He had a job as a flagger for a road crew, MILLIONS of worries here, but the top were a) hit by a car; b) mean people throwing things at him including lit cigarettes leading to severe impairments; c) heat stroke. [thank GOD he hated it and only lasted 5 days. End of my worries] 2. The next week he had another job on a construction site [worries begin] a) he will fall while they are pouring concrete and he won't get out; b) he will fall on a concrete spike and it will go through a major artery; c) he will love this job and decide not to go to college. 3. GIRLS...they have come and gone. He has had some broken hearts and broken some hearts, and I don't know which is worst. Also, I worry when he is happy because I am only 36, and that definitely is not old enough to be a grandmother. 4. What the [curse...] is he doing with his life???? 5. Drugs.  Alcohol. Drugs. Driving. Sex. Motivation. Drugs. [ you get the point on that one] 6. Back to the drugs, here is a quick scenario of a recent situation. He was in in school. He fell asleep. School officials and nurse had trouble waking him up. I was called. I arrived at the school in about 15 min.s which was preceded by a phone call to our family doctor at which time I put a request in for a full toxicology screening [both blood and urine, yeah that one called for almost immediate call back from doctor asking why? I am sure they think I am crazy. So maybe I don't need honest feedback here. I admit I over reacted a bit]. Brought him home, had conversations. He fell asleep. He woke up remembering nothing [Needing to know if he had taken something or if it was a medical issue. See the crazy wasn't so crazy after all]. Doctors appt. was made. Test were completed. Confirmation, he is not on drugs. However, leading to this test were non-stop conversations about telling me the truth [I do trust him, BUT, maybe just maybe he didn't tell the whole truth]. Leading to him asking how many times a person has to say something before I believe them? Leading to him torturing me with questions about crystal meth, crack, cocaine, and marijuana showing up in tests [ his little way of getting back at me. This worked. I thought he was on drugs for 2 days. I should have grounded him just for that!!!]. At any rate the test was sprung on him unannounced and he passed. [maybe a bit crazy here, but I had to know]. So, EEG 's and other tests, unexplained situation. Leading to me worrying that he will pass out one day while working or crossing a street and get severely hurt...See my anguish here?  And finally, the latest worry. Halloween. As a senior he had to dress up for school. I Love Halloween. I extended my offer to help get him a costume. He refused. I LET IT GO...I did not push him to let me help. The night before Halloween I asked if he got his costume. He tells me, yes, he is borrowing a costume from his friend. A Morph Man costume. For anyone who has not seen this costume it is basically like a "blue man" suit. One piece, spandex covering your entire body, hand, face. I looked shocked over this. His whole life he has dressed in scary awesome costumes. He even won contests in some of the costumes I have put together. So, I leave the room. I go back and explain in calm terms to him my issues here. " this is a loose - loose costume for a 17 year old boy". " No matter how you attempt to wear this costume, your [ so yeah I really said this to him, because there was no nice way around this], JUNK, will be revealed. Leading to problems. Either people will judge you on the size of your Junk if you let it hang out there. Or if you tuck, people will think you don't have anything. IT IS A LOOSE LOOSE COSTUME". I work in schools, and let's face it, kids are cruel. And that costume is an advertisement for trouble. So, his response " I AM 17 I WILL WEAR WHAT I WANT TO WEAR". I walk away. I do not continue to argue. And all this leads me to think, maybe I do worry too much. Maybe he is correct to some degree. He is 17. And maybe I am projecting responses that may not occur. So, I decide not to even ask if he wore the costume and how it went. I back off. [ I am so curious, but I won't ask. And I still hold the opinion that it's a terrible costume. Sorry if that offends anyone. I am just's terrible]

I often hear people complain about how hard it is to be a parent. AND IT IS!!! Where do you draw the line? Is there a line? He has said to me that I "overly care". Really??? Is that possible? I guess it is. However, again, in my defense. I care. I LOVE this boy. BUT, I try to draw a line. I am not quite sure what has happened in our world, where it is ok for high school student's to stay out all night, where girls and guys sleep at each other's homes (without a good reason, like prom or a holiday), where FB pages show pictures of teenage girls and boys half naked and their parents think that is ok. I am far from a traditional mom. I had my oldest son when I was young. I have worked very hard on establishing a very open, trusting, caring relationship with him. However, I can not be the person who sit's back and allows him to stay out all night, sleep with girlfriends, party like a rock star, and risk ruining his life all in the name of being a "cool" mom. Yet, I face the reality that parents out there are ok with all of this OR they turn their heads to it. I in turn look like the "crazy, overly concerned" mom. I am tired of it. In fact it makes me "Fit To Be Tied". While I strongly believe if parents instill morals and boundaries in their children they will use good judgement to an extent when no one is looking. However, let's face it. Society gives them the ok to do the opposite. Look at this season of Jersey Shore [ I feel guilty watching, but I do. And some of it is funny, but this season really bothered me, and that's all I will say right now. Maybe that will be another post].

I will always care. And sometimes I might cross the line. I have strong opinions in life and I admit sometimes autonomy and free will are set to the side but strictly in the name of love. So, my questions here are, How much is too much? How do you think parent's should balance care and concern with free will? Do you think parent's should allow all these pictures on face book of underage children with minimal clothes on? Should teenagers be allowed to sleep over boyfriends/girlfriends homes? Do teenagers have the ability to maintain boundaries and moral codes of conduct when unsupervised? What happened to our society????

