One Year

One year later. those words keep echoing as I was writing this week’s essay. It is about growth, acceptance and adventure. My favorite topics to write about. As you are reading this, try this writing prompt: where were you last year? what did your expectations for the immediate future include and how is the reality different? 

I realize I am curled up next to a crackling fire. My toes are heating up and the night air above me takes on an embracing calm chill. I need this now more than ever. My phone is unable to reach a call, or a buzz of bank alerts as a reminder of how close I am to failing at this. But I can’t yet define failing as every day is just a struggle to get from one moment to the next. So many people depend on me not to fail that I may have been doomed before I started. (According to my anxiety) What a year it has been. I say to the fire, and the air. Here I am, writing in the dark. Living this moment a year later than when I started this journey. Two toddlers are asleep in a tent; I hear a soft roar of their snoring as I take my sigh of relief in the form of a freshly poured glass of wine. The fire is begging me for it and I am happy to abide. This is my therapy, my happy place. My love hate relationship with the world, especially the people in it, has pushed me toward solo relaxation. No waiting in line to use the restroom or nudging my way through crowds while lost in a sea of people watching – Just me, the fire, the chatter of my older daughters and light conversation with my husband.

Continue reading One Year

The Mustang

November 3, 2011

I never felt like I wanted much out of life. Healthy children..a happy marriage..a job that pays the bills. Other than that, I have settled into a life somewhere between getting by and having a few extra nice things. Then we landed in Orlando. Our cruise was leaving out of Port Canaveral. For those of you who are like me who is pretty much Florida illiterate…that is about a forty five minute drive. We found the cheapest way to get from point A to B was to rent a car. So we found a cheap deal from Budget Rent a Car for an economy car. “would you like a mustang convertible? No extra charge..” Budget Michael asked. We couldn’t say yes fast enough. “it is brand new. Only 1000 miles. We have red or red.” he smiled.

We had a couple hours before we had to “work”. The cruise for us was work…we are doing wedding pictures. We took our break time to take our mustang out for a ride. Let me tell you something….there is something to be said for the feeling of the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your hair. I tied my scarf around my head…feeling a bit Thelma and Louise. In that red mustang I fell in love with wind and sun and the ocean. I was trying to think back on my last trip to the Sunshine State. Maybe 1995…

With my hair blowing of course my mind started to race. I am not one of those people who has a crystal clear vision of the future…and until this year I had little to no retirement fund. I knew one thing that day…I wanted one of those cars. And by that I mean I wanted the freedom that is associated with a convertible. I want to be able to just go whenever I please and have the means to do so.  Since I have not given much thought about riches or monetary things in life, I have not planned for my new found liking to cars. I can tell you this, I have always had a liking to freedom. The freedom to roam and the freedom to just be myself.  I had a wonderful trip..more stories and pics to come!

I have to tell the rest of the story. I wrote this after my first day of vacation..I just couldn’t publish it due to international data availability on the cruise ship. On the way home, I paid for the Mustang  in spades. I thought we had a ride from the boat to the airport. Unfortunately that was not the case. We had to wait until this morning when we were back in Florida. After a few unsuccessful attempts to call and $8 in slow Internet charges (dial up anyone?) and an all out-laying-on-my-cabin-floor-hyperventilating (Poor Josh), we figured it would be best to call in the morning. Let me tell you this, Budget charged us $50 for a ONE hour rental (we paid $25 on the way there). Luckily there were five of us to split the cost. Did I mention that was for an Economy rental? We were told an Economy rental would be something like a Honda Civic….not a FIAT.  Five people, their luggage and carry-ons in a FIAT is not smart..nor comfortable. (Reference: National Lampoons European vacation..enough said). Since we had to hurry to get to the airport (thanks to Budget running ONE shuttle from the cruise to their site and the long lines). The whole rental car process took one hour. (did I mention we preregistered?) So as I used my sprint to the plane to stretch out my legs that had been cramped from riding thirty five minutes in a Fiat with my suitcase, carry-on and Josh’s bag in my lap, I couldn’t help but think a little bit of riches would have gone a long way in this situation.

HIP_341677534.023159 HIP_342020899.446103


Dress: TJ Maxx
Cardi: J.Crew
Shoes: Teva
Purse: My Grandma’s
Scarf/Necklace: The Limited
Sunglasses: XOXO (Burlington Coat Factory)

The Dogs of Canada

September 8, 2011

This is a slides show dedicated to the unspoken BFFs in our lives. I am not talking about our credit cards, I am talking about our dogs. On my trip to Canada, I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed a little rejuvenation time. The four dogs that went with us, Nomi, Dard, Chewy and Finn were there for some serious doggy R&R, in their doggie way.

