Thursday, November 17, 2016

Son of a Bitch - Give Me a Drink...

"Son of a bitch, give me a drink" 

I think this pretty much sums up election night 2016. Regardless of candidate choice, drinks were drunk  - in celebration and commiseration. The question is - are you ready to put down the bottle?  Because whether your candidate won or lost - we're in it for the long haul.  

"Meet the new boss...same as the old boss"

Did you know only one half of our entire nation actually VOTED in the election?  And only HALF of them voted for either major party candidate?  So that means just about 25% voted Trump, and 25% voted Clinton - and 50% said "None of this is for me" and opted out.  Why? Alienation?  Discrimination?  Disenfranchisement? No matter but the fact remains that less than half of the nation felt the candidates were running "for them."  And that's pretty depressing. 

"Darkness has a hunger that's insatiable - and lightness has a call that's hard to hear"

So, no matter what side you were on - this election was ugly.  Politicians hurling mud and we the people slinging it back at each other.  Not sure about you but I was pretty tired of the whole thing long before Nov 8th actually arrived.  Everywhere I turned, there is was.  Truth and fiction intermingled.  And social media was front and center as it all went down.  The end cost?  Lack of tolerance.  From both sides. People were talking and they weren't saying nice things. Brother turned on brother, mother on child, all in the name of politics.  For what?  To say "I'm right and you're wrong?" It perpetuates half truths and serves to fan the flames and feed the hate machine.  It needs to stop.

"Haters gonna hate, hate, hate"

We've had enough hate.  Hate from our candidates.  Hate from each other.  It doesn't help. It only drives us further apart in a time when we desperately need to come together.  And while I want this post to be a-political - there is no denying that misogyny, bigotry and racism had a huge role in this election.  It's discouraging to hear people parrot hate speak.  It's really scary that the President elect has support and endorsement from the KKK - a long standing hate group.  How can we represent all the people of our country equally when our soon to be leader has given validation to backwards thoughts and beliefs that were once, and should remain, taboo?  We cannot move forward as a united country when many of our citizens are fearful for their safety and way of life.  THIS worries me, and it should worry you too. 

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men."

I am no Samuel L Jackson - hell I'm not even Jules - but I can see the road in front of us and it is gnarly.  There is no doubt  the path is littered with all sorts of inequities.  And it's our job as citizens of this country - and brothers and sisters of each other - to come together and end it.  

We have to become the righteous man.  

We have to stop the senseless and endless infighting. We have to step away from our phones, and our computers, and start figuring out how to communicate with each other. And I don't mean theoretically.  "Liking" and "sharing" posts that fit your world view to followers that also share your world view isn't taking action.  It isn't "being better" or "sharing knowledge."  It's just mindless distraction.  We need to go beyond that to real action.  It's time. 

"Well, it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe. Even you don't know by now"

So, can we all agree that we've had enough time to play the "What the heck happened" game? We've had a week plus to ask the questions, look at the stats and wonder how the noob managed to beat the OG.  And honestly - it's pointless.  

It's time to look forward.  

Let's start with "us" because that is where real change happens.  What speaks to your heart? Take that and champion it.  Donate your time, your money or your talent. Whatever works best for you.  But do something beyond clicks and shares and irate posts on FB.  

Do some soul searching.  How can you be better? Every. Single. Day?  It doesn't have to be huge - small change can make a big impact.  Strive to give your best at work.  When out in public hold doors, say please and thank you - smile at strangers.  If you see something that isn't right - speak up!  Don't let silence be mistaken for compliance.  

It's on all of us now.  Because we the people have the real power make a difference.  Always remember that the only person you can truly control is yourself.  So when frustrated and angry and feeling like it's all for not - think of that - and be the change you want to see.  

Take your passion and put it to good use.  

Take your love and give it freely.  

Take your time and share it wisely.  

We can do hard things - and we can do them together.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dearly Beloved, We Are Gathered Here Today... get through this thing called life.