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Trick or Treat??? In my area Halloween is celebrated by dressing in costume, going door to door and singing or telling a joke. It is often customary for the person who answers the door to say " what do you do"? Meaning -  sing, tell a joke, or something like that to the child or children who are knocking. Also, people "round here" call this "trick or treating". I didn't realize that people outside of my town did not do this until my sister married someone from outside of this area and he pointed out that he never did this. I was shocked! He never had to tell a joke or sing a song, he just rang the bell, got the candy and left. And as I write this it reminded me that as a child we actually didn't have the option of telling a joke, it was based purely on our musical talents, yes--we only had the option of singing. Also, thinking about it, I HATED Singing...I was nervous at each door. My best friend [Stacy] and I would often go together and I would kind of step back and let her take the lead. However, I still think it's fun to ask kids "what do you do"? Hey, I had to work for the candy, and why kill a tradition?

I have often referred to Halloween as my favorite holiday. I love the holiday. It's fun, it promotes family time, it gives adults a reason to be kids again. So, why don't I dress up??? I don't know? I always feel like I have to be going out to a party, or having a party. I want to dress up! Yet, I can't seem to get past my witches hat and black turtle neck. However, I do purchase different hat's. And once I even put on false eyelashes. I even wear black eye makeup. That's as far as it goes. Every year, I am a witch [my family might say that I only wear the hat once a year and that I am a witch everyday]. That's ok. If being a witch is my identity, so be it, I like things a certain way in my home and if that makes me a witch, OK...[just a little witchy attitude there]. I guess maybe my witches outfit is my own tradition. It's easy, it takes a few minutes to throw the hat on, and it leaves me time to get my son ready. I guess I AM A WITCH...

So for this post I don't have any spectacular meaning, not yet anyway. Just wanted to say enjoy your trick or treating. Enjoy your candy and dress if you want!!!

P.S. Here are some jokes to pass on for the holiday...[yeah, they are all about witches..and they are funny. esp. for kids and people like me]

Who won the witches beauty contest?  No BODY.

Why don't angry witches ride their brooms?  They are afaird of flying off the handle.

What do witches put on their hair? Scare Spray.

How do you make a witch itch?  take away her W.            

Here is a great legend to share..Esp. if you are like me and wonder why the heck we carve pumpkins??? 

The Legend of "Stingy Jack"

People have been making jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o'-lanterns.[ taken from]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I missed it.

What a nice weekend I had! It was a kid free weekend and my fiance and I took advantage of our time together. We had a great weekend! We shopped, we ate, we watched reality television shows [ok, I LOVE Kim Kardashian, I can't help it!!] we napped, we hung out with our friends at a benefit for our town library. However, of course there were a few moments through this weekend that I did feel Fit To Be Tied...

Where to begin. Well first, I made it to this really cool warehouse sale for UBU clothes. Got amazing deals. And can't wait until this weekend because I just got an email notification that they are having another sale this weekend. So, after rummaging through about 100 or more jackets, I found 2 in a size that fit almost perfectly. That was my first moment of "come on" when I realized that the only size they had in the entire sale was too big. But that won't stop me from going back, [I love the hunt of a good bargain].

Second, we ate at a nice restaurant that I had not been too yet. The food was good, however, we waited a crazy long time to eat. While eating we had some wine, so that made things a bit easier to deal with. Yet, while waiting I noticed a fruit fly swarming around me. I hit it away. It came back. I hit it away. It came back. Third swat, and a swig of wine. Just then, I felt something by my nose. I put my wine glass back on the table, looked down, and there it was. O' yes, the fruit fly had flown directly into my wine glass [curse, curse, cure, REALLY AGAIN!] So, it wasn't a bee this time. It was a fruit fly.

Third, my youngest son lost his last football game of the season. I am truthfully one of those parents [of a child at the age 7] who advocates for not keeping score, for promoting having fun, for promoting learning the game free from pressure to win, and walking away from each game with the feeling of doing something as a team. HOWEVER, they do keep score. They do promote wins [by awarding trophies, play off games, Superbowl etc... yes even at age 7]. So week after week of practice and games, these poor kids did not win even one time. I felt so bad for them all. Of course I did not lead on that I felt this way, but I walked away [he was with his father this week end] feeling horrible. Horrible that I couldn't be with him, horrible that he was sad and I couldn't help, horrible that they even kept score, horrible that he felt defeated, horrible that he looked so sad, horrible that his father sent him in long underware (blue) instead of the cool matching Under Armour that I had purchased and sent for him to wear [maybe that one was a bit wrong to feel horrible over, but I did]. So later I made a call to him to see how he was. And guess what? He was fine. He didn't feel horrible at all. He felt proud that he made it through his first season, he felt "a little sad" that he would not play with his friends after practice three nights a week anymore, but he felt good because he can watch t.v. longer every night and not rush with his homework. These were his words. He felt good. Lesson to myself here...once again a child has taught me something, simplicity. If that fruit fly flew into his chocolate milk, I bet he would have laughed. I bet he would think it was funny that they fly into his drinks all the time. Simplicity.... It is truly something I need to learn more about.

I missed the point. I missed that whole point here. He did not. I often find myself doing things like that anymore. I am not sure if it is because my mind is so filled with schedules, planning, rushing. But whatever it was, I need to not miss it again. I over thought things. I missed the simple message. He accomplished something. He had fun. He likes football. So, that is enough for him. And me too. [ now that he pointed out the simple message here]. I learn from children every day. I am so lucky that they don't miss these simple messages. I am so lucky to learn from them., what a concept.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Laughing at my self... Hopefully I am teaching my children to do the same, esp. when things just aren't going as they should be.

