Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I have this huge plastic tub in the basement.  The contents of the tub had been in a cardboard box for the past 20+ years, but after the basement flooded a while back, I reluctantly made the transfer.  I wish the tub was still a cardboard box, but when that basement flooded and we were far away on a skiing trip, all that I could think of was that box, my box.  And all of my memories, the memories that I chose to save, soggy and wet and destroyed.

If you looked in the plastic tub, you wouldn't get it.  All you would see is random things that would look like a bunch of garbage, mostly papers.  Things that don't seem to make much sense.  You'd think that maybe it was stuff that I forgot to throw out when I moved away from home for the first time.   Just a bunch of stuff in a box.

Among the stuff in the box, the random papers, notes and things, there are diaries and journals.  The very first diary was from when I was in fifth grade, the red and satiny cover always reminding me of a kimono.  Every time I flip through that diary I laugh at myself.  I remember being 10 or 11 and suddenly unsure and just a little uncomfortable with myself, teetering on the edge of wanting to play Barbies with the girl around the block but not wanting to look like a baby.

The writing was sporadic until about 8th grade.  In eighth grade, I had an English teacher, Mrs. Armstrong.  She was an odd little lady, pretty high strung with tight black curly hair and glasses.  That first day of class she told us we would be keeping a daily journal.  Just a plain spiral notebook, nothing fancy.   A lot of moaning and groaning from kids in the class followed, of course.  The teacher didn't care if we wrote a page of nothing each day, but we were expected to write a page.  A page of words.  My words were never nothing.  I never had to take that pass and just scratch I hate English as many times as would fit on that one side of the page.  I wrote because my teacher said she wouldn't read what we had written.  She said all that she would do was check to see that we had written.  I accepted that, believed her.  I wanted an excuse to write things out, get things down.  And I wrote.  And wrote and wrote and wrote.  I loved that daily assignment.

That class made me love English.  Our English book was one of stories and short novels.  As an avid reader I was  always drawn to reading ahead.  I remember reading Flowers for Algernon and crying for the first time while reading a book, feeling the emotion in the words.  I remember reading Edgar Allan Poe, scared but still muddling through the Tell Tale Heart.  And reading one of my favorites in the collection, the Gift of The Magi.  I think I finished reading all of the stories well before the first half of the semester.  I couldn't put the book down.

When I finished eighth grade, I just naturally continued journaling.  It was hard to stop, it had become a great outlet.  It felt really good to get things out on paper.  I'd fill a new notebook a few times a year.  So many of words - thoughts, memories, hurts, moments.  When I shuffle through the pages of my journals now, I think to myself that I want to burn those notebooks.  I hate the way I sounded.  Immature and needy and self conscious and uncomfortable in my skin.  I hate reminding myself of things that I want to forget.  Bad things, scary things, embarrassing things.  Sad things.

I know that I was young then, but I don't like excuses.

I'm going to burn those notebooks.  Maybe if I know that I won't ever have to see the words again, I will finally be able to get past some of the things that I never allow myself to get past.  Maybe if I know that nobody will ever chance to read those words of mine and see what a needy mess I was, I'll remember less and less myself.

Maybe that would be a good thing.

I realize that destroying those records won't erase the parts of my past that haunt me.  But I can try...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Come on Irene

So I am an East Coaster.  (Do you think I shouldn't have capitalized East and Coast?  I have trouble with capitalization.  Sorry.  I'm going with it.  How do you feel about me interrupting my first paragraph with a dialogue with myself?  Strange?  I agree)
Moving on.

I am an East Coaster, so Hurricane Irene was definitely a concern.  We were in the projected path of destruction, and even though I am not typically too nervous about natural disasters (because they aren't too common here), I like to be prepared.  Apparently everyone else in the state of NY felt the need to buy D batteries too.  How come D batteries are so hard to come by during natural disasters?  Flashlights.  That's why.

From now on I think I will buy D batteries well before a natural disaster.

So anyway, immanent flooding and hurricane winds and all of the bad stuff that comes with that was what we were facing, and it was all over the news for days.   We live along the Hudson river, so flooding was a real concern.  My home is out of the way of the flood zone, way up on higher ground, so I wasn't concerned about flooding from the river.  We had our generator gassed up and ready to go as needed though.  In case of a power failure, my sump pump would definitely stop pumping, and my basement would absolutely flood.  And Cod help me, that is where my kid's personal disaster area playroom is.  All of their toys and dolls and games and barbies and hmm.  A flooded basement could mean a forced purge...