Little Miss Sunshine Horn

August 23, 2011

The title describes exactly my latest predicament. The horn on my 2009 Subaru Forester is stuck. Every time I turn a corner or hit a bump, the horn sporadically goes off. I have scared the crap out of a couple of old people and gotten unnecessary hand gestures thanks to this mechanical anomaly. As I am learning the hard way there are many situations that you don’t want your horn to have a mind of its own. This is true for anytime I am at Walmart, the ghetto, traffic, or anywhere else excessive horn blowing can result in gunshots or possible death. Another example, when I had my two and a half year old niece in the car. She had finally shut her eyes for a much needed cat nap. My plan was to carry her in the house and let her rest for a bit. I turned into my neighborhood..holding my breath. HONK HONK!!! She shot up startled and I started going thought the usual punch the horn routine until it started to die down.
Then of course there was the most embarrassing church incident. I decided to take the kids enjoy the most beautiful and holiest of experiences. The St.Teresa monastery in Mill Creek park has often been one of our family’s past times. We enjoy the nice outdoor and quick mass given by Fr. Madden with the backdrop of the park. The kids can be a little less proper then in usual indoor church and I can relax a bit.

I had my two girls and my niece in the car. Running a bit late I hurried through the speed trap of my small town (honk!). Waited at the red light with my dad on the phone making sure I had the exact street names for the mass (honk!). I entered the free way (honk!). Trying to hurry but maintain my responsible parent driving, I got off on my exit (honk!) made a right up the hill (honk!), down the bumpy ghetto street (honk, honk!) and into the park. As I turned toward the old house that is the church, I could see the patrons sitting outside and the opening music of the mass had stared. I see my dad waving me over to where he was going to sit. So I pulled forward toward him, over the gravel road (honnnnnkkkkkk!!!!). I started to try to hit the horn again to get it to stop. People had turned my way. What felt like an hour of honking was actually only a minute and I desperately wanted to leave my honking machine behind. But of course I was on the “no parking” area. Let me just take this time that it really fries me when I see people parked in a fire lane at church. If I see your car in the fire lane you must be either (a) handicapped or (b) pregnant or (c) have a baby carrier, baby bag, and possibly a toddler in tow. I do not accept that as the spot you park in when you are running late and don’t want to park in the second parking lot of late comers. I have a permanent spot in the late comer’s parking lot due to my inability to be on time anywhere. Also- while I am on that subject…when you come out of mass filled with the Holy Spirit, ready to do good for the week, wouldn’t the first thing be to let a stranger in the turning lane instead of “pretending” you don’t see someone hopeful to inch out? just sayin.

Anyway, so here I am…contemplating on the most unholy of parking spots…the not so parking spot spot. If ever this was the time..I had thee kids (but no baby carrier). I was late (my fault) and my horn was broke (Satan’s fault). I let my principals and the look on my dad’s face get the best of me and I pulled around to where there was a man directing a mini van into a parking spot. The mini van had backed into the spot. All instincts told me to do the same…except the number on the clock. 4:22 (my clock is fifteen minutes fast to try to help me to be on time. never works. actual time: 4:07). So I pulled into the spot as normal and was about to get out when the little parking man appeared next to my window. “ma’am, you will be able to get out much better after mass if you back in”. Crap. busted. I looked at the van next to me. They were still getting out..there was also the little parking man, another man and my dad all looking at me. no pressure. I am terrible at backing in..especially with a small audience. So I pull forward. reverse. pull back. take up two spots and straighten out. And you guessed it…HONK!!! I waved to both the people in the mini van and the little parking guy. They probably figured I thought I was Miss America or something because they did not even crack a half of a smile. Then I unloaded my kids like the little old woman who lived in a shoe. We walked toward my dad..trying to forget the horn incident. “I am coming Papa” my niece yelled in her usually cute but church has started two and a half year old voice. We arrived just in time to catch the end of the homily (for you non catholics…that means mass was at least a quarter through).  After mass, we got back into the car, waited for traffic to clear out (as of course no on would let us cut in line), headed out of the park (honk) through the ghetto (honk, honk) over the freeway (honk) and right home (honk).