Last night was my fiance's son's birthday. We ate at his restaurant of choice, the Buffet at the casino. Yeah!!! I HATE Buffet's, but for some reason my children and his LOVE them. So we enjoyed chicken, pasta, salad, 20 desserts or more, pizza, ribs, meats, pierogies, even potatoe pancakes. In reality the idea of getting to choose from all that is a great one. However, the food just isn't that good. And so many, many people touching the handles of everything, over eating, walking for your dinner. I just don't like it all. I always feel dirty afterwards. Anyway, we ate, we laughed, and I pretended it was the best dinner I ever had. He was happy and that is all that matters.

During dinner my younger son started his "bouncing", rolling on the booth, complaining, fidgeting in his seat. It drove me insane. I wanted to scream, but I didn't. I did try to correct it, and at that time, it didn't matter. So I pretended not to notice, and he had fun, and I guess that's all that matters.

After dinner and after the kids were in bed, we sat alone together in the living room to watch tv. I thought about the evening, and we laughed out loud about things that happened. It made me think, we need to laugh. We needed to find the good because sometimes it's hard to see. We are good in that way and often we find the positive [not always, it's not normal to do that all the time. I think...]

As a parent I often overlook and make the best of things. I think that's my job?? I don't always want to spend time at the buffet, or watching my son roll when he should be sitting and eating. But each thing we do together is a memory. And I need to make that memory the best it can be for my kids [ok, sometimes I fail miserably at this, but I do try]. Go make some good memories.... And feel free to post any here! I would love to read them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Sometimes I often wonder how in the world I manage to maintain sanity while everything around me spins in a circle of inevitable and endless cycles of mayhem. I also often wonder if other people could experience some of the same daily trials and tribulations that I do? For example do other people wake up to find grieving men in an apple tree in the neighbor’s yard? Or, men with shovels walking through the neighbor’s yard "hunting for skunks"? [no I do not live in the country] How about while eating dinner (with one of my best friends for the first time in ages) while enjoying a Margareta fighting off a bee flying around our table, after I had about 3 sips the bee decides to jump in spend his last moments of life enjoying my same drink? [of course leading to me not being able to drink it anymore. Maybe in my twenties I would have scooped the bee out and chugged it down. But not anymore] O' how could I forget the day when I was making dinner and while boiling pasta I went to pick up the pot and the handle broke off and the pasta [still HOT] dumped all over my new shirt and pants and not only scalded me but stained my clothes? Then there is the airport story where this family was traveling to Disney for the first time and the mother was besides herself with fear and anxiety so of course she found some form of comfort in discussing her life with me and when all was said and done she offered me some of her anti-anxiety medication [again in my twenties I may have taken her up on her offer but not anymore...] And how can I forget about the auction that my ex-husband and I went to and were loading an antique stackable oak bookcase with glass door fronts into our vehicle and the MR man who just wanted to help, he wasn't looking for money or anything like that, he truly just wanted to help us. But with his help came his story of a troublesome youth, and talking consistently so he was not paying attention and almost smashed the shelves [my ex- pointed out to me that he believes I am a magnet of some sort for those who are seeking advice and conversation. Maybe?]

I also wonder if other people experience running into complete strangers in ANY situation, the grocery store, a restaurant, lines anywhere, amusement parks, my children's games, schools, air planes, church picnics, and suddenly strangers decide to tell me personal and often times private information regarding their lives. I mean I could tell you things about strangers that I should never know. There are the stories of past sexual experiences, stories of daily challenges, disabilities, what they ate for dinner the night before and where they ate it and with whom they shared it with, stories of household pets, children, and yes even bathroom stories which often include loose stool.[ I am not making this stuff up. It is all factual, maybe hard to believe but true!]

When I ask people about their opinions on my getting this information I hear things like " you have a kind face" or " you smile a lot and people take that as an invitation to approach you". Maybe they are right.

I often wonder if we were really placed on this earth for specific jobs and reasons. I am an MSW, and talking is my profession. Maybe it comes out in my daily life and people sense my willingness to help. Whatever the case, I have had some pretty interesting unprovoked conversations...

I titled this posting Bees, because it made me think about the bee the night I ate dinner with my friend. That bee would not leave me alone. It just kept at me, at our table, until finally it died in my drink [ I hope it got a good buzz on before it died]. Sometimes I feel like those around me are the bees. They just don't stop!!! They just won't give up until they get exactly what they want, and unfortunately, even if I am not ready or willing to assist I have too. Just like my drink that night, I could have moved it away from the bee and continued to swoosh it away, but I didn't. I sacrificed the drink to get it to stop!

I think I would miss the bees if they stopped coming around. I think I would miss the people if they stopped talking to me. I think I would miss the chaos if it weren't there. So, while I may need just a little time to myself, and I may have to sacrifice some things to get it, I don't think I would have it any other way. If you really stopped to think about it the things in life we complain about the most are the things that make our life the most interesting. So, while we all may need just a little break [ok, maybe more than a little break at times] it's nice to know that we serve a purpose, we hold something that others may find comfort in. A friend of mine has the most amazing little boy with an amazing sense of imagination, and he has begun to speak gibberish to her pretending it is another language. While I understand how it can be annoying to her after an hour or so, I can hear in her voice how humorous she finds it. And guess what she and I did the same thing as children. So, I tried it again after talking to him. And it's fun! Maybe we all need to just take some time to speak gibberish when chaos finds its way back around us! Laugh. Giggle. Speak gibberish. Learn another language, embrace those who seek our ear. After all, it is all in the way we perceive it. I am just saying...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Did you ever notice when you first try a new food that you really like a lot, or buy a new pair of jeans that fit just perfectly, or watch a new television show and LOVE it, or go to a restaurant for the first time and love the music the atmosphere and the whole experience, it feels so great that you want to eat, wear, watch, and go there again and again? Now, how about that completely amazing, butterflies in your stomach, can't eat, heart racing, 2 hour prep. time first date? Remember how it made you want to do it again and again[I mean go on the date again and again , not IT again and again, however, that maybe the case for a first date But NOT for me of course!!!] Or the first time you knew for sure that the crazy emotions you were feeling for someone were mutual and weren't just a freaky crush on someone who didn't like you at all? Remember the excitement that brought? I once heard someone who was an addictions counselor describe how addicts become addicted to their drug of choice as a  search for that "amazing first time high" that never happens again. But does that mean that we can never, ever, relive that first time great moment with something we love? If that is the case, MY GOD, how SAD!!