After the worst of the rain, the tide began to rise and that made things obviously worse.  Several houses were seriously damaged.  River water literally flowing in their front doors.  Bridges were flooded over, cars were stuck and had water up to their windows.  Crazy stuff.  It was definitely the worst flooding that I have ever seen in this town.  And I am pretty much a lifetime member of the townie club.  Thankfully, most people and businesses around here were pretty safe and prepared.
I cannot take credit for these photos and unfortunately I am not sure who's they are, but they are images from the next town over

I can't say the same for some other towns close by.   One town in my county literally lost their entire main street.  Another, lost school buses and fire trucks, roads collapsed, homes destroyed, bridges washed away.  It was kind of unreal around here.  Pretty devastating actually.  It's been shocking to see some of the pictures, hear some of the stories.  The worst stories involve people who didn't have flood insurance, or sump pump failure riders. 

So odd, today, as I sit writing this post, the sun is shining, the grass is green, the kids are outside riding their bikes.  It's hard to believe that just 24 hours ago, we were buckling down waiting to see what this storm was going to deliver.

Monday, August 29, 2011

OK, I'm done now. Phew.

OK, I feel like I have a million things to post about but I am backed up.  I have to wrap up talking about the recent family vaca before I talk about other things, because like, obviously.  I mean, I can't go out of order.  This is the obligatory post vacation post.  Come to think of it, nobody exactly asked for a post vacation post.  And who am I obligated to?  The internets?  The WWW?  The family?

Well, whatever.  I feel an obligation.  And, we have been back from that awesome thing for like three whole weeks now. 
So anyway, I am just going to briefly highlight some of the best parts of the vacation for your viewing pleasure, just so we can all move on.  Finally.  You can thank me later.  Profusely.  With a raspberry daiquiri please.

 ridiculous amount of pictures ahead

VACATION HIGHLIGHTS (and a few lowlights):
Reading in the pool

Floating in the pool

Reading in the pool

Napping in the pool

Reading in the pool

Talking in the pool

Reading in the pool

Playing in the pool

Hanging on the beach

Building on the beach

Walking on the beach

Playing at the beach



Lounging on the deck after hours

Lounging poolside and basking in the sun

Singing and dancing



Monopoly tournaments

Family Soccer

Talent Show

Kids singing contest

Taking the kids souvenir shopping

John and KK's kite surfing adventures

Brooke lost a tooth!

Megan broke a tooth (or three)!

I got a nail in the foot!

Tyrone came out in his underwear.  Every night.

John and Alex's weird dancing

Ty and John being mean to Alex and hurting his feelings

The smile investigation

Indi's ex-boyfriend sneakily slipping into the week one family picture


And then, perv-stache

Abby's Babya being stolen and held for ransom.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Apparently, my smile was all wrong

My sister Ali was on my last nerve when we were on vacation. 

She was trying to insist on something being wrong, trying to pinpoint a problem that I was having.  Apparently, when she asked me a question, my smile was all wrong.  That's what tipped her off.  My smile.

Also, the fact that I prefer to walk (exercise) alone coupled with the use of my iPhone, my apparent "lack of interest" in BINGO calling and my appreciation of some alone time was cause for concern.

So, she proceeded to discuss me with everyone else in my family, to figure out why I smiled the way I did.

Ali knows me pretty well, I have to admit.  We've always been close.  Let me just tell you, she was distressed, no kidding.  Like she definitely thought something was up and it was getting her all crazy.

In the secret beach alcohol induced conversations about my apparent "issue," the crew came up with several possible scenarios:  Alex and I were getting a divorce, Alex and I were moving, Alex and I were having a baby, Alex was cheating on me,  I was getting a job, and finally, I was leaving Alex. 

She convinced my other sisters and their spouses to investigate me, and they followed me around, sneakily, trying to take pictures and gather evidence.  Shockingly, after two weeks, the evidence of my weird smile turned up nothing.

In Ali's defense, I was a little off.  But mostly, it was because it seemed like every other day, something went wrong.  I got a nail in the foot, was back and forth to the pharmacy twenty times, had to go to Urgent Care for a tetanus shot, was on the phone with various doctors for two weeks, had an unrelated infection, was on an antibiotic and started a cold.  The foot injury kept me from the beach for a few days, and from walking (exercising) for the rest of the vacation.