As my sister was laboring through the birth of her second child. I was at the Subaru dealer hoping for a quick fix to my honking problem. I almost cancelled it and went straight to the hospital…hoping she would have the baby conveniently on my lunch break…but there was time. I could probably take the car in, grab lunch and my camera, come back to work for an hour or so then go to the hospital around 3. I pull in the dealer (honk) give the guy my keys, sit down and get ready to read a magazine when I get a text from my mom. “She is 10 cm and the doctor is on the way”. HONNNNNNKKKKKK! (the ear piercing sound of them testing my horn which went on for a good three minutes). “some one’s kid is probably playing in a car” said the old man next to me. No one else seemed to notice. There was no way I could get the keys back and make it in time to the hospital. So I settled for the see you later text…waited the 45 minutes to hear that the part would have to be ordered and I would have to be hornless for two days. So I got in my car (silence) pulled out of the dealer and on to the busy street. (silence). I accelerated toward my street when an old guy in a red car pulled out right in front of me (silence).

Whats up with that

August 18, 2011
after a long day of reading

I am back. Went over the Canadian boarder and back for the first time in my life. Last night, I got to (for the first time in my life) see Niagara Falls. It is stunning. If you have never done so, I recommend doing it at least once. Also bring an umbrella. And be glad you didn’t see in the news someone fell off the falls until you returned home.

The falls were stunning

I am happy to be home safe and sound in the good old US of A, but I can appreciate the beauty of all things Canada…especially the metric system. (does that make me un-patriotic?) I have missed my daily dose of writing therapy. For five days of no technology I used my original blogging medium…my journal. The pro of using a journal is that it is easier to transport than a laptop…you can staple stuff to it (I like to cut out outfits from magazines) and it is OK to get water on. (or in my case beer). While in Canada, I did the one thing I enjoy most of all…laid next to water and read. (1.5 books!). So after five days of relaxing..its back to real life. More pictures and stories to come. Like many things (including my texting fingers) my writing is a little rusty.

Each night featured an amazing sunset

Now that I am back and my batteries are fully charged, I can reflect on the vacation. It was like the good old days how generations before us entertained themselves…when they weren’t walking up hill both ways to go to school. When someone had a was the smartest person and not the quickest iphone that answered. Names were forgotten and movie titles were left unfigured out…like the days of our childhoods. Did I mention all meals were prepared by someone not working at a drive through. Canada was different than real life….there were different complications (the toilet will not flush and my stomach is gurgling). It was basically summer camp for grown ups. There is no time out or “no TV” rule if they don’t comply. There is the canoe of shame. this is a method when children are fighting over who doesn’t have to ride with mom and dad and then you both end up having to sit there in silence while we row extra slow and lay on the guilt extra thick.

Since we were void of all technology and there was a good amount of us we had to rely on old fashioned entertainment…cards, games, puzzles, books, booze, etc. During a marathon of go fishing Olivia wanted to play another game (maybe something she could win). A game dawned on us…a game she would be good at..something that required less skill and more improvise. That game is called Bullshit.  For those unfamiliar..the point of the game is to rotate cards to throw down (2 through ace) and if you don’t have the card when it is your turn then you pretend you do since cards are face down. Then if the others don’t believe you, you get called out..bullshit! If there was ever a game at any point in time ever perfect for a single person…than it was Bullshit to Olivia. And of course she couldn’t get enough of that game. First she rotated sitting on some one’s lap being their help, by the next day she was a full player. First the name was changed to BS so we didn’t have kids yelling out obscenities (it the old fashioned equivalent to WTF). Then we started saying like “Liar” then my personal favorite “whats up with that. (think SNL mock talk skit..”whats up..whats up with that!”)

I cant help but to draw parallels from the card game Bullshit and real life. I want to be able to use the Bullshit card when raising children. Yes Mommy my room is mommy I didn’t hit Layla…Bullshit. Life should hand you a bullshit card. You should be able to call out with Liv would be so much easier. Its funny…the game she loved so much on vacation describes her best. The part where she used her birth certificate and cant remember where it is..(bullshit) the part where she is telling other kids about the time mommy and daddy took her to Florida (bullshit). Or the time where she came home from school with a stomach ache..only to convince her Papa to take her to Burger King for lunch. (more bullshit). So I guess when you spend a good amount of time pretending to be telling the truth…a game of lying suits you best.

 I had a wonderful time..and of course we took over 500 pictures.. I am going to spend what little is left of this evening going through photos. My TV is not happy to hear I managed to survive…it has now distorted the color and smells like it is going for suicide by burning.

Fisher Woman

Boating woman