On the other hand did you ever notice that the more you indulge or participate in something it eventually doesn't seem as rewarding? Maybe moderation is the key to happiness? Maybe often we are enjoying things a lot, we just don't realize it because we are so busy with other things. Or, maybe things just look different after being around them or in them or eating them often that we forget the excitement and happiness they bring.

All this came to me while I was making my bed yesterday. I purchased my comforter set in the spring and LOVED it, when I looked at it yesterday I HATED it. It made me wonder how could I possibly love this thing so much at one point in my life. What happened? My perception of it changed so much that I am now on a quest to find a perfect-warm-fall/winter set. [ Really that's how much I was sick of looking at it. Maybe I just like to shop and that is a good excuse at any rate that thing will be gone and soon] Anyway, when and how does this happen? I have seen it time and again with marriages, with relationships, jobs, cars, etc...I know it's normal and it can't just be me, well I think so anyway. Which leads me to the next question, why has it never happened with my mom, siblings, best friends and children?

I LOVE MY FRIENDS!!! ALWAYS!!! BFF's! I can't imagine my life without them. I have no idea how anyone could survive without their go to gals, their peeps that accept them just as they are, the ones who you could tell anything too and they still love you just as you are. Not even your parents give this kind of unconditional acceptance [well this is what I have been given as a gift in life, the most unbelievable girls/women in the world].  We have been friends since the age of 5 and up. We have been through marriages, divorces, relationships good and bad, loss of loved ones, welcoming new life with the births of our children, career changes, fights with parents and siblings, parties, celebrations, christenings, and LIFE in all it's forms....We can go months or more and not see each other and pick up exactly where we left off. These girls, women, mothers, partners, best friends, are one of the things in my life where change is a constant - that I count on to remain the same. My perception of them does not change, and I love them all dearly...My life would never be the same without any of them. And words can't express my gratitude, admiration, joy, and appreciation I have for each of them [I love you guys!!! You are wonderful to me and my family, and I thank you for accepting me as a friend].

So my perception of them has not changed, my perception of my children also does not change. Everyone knows how I feel about my boys so I don't even need to express my emotions about them because I would not do justice. They make me crazy, try my patience to the limits, make me cry both tears of joy and sadness but I can't ever imagine how I could survive without either of them in my world. They are so different yet one thing they have in common is that I love them. 

Two divorces, well enough said about my perceptions there...

Family, well family is family. I feel we are better as adults than we were as children [my siblings and I that is]. My mother has given us the gift of being kind to each other, and too help and support each other, we faced many challenges as children and we are a resilient bunch. We are unconditional and far from the norm but we always have each other's back and for that I am always grateful.[Thanks Mom for making us resilient and giving us an unconditional upbringing and teaching us life lessons that only you could have taught. Thanks Sandy and Chuck for being there, being you, being the best siblings a person could have! Love you guys always and forever].

Now, I sit here writing, wondering how to put my thoughts into words and I guess it's simple. We have the power to find the good in even what appears to be the ugliest of things, we have the power to find in ourselves the "feel good" moment that we once experienced with something and use it. Maybe we can never relive that first time "great" moment, but things can still feel good. Maybe there is something comforting in familiarity. Maybe if we search for those things that can only provide us with the wonderful first time rush we waste other emotions that can be just as exciting and rewarding. And maybe we need to search for new and exciting things to a point, so that we always have something to work towards, but finding the good in daily things can be just as rewarding. Perspectives!!! They sure are a funny thing. I am just saying...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Name Game

Lockman, Crawford, Smith ??? These are last names I have used to date in my life. Yeah, 3 lasts names. As a man you are lucky to be born with the name you will have for the rest of your life, even if you marry 20X's you keep your name. [so unfair!]

My maiden name is Lockman. I actually hated this name growing up. I wanted my mother's maiden name which she eventually used after a divorce. The name isn't bad. It's strong, it's professional, it's easy to spell and pronounce, it's not very common in my "neck of the woods" and so it probably wouldn't have been such a bad name to have carried throughout my life.

In 1993 I graduated from high school, that same year in October I married thing 1. His last name was Crawford. Thing 1 was in the Navy and we prob. wouldn't have married if he wasn't stationed in California. He is and was a great person who at the age of 18 provided many things for me and our son who was born in June of the following year. I finally had a name I LOVED!!! Catherine Crawford, it sounded like a "movie star" [so I thought. I loved that name!!] I had a very difficult time changing it, not because I had an attachment to thing 1 [ who was friend throughout school, and he and his new family and I remain friends. He is a good father and a good person. We were way too young!] because I LOVED THAT NAME, when thing 2 came along and after years of dating we married in 2004. My name became Catherine Smith. At first I tried to hyphen it, I even held onto Crawford on some forms of ID. Finally, after thing 2 and I divorced and three years later I finally become legal on every document, my official name is Cathy Smith. Plain Jane, ordinary, one of the most common first and last names. BUT, I now have accepted it. My name is Cathy Smith. While it is ordinary, and I may look ordinary I am not. And my name is OK. I accept it.

