Posted in 2020, all about me

Happy Fall Y’all

image courtesy of momdot.com

Happy Fall! FYI that’s Fall as in brisk mornings and changing leaves, spooky decorations and bonfires (unless you live in California), hot chocolate and pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING, not “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” You’re probably too young to remember that particular commercial (lucky you).

After two months of 70 hour workweeks my side gig is finally coming to an end. I have tons of free time, which should mean that I have time to clean, write, catch up on Lucifer and This is Us or just Get Things Done.

Instead I’ve taken up a new hobby, and I’ve been spending far too much time drawing (my husband has nicknamed me Simon).

But as Suziespeaks pointed out, it’s the final quarter of the year, and the hell that is 2020 is finally coming to an end. It’s entirely possible that the new year will bring a fresh level of hell (how many levels did Dante say there were?), but I intend on starting 2021 with a clean slate – and a clean house.

Weekend #1 didn’t go entirely as planned. I was going to prep the livingroom for a new coat of paint, but decided to take a daycation at the beach instead. The water was finally warm(ish) and The Girl and I were able to swim and boogie board and search for shells while The Man watched the Sooners get trounced.

Sunday The Girl worked as a PA on a friend’s movie and we watched football with socially distant strangers. I was sad. Not because The Girl was working on a movie and I wasn’t (that’s a lie. I really miss being on set) but because the Chicago Bears forgot how to play football. I’m not sure what they were doing on the field, but I wouldn’t call it football (yeah, yeah, I know – the Colt’s D is #1 in the league. IDC)….and don’t get me started on the Lakers. I mean hellooooo – Jimmy Butler is just one guy. The five of you can’t stop one guy? (fingers crossed that tonight goes a little better).

Sorry. This post wasn’t supposed to be all about sports, but OMG couldn’t just ONE of my teams have won? It’s probably my fault that they lost – the universe wanted me to paint.

My point (yes, I have one) is that I want to spend the last quarter of the year Getting My Shit Together.

If you haven’t done it by midlife – why start now?

Oh goody, it’s the EIC. How I’ve missed you – not.

(EIC sulks away)

Wow. What a pouty hormonal B (the EIC, not me – although it applies to me as well…and the Girl. Sometimes I feel sorry for my husband – but he can be a pouty hormonal B sometimes too.)

ANYWAY. When I first got sent home (way back in March. April sometime this year) I thought “oh, I can use the time I save not commuting to tackle the garage and give the house a coat of paint” (I’m not sure how much tackling and painting I thought I’d get done with my extra hour/day, but that’s not the point) – and here we are, half a year later, and I still need to tackle and paint (which has nothing to do with bait and tackle, but coffee has kicked my ADHD into overdrive).

So I am trying to get organized – going through closets and drawers and tossing anything that doesn’t “spark joy” – all I have left are a pair of sweats, my supersoft robe, a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates.

I’m also going through files on my computer (not that I have any personal files on my computer, because we’ve been warned about that)…and I came across a document from eons ago – back when I first started blogging and was trying to “find my niche.” I knew that I couldn’t be Erma Bombeck (sigh. If only…) but I wanted to help new mothers survive the wilds of suburbia and parenthood with sanity (mostly) intact.

I was having a hard time coming up with a name for my blog, and although I love “Twisting Suburbia – Tales From the Skewed Side” my first tagline was a little darker:

Twisting Suburbia – Putting the F-U in fun, and the FUN in dysfunctional.

I have to admit I’m a little sad that I didn’t use this one:

Because I’m a B*tch – confessions from a mediocre aunt and a horrible mother

The document also includes a list of games for exhausted mothers/fathers/siblings/babysitters. The following games should give you 5-15 minutes of “free” time. Time to go to the bathroom, or take a catnap or cry softly while adding some Irish to your coffee:

  • Hide and DON’T seek
  •  The quiet game
  •  Statues (note – never touch/unfreeze the frozen player)
  •  Post-apocalyptic planet: everybody’s dead. Dead people don’t move. (Please note – this game may be hijacked by older children playing post-apocalyptic zombie apocalypse, but never fear – you can outrun a zombie, unless it’s one of those zombies from World War Z)

Full disclosure – I played hide and don’t seek with my brother. After about 5 minutes he would come looking for me.