1987.  I'd just turned 13 years old and received a cassette tape for my birthday.  "Purple Rain" by Prince.

This is a cassette tape!  It played music in the dark ages.

Now, we won't go into what would compel otherwise solid parents to give a 13 year old this music, but they did.  And to put it mildly - it rocked my world.

I listened to that tape relentlessly.  Every. Single. Day.  I knew all the words to every song - even Darling Nikki - though I really had no idea what he was talking about.  Still not sure I do at 42 - but that is another blog for another day.

But I loved it.  Loved it.  I was blown away by the sound - but mostly by the man.  I'd never met anyone in real life ANYTHING like Prince.  Granted - I should preface this by saying I grew up in a very rural, very white area of Upstate New York.  So - my world view was a smidge limited - but that didn't dim the wonder in the least bit.

Me in our backyard.  Just in case you thought I was exaggerating the whole "small town" thing
He was small.  He wore funny frilly girl clothes.  He had a purple motorcycle.  His music had an energy that made me sit up and take notice.  I wasn't sure EXACTLY what I was noticing - but there was something going on - and I wanted to know more about it.

My 13 year old mind was blown.

Today, that man died.  And while I haven't felt the same way about his music since "Purple Rain" - I will never forget those songs.

And more importantly - the way Prince made me feel.

He was wild and weird and just out there.  And for a 13 year old with frizzy red hair, big round hooty owl glasses and an awkwardness all my own - he was just what I needed.

Photo proof of extreme awkwardness. No further explanation needed.
He flew his freak flag high - and people fell in line and followed.  He was my first glimpse at the world outside my small town.  His soft voice carried a loud message - one that I was eager to hear and ready to accept.

"It's okay to be who you are."

This message isn't revolutionary in today's "You do you" world where EVERYONE is some sort of spectacle. This was the height of the '80s where - to lean on the immortal words of Geddy Lee - "be cool or be cast out" was the anthem.  So, to hear and see someone put it all out there - without fear - without worry - was so unbelievably inspiring.

It gave me hope that one day I could do the same.  That my own weirdness maybe really wasn't that bad after all. That maybe, just maybe, there was a place for outcasts, cast offs, weirdos, freaks, dorks and all the rest to just be.  Without judgement.  Without fear.

So - thank you Prince.  You didn't know me - but your contribution to the world made my small life feel so much bigger.

Rest in peace.  You will be missed.

Monday, January 4, 2016

To Weigh or Not to Weigh...That is the Question

Happy New Year!

2016 is here and along with it comes a hefty dose of reality.  I'm not sure about you, but I'm fairly certain I survived solely on sugar and alcohol in December. I am feeling it in January.  I know I should get serious and get back on track - and I will - I always do - but wonder if I need to enlist an old foe - the scale.

A little background.  About 2 years ago I decided I was not going to weigh myself anymore.  Just wasn't going to do it.  Mostly because for the past 20 years or so the scale has ruled my life.  The slightest fluctuations (up or down) set the tone for my day.  Lost .1 pounds?  It was a red letter day of joy and happiness.  Gained .1 pounds?  It was a truly terrible, horrible, no good day.  And so it went.  Day after day, year after year I allowed this tool to determine my moods, set the tone for my day and generally control my life.

One day I decided enough was enough.  I stopped stepping on the scale.  I figured I could determine my weight by judging how my clothes fit and staying active.  I've had mixed success.  Did you know that you can gain 10lbs and your jeans will still fit?  They may fit like sausage casings - but they will fit.  Hence the problem.  I was moving and grooving, my clothes still fit YET I gained weight. :-(

I'm back at that place again.  December is fun and amazing and horribly fattening.  I tried on my jeans and they fit in a "really tight, can't breathe and I have so much skin hanging over the top I'm grossing myself out" kind of way.

