Archives for October 2010

Thursday Ten: Just Give Me All Your Snickers And No One Gets Hurt Edition

1. So, yeah it’s nearly Halloween and the school Halloween parties are beginning this afternoon and I’m somewhat underwhelmed because I don’t dig Halloween. If I had to choose whether or not I’d celebrate Halloween or Flag Day – I’d choose Flag Day. I’m not sure what it is about Halloween that makes me so scroogey, but I don’t love it. I do love Snickers, though. And Peanut Butter cups. And Twix. Also: Skittles, Starburst, Peanut M&Ms. You can keep your Smarties, Whoppers, and assorted suckers.

2. Speaking of Halloween… What’s up with Trick-Or-Treating on Saturday? Not only is that NOT Halloween, but… The Michigan game comes on at 8. T-or-T should be over at 8, but those straggler kids interrupting the game? Not a good thing. (Who am I kidding? I’ll have turned our porch light off by 7 after dumping the last half of the candy bowl in some kid’s bag just for the sole purpose of being “done” with it all!)

3. I still love my green purse. It’s pretty. Lots of hugs and virtual love after that last post and I appreciate it so much. Thank you.

4. Trying to decide what song to learn next in guitar – looking for things in the Key of E to correspond with the chords I’ve been trying to learn. I think the winner may be Eve 6’s “Inside Out” (aka “the heart in a blender” song).

5. I bought some dry shampoo at Sephora the other day – the point is to somewhat extend the life of your blown out hair without being dirty and greasy. Well, the stuff I bought smells like old ladies. It works. But it reeks. DO. NOT. RECOMMEND. I’ll have to keep trying to find something else.

6. I started Christmas shopping over the weekend. Oh yes. I started with some clothes for the girls from Old Navy – they had some decent sales — particularly on pajama pants. So, I guess I’ve started shopping. With Christmas less than two months away, I figured it was time to get started. I hate feeling rushed.

7. Right now, my iPod has shuffled me to Bon Jovi. I haven’t skipped forward to the next song. Don’t judge.

8. Some new (to me) music I’m listening to this week: “Just a Dream” by Nelly and “Killing Me” by Graham Colton Band. And since I said last week that I was not a fan of Eminem and Lil Wayne and “No Love”… it’s grown on me. I woke up at 3:45 with it stuck in my head.

9. Yes. I’ve basically been up since 3:45. With Eminem in my head. No, I’m not tired… YET. Boy, I can’t wait for the exhaustion to kick in. THAT IS GOING TO BE SUPER FUN!

10. I arrived at the restaurant for book club fifteen minutes early last night. I sat in my car for awhile, and then went into the restaurant for awhile to wait for the rest of the ladies. And waited. I sat in the bar watching ESPN in Spanish and waited some more. Finally, when everyone was ten minutes late, I checked the location in my email. And realized I was at the wrong restaurant. Awesome. I finally met up with everyone – and didn’t even miss any of the book chat. (Next month’s book: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – I’ve already read it, but I’m game for hanging out and talking about Lisbeth while eating breadsticks).

A Purse Never Gave Me Heartburn

In the past several months as things have gotten a bit more chaotic in life, several people have told me how well they believe me to be holding up “under the circumstances”. Well, sure. I guess.

I’m a logical person. I am a details person. I like to try to figure out all the possible detours between points A and B, and figure out just how those detours will be navigated. I am a problem-solver, by nature.

But, I have a breaking point.

This weekend, I hit that breaking point like a speeding car hitting a brick wall at 120 mph. Don’t worry, I was wearing my seatbelt and my airbag deployed — but there was still some injury. There was some hurt. And maybe, just maybe… there was a burst of the so-called “ugly cry” (And if you look pretty crying, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW YOU. If you look pretty when you hit your breaking point, perhaps you just aren’t trying hard enough. I kid. Sort of.)

Fortunately, one of the ways I get by each day – even when all is groovy and roses and unicorns – is working out. When life gets stressful, I don’t stop. When I’m walking or running, the rhythm of my feet forms a cadence that somehow aids my brain into problem solving. Sometimes it lulls me into thinking about something else. It’s a good thing.