Problem here, son 1 is Crawford. Son 2 is Smith. Engaged again will = another NAME....I can't do it again. I just can't play this name game. Is it wrong to own a name just for me that I won't have to change? Is it wrong that I feel like Smith is now MY name, without affiliation to thing 2. Why do I have to change my name? Why would I have to hold a different last name than both of my children who are boys and will keep their names forever? See, it's really just not fair! [leaving me feeling, Fit To Be Tied]

Is a name really that important. My fiance is understanding and liberal and flexible and has said time and time again that he does not care if I take his name, but what about documents and other important information that we will hold together, two different names?

See my issue with this name thing. Now I know that in normal circumstances, people marry once the woman changes her name and all is well until they die. But not with me. I really never have done things in order. So why start now right?

When the day comes that I marry again, I will have made a firm decision and not sure what it will be at this point. But I guess whatever I decide, I know I am who I am, that will not change. My family and friends will always know me as Cathy. And I guess that's who I am. It's important to take a stand on many things in life and keep true to ourselves, regardless of our last names. Should we feel we have to change as women, should we accept societal norms or make our own rules? Should we confirm or change? All still up in the air. Regardless, be true to yourself, as I try to do. Question yourself, but don't let others question who you are. Be you and your name is just a name. I am just saying...

Sincerely Yours,

Just Cathy

Friday, September 23, 2011

I have been thinking a lot lately about something that happened to me a few years ago. I have often thought about this single one incident, however, lately it seems to creep up on me daily. A few years ago, well at this point probably many years ago I was watching the Oprah Winfrey show. It was about following your dreams and paying attention to clues in life that lead us on certain paths to the achieve those dreams. [at least that is what I got out of it]. So, since I can remember I have wanted to be a writer. Due to life and changes and demands it is not always easy to sit down and write. And odds are that many of the people who actually do have time to sit and write don't ever get published [well, that's what I usually tell myself when I even find the time to write] which is why and how I started this blog. Anyway, I have often found myself daydreaming of my next big title, new story, how I will word it, the content of it, the ultimate meaning behind it etc....Until I get that interruption and it all fades away to the back of my mind.

About 10 years ago I started to write a book I titled "The Perfect Man". Years have past and with age and life the meaning has changed dramatically and now this story in my mind is probably much better than the original content. However, this story is still in my mind.

When I actually had time to sit and write a bit and I had just purchased my first computer [which would now be a dinosaur and is long gone] I was also a single mom working as a waitress and in college. I would never announce to strangers my goal of writing this book. Especially not one of the people who would walk into the restaurant that I was serving at the time. Especially not an elderly woman who was sitting alone enjoying an "early bird special". So, I served this woman exactly how I would anyone else, when at the end of her meal she handed me her bill with her money to pay for her inexpensive dinner and told me to "keep the change and read the note". I opened it and inside was about a $10.00 tip [Which was actually a lot, considering her meal was only about 8-10 dollars] and a note on a piece of the ripped paper placement. The note read "I was a waitress once in a park hotel I could take it 2 weeks. Just your experiences would be good material and we need writers about decent things. sp. children. Ann Halpin" Her address and phone number were also listed. I have this note now stained and dirty in a frame in my home.

I do not know who this woman was, I never saw her again...Maybe I should look her up. Maybe it's just cool to have that question in my mind. Maybe something in life will lead me back to her in some way. Maybe that in itself could be another story. Maybe?  I actually kept a vigilant eye out for her for years in the restaurant.

Over the years I have re-read this note probably a million times. It often serves as inspiration when I feel like I can't do things. This note may or may not have been my clue to the path I should be on. However, I never called or looked her up.

I went on to finish my undergraduate degree, and my MSW. I currently have a job that for the most part I really enjoy, I work with children and I love what I do. But I am still feeling like I need to do something with this note.

I have thought about continuing a series of stories on this blog, almost like a television show, and working in my thoughts on my book [which will prob. have a different title]. Anyway, basically my point here is that my fears have gotten the best of me. My own self-doubt has made me wonder if I could even accomplish writing. And again, a clue, a message to myself from myself appeared [maybe Oprah was really on to something with that show and maybe it was a message that I was even watching].

I entered an essay contest a few weeks ago [and much to my dismay I won't know anything about it uuntil January, I HATE WAITING!!!] As I was writing I changed my topic several times, and ultimately it came to me the topic was when I first discovered the meaning of true love. And if I win you will be able to read the full article and if I don't I will post my essay on here so I can complain about not winning. Anyway, I discovered while writing, that I have done some amazing things in my life and overcome some really difficult obstacles. I have achieved things I never ever ever [and know my friends have to agree here] EVER thought possible. Which leads me back to [ curse, curse, curse, Why don't I just try writing]!

Sometimes we are own worst enemies...Self-doubt! I think what I am going to try to do is write a bit of this book each week [along with my other ramblings] and move on from there. So, the point to all of this is keep looking at what you have done, and you can probably do a million times more. Dreams keep us moving forward. Motivation comes in many different forms! I am just saying...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mud = Hope = Change

My small little town was hit last week with a devastating flood. This is why I haven't posted anything in a while, sorry about that. Tree lined streets, everything in walking distance, a small little library, homes built over 100 years ago. This town is the place where I made over a decade of memories with all of my best friends who lived within blocks of my home. This is the place where I learned to ride a bike, swam daily at the public pool, drew my name in cement in front of the church, [which lead to my falling and spraining my ankle], walked the streets on Halloween and visited all of my neighbors and friends, played spin the bottle on half days, had my first kiss and listened to my friends talk about their first kisses, made a million teenage memories [some of those teenage memories I can't talk about because I would risk allowing my teenage son to know that I was from an angle]. This is the same town where my children and I live, where I have taken my son's trick or treating, taught both of them how to ride a bike and where I hope they enjoy making the same memories I have made in this small town.