“Why aren’t you looking for me?”

“You’re such a good hider – go hide again.”

He would play for at least 15 minutes, and I know of at least once that he fell asleep while waiting for me to find him.

I tried playing Hide and Don’t Seek with my daughter – when I told her to “go hide again” she rolled her eyes and walked away.

So, tell me  – what’cha doing with the rest of the year? How do you plan to “start fresh” in 2021? I’d love to hear from you (and not just because reading comments is better than painting the livingroom).

And for those of you who missed it, here’s the Life Call commercial that everyone mocks:

Posted in life in the hood

How to Have a Baby

young-sad-couple-scared-shock-surprise-reading-pink-positive-pregnancy-test-overwhelmed-panic-pregnant-girl-looking-69717534[1]Please note – if you came across my post in your search for “How to make a baby”, please keep looking – this is not the blog you’re looking for…..

When I first started blogging, I planned on filling it with tips and tricks to surviving suburbia with sanity (mostly) intact. I wanted to impart my new-mom wisdom to women who might be panicking after peeing on a stick. I’m no longer a new mom (not even close) and, as the mother to a teen, I’m longer certain about the wisdom – but I have a whole slew of half-written posts just begging to be finished. Read on if you dare:

What makes you think you’re pregnant?

a. you’ve been throwing up ever since the condom broke (please note, it takes a while for morning sickness to begin – nausea can be a normal reaction to a lost or broken condom, especially if it was a wild night of drinking that led to the wild night of passion).

b. you’re so exhausted strangers think you have narcolepsy (see notation for answer a).

c. it’s been several weeks since your wild night of passion, and both a and b apply.

d. you’re craving strange foods (as well as things that might not normally fall into the “food” category).

e. your sense of smell has developed to the point where you could be used by a narcotics officer or the bomb squad if their canine partner takes ill.

f. c, d & e apply and you feel fat (this is fat as in “can’t button my fat jeans” fat, not the “trying on a bathing suit in a dressing room” fat).

g. your breasts are incredibly sensitive and are so huge that men no longer make eye contact.

h. you feel great, better than you have in months, but you have a sneaking suspicion that something’s not quite right. This is your developing “mommy sense” (aka mother’s intuition) – mommy senses are more accurate than spidey senses and should never be ignored).

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So you think you’re pregnant, now what?

It’s time to kill the rabbit (please note – “The rabbit died” is just a phrase, and there is no longer a need to sacrifice a cuddly little rabbit, even if the future father is married and no longer returning your calls).

Why you need to have a baby:

  1. Because you want to get married.
  2. Because babies will give you unconditional love.
  3. Because babies are little bundles of joy, and every post-delivery day will be filled with love and laughter.
  4. Because your life is meaningless/broken/empty and you need something to fix all the problems.
  5. None of the above.

If you responded to the question with anything other than “5”, please don’t have a baby. Get a dog! Get a cat! Get a goldfish (FYI you don’t have to take a goldfish for a walk).

To be honest, I can’t think of any reason that a person NEEDS to have a baby. You need to eat, you need to sleep, you need shelter, you need to breathe (as an asthmatic, I am reminded of this need on a semi-regular basis). Do you need to have a baby? Nope. Well, maybe. Some people have parenthood on their dreamboard (I wasn’t one of them). If it’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing – by all means, have a baby. If it’s not something you want to do, don’t let society/friends/strangers/family members convince you that you’re being “selfish” by remaining childfree by choice.

The Rabbit Died, Now What?

First, and foremost, take a piece of advice from Douglas Adams and DON’T PANIC.

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Next, re-take the test. It’s not unusual to get a “false positive” response on the drug store tests.

Take it again. And again. Take it so many times your local pharmacist thinks you’re running a women’s clinic out of your garage.