But, Friday’s frazzled nature meant that I poured myself a drink. And I drank it. Then I promptly got dizzy and tired and fell asleep before even reading twenty pages of my book.

And then Saturday – well, at some point Saturday I had lost one of my earrings. My grandmother gave me these earrings. I have been wearing them almost daily since receiving them as a gift before she died. They weren’t fancy – small, simple sterling silver hoops. Low maintenance – I could put them in and forget about them. For over 15 years, that’s what I did.

Saturday evening as I felt my earlobe while washing my hair, I noticed its absence. And the floodgates opened.

I sobbed and cried and sniffled and snorted.

Then I ate half a bag of Garden Salsa SunChips, went to bed and woke up with excruciating heart burn at 4:30 in the morning. [Lesson learned: Sun Chips are awesome. In moderation. Half a bag? NOT moderation]

Sunday, I woke up feeling heavy hearted and bloated (all that sodium, yo), but resolved that I would go to the mall and try to find a pair of earrings. They wouldn’t, couldn’t, be the same. But maybe I could find something.

Well… I found the exact same earrings. The EXACT SAME. They were marked down on an amazing JC Penney sale, and so then? I bought a purse too. A purse nearly the shade of green apples that I so adore. And then? I went to Sephora and tried many fragrances and picked up some dry shampoo. And then? Panera for a toasted bagel. And then? The grocery store for some apples because the kids wanted some and I will always make an extra stop when the kids want fruit – and did I mention how much I love the color of green apples?

My mom said to me Saturday when I was so upset, that my grandmother was watching me from above – smiling down at me. “Can she throw me a pair of earrings?” I replied jokingly. But, even though I’m not necessarily one to believe in “signs”, I half wonder if somehow, someway the universe was telling me to slow down and to give myself a break. Perhaps, retail therapy isn’t the most effective way of dealing with struggles, but it did make me treat myself to a little sunshine during a virtual rain. And yeah, that purse? It makes me tremendously happy. With that joyful color, how could it not?

Thursday Ten: Thinking Pink Edition

1. Today, my girls are dressed in pink from head to toe for a breast cancer awareness day at school – and in that spirit, we made some pink ribbon cookies yesterday (these are some of the prettier ones). In the spirit of all things pink, my goal is to raise $150 towards my Avon Walk goal by the end of the week. It’s a small goal – and any donation helps. If you would like to donate – even a dollar – please click HERE. I may just send you a cookie for donating.

2. While I type this, I have hair dye working its magic to (hopefully) eradicate the gray hairs that have become so obnoxious since all this stressful stuff going on with my stepson. It’s true – in times of stress, the gray hairs really seem to multiply for me. I hate this vanity about gray hair. I really dig my natural hair color – and hate covering it up because I don’t want gray hair.

3. In guitar class this week, my teacher brought up another Kansas song – “Carry On My Wayward Son” because she likes the riffs at the beginning. The last Kansas song she stuck me with was “Dust in the Wind” – and they are harder for me to learn because I’m not TOTALLY familiar with the songs (except the chorus of “Wayward Son” – but I think that’s the only part anyone really knows).

4. Did you wear purple yesterday? I loved the prevalence of purple on Facebook and Twitter – and while I know that there are always going to be bullies, I think a great step we can take, particularly those of us who are parents, is to let our kids know that bullying isn’t okay – and that our differences is what makes the world a pretty freakin’ cool place. I may be an idealistic hippy-dippy idiot (Okay, I probably am) – but I think just embracing those things about us which make us who we are is a great start.

5. In a fit of nostalgia the other day, I picked up a bottle of Mr. Bubble for Pumpkin who loves taking bubble baths. I love the smell of Mr Bubble. I’ve given serious consideration to swiping her bottle and using it for myself!

6. Last week’s Project Runway somewhat boggled my mind – given the direction to find inspiration in NYC, the remaining designers took off. Two sought inspiration from The Brooklyn Bridge, one from the Lower East Side, one from Lady Liberty and one from Central Park. The Central Park design? It was black and edgy and what-the-what? That doesn’t say CENTRAL PARK. Not to me, anyway. CP was my favorite part of my trip to NYC in April and I find it kind of mind boggling that someone spent any time there and came up with … that.