Unfortunately the last week's flooding has left my small town looking more like a war zone. [I have walked around this neighborhood more than I have in the past 10 years] Trash, mud, sewage, houses in ruin. Anyone who lives in this valley and has seen the news has seen the pictures and interviews and it is not the pretty small town I am use to living in.

Through the toxic mud and garbage I also saw some amazing things. On my walks I have past the same homes with most of the same people still living in them and often heard " Hi Cathy, is everything ok?" and  "How are you and do you need anything?" and " Hey did you hear etc..." and lot's of positive thoughts and well wishes. I also heard and saw some amazing volunteer's whose efforts to help everyone is and was just amazing. I saw many of the children I use to see riding their bikes in town or walking home from school, now grown, helping their elderly parents dig out of the mud. What I felt was familiarity and comfort. The town may not look the same but it is still familiar and comforting. How could that be in this mess? This is what I came up with. Most things in life change. Change is actually the only thing in life that is a definite. Things have to change. So when you come across some things that haven't changed, it's familiar and to me familiarity brings comfort.

Change will occur around here, it is inevitable with the devastation that this town has faced. Homes and buildings are being deemed a total loss and not liveable, and so they will be destroyed. But will the people change, will they move [here comes the uncertainty]. Uncertainty breeds stress, worry etc... It can also bring excitement, optimism, and unity.

It's sad that it took this disaster for me to become more familiar with neighbors I did not know, or to stop and see how the "old timers" are doing, or to take those walks around town with my kids. Or to realize that age does not matter when it comes to finding comfort in your mom [thank God for my mom once again. My family including our dog was able to stay with her during the time we were evacuated] Or that holding on to my kids and being thankful for what I have means more than anything. While my home only had about 4 feet in my basement and the things we lost could easily be replaced, we are very LUCKY! [well lucky enough to need a new furnace and hot water heater But we did not have any first floor damage unlike many of my neighbors]

It is also a time for hope. Hope that the areas most affected will recover, hope that the historic landmarks in this town can be salvaged, and hope that once the mud is gone and the traffic slows and the utility trucks leave and the National Guard moves on to another area in need of assistance, I will find time to take walks with my son's, and I will remember to ask my neighbors how they are doing, and I will offer assistance when I see it is needed. Hope that my children have learned to do the same. Hope that my neighbors will do the same. Change may make us nervous and anxious. But it can also bring anticipation and hope. Out of the mud and out of the devastation in this small town, hope and anticipation for positive change may be just the motivation to keep everyone looking towards the future.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011



Sometimes I just need a little motivation to get me moving towards the things I want. For example, I love running. However, I need to have several road races in mind for inspiration. It helps to keep me going at least 4-5x's a week. And, I love my job. However, somedays I still need just a little extra motivation to keep me going back for more. So, here are a few of my motivators:

Dooney & Bourke  Large East/West Sac
Simple, but I love it!
From my other posts I am sure you can tell that I am not strictly motivated by material items. But, aren't these beautiful! 

Leather: Florentine The Smith Bag
This one is actually named after me "The Smith Bag". Really! I NEED IT!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover


When I walked into my bathroom the cover of one of my favorite magazines made me take a second look. At first I looked because I wanted to see the shirt on the model on the front cover. But then I remembered something that happened over the summer which made me take a second closer look. We had some guests at our house over the summer for a cookout and a comment was made regarding these magazines [I also have to admit, that I LOVE reading these things. And my favorites include Cosmo, Glamour, People Style Watch and US Weekly. I like to know the dirt on the stars, they reference many web sites, recipes, diet and exercise, what's in and out for the seasons etc...]. I never think twice about putting my magazines "away" where people would not read or look at them. I keep them in a tin on the back of my toilette in the bathroom downstairs that everyone uses [as a mom sometimes I only get those few minutes in the bathroom to read them, maybe that’s too much information, o’well]. Ok, so I had the magazines in the same place I have kept them for years and someone made a comment when some of them were not there. The comment was something like; it's good that I put the "dirty" magazines away. [YES, DIRTY!!! REALLY?] Leading me to be [here it comes] "Fit To Be Tied"! "My magazines are not DIRTY! Why would someone think that? My sister is happily married and a mother of two children AND a librarian for God's Sake, AND we share them. I give her the ones I have already read. If they were "DIRTY" she would not read them"! [Yeah that was my logic at the moment, but for those of you who know my sister, you know that if something is “bad” she is not doing it!] I shouted. "And I could come up with a million reasons why someone would have even noticed they weren't there.  And guess why they weren't there? I JUST GAVE THEM TO THE LIBRARIAN! Curse, curse, curse..." [My fiancé actually told me the comment was made, probably not the best thing he has done but as I have said in the past we talk, A LOT. And yes, there was a magazine discussion].

After some time I got over it and after some time I even almost forgot about the comment. Until, I looked at the cover, which is why I looked really closely at the cover and read each title. And guess what? [This is not easy to say] They did look "dirty" the titles of the articles looked REALLY "dirty" I won't even write them but they did [I want to write them because they are also funny but I won't I will keep this PG]. [This is really hard to say] I know why they thought this! [Oops, maybe I shouldn't have yelled like that. Maybe we need to have another magazine discussion a "part two"].

One of the articles’s in particular jumped out at me, and no, it was not one of the "dirty" ones. The article referenced how a smile could get you anything you want. OF COURSE this leads me to think a million things, which is now leading to this blog.