So, I realized it was time to tighten up and get back on track.  And while researching ways to get healthier I found several studies that show daily weigh ins help lose and keep weight off.

I'm torn.  I loved the freedom of not weighing myself everyday.  I felt lighter and happier and less focused on my appearance.  However, I know in my heart of hearts that I need to lose 10lbs.  And it's really hard to figure out success (yes, I tape measure, try on clothes, etc) without a scale.

What's a girl to do?

Reach out to the Interweb, of course. :-)

Give it to me straight.  Do you weigh yourself everyday?  If so - does it help you stay on track?  If not, do you weigh yourself regularly or just follow a "keep moving and it will all work out" strategy?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I've been thinking about my younger years.  A lot. My husband and I have been a couple since 1992 - I was 17 when we started dating; I just turned 41 this past summer.  It's an incredibly amazing yet bizarre experience to share that many years with one person.  To grow from child to full fledged adults. When we got together I didn't think we'd last through the summer (my track record was love 'em and leave 'em) but this was different.  He was different.

In 1995 we lived in a small walk up on Lark Street in Albany.  We were both full time students working internships without a spare penny to our names.  We had a beat up car that would overheat every time we drove it.  We would eat maybe one meal a day and it was usually cereal (thanks Cheerios).  I always worried about money but somehow - even when it was super tight and things got tough - we made it through.

This morning I heard "One Headlight" by The Wallflowers.  That song always makes me think of Albany and our time there when I worked part time as a waitress and he washed dishes on the side.  One day, after a long shift, I walked into our flat and there it was.  The biggest bouquet of balloons I had ever seen.

I stood, dumbfounded, for a minute.  Then Chris walked in, smiling from ear to ear.

"Where did you get them?" I asked.

"The park.  I was walking the dog and there they were - blowing down the street.  I had to get them and bring them home for you."

It was the simplest gesture.  A big bunch of balloons that completely filled up the small space in our kitchen. And it made me so unbelievably happy.  All I could think about was the fact that when he saw them, he KNEW he had to have them. That I would be so excited to see them floating around our little apartment. That my joy was his joy.

It's been almost 20 years since that day.

I look at our lives now.  We aren't rich by any means - but we have a nice house in a nice suburb.  Our kids go to good schools.  We both have fairly high paying jobs that afford us the luxury of vacations back to NY and side trips wherever our hearts desire in between.  Money is no longer a daily worry or struggle and when we eat cereal for dinner it's out of laziness, not necessity.  How things have changed.

Despite all the growth, accomplishments and advances we've made since then, I still remember that day with the balloons.  Where despite our lack of money we still found little things that brought us together and gave us joy.

As I prepare for Christmas and the New Year - I think of this day.  And remember how much a discarded bouquet of balloons filled my heart.  Maybe, just maybe, there is more to life.  Maybe love can be demonstrated through a simple act of picking up the pieces and presenting them as new.  That after 24 years the little things that brought it all together can come full circle.

No other gift I've ever received - before or since - has touched my heart quite that way.

Thanks for the balloons - and the million other small gestures - that brought us together time and time again.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rockin' the Prom in 5th Grade Style

I went to the prom...with my 11 year old.  Technically - it was the 5th grade "senior" prom - aka "senior citizen" which means you are supposed to bring Grandma - but since all our family lives in NY I was the only choice.  To be honest - I wasn't sure what to expect.  5th grade is a hazy blur in my mind - but I vaguely remember boys and girls pretty much avoiding each other and spending time with your parents - in public - to be one of life's great humiliations.  I was curious, cautious and hopefully optimistic that things had changed in 30 years. :-)

In preparation we bought Hayden a snazzy new outfit (and - if I do say so myself - he looked incredibly handsome) and I tried to figure out my own clothes. Honestly - what does a 40 year old woman wear to a elementary school dance?  With the help of Facebook (and some wonderful friends) I decided on a simple tunic top and leggings - though the suggestion of sparkly yoga pants and my wedding dress (from Harlyn) were also top contenders.   The day of the dance arrived along with a hefty dose of late April snow and some serious doubts on my behalf.  Nevertheless, I was determined to have a great time on a rare "Mom & Son" date night.  We headed out to dinner before hand (Panda Express - Hayden's choice) and then home to primp and press before driving over.