7. I finally finished reading Little Bee. Fabulously crafted, well done. I really enjoyed it… far more than I thought I would. Check it out.

8. This week’s new music…I’ve just added “Gotta Have You” by the Weepies to my music library, as well as that new Cee Lo Green “F*ck You” song (can’t help but love it). I also downloaded “No Love”, the Eminem/Lil Wayne collaboration and realized… I don’t love Lil Wayne.  And the folks at MuseBox have hit me up with a link to some new music to check out. You can give it a listen Here.

9. Finally saw “The Social Network” last weekend. Hm. You know, I have mixed feelings about the movie and haven’t read much of the press to determine how true they were to representing Mark Zuckerberg. Frankly, he was TIRING.  I don’t know how Jesse Eisenberg managed to spit out dialogue like he did – but sheesh.

10. My hair ended up kind of dark (Oh yes. I took a three hour break in writing this post, btw.) It’s alright. It’s darker than I wanted, but… I don’t see any stupid gray hair. Which is good.

Love Is Louder, And Why I’m Purple for Spirit Day

I’m not a hater.

The world is an amazing great place where people are diverse, spectacular and enriched by our differences. Or at least, in MY world that’s the way it rolls. I was raised by phenomenal parents, and my early childhood was spent in an area that was diverse, accepting and no one was expected to force themselves to fit in some pigeon hole society had created.

Or at least, that was my perception of it.

I have had so many tremendously fabulous people in my life and I have loved them all for the ways that they made me a better person just by being himself or herself. Race, religion, sexual orientation, gender… none of that matters to me. Never has. It’s not relevant. Someone’s character? That’s what shines.

I wondered how I was going to write this post today on Spirit Day. On this day, when we wear purple to support LGBT youth and strive to end bullying of these youth – I didn’t know how or what to say. I have no experience with having been bullied, or having bullied anyone. What could I possibly add to this conversation?

Fortunately, my friend Abby said it way better than I could:

I knew in my head that being gay was something many people struggled with, but I was busy with the whole being a teenage lesbian living in a girls’ dorm thing. So it hasn’t been until the past few years has something really occurred to me. These kids who are bullied or commit suicide? That could so easily have been me.

If I’d gone to a different school, or we lived in a different town, or if any number of tiny circumstances had been slightly different, I might have been one of those kids who grew up thinking that this thing inside of them should be concealed or suppressed or denied. Or killed.

But I got lucky – so extraordinarily lucky – and whatever it is that makes me gay has been allowed to grow and flourish and become an ingrained part of me that is no longer vulnerable. It makes me stronger. It’s something I adore about the hand I’ve been dealt in this life.

So now, I read stories about kids who are driven to suicide over the same piece of themselves that I find so awesome in myself. The notion is completely insane and it outrages me. Do you look in the mirror and find your brown eyes beautiful? Are they one of your favorite facial features? Go look in the newspaper. Kids are killing themselves over their gorgeous brown eyes.

I wear purple today because I support our right – YES, OUR RIGHT – to love and be loved. I wear purple because BULLYING SUCKS. I believe in Spirit Day because I hope that these kids know that there are places to turn right now – right now when there are people so full of hate and cruelty, I hope the LGBT youth know they’re not alone and that there are people who are out there loving them for being who they are.

I wear purple because I want my children to know that having an open heart and loving and embracing our friends for all their many qualities is what makes our lives better. I want my children to not put barriers on their love and friendships. I want acceptance of all people to be the rule and not the exception. And I hope to see it happen, soon.

I hope that by the time my kids are parents, this bullying stuff is another “remember way back when…?” kind of thing, and they too let their kids know that bullying someone for not fitting into some societal pigeon hole is wrong.

I’m not a hater.

Love is louder than hate.

And though I may not be wearing purple every day, my support is always there.

Weekly Winners – It’s My Birthday

Happy birthday to me.