Looking in the mirror I examined my smile thinking, I have been given many compliments on my smile. [So, come on smile work your magic, get me the new Dooney and Bourke that I just saw the other day while shopping. Or those Uggs that I saw in one of my "dirty" magazines, or that gray quilted messenger bag. How about the black Mercedes? The trip to the Island? The long weekend away with my best friends? The Disney trip with my family? Maybe, it could help me cut 2 minutes off of my mile times and I can actually be a top placer in the next road race? Maybe it could help me get money without working? I can be on to something here. Wait, maybe I better whiten my teeth?] I read the article and disappointed I found that it listed some research information, but no real way that my smile could lead to getting me anything I really want. It did say that smiling is healthy, when it's genuine. I love to laugh, smile and giggle.One of my favorite words is Giggle. I have a sign with the word on it in my living room. It makes me and others smile when they see it. It's a good word. Smiles are important; they do make other's feel better in some situations. And they certainly can be good for many things. But getting me what I want, probably not [smiles can have a contagion effect, smiles make others feel good and have an internal reaction within our brains, all this is Cosmo. I am glad I spent a lot of money for my graduate degree in Social Work, just to read some of the same things in Cosmo!].

I know I posted about being happy for what I have. And I am. I can name many aspects in my life that make me truly content and happy. However, I still want that purse and the boots. That's realistic right? I even discussed how to get the purse with one of my best friends [I often call on her to help me with life's major issues and the day I saw that purse and the price tag, this was an issue. I am not mentioning names, SHANNON, but she has assisted me with some major things in life. Best friends since the age of 5. I have an amazing group of friends that I have known for 30+ years. I have an entire post in the works on just them. Anyway, this was an issue for Shannon and she did give me some good advice as always].

Where am I really going with all of this? Wanting that purse and those boots? Sort of. Wanting things isn’t always a bad thing. It can be just the motivation we need to strive forward and work harder. When I think about what I wanted a few years ago and what I have today, I realize that my smile didn’t get me those things. I had a goal, I had a dream, I did things to make it happen. The road I took was not easy, it wasn’t paved with slippery magazine covers that I could slide through on [ok, that may be a bit cheesy but I thought it was a funny]. We don’t always see things as others see them, and whatever it is that our heart desires may not just come to us by the flash of a smile. Things may not always be what they seem, a “dirty” magazine may not really be “dirty” to the person who is reading it, a smile may not get us what we want but it doesn’t hurt to giggle often. Someone who has many things may have worked really hard to obtain them and dreams may not really be all that hard to obtain. Maybe by the winter I will have one or both of the items I currently want, maybe I will have saved the money but decided to buy the kids something instead, and maybe it’s just good enough to know that if I really want something I have the ability to get it. And maybe having a nice smile is just a bonus. [and maybe I will turn the magazines around in the bathroom so the covers aren’t facing everyone who enters the bathroom, or maybe not, it’s a good conversation topic]. I am just saying…

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Taking another look.

So what if I woke up at 6:00 A.M. on Sunday morning after not sleeping well, and so what if I woke up my very sound sleeping Fiancé at 6:00A.M. to tell him the power was out. Really, was it that bad?

This morning we woke [Ok, I woke up first and felt the need to wake up everyone in my reach, and it just happened to be him] to the effects of hurricane Irene passing through. I know that I could not compare to those who have been stranded, relocated, evacuated, hurt, or who have suffered tragedy in any sense of the word and my sincere thoughts and prayers go out to all. BUT, waking up and not having power to me was a tragedy. How would I do my hair, where would there be enough light to put on makeup, how was I going to make the pot of chili that I have been so hungry for but because of the warm weather haven't made? What about my computer? I actually can't go on the Internet? And let's not forget the coffee. WHY GOD WHY???? These are just some of the many random horrible thoughts that were going through my mind as I woke which truly is why I decided it was necessary to wake up my Fiancé and tell him. After all for most things in this world he has a solution, so why not this one? And he did as he opened his eyes slowly and looked at me saying " Really, you are waking me to tell me we don't have power? Wouldn't it be better to keep sleeping and then we wouldn't realize until a bit later"? And he actually laughed a little at me. I will be the first to admit that if he had done this same thing to me I would be "Fit To Be Tied", no laughter at all. More like yelling, cursing and anger. I can't stand being disturbed while sleeping. I can't even stand waking to my alarm in the morning. Anyone who has tried to wake me while I am sleeping knows it is a VERY VERY BAD thing.

What would we do all day? It was not a kid weekend [my 7 year old son see's his father every other weekend and his children see theirs every other weekend, their dad is my Fiancé this all ='s a combination of 4 children ranging in age from 17-7 every other weekend, therefore this was a kid free weekend]. Usually kid free weekend's include, sleeping in, running, estate sales, drinks at the pool, lunch and or dinner and sometimes movies. Today there would be no movies, no dinner, no travel, no electricity, no [ok, I won't go on like that anymore]. After about a 1/2 hour of my insanity he looked at me and said [here comes the real solution, he is so good at that] " We will go and see if there is power anywhere that sells coffee and we will get a coffee". One problem here, "I can't go out like this", I had eyeliner smears, cutoff sweats, a t-shirt, flip flops, and a God awful mess on top of my head that I sometimes call hair. After some convincing I went, and I actually went into the store and I got my coffee. So, after hours  [at least with caffeine in my body] power was back. And I am a happy girl again. A bit tired but happy. As for him, 4:30 in the afternoon and sleeping like a baby.