For all of those things that happened to me, other things happened too.  Alex was sick from day two til we got home.  He had a terrible sinus infection that turned into something like a chest cold and made his asthma really bad.  Megan got run over by her uncle John on a boogie board and broke one permanent tooth, cracked one and chipped two others.  That threw me in a tizzy because omg her teeth!  But it's all good.

Who can blame me for being a little off?  Sheesh, I don't know how many people would have a smile at all with so many irritating little issues popping up the whole vaca.  Thankfully, I am a glass half full kinda gal, so the negatives were drowned out by all the positives and I still consider the vacation to have been another great one.

I guess I better get a handle on my smile by the time the next vacation rolls around.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just look what he did

I was relaxingly reading my book in the pool one day during vacation, and all of a sudden Megan came hustling up to me from the beach with her hand over her mouth, crying.

Eventually, though the tears and crying we determined that Uncle John ran her over with the boogie board, flattening her into the sand.  She came up with a mouthful of dirt, shells and rocks, and missing a big chunk of her tooth.

A permanent tooth! 

When I looked into her mouth, not only did I clearly see the broken front tooth, but also, two other chipped ones.

Of course I immediately called the dentist to see what the heck I should do.  Based on my description and the level of pain she was describing they determined that it didn't seem like an emergency visit to a dentist was necessary.  I googled broken teeth just in case.

John had to work his charm on Megan to get her to forgive him.  She's quite a grudge holder like her mom, wonder where she gets that from?  The last time John hurt Megan (coincidentally on vacation), it took her several days to forgive him.  In her defense, he gave her a shark bite in the pool that bruised her little tan leg, like immediately.  He plays really rough.  I try to remind him that my girls don't play like that, but he still wrestles around with them like they're on a college rugby team.  He convinced all of the kids to be in his Dogpire club (a cross between a vampire and a dog), where he had to bite each of them before they could be in the club.  Kind of like an initiation.  Strangely, they were all lining up to get bitten by an original Dogpire.

Anyway, I brought Meg to the dentist when we got home and he fixed her up good.  I love my dentist, he repaired the broken tooth to perfection  You would never even know that it happened.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There's a party in my pants and you're all invited!

No, really.  I was just kidding.  You're not really invited.  Because the pants party is private.  It's a private pants party, actually.  You can't get in.  There's a bouncer, so don't even try to sneak.

No offense.

I just wanted to talk about something in my pants kind of.  Something that is occasionally in my pants. oh settle down ya pervs.  Or my dress.  Or more accurately, something that is occasionally on my bod under my pants or dress.  And that something is SPANX.  I know I have discussed SPANX before, the shocking false advertisement of it all, but I have to tell you, even though SPANX is (are?) a genius invention, (an evil genius really) they suck.

Have you ever tried to cram your flabby ass into one of those stupid things?  For real?  And what asshole decides the sizes anyway?  I'm sure someone skinny who doesn't even need to wear SPANX in the first place.  Whatever happened to vanity sizes to lull you into a false sense of hotness?   What ever happened to vanity sizes people??

I hate clothes shopping.

I triple hate clothes shopping, actually.  For myself.  I love clothes shopping for my kids.  But for me, ugh.  Nightmare.  Worst thing ever.  (Well, that may be a little over dramatic, I admit it.  Worst thing ever after death by shark, swimming in the dark, or getting mauled by wild pig or something similar.)  And incidentally, I think that thepeoplewhomakedepartmentstoremirrors are just mean, jerky... jerks who want you to cry in the dressing room.  

Why do they all want to make me cry?

I refuse to wear SPANX.  Unless I am feeling really like a super chubby fatso when I need to look great of course.  Which incidentally is rather often.  The feeling like a super chubby fatso part, not the needing to look great part. 

Anyway, I hate SPANX.  They cost like $20, they last for pretty much one outing, and you feel like a stuffed sausage who can't even breathe in them.  What's so great about that?  And omg, I bought a pair of SPANX stockings once to wear for an event and after I spent twenty ridiculous dollars on them, they got a run in them!  As I was putting them on!!  Can you believe that crap??  I could understand if they were cheapo stockings from some outlet store or something.  That I could understand.  But when I have to drive 35 minutes to a mall to buy them, and spend  a lot of money on them and then not even get to wear them to pretend I look great to the stupid event because of the run, I definitely don't feel very lovey dovey towards the SPANX. 