I am the baker in the family, and it means that whenever there is a birthday in our family, I am the one who bakes the cake. It also means that I haven’t had a birthday cake in years – because I refuse to make my own. I know, I know – it’s not really a huge deal. I don’t even like cake that much (cookies, on the other hand…). But there is something about having a birthday cake.

And I’ve missed having one.

This year, my mom facilitated my daughters making a cake. The girls did everything. Everything except putting the cake into and out of the oven.

And it’s beautiful.

Today I turn thirty-four. Not 29 for the fifth time. Not 25, like my neighbor was kind enough to say.


And I kick off my year with a cake that is overflowing with love. And chocolate.

I’m eager to see what this year holds.

Thursday Ten: It’s ALMOST MY BIRTHDAY Edition

1. You heard me. It’s ALMOST my birthday. The day after the day after tomorrow. And I’m getting older and I don’t really care (much). I love my birthday. I love your birthday. I love birthdays. PERIOD. Birthdays are a complete day of celebration to me, and my own is no exception.

2. Yesterday was a difficult day for me and I made a point last night of tabling my worries and just trying to relax and wrapping my head in an episode of “Top Chef: Just Desserts”. It worked. Today, I woke up ready to try for a better day. I even did my hair and put on eyeliner – so you KNOW I mean business.

3. Somehow, all the hours we have spent in puppy training class have faded. I have made it my MISSION to get this puppy to straighten up. I’ve had it with the puppy thinking he’s king of the sofa, and I’ve had it with him picking on Pumpkin and jumping on her. Armed only with a bag of freeze dried chicken breast (ew?), I am determined to make him into a nice family dog. So far… not bad.


4. In guitar this week, my teacher started me on 12 Stones’ “Broken Road”. It has some chords that we’re working on making sound less ugly (some of those major chords are a pain. A big ugly pain). I’d never heard the song before and it’s… just aight for me. Sometimes it’s fun to learn something I don’t know, though. I like to be exposed to new music.

5. The Michigan – Michigan State game last weekend. Sigh. It didn’t go well. For Michigan. If you’re a State fan, I imagine you were thrilled. Me? Not so much. My dad calling in the midst of the third quarter to play MSU’s fight song on my voice mail didn’t help. Neither did my (not so lucky) Michigan underwear. Oh well. At least they’re cute.

6. I got school pictures back for both of the kids this week – looked at them and then put them right back in their backpacks to send back for retakes. Now, I think my daughters are gorgeous, but the quality of school pictures is often poor. The coloring seems off, and I was slightly peeved that they couldn’t take the time to brush my kiddo’s bangs out of her eyes (or tell HER to) before snapping her picture. I had pinned her bangs back with a barrette before sending her to school – by the time they had pictures, they’d also had recess. Smart. The Princess’s coloring looked so “OFF” in her pictures, her skin had an orange cast to it. I really SHOULD skip the whole endeavor and just take my own shots of the kids.

7. Did I mention my birthday was coming up? I did, right? I’m pretty sure I said something.

8. The fall colors in Michigan are amazing right now. The leaves are gorgeous reds and oranges, and it’s like driving through an amazing tunnel of color when driving down a tree-lined road. Now, I’m grateful I only have one small tree, so I can embrace the beauty without having to rake it all up – but man, it makes me smile to see it.

9. Every parent has a limit to how many kindergarteners he or she can tolerate in one place. My number is somewhere less than three. Maybe two. Or, you know, just the one I have. I just got back from Pumpkin’s field trip – a visit to the pumpkin patch with TWENTY-FIVE kindergarteners. That’s TOO MANY. Not sure how that teacher does it, but, goodness – elementary school teachers deserve a big high five at the end of the day (and probably a drink too).

10. And in the interest of carrying on my good mood…. I love Michael Franti & Spearhead’s “Sound of Sunshine”.

“Here I am, waiting for the storm to pass me by…”


When my brother and I were younger, we used to play this game called “Mercy”. We would stand facing each other, clasp our fingers together and then bend the other’s fingers back as far as they go. We would withstand the twisting and bending of our fingers, the pain and tightening of our knuckles, while trying to be the one to stand tall longest, not be the one to give in. I never wanted to be the one to give up first, never wanted to be the one to say I couldn’t stand the pain anymore, never wanted to say, “Mercy.”