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The next step is of the utmost importance – I cannot stress this point enough – if you make a mistake here, you will regret it (trust me on this):

Tell your significant other/spouse/partner/baby daddy BEFORE you tell anyone else (I’m serious. Evidently men don’t like finding out from posts on social media)

One last suggestion, from someone who’s been there, done that, bought the postcard – pretend you didn’t read the test results, and have your last sip of wine/beer/shot of tequila. My mom and her friends smoke and drank through their entire pregnancie(s), and I/we turned out ok*. Trust me, it’s going to be a long 10 months (you read that right – 10 months, not 9)

Coming up in tomorrow’s post – the one thing you should NEVER do when you’re pregnant**

*we also rode in cars without seatbelts and drank from the hose – pretty sure our parents were trying to kill us

**couldn’t help myself. I HATE those 8AM reporters who warn me that “something in your house could kill you – news at 11!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging U, life lessons

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

day9[1]My brain has been fried by stress and lack of sleep, but that’s okay, because it’s Friday (I can hear you groan from here). Fried brain resulted in lack of ideas for today’s title (full disclosure – my original post HAD NO TITLE. I’ve updated it thanks to the notification that LittleFears liked ”  “)

It’s also Blogging Fundamentals Day Nine: Get Inspired by the Neighbors. Yesterday’s lesson instructed me to “leave thoughtful comments on four different blogs.” I spent time exploring the blogosphere and discovered that I’m not the only one twisting suburbia.

Lauren Mucklow reminded me of all the weird changes that come with being pregnant – she hit most of the highs (and lows) of pregnancy, but missed one of the strangest symptoms – my sense of smell became so acute I could have gotten a job with the DEA sniffing out contrabrand (any other moms experience this, or was it just me?).

Danelle Bruder reminded me of how I became an accidental mother. Like me, she never wanted to be a mom. Like me, she “liked kids well enough I guess.  I had a niece that I adored but my own kids, that wasn’t for me. No freedom, sleepless nights, sticky hands, snotty noses? Ugh, no thanks.”  And, like me, she has grown to love motherhood. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the “Terrible Twos” are far easier than the “Terrible Teens” because teens are crazy.

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And Thrive Global offered excellent advice on what I should tell my insecure teen. The post included great life lessons that this not-teen should remember. including the fact that perfection doesn’t exist, that you should be careful with the words you use to describe yourself and a reminder that “teens often just want their parent to be that safe person, where they can express how they feel without having their feelings denied.”

But it was the most recent post from Must Be This Tall To Ride that resonated with me. Resonated, hell, Matt’s post shook me to the core. He wrote about the importance of actively demonstrating intentional love and patience towards those we love.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “My friend/child/spouse/family knows how I feel – they know how much I love them” – and you’re (probably) right. But, as Matt pointed out, “We grow numb to the things we feel All The Time. We grow deaf to the things we hear All the Time. We grow blind to the things we see All The Time.” We start sleepwalking through our lives, and we start to take things for granted.

I have yet another confession to make (this is the third this month – if it continues, it might behoove me to convert to Catholicism): I take my teen for granted. I take it for granted that she’s polite, that she’s a good student, that she has a generous heart, a loving soul and that she’s becoming a Responsible Adult (better her than me).

I take it for granted that she is a good person. So I don’t tell her often enough.

We had a fight the other day. She did something that we didn’t like, and we told her why we didn’t like it.  She responded by talking back, and the discussion rapidly escalated from “constructive criticism” to slamming doors and stomping feet (and that was just on my part).

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Fortunately we have a Talking Chair. A safe place in our house where people are allowed to voice their side without fear of repercussion. She told me that she felt like we are picking on her because we only bring up things she’s doing wrong, and that (at 18) she should have the right to voice her opinion, without sitting in the Talking Chair.

She had a valid point, but I was still mad that she no longer feels the need to do things the way I want her to do them simply “because I’m the Mommy.”

Then I read Matt’s post. He reminded me that I should “actively demonstrate intentional love and patience toward my favorite person in the world. She is my life’s greatest gift. And it’s pathetic that I get angry with her and speak to her in ways her young mind might interpret as me saying she’s not good enough, or communicate that I’m not immensely proud of her.”*

I was flooded with guilt and embarrassment. I wanted to move to another post without commenting, but I wanted him to know how much Always Something There to Remind Me meant to me, so I left a comment instead. I confessed (that’s #4, for those of you who are keeping track) that “Our daughter is 18…and we still have fights. Just the other night, we had a particularly nasty one. At one point she said “I feel like you’re always picking on me.” Your post reminded me that I need to remember to praise her successes more often than I correct her “flaws”. She’s a good kid (a great one, TBH. We’re very lucky) and I think I’ve taken it for granted.” 