Such a good lookin' boy!
Incredibly - it was fun. Amazing, wonderful, memory making fun.  The kids blew me away.  The boys were so handsome - some dressed in full on prom wear (one little guy had a tuxedo with a hot pink cummerbund!) and other more "Colorado casual" like my Hayden in his button down shirt, shorts and boat shoes.  The girls were all dolled up - fancy dresses and hair, "high heel" shoes - and I could just see the future teenagers emerging in these still little kids.  Seeing them done up, looking so mature yet acting so young, just tugged at my heart.

We had pictures taken, I got to wear a princess crown (what could be better?) and we danced and jived our way through the YMCA, the Electric Slide and even the Macarena.  Hayden's friends all said I was an amazing dancer (these kids know talent when they see it) and of course I agreed. When a slow song came on, Hayden walked over and said, "Let's dance!" and my heart melted.

We danced, and twirled, and I got dizzy but it was glorious.  In this  moment - there was nothing better.  I saw him as a small baby, a sweet toddler and a little boy all wrapped in one.  I also saw the teenager he was on the verge of becoming and the man I knew he would someday be.  At the end of the song, he gave me a hug and said "I love you Mom, this was the best night ever."

Oh my - it sure was buddy.  It sure was.

Smiling big with my best guy - one lucky Mom!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Breakin' Up is Hard to Do...

So, this week I had to say a tough goodbye.  We'd been together for almost 20 years, and while it was a great time, I knew our relationship was going downhill.  For the past year or so I convinced myself we could still be together, that a change wasn't necessary, but finally, on Monday, I knew it was time to say goodbye.

Diet Coke, I'm sorry.  It's not you - it's me.

Well - actually - it's a lot about you.  Ya see, I had my first sip of your so sweet yet calorie free self just about 20 years ago. I was a high school senior convinced I needed you to keep the weight off and my eyes open.  I'll be honest - it wasn't love at first sight - you tasted pretty TERRIBLE. :-) But then you kinda grew on me and I couldn't stay away.

And for years - you served your purpose well.  Not a day went by that I didn't turn to you - late night study sessions, early morning classes, mid day pick ups - you were always there for me.  Cold, refreshing, bubbly.  Your little silver can brought me endless joy and quenched many a tough thirst.

Yet, in the past few years, I began to doubt our relationship.  I wondered if you were really good for me.  I made a new friend - and she whispered all sorts of unsavory truths about you.  Toxic chemicals. Cancer causing caramel flavoring, Zero nutritional value.  She was talking some serious smack - but I held strong, Diet Coke.  You made me feel too good to be bad.  So I kicked that friend to the curb - I didn't need that negativity in my life and our relationship.


I had started a family - and I didn't want them to eat or drink things that weren't good for them.  I began to study labels - avoiding anything that had artificial color, BHT, or big words that I couldn't pronounce and didn't understand.  Yet while I made better choices for my family, I continued to hang out with you, Diet Coke.  As I fed my kiddos natural cereal, I drank a Diet Coke.  I smiled when my daughter told my Mom over lunch that "she wasn't allowed to eat anything with artificial flavor" and then asked the waiter to refill my (diet) drink for the 3rd time.  I knew we would be together forever.

Then, I kinda started to feel a bit yucky.  Nothing serious - I just didn't feel right.  I exercise regularly, eat okay (good not great) but still just felt a bit off. I started thinking more and more about you,  Diet Coke.  I did some research on Aspartame and Caramel coloring.  Remember that friend?  The one I kicked to the curb for you?  Yeah - she was right.  Our relationship was toxic and I knew we had to break up.