And I guess I haven’t changed much.


Tonight when I was on my walk, I buried my iPod’s ear buds deep in my ears (though I know you’re not supposed to do that), and set the music to Shuffle. Each song that appeared didn’t seem right to me, and I’d skip past, hoping the next song would fit the moment. The wind was brisk, the early evening sky dusky, the neighborhood quiet – no kids on bicycles – no laughter in the air, no cars whizzing by.

No songs seemed to fit.

I kept clicking the arrow, until finally I landed on Carly Simon’s rendition of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. And I stopped. My stepmother had this album when I was a kid – it’s from Carly’s “Coming Around Again” album, and she somehow mashes up the children’s classic that we all know with her song from the movie Heartburn, “Coming Around Again”. Something about her voice, the familiarity and the childlike optimism of the song paced me through until the song was over and I began my mad search for the next song.


Right now, my stepson is having a very hard time. I don’t know what is the root of it, I don’t know what the solution is – but I know the process of finding the cause and solution are not easy and it’s difficult. We’re doing the best we can. Some days are easier than others.

Yesterday was a very good day – and if you were to have talked to me yesterday, I could have given you a laundry list of ways in which my day was fabulous.

Today was not so great.

In the daily push and pull with doctors and insurance companies and therapists and school administrators trying so desperately to figure out what the best solution is for this child, so much feels like it’s out of our hands and that is a disconcerting feeling. It’s a difficult thing, to be one who is used to making things happen, to not be able to make the gears turn when you need them to.


It’s hard to write about sadness. It’s hard to write and admit that you don’t have the answers or that the load you’re carrying feels like too much and your shoulders hurt and you want to rest and for a minute just sit down with your back to a shade tree and rest in the cool cover for a minute and let the world turn without you.

But that is what I am doing this evening.

Tonight, I say mercy. I will shrug this heavy weight off my shoulders and I will sit beneath this tree. I will lean and let it support me and I will give up what is turning over and over in my brain and for just a few hours, just…be.

And tomorrow will begin again. Tomorrow, we start over. Hopefully a little stronger, hopefully refreshed and ready for another day, another try.

The Flip Side – 10.12.10

I’m pink for breast cancer awareness.

For more THE FLIP SIDE goodness, visit Linda or Kat.

Thursday Ten: BRING ON THE POPSICLES Edition

1. I’m getting sick. Nothing too crazy – just a fall cold – you know, the typical kid goes back to school and the germs have a chance to incubate and turn to a fantastic phlegm fest and the kids pass it on to mom cold. Yeah. That. I have a runny nose and a sore throat and I feel like my head is going to pop right open. So, bring on the popsicles. I cater to the popsicle-soothe-the-throat method of killing the cooties.

2. My hard drive went kablooey over the weekend. Want a rude awakening as to how bad you are at backing up your photographs? That was definitely a rude awakening. BUT, I was fortunate to have lost NOTHING. Nothing but my sanity and several hours trying to get the new hard drive up and running. I’m still finding random things I forgot to install (Adobe Reader, anyone?) – but for the most part, it’s good. And I did it myself versus paying the big box store nerds $130 to set it all back up — though I can see where it’d be worth it, what a time consuming pain in the heinie.

3. I complained about last week’s episode of Glee, but I have to say – this week’s ep was much better. I actually missed the first half (so that could have been totally craptastic, I don’t know), but when I remembered to turn the television on, Kurt was singing, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” I got goosebumps. And yeah, I DL’d the song from iTunes. My only music purchase of the week so far. His voice is ah-maze-ing.

4. Last week, we took Sir Pups A Lot (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) to get neutered. And THEN, because he’s a rowdy active puppy, he managed to pop a stitch. We noticed after this not-so-fresh smell started radiating from his incision. The vet says it’s not infected, and has instructed us to keep putting Neosporin on the surgery site – but WHOA NELLY – that’s one stanky dog.