I’d like to be able to say that I’ve learned my lesson – that I’ll no longer take people/things for granted, that I’ll remember to praise as well as punish. I’d like to be able to say that, but I’m aware I’m only human. Instead, I promise I’ll  try.

Yoda would be so disappointed in me.

*Matt has a son, I’ve taken the liberty of adjusting the pronouns in my post

 

 

Posted in Blogging U

Still Skewed After All These Years

confession[1]I have a confession to make – I’m a procrastinator perfectionist with ADHD – which means that it takes me forever to start a project and I don’t always finish it. Evidently I am not a very good dult, but who wants to be one anyway?

This is my third attempt at “Learning the Fundamentals” from Blogging U. I believe that the third time is the charm. If nothing else, at least I’ve made it to Day Two: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline. It’s a small success, but progress is all about the baby steps.

My original Title/Tagline was Twisting Suburbia/Stories From a Skewed Soccer Mom.

When I first started blogging, I wanted to write about my life as a reluctant soccer mom. I started by confessing that I was an accidental mother who never intended to live in the suburbs and avoided the PTA like the plague. I wanted to tell stories from the skewed side of suburbia – to tell stories about women who didn’t quite fit the image of the suburban soccer mom, and provide tips on surviving the perils of parenthood with sanity (mostly) intact.

The good news is that they’re out there. The rebels and the renegades, the artists and mischief makers – the anti-Stepford wives who refuse to drive minivans and go drink-or-treating with their pack at Halloween.

The bad news is that I’m an inconsistent writer at best, and Time is a wibbly-wobbly thing. Life has wooshed by and The Girl has become a dult, despite my best efforts to keep her from growing up.

She’s too old for soccer. That’s a lie (evidently I’m a lying procrastinator perfectionist with ADHD). She still plays, but she’s outgrown the need for halftime and post-game snacks. I am no longer a suburban soccer mom, reluctant or otherwise.

Today’s task proved challenging. The Powers That Be tried to help by suggesting that for a fun, personal title, start by listing some adjectives that describe you, or play with quotes or book titles you love.

Adjectives that describe me? Procrastinator. Perfectionist. I considered changing my title to The PP Princess but was worried that it would limit me to readers who enjoy golden showers (besides, I’m not a princess, I’m a queen). I’m still twisted (as my friends and family will tell you) and I still live in suburbia (heavy sigh) so the title stayed.

The tagline needed to change. I came up with a list:

  • Twisting Suburbia – musings/life/rants from a skewed point of view
  • Looking at the world through skewed colored glasses
  • Because we can’t all be suburban soccer moms
  • View/visions from the dork side
  • Adventures/Rantings/Confessions of a reluctant soccer mom
  • The View from the skewed side
  • Scenes/Stories from the skewed side

And then one of my personalities suggested Tales From the Skewed Side. I love it, because it’s a riff on Gary Larson’s Tales from the Far Side. I love Gary Larson. As a graduate of the Mentally Gifted Minor program (a precursor to the GATE program) this one was my favorite ‘toons:

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It could also be considered a riff on Tales from the Crypt.

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I loved Tales From the Crypt when I was a kid (as well as the Tales From the Cryptkeeper TV series), but I’m not quite goth enough to carry that one off.

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Welcome to the skewed side-the dark side may have cookies, but we have Red Solo cups.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in four letter words, the daily post

Time is….time

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image courtesy of katehilton.com
I know that I promised that I would try to write on a regular basis. I’ve been meaning to write more often, but somehow, I never quite seem to find the time. I’ll try to do better. I promise.

When I read this morning’s daily prompt my heart started racing, my palms got sweaty and I started crying.* Then again, as a woman who is in the midst of The Change, most of my mornings start that way. FYI, I’d much rather Be The Change  than go through the change. BTW, what exactly am I changing into? My husband tells me I am becoming a witch (at least I think that’s what he said), but I’m hoping that it’s something more fun, like a mermaid or a unicorn.

 

thO2YO85JL

 

ANYWAY, I was a little more emo than “normal” this morning  (whatever THAT means).

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Today’s prompt was yet another reminder that my daughter is going to enroll at our local college this fall. When our daughter was born, friends, family members and even complete strangers told us “She’ll be grown before you know it.” I laughed, because I could vividly remember how long it took me to reach 18 – it was an entire lifetime away!