Many days I do not even turn the television on if I am home alone. And I don't always feel like I have to get on my computer. But today because I couldn't I wanted it. I wanted all of it. This relates to the theory that we humans always want what we can't have. The guy who dumped us seemed so awesome after we broke up and all those phone calls that were ignored turned into strong lust and desires to just get one more chance, often when I would get this chance I would realize "we really don't click" and eventually I could less if I ever saw him again. And let's not stop with the guys who either eventually seemed to have no lips, or too big of lips, or dressed in the wrong jeans, or chewed with his mouth open, or wore gray pants and brown shoes [sorry, but that is kind of funny] how about  the food? The double chocolate cake that we know we can't eat, but when we tell ourselves we can't eat it, we have to. I actually dream of it. I can't live without it! When I give in and buy it, I eat 1 piece and I end up throwing the rest because I forget it's there.

As I sit here without the lights on, even though I can easily turn them on, and I turn the television off because the volume is so loud that it bothers me, and I did finally shower and put makeup on, without anyone here to notice, I can't help but to think " I am happy with what I have". Time for Chili! I am just saying...

P.S. Please send thoughts and prayers to all of those who have been impacted so tragically in this storm! Stay Safe!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Very First Blog

My very first posting should be something spectacular and meaningful. I have a lot of stuff running through this mind, I have so many ideas for posts that I can't wait to share. Deciding on my first is difficult [random thoughts at this moment include. I hope people read this. I hope I am spelling correctly o yeah I have a spell check.  Bees- no that's a story I want to save for a rainy day. Life, relationships, fashion. How I picked out my outfit today - maybe I should change? No- just focus]. 

So, here it first topic! Peanut Butter Sandwiches!!!

Two pieces of whole grain bread, some peanut butter, a plate, a butter knife, a paper towel, not even 2 minutes of my time. Unless of course this one sandwich is being made while making two other's. And this one sandwich leads to making this same sandwich every evening after dinner is cooked, cleared, cleaned, kitchen is cleaned (I have managed to get this system down and have it all done on a good day in 1 hour- not including cooking times), homework for my youngest son is completed for the next day (which includes games to help him focus and motivate which may or may not include me jumping across tiles in my kitchen - yeah I know that's crazy but it works), coffee is made and pre-set for the morning. Then it's sandwich time, everyone has a specific sandwich they will only eat for example (ham cheese no mayo, turkey cheese mustard,  turkey cheese mayo only or sometimes peanut butter and jelly and of course the peanut butter only) and it's 9:00 and I still have at least an hour before the house resumes to some sort of sanity. Just so I can crash and feel the burn from the entire day of non-stop motion.

This sandwich I am referring too, began one evening when I yelled into the living room over three televisions in three different rooms blasting three different T.V. shows to my Fiancé" do you want a sandwich for work tomorrow".  Of course his response was "sure, I'll have a peanut butter sandwich, no jelly, just peanut butter". From that day forward most morning's before work, he checks the refrigerator for his peanut butter sandwich. When there isn't one there, and sometimes there is not, he asks "did you make a sandwich, I'm Just Checking".  The first few times I forgot to make the sandwich for numerous reasons, I am human, I do forget things. I lived with this guilt during the day often asking myself what the big deal was about making the sandwich, the guilt soon moved on to a little anger. " It's a sandwich, why can't he make it himself?' Escalating myself into a true anger and feeling totally "FIT TO BE TIED"!

After living with this anger, we had the sandwich discussion. Yes, a true heart to heart about this sandwich [we are both therapists talking is what we do, even over sandwiches. Some really good conversations included the Paper Towel Brand discussion, the Over or Under Toilette Paper incident, and one of my favorites The Parmesan Cheese situation]. Only to discover almost an entire year later that the reason he asks, is so he doesn't hurt my feelings! WHAT? REALLY? And I could add some curses here...but I won't. The reason being as he states, I have made a sandwich that he has not taken. And I have said, " you didn't take your sandwich today" [I feel it's not a big deal I just wanted him to know I made the dumb thing and he forgot it]. Leading him to feeling badly because he forgot it. Now, some of that I believe, some of it, I don't. I still believe he expected there to be a wonderful, fulfilling, tasty peanut butter sandwich made with love and kisses every day, even if he forgot to take it. But, at any rate. Miscommunication! IT'S A SANDWICH!!! How could this sandwich lead to this?

Here is how this bread and peanut butter has made a big deal in my relationship and spiraled into my life. Expectations. I am writing because, that one sandwich made me think about how expectations form. How as a mom, a friend, a wife, a Fiancé, a husband, a boyfriend, a girlfriend [you get the picture] we place expectations on others, and when sometimes those expectations aren't fulfilled, we get angry, sad, disappointed. I have heard a famous psychologist state that it is when expectations are not met , problems in relationships occur, therefore we should lower our expectations or change our expectations. Is that healthy? Is that even fair to ourselves? I have also heard that expectations raise self-esteem, give us something to strive towards, build our confidence and make us better people in general.

Expectations in general aren't bad, they can lead to great things. Should we stop expecting, should we just accept things good or bad? Should we lower expectations? I really don't think I am someone who could that. What I can do is realize, sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich. And having some expectations on me is good I am needed and wanted. And sometimes, not that often but sometimes,  I don't want to make the sandwich! I just don't want to play the homework game, I just don't want to argue over what time to be in the house after hanging with friends, I don't want to clean, do laundry, cook, etc...but I do all of it. And someday I won't, because if all of this goes well, the boys will function on their own, and their expectations of me will shift to something else. And all that will be left to make is one sandwich in the evening and hopefully if all goes well, it will be two pieces of bread and peanut butter, no jelly. Maybe, I just need to enjoy it all while it lasts (esp. after all the work is done at the end of the day). I'm just saying...