5. Last night, I watched two episodes in a row of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” (HEY! I’m sick, I can be lazy if I wanna). If ever there was a reality show after my own heart – this is it. Nothing but desserts FOR AN HOUR (actually, plus some – last night’s ep was long).

6. I really DISLIKE the “I like it…” Facebook meme. I am a tremendous fan of raising money and awareness for breast cancer, and love all endeavors to think pink and make people realize just how serious this disease is… except… How does the location of your purse do that? If you would like to raise awareness, there are other ways to do so. My heart is with two of my friends who will be walking SIXTY miles for breast cancer this weekend. And I’ll be walking forty again next summer (as always, feel free to click this link and donate to the Avon Walk).

7. Because I have teh cooties – I decided today I would up my water consumption, by… A LOT. I filled up my 32 ounce water bottle when running errands this morning and I DRANK IT ALL. I then hit every stupid red light on the way home. Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to hydrate.

8. Last night at 11:59 p.m. was the deadline to vote for ArtPrize. It was a VERY difficult decision for me, and I was torn between Beili Liu’s “Lure/Wave” and Mia Tavonatti’s “Svelata”. Both were tremendously amazing pieces of art – both moved me so much. BUT, I only had one vote. I’m not telling you which one I voted for (well, unless you ask – in which case, I probably would), but it was one that I kept returning to. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I am grateful for the weeks we get to spend immersed in art and the opportunity to expose my kids to it. Brings me huge joy.

9. My list of books I want to read keeps growing and I get so frustrated because just when I’m finally getting caught up, I go to the library to return some books and leave with four more. I love reading. Currently, I’m reading two books: Lit: A Memoir (P.S.)* by Mary Karr and Little Bee* by Chris Cleave. Little Bee is our latest book club pic and I haven’t gotten far into it yet.

10. This weekend: Michigan versus Michigan State. Kind of a big deal in this neck of the woods. GO BLUE!

*Affiliate links

Scents and Sensibility

Sometimes when my sister has been around, if we’ve gone shopping and she’s ridden in my car, days afterwards, I catch the scent of her perfume lingering lightly on the upholstery or on my daughters’ clothes after she’s hugged them. It’s a beautiful fragrance and it’s distinctly my sister. I’ve never smelled Chanel Chance on anyone else, and so it’s a scent I associate with my sister and only my sister.

It’s beautiful.

Meanwhile, I wear fragrance sporadically. I mean, I work from home, no sense gussying up for myself. I feel wasteful wearing perfume when I’m not leaving the house and suddenly I have a bottle three quarters full and three years old and the fragrance doesn’t even seem to feel like ME anymore.

My most recent fragrance (three years recent) is a splash by Marc Jacobs and it felt lovely in spring and summer months – for autumn and winter? It’s not…quite…right.

So, I’ve been ON A MISSION.

I went to Sephora, seemed a good place to start. While there, I did their in-store fragrance finder (which differs somewhat from their online fragrance finder), and after telling it I liked to wear blue jeans and liked long walks on sunny days, it recommended Burberry Brit. Its notes are

Italian Lime, Icy Pear, Green Almond, White Peony, Sugared Almonds, Amber, Mahogany, Vanilla, Tonka Bean.

Now, I don’t even KNOW what a TONKA BEAN is, but it’s actually a lovely fragrance. Is it for me? I don’t know – I think that White Peony may be too strong – I’m not a fan of florals.

Another Sephora Junkie I know recommended the Fresh series of perfumes. These actually sound more “me” – but I have yet to check them out.

I want something classic – something I can fall in love with and live with for a long time. Something I can wear in ripped blue jeans and something I can wear when I’m dressed to the nines. Something I can wear while I’m sitting at home in front of my laptop and something I can wear when I’m on a class field trip. I need something versatile. I need something fresh. I can’t stand cloying, overwhelming fragrances. It must be light, and wearable.

And most importantly, it can’t make me pukey.

So, tell me – do YOU wear a fragrance (and men who might be reading: YOU ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM THIS QUESTION!)? What is your fragrance style (sporty, fresh, romantic, floral, spicy, etc)? What are your favorite scents? And MOST IMPORTANTLY, do you have any recommendations for me?