I’m not laughing now – the crazybusy schedule that comes with senior year of high school doesn’t leave me time to breathe, much less laugh. We have pictures to take and performances to see and parties to plan and winter and prom dresses to buy and applications to file and OMG SHE’S TURNING 18 IN TWO MONTHS!! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!

It’s Time’s fault. Einstein said that time is relative. I say that Time is A relative. He’s that weird relative who always ruins the party. You know the one – the one who brings up politics and/or religion or corners your cute friend in the corner after he’s had one too many martoonies. He’s more than weird. Time is an asshole. He races at supersonic speeds through moments of joy (my wedding day was a blur) and slows to a crawl on Mondays. My most awkward and painful moments are completely frozen in time.

I suppose it’s my fault. I’ve been wasting time, and he hates that. Lewis Carroll reminds us that if we keep on good terms with him, he’ll behave.

“Alice sighed wearily. ‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’ `If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.’ `I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice. `Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’ `Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’ `Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!”Lewis Carroll

So thanks, Daily Post, for my moment of panic. Fortunately, I was able to move past it by researching today’s word. OxnardDictionaries.com tells us that

en·roll

[inˈrōl, enˈrōl]

VERB

enrol (verb) · enrols (third person present) · enrolled (past tense) · enrolled (past participle) · enrolling (present participle) · enrolls (third person present)

    1. officially register as a member of an institution or a student on a course:

“he enrolled in drama school” ·

Well, that wasn’t helpful. Now I’m panicking about the “enrolling in college” thing again….

I did a second search and came across enroll.com – it’s a resource for parents, students and educators. You can search for schools and scholarships, look for and become an online tutor. I felt all my stress melt away when I found this one-stop shop…until I clicked the registration link and got a 404 error.

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image courtesy of blog.inkyfool.com
 I think the only way to reduce stress from a 404 error might be a 420….

I just realized that I have spent far too much time talking about time (and the lack of it). For those of you who have been following along for a while (THANK YOU!) – I owe you an apology for this third (fourth?) post about this four letter word. I promise that I’ll move on to something completely different…if I can find the time ;-D

As for the rest of you, welcome to the party, and don’t forget – tempus fugit. Whatever you do, don’t blink!

*Ok, I didn’t really cry, but I DID get all verklempt.

So tell me – do you get along with Time? What’s your secret?

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

Bullying and the F Word

th[1]When The Girl was in 8th grade, she was targeted by Mean Girls. She was lucky. Not because she was bullied. There is nothing lucky about it*. According to nobullying.com/causes-of-suicide/ “Teenage bullying is one of the leading causes of teenage suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death in young children.” My daughter was lucky because she was targeted by a handful of Former Friends, and the bullying consisted of them telling her “We’ve never been your friend” and running away when she approached. While the loss of a BFF can be devastating (at any age) it does not compare with the stories that make the rounds via social media or breaking news.

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Image courtesy of keyword-suggestions.com
I had no idea. I mean, I knew something was wrong – my usually cheerful, gregarious tween became curiously quiet – but, when pressed, she would only say that she was “tired”. Her mysterious fatigue (which we blamed on a growth spurt and hormones) only lasted a week. It wasn’t until one of the other mothers greeted me with “I’m so sorry that Lauren’s having problems in school” and suggested I pick up Queen Bees and Wannabes that I knew there had been a Serious Problem. When I confronted discussed the situation with her that night, she shrugged “It’s no big deal. I’m not going to be friends with them in high school, so why should I care if we’re not friends now?”

“But why didn’t you tell me? I’m your mom! You’re supposed to come to me when you have problems.”

She gave a slow “no comment” blink.

“Because I would have gone to school to kick a** and chew bubble gum….”

She smiled. “…and you are all out of bubblegum.”

Seeing that 8th grade is far behind us, you might be wondering why I’m bringing this up now. Contrary to what the EIC says, it’s NOT because I’ve been unable to come up with a topic for a post for days weeks months. My daughter went to camp last week.

I know what you’re thinking (I do! I’m psychic! No, wait – I’m psychotic. I always get those confused) What does camp have to do with bullying? Did she go to a special anti-bullying camp? No. I don’t know if they have anti-bullying camps, but if they do, they should include karate or self-defense classes (please note, WE DON’T HIT!) Was she bullied at camp? No. Did she flip to the dark side and bully kids at camp? Also no. Did she have horrible flashbacks and wake up screaming in the middle of the night? Not that I’m aware of, although when she was little she did have night terrors. Did she run through camp wearing a plastic mask and screaming “Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake – run, bullies run!” While that would have been really, really funny, again, the answer is no.