So, I stopped.  Cold turkey.  I thought I'd miss you a lot.  In some ways, I did.  When we went out for dinner I had no idea what to do.  You'd been my default date for two decades and suddenly - I had to THINK.  I hemmed, and hawed, and finally settled on a non diet beverage. It felt weird and the experience just wasn't the same.  'Cause you were warm and familiar and delicious in an extremely bad kind of way.


This marks one week without you.  I have moments where I miss you terribly - others where I barely notice you are gone.  I don't think it's going to be easy to stay away - cause even though you are bad you feel so very good - but I'm going to try.

I deserve better.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of Great? Why I Actually Kinda Liked the Movie...

So, I went to see the new Fifty Shades movie.

I'd read all the books during the great soft porn hype of 2013.  They were okay - I'd definitely read better...the author really wasn't a very good writer...but I enjoyed the story line.  I mean - come on - what girl doesn't secretly dream of a super rich, good looking guy swooping in to take her away from her life of drudgery?  So I read, I enjoyed, I discussed, and then I kinda forgot.  I probably read another 50 books between the time I finished the FSG trilogy and the movie premiere last night.

I think that helped.  A lot.

'Cause even though the books weren't well written I definitely had an idea in my head about Ana and Christian.  And I think the movie producers did an awesome job casting Ana.  The actress (I don't know her name but she IS the offspring of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) did a great job being Ana.  And her clothes?  Score!  I loved EVERY OUTFIT she wore.  Honestly, I spent the better part of the movie trying to figure out if I could pull off any of those seriously fab dresses.

Christian?  Well,  I was a bit disappointed.  My Christian was definitely taller and better looking with more poise and control.  This actor (also do not know his name OR his parents) did an alright job. He had a weird lip thing that made him look boyish when he smiled and for some reason that just did not jive with me.  MY Christian was anything but boyish.  Just sayin'.

Now - to the good stuff - the sexy scenes.  They were okay.  I'd definitely seen worse/more graphic on True Blood or Game of Thrones - lol - but they did the job.  I did find the final "punishment" scene a bit disturbing but mostly because that whole "hurts so good" thing is just a bit outside my wheelhouse - ya know what I mean?

It's funny really.  For a movie that got so much attention and hype - the theater was pretty darn empty.  Earlier in the day one of my favorite bloggers (Momastery) was asked about Fifty Shades - her opinion, whether she would go or not, and her response was "she didn't have time" for such things in her marriage and life.  This caused quite an active discussion.  Some people disagreed and thought it was a mindless distraction (myself included) while others actively agreed and felt it was disrespectful to women, to marriage, to life on earth.

However, my favorite comment of all was "Would you take Jesus with you to this movie and share popcorn and giggle about sex with him?"

Well,  I'm sure Jesus is way too busy to take time to see this silly little movie but if he was there I would FOR SURE share my popcorn with him.   We'd talk and chat about life, books, movie adaptations and question the lack of wisdom that keeps alcoholic beverages (particularly wine) out of movie theaters.  'Cause even though we snuck in some buddies (shhh...don't tell) this movie would have been 100 times better with a big glass of wine and a side room to giggle incessantly with my girls.

Overall, I would give the movie a 7.  I thought it was definitely 30 minutes too long (by the end I was checking my phone quite frequently) and there were some weird inconsistencies.  At one point Christian and Ana are texting and he mentions going out to dinner with a friend.  Ana immediately replies "Mrs. Robinson?" and then proceeds to cry for the next 10 minutes.  I knew what she was talking about - but if you hadn't read the book the reference really made no sense in the movie context.

So, yeah - not the best movie of all time.  But...we had a great time.  There was laughing, chatting, silly giggles and lots of girlfriend time which - in itself - is SO worth the $8.50 I spent on a ticket.

We'll definitely be back for Fifty Shades 2...with extra buddies in tow. :-)