Not even a little bit.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I quoted Brokeback?

I've thoroughly bored the shit out of myself with this damn excuse for a blog lately.

Uh, you too?  Shockingly I haven't lost a reader.  It may have been my shameless begging to just hang on a little longer I'll be back and cooler than ever really soon I promise!  Or maybe you just haven't gotten around to deleting me from your blogroll yet. 

MAYBE you are just as blissfully summered up as I am, and haven't even noticed my shitforblog.

I realize that I discuss the crappiness of my blog a lot.  Often really.  In fact I just recently said to someone that I recognize that I talk myself down a lot.  Do you ever do that?  I think it is a personal fault of mine.  You may be wondering why I am still here, plugging along, here and there, randomly, miscellaneously, just plodding on...

Here's the thing, I can't quit you, man!  I wish I knew how to quit you!

No, no, I don't want to quit you.  I just got carried away mini-quoting  Brokeback Mountain.  Hm.  Never quoted Brokeback?  Me either.  It just came out so I rolled with it.  I love Brokeback.  What a movie.

Anyway,  now that I have accidentally allowed you a sample of my vast collection of random movie quotes, the collection of quotes that bounce around in my brain and sometimes fall out appropriately, and sometimes not so much, I ask you this:


What's my prob?  Why can't I write a coherent, mildly amusing, entertaining or thought provoking post?  What am I afraid of?  What is holding me back??

I think I have an answer.  I think the answer is honesty.  I think the answer is that I have a ton of crap to say but I have my filter on a lot and I just haven't gotten there as far as just letting it all flow, letting it all hang out.  I filter.  So, I find myself holding back.  A lot.  Worrying about who is reading, what I am saying that might offend, hurt, annoy, embarrass.  You get the point.

How do you get past that?  The filter?  How do you find a way to be comfy enough to just put stuff out there without fear or worry or whatever, that you sound like a dumbass?  That's a very good question I think.

And question number two.  How is it that so many of these awesome bloggers that I read just seem to write so well, and so honestly and so... purposefully, and it just seems natural and unfiltered and I don't know, great?  I'm envious.  Why can't I be like that? 

Where is my voice?  Or, equally as important, what is my voice supposed to be saying out here?  Does it even matter?  Who am I asking these crazy questions to anyway?  The universe?  The blogosphere.  Yes, that's it, the readers

So if anyone out there has some answers for me, something great to say that will inspire me to be more open with things here, please - have at it.  I'm all ears.  More like, I am all eyes.  Because I'm reading your words here, not listening to them with my ears, obviously. 

ps:  Don't you think blogger's spellcheck is an asshole?  That dumb thing won't accept so many things that I write that aren't even spelled wrong.  Like, you're telling me that blogger doesn't recognize the word "blogosphere?"  Is that really not a word?  I'm positive that I didn't make it up.  And when I try to write "bloggers," as in the plural of blogger, this dumb spell check thing tried to change it to loggers or floggers.  Really blogger?  Really?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

10 things

So, I am back to lists.  Not forever, just for today.  Not because I can't think of anything better to write about, but because Beth posed this question, so I have to answer. 

Top Ten Things You Would Bring to a Deserted Island if You Were Going to be Stranded for an Extended Period of Time.  Whoa.  That's a mighty long list title.  But, to make it interesting, you can't bring any of the following things:  power sources, batteries, boats, airplanes or satellite phones. 

1.  I need lip balm.  Burt's Bees, to be particular.  I am addicted to it.  It would definitely have to be with me.

2.  Moisturizer.  I have really dry skin and on a deserted island with all of that sun, oh, my face would be needing a little moisture.  It has to be the one with the SPF.  I don't need any more wrinkles.

3.  Well, how will I make it an extended period of time without my ipod?  I need music.  I thought I might have a solution, but really I don't.  Without a power source, I'm screwed.  I think I should be allowed to sneak in my ipod and a way to charge it.  I will forfeit one other thing just so I can bring it.  So now this top ten is a top nine.  Don't judge.  Its my list.  I can change the rules up.  That just happened.