According to the youth leaders, my daughter epitomized this year’s lesson on forgiveness. She stood up in front of hundreds of young men and women and spoke about the different types of bullying, and the importance of forgiveness. She warned the campers that “If you don’t forgive fully, memories and emotions will pop up when you least expect it.” She told them that she had reached out to the girls who had bullied her to tell them she forgave them and shared their responses.

“I told them ‘I don’t mean to make you feel guilty, but I want to let you know that I forgive you for what you did to me.’” The Meanest girl (the one who wanted to replace Lauren as BFF to the Queen Bee) responded with “You have nothing to apologize for. We are the ones who owe you an apology.” A second girl responded with a lengthy text message, thanking her for reaching out because “I have always felt guilty about what happened, but never knew how to approach you/how to bring this up. I knew it was wrong, but, as an incredibly insecure tween, I didn’t have the strength to stand up to the others to stop it.” Not all the girls have grown up. A third girl responded with “I think you have the wrong number.” Which would be possible except for the fact that my daughter had JUST gotten her phone number from another friend.

I am so proud of my daughter. I think it’s amazing that she was mature enough to handle the situation on her own (although I’m still butthurt she didn’t come to me). I am in awe of the fact that she was willing to share her story with hundreds of strangers, and I think it’s incredible that she was willing to reach out to her bullies to tell them she forgave them. I’m also proud of the girls who showed remorse for their actions. The F-word has allowed all of them to heal.

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image courtesy of discovryproject.wordpress.com
Mostly, I’m impressed that my daughter has a heart that’s willing to forgive, because she comes from a long line of stubborn strong-willed women who hold a grudge. I’ve spoken before about the importance of forgiveness, but the lesson isn’t sticking. Evidently I have a lot to learn, because I still want to punch the little B’s** in the neck.

*The statistic (courtesy of bullyingstatistics.com) on bullying and suicide are alarming:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths/year according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14% of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7% have attempted it
  • Bully victims are between 2-9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
  •  A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides amount young people are related to bullying.
  • 10-14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
  • According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30% of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 1600,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

If you are a victim of or witness to bullying, you can report it here.

If you or a friend are fighting thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call. Someone is always willing to listen.

**Bullies! That’s the B word I meant – could I have meant anything else? 😉

And, lastly, a song that never fails to make me cry

Posted in all about me, life lessons

Merry Christmachanukwanstice!

th2!

I know, I know, I’ve been remiss – I’m way behind in my biweekly posts (and have been for a while). Trust me, I feel really guilty (hey, I’m 1/2 Jewish – guilt is my specialty!) I’ve been crazy busy (or, at the very least, crazy). This week’s excuses are all holiday related – I’ve been tangled up in holiday lights, last minute shopping ,  holiday parties/plays/parades (not all at once). Wow. that was a lot of asides. Next year I’m finding a different way to express the voices in my head (I promise).

I’ve also been busy writing and mailing my generic Christmas letters. I know, you hate them. Most people do, but I just can’t stop myself (is there a 12 step program out there?). I started writing generic Christmas card letters when I was in college (too little free time, too many people who wanted to know that college hadn’t killed me). That was a few several more years ago than I am willing to admit to. It’s been so long ago that I’m pretty sure I started the trend (please don’t hate me). Here, for those of you who are interested, is my latest version (for those of you who aren’t interested, try learning how to adult instead).

thuukvo8ys

Happy Holidays! – To borrow from adequateman (you really need to read his hater’s guide to the Williams-Sonoma catalog) – “2016 has sucked – all the good guys died”. I beg to differ – we’re still here, and that’s what’s important. It has been, with few exceptions, a less than pleasant year – but it’s almost over, and we’re not dead yet, so here’s to not getting on the cart!

It’s been a busy year for our family – my husband continues to heal from his near death experience(s). He is 97% of normal, which is closer to normal than I am, by at least 62% (you do the math). At this point, we are just waiting for the lawyers, and then he’ll be ready to get out and GET TO WORK. It’s been nice having him home (dinner on the table when I walk through the door? Yes please!), but we’ve spent more time together these past two years than we have in the previous 29 😉

Our daughter is enjoying her junior year of high school (with the exception of all the acronyms – PSAT, ACT, SAT AAAGHHH). This year (thanks to summer school) she was able to load her schedule with electives – ASB, choir, dance and Drama2 (as if she needs help Being Dramatic). She’s also finishing her 2nd semester of ASL. She and her fellow thespians are looking forward to getting fluent enough in sign language to produce a “deaf-west” style performance (with performers both speaking and signing). She wanted to raise a steer this year for the fair, but she’s decided to wait until her senior year (if it is anything like raising a pig, I’ll be eating a lot of chicken next year).

As for me, well, I’ve been staying out of trouble (mostly). It’s taken a year, but (one year post-op, as promised) my knee is finally feeling good enough that I can run (Let me be clear. I can run. I choose not to). This year I fulfilled my dream of performing at the Hollywood Fringe festival. I played Gertrude/seamstress in a 30 minute production of A Little Hamlet. I had so much fun that I’ve actually started reading audition notices again. I’ve also returned to writing/blogging –  I actually submitted pieces to two writing contests this year (I’ll get my winning notification in January) and I’m hoping to complete my WIP before I retire die. I’m also looking forward to returning to stand up next year. In short (too late) now that my daughter is 16 and no longer needs me is getting a life of her own, I’m free to return to my BM* life.

WE spent another Halloween volunteering at the best “haunted maze” in Ventura county. If you haven’t been to Deadzone805, you’ve been missing out. But you don’t need to, because NOW THEY’RE OPEN ALL YEAR! (They are running escape mazes for private parties/celebrations). We’ve also been volunteering at the ventura county animal shelter – she walks the dogs, and I schmooze the people. I keep trying to pimp out the pitbulls, but most people refuse to believe that their reputation is just bad press.

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vicious pitbull

 

2016 has been…challenging**…for most of us. I’m hoping that in 2017 we can get off the rollercoaster and board the cruise ship – it’s time for some smooth sailing (just remember – don’t get on the boat marked “3 hour tour”).

Thank you all for you love, support and prayers – and for helping me to find my sanity when I lost it. I made a huge dent in my New Year’s resolution to spend more time with family and friends, but I want to spend more time with YOU (you know who you are). Let’s set a date!

*Before Motherhood

**F-d

May your holiday season be filled with L’s and F’s***

(Love, Laughter & Light and Friends, Food & Family)

***Or chocolate and adult beverages – whichever works best for you

th8deomehe

 

 

Posted in #blogging101

To Twist or not to Twist, that is the question…

I am several days behind on the Blogging101 “Blogging: Learning the Fundamentals” course. I thought about hitting more than one lesson a day until I’m current. I am tired, fighting a cold and have writer’s block, so it sounds like too much work for today. For now, I will work one lesson at a time. It’s nice back here. I’m so far behind I think I’m first!

Day Two: Make Sure You Love Your Title

I thought about changing my blog’s title when I realized that my blog needed a reboot. I considered it for a nanosecond (not to be confused with nana second, the length of time it takes your grandmother to realize that you are Up To Something).

images7My instincts whispered that I should keep my title, and I ALWAYS listen to my instincts.*

In truth, I could have used a guide to suburbia when I first moved here. There are books about what to expect your first year of marriage, what to do when you’re expecting, how to handle the toddler years, but I couldn’t find one on how to survive suburban soccer moms in minivans or how to avoid joining the PTA PTSA.

The suburbs are scary, even if you have some sort of experience with them. I grew up in a small town (the same small town we live in now), but after a few years in the city I was afraid to buy a house in the suburbs, and not just because the houses all looked alike. 

There were too many perfect parents with perfect children living in perfect houses with perfect yards. TBH I spent the first month looking in the closets and under the bed for my Stepford duplicate.

stepford-wives1

The good news is that, with a little bit of detective work, I was able to find my tribe – the suburbanites who don’t quite fit, the parents with a slightly skewed sense of humor, the PTA moms who wear black to back to school night, the parents who go Drink or Treating on Halloween and the suburban soccer moms who drive jeeps instead of minivans.