4.  A notebook.  Doesn't have to be all fancy.  I just need a big fat college ruled notebook so I can write things down.  Obviously, I love lists.  But I also love to write things down.  So having a notebook would be the best. 

5.  I need some writing instruments.  And in "instruments,"  I have to include pencils, pens and crayons.  I like crayons.

6.  Oh, I for sure need a way to make a fire!  So like, matches would be the best first choice. 

7.  Now that I am feeling all survivor-ish, its pretty clear that I need a tarp so when it rains like monsoon type rain, I wont get wet.  I am definitely going to include a hammock in with the tarp.  Good sleep is key to a good experience on a deserted island for an extended period of time. Because really, how could I be expected to sleep in the sand?  That would really hurt my back I think.

8.  A knife?  A gun?  Something like that.  I need to protect myself from scary wild pigs.  You know wild pigs live on deserted islands and they will definitely get you with their horn things or tusks or whatever.  And if one charged me I would shoot it and eat it like a savage.  But I would cook it first.

9.  Books.  Lots and lots of books.  I was going to start Harry Potter or vacation and I forgot the books!!  So I'd bring Harry.  And maybe a bunch of old Stephen King.  No wait.  Scratch Stephen King.  If I read him alone on a deserted island I would definitely be scared.  So other good books.  Oh yeah!  A lot of the old classics that I never read but used cliff notes for in high school.  Reading those are on my bucket list.

Fine, fine, I'll do a ten. 

10.  A flashlight!  Yeah, because I might be a little scared of the dark on a deserted island.

And everyone gets a bonus, so mine is water!  Or at least one of those water purifier things so you can drink any water and it wont make you sick.  I'd probably have to bring some crystal lite too.  Because eventually, plain old water might get a little boring, don't you think?  Especially if ice is not involved. 

Well, I think it's a pretty good list.

Wait!  I definitely need bug spray!  I cant stand mosquitoes and other annoying bugs.  Maybe this should have been a top 15...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More of the same

Last Tuesday, vacation day three, was more of the same.  Lots of super hot sun, lots of pool, lots of beach.

Ty DJ'd at the pool most of the day, playing all sorts of good summery tunes.  Maybe even dancing like he was in a club with my sisters a little.  No, they are not at all shy.

We hit the beach for a little bit, did a little boogie boarding, a little chit chatting, a little castle building and digging huge holes in the sand.

We played five games of poolside bingo and Brooke cried because she never wins at bingo!  Still needing to grasp the concept that it's a game of luck, obviously.  Megan also cried when she called BINGO! and thought she was a big winner, and then later realized she put a chip on the wrong square and had to give her winnings back.  Sheesh.  Who knew Bingo was such a brutal game?

After Bingo, some of the kids went down to this outdoor mall and spent $12 each on a stretch fork.  Yes, a fork.  For $12.  It looks like a normal fork, but then you can pull on it and it stretches to like two feet long.  John definitely appreciated the stretch forks because he always wants to invent stretch arms, but obviously, that is an impossible invention. 

You have to admit stretch arms would be a great invention.  Like, imagine you were sitting on the couch happily eating a sub, and in mid bite, it occurs to you that you forgot to bring over the salt.  Which obviously is imperative at every meal.    How annoying is it to have to actually get up and walk into the kitchen to get the salt?  With stretch arms, you could just reach over and grab it, never having to get your ass up off the couch.  Genius for lazy people everywhere. 

Ali and Ty were on for dinner and they made pulled pork in the crock pot, which was fantastic.  Ali also made a few of her specialty salads on the side.  She really is a great cook.

Later that night we celebrated my niece Abby's fifteenth birthday with some ice cream cakes and Tyrone pantsed Jenney.  It was perfect timing because she had cake in her hands.  In fact, that reminds me, I forgot to give Abby her present!  I am shocked she hasn't called me out on it yet.  Abby definitely keeps track. 

Love her.  Love her dimple.

After the pantsing incident

After birthday cake and pantsing festivities, the adults headed out to the upper deck and chit chatted and drank wine and mojitos.  I did not drink wine or mojitos.  Mojitos accidentally did me in one night last summer, and I threw up like an idiot.  (of course we have already established that I am a sucky drinker) I cannot even think about those dumb things without gagging a little.

Then everyone ambled off to bed a little tipsy, and I stayed up reading like the night owl I am.