Suburbia isn’t quite as scary when you twist it to suit you. Trust me.

I like my blog title and tagline, but I am open to suggestions. Let me know if you think of something that would be better suited.

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*I almost said that with a straight face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

The Foulest Four Letter Word I Know

thFOZVIT6EWednesday’s post quieted my muse, albeit briefly.

You should write.

I wrote Wednesday

Doesn’t count – you wrote about nothing.

Seinfeld was a show about nothing

You are not Jerry Seinfeld

I’m not an old Jewish man? Good to know. You are my muse. You’re supposed to give me ideas.

I do. You don’t listen.

…..

Write!Write!Writewritewrite!

O

M

G

Please shut up. I would write, if I could think of anything to write about, and if I could find the time.

Ah. There’s the rub. And the topic.

Time.

It’s a four letter word, and out of all of them, it’s the nastiest. It stretches and bends, twists and turns, slows down and speeds up at random.  It slows when you want it to move quickly (during the last hour of work on a Friday, the 5 minutes before the school bell rings, and any amount of time at any mandatory meeting) and flies by in the blink of an eye.

The speed of life gave me whiplash last week, when my baby girl had another birthday. Her birthdays affect me more than my own do. I am able to ignore the grey hairs and the “life lines” in the face in the mirror (mostly because I don’t look), but I can’t deny the fact that my girl is no longer a baby – or a toddler.

My life changed when I became an accidental mother. I had just started a career in the entertainment industry (no, not THAT one) when the girl came into our lives. I told my manager that I would take “maybe a year off” to spend time with the baby.

That was 16 years ago.

It doesn’t’ seem possible. The past 14 years have been a blur. It could be because I’ve been juggling work/school/household chores, because I’m sleep deprived*, or because I’m a character in a movie montage – but I’m pretty sure it’s because Momtime is different than real time. Mom years are inversed dog years. 1 mom year = 7 real years.

Or perhaps it’s because I’ve been wasting Time. I should have listened to the Mad Hatter when he warned Alice about the perils of pissing him off.

“Alice sighed wearily. ‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’ `If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.’ `I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice. `Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’ `Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’ `Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!”Lewis Carroll

My daughter’s birthday wasn’t my first reminder that time is fleeting. I have lost too many people in the past few years. Their deaths reminded me that we need to spend less time doing the “Have Tos” and more time doing the “Want Tos”. We need to spend less time making money and spend more time doing what we love. We need to waste less time visiting with acquaintances on social media, and make more time to see those we love “IRL.”

Life is short – eat dessert first.

And whatever you do, don’t blink (and not just because there are Weeping Angels)

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So – if you could spend the day doing whatever you’d like with whomever you want, how would you spend it?

*Despite what friends/family/doctors tell you, parenthood induced sleep deprivation does not disappear once your baby sleeps through the night. The sound of my daughter’s  cough, gasp, or moan of a nightmare rouses me from the deepest sleep

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Hope, Lost and Found

OnceYouChooseHope[1]“Whoever said life is fair?”

That was my mother’s favored response whenever I whined “…but it’s not fair!” As a mother to a teenaged girl, I’ve said it more than once myself. My daughter responds the same way I did at her age – with an eye roll, a huff of exasperation and stomping feet. I understand her frustration, both with my response and the situation.

I’ve been reminded that life isn’t always fair several times in the past couple of months (more than several times, to be honest). Evidently I have a life lesson that I am Just Not Learning. I have reached a point in my life where loss is a constant. Loss of material goods (and yes, I know that stuff is just stuff, and that I can’t take it with me), loss of health (not my own, say I, as I cross my fingers, knock wood and spit for luck), loss of life (again, not my own), loss of hope. The last one is my own. My husband lost his job several months ago, and it’s been….a blessing, I suppose.

We are learning that time is just as valuable a commodity as money. We are spending less AND more. We spend less time doing things that cost money: less time watching television, less time surfing on the computer, less time eating in restaurants and shopping at the mall. We spend more time doing things that matter: more time talking, more time laughing, and more time playing.

My husband and I are returning to the early days of our courtship, when time was all we had. I am rediscovering things about my husband that (after twenty-six years) I’ve long forgotten or taken for granted. He makes me laugh. After all these years together, he can still take my breath away with a look, and he gives me hope. So I guess I haven’t lost it after all.