Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas On 'Roids.

Christmas cards are apparently very important to some people. We didn't send cards in 2004. I was working sixty-hour weeks and stressed to max and since my husband doesn't give a rat's ass about the cards, we decided not send any. It was so liberating! I felt free! Why hadn't we done this before? It was heaven.

And then the calls and emails came in.

"Where's your card?"
"Did you gain too much weight this year?"
"Are you getting divorced?"
"Family troubles?"
"Are you sick?"
"You must not have my current address, it's..."

It was more work controlling the damage than it was to just send the fucking cards. Does the card really say "We're a happy family?" Because we all know the chaos that ensues before everyone says, "Cheese." The baby spits up, the toddler is screaming, the husband is bitching about his sweater, and the teenage daughter is sexting her boyfriend. Even the dog is pissed off.

I would love it if someone would just send a card with a little more reality: "Happy Fucking Holidays! May your dreams come true in 2010 so we can live vicariously through you. Please ignore the stain on my shirt. I made chili before we had this picture taken and it fucking splattered everwhere. I'll never wear white again, goddammit. Here's what we were up to in 2009: Heidi (14) is pregnant, Johhny (10) was kicked out of school for saying "shithead" in class, and Bethany (5) was caught playing doctor with the neighbor boy and accidentally ripped his testicles with a stick. As for us, Bill was laid off six months ago but we're not telling anyone and I'm seeing a therapist. Wishing you zen in 2010!"

Now that's a card I'd keep around.

As for the lawn decorations, I'm not certain what's happening, but there's a competition going on. I went to my friend's house the other day. We stood in her front yard as she pointed to her neighbor's house. "Kelly, look at this. What am I going to do? It's like 'Strip Club Christmas' over there. The fucking music plays all night long and the sleigh is a strobe light. A strobe light! I feel like I'm having a migraine all night long. What am I going to do?"

It wasn't dark yet, so I didn't get the full effect of the holiday mayhem, but for the love of God (literally), his yard was filled with plastic and lights. There is a snowglobe the size of my entire house sitting in the middle of the yard. (Apparently, that's the offensive decoration singing the Nutcracker theme all night long.)

What is this new phenomenon where people can't take a year off from cards and the neighbor is displaying strobe lights and music all night long? Shouldn't it be okay to just be quiet and let the peace soak in?

It's a beautiful time of the year, but I fear that people are running too fast to enjoy it. Trust me, I've been guilty of it too. But this is not a competition of holiday spirits, it's celebrating the spirit inside. You don't need to hang lights on it, we can see it in your smile. We hear in your laughter. That's all I'm asking. Make sure you take the time to show everyone your "inner christmas lights" that blink all year long.

It's much more beautiful than strobe lights, cards, and blaring music anyway.

And p.s.
If we don't send cards this year, we're not getting divorced. I just didn't get my shit together fast enough to make them happen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Year Of Firsts.

This is the "Year Of Firsts". Anyone that has lost a loved one knows what this means. It means you limp along with a broken heart and holidays hit the hardest punch. My nephew Jake died in March. So far we made it through his birthday (the first one since his death)and now Thanksgiving.

I was crying on the treadmill, crying on my Frosted Flakes and crying in my coffee. So I figured I'd just blog it out.

My family hasn't gone through a shocking loss as we did with Jake, so we feel a little lost and dizzy. He had a grand mal seizure and that was it. How dare he leave without asking for my permission, dammit. I'm his aunt; the one he called when he was having a tough day, worried about his internship or had a new philosophy on life. And now he's gone. Forever. Fucking FOREVER! That's insane.

Anyway, we're all stumbling along trying to figure out how to live and breathe when he isn't. It sucks ass. March flew by in such a blur, but I do remember my brother-in-law being surprised at the lack of choices in urns. He said, "I know Jake would hate this urn, but it's not like we can walk down the street to 'Urns-R-Us' for crissake."

It must be noted that at this point we all had a break from reality. We simply lost our minds.

After the "Urns-R-Us" comment he said, "Kelly, it's ridiculous. We put the urn in the backseat next to Holly. Before I started driving, I turned around and said, 'Holly, buckle your brother in. He's obviously not going to do it himself.' So she did. She seatbelted his urn in the backseat. What the hell are we doing?"

What are we doing? We're trying to live. We're trying to laugh. We're trying to repair our hearts. And we're learning compassion.

I never realized people walked around feeling this way until my sister and I went to the airport to pick up our parents. We wore sunglasses and basball caps and choked back our grief until we weren't in public anymore.

People that seem crabby or unhappy probably have good reason. Who knows what kinds of heartbreak people are dealing with? Who cares if they don't greet me with a thousand-watt smile. Maybe they're barely keeping it together while they recover their spirit. I used to walk around feeling so offended when someone didn't return my smile. I don't take things personally anymore. People are entitled to their emotions; the entire spectrum of it.

Anyway, my brother-in-law was right. Jake would hate that urn. My sister is currently taking a pottery class to make a new one. One that represents his passions and interests. I think it's been incredibly healing for her to have a part in creating a home for him.

She had a rough day recently and I asked, "If someone could offer you the opportunity that Jake was never born, therefore you wouldn't feel this pain, would you? Would you take it all back and not feel the pain?"

She didn't even hestitate. "No. I wouldn't take back one minute of loving him."

We hurt because we love. And love is always worth it. I wouldn't take it back either. Today I'm thankful for the twenty-two years he was here. I loved Jake when he was here and that love isn't taken away just because he's not here anymore. I get to keep that love I have for my nephew tucked safely in my heart.

So there we have it. Be thankful for all the people in your life today. Whether they're here or not. The love you have is never worthless or a waste of energy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Minute Clinic. RIGHT NOW.

The other morning I woke up with a bladder infection (I'm aware that every man reading my blog just dropped off after that sentence). I tried doing some meditating and energy work on it to see if I could cure it without popping pills. Screw the western world and all the fucked-up pill-popping. I'm going holistic, dammit! To my astonishment, it worked.

For a day.

Today I woke up convinced that someone was pouring lava into my crotch. My bladder was pissed (literally and figuratively) and fought back. And won.

I played Paige's Nemo Memory game with her until Minute Clinic opened at 8:00. Tick, ouch. Tock, fuck. Tick, shit. Tock, motherfucker! So while I was totally preoccupied with my excruciating need to pee every three minutes, I was trying to remember where that fucking Nemo and Dora card is so I can make one pair to Paige's eighteen matched pairs of cards. She said, "Mom, how can you NOT remember where the match is? It's right here!"

I don't know where Nemo is, but I sure as hell know where the bladder infection is. For God's sake, why must women have to go through all the shit? We push watermelons out of our crotch, we menstruate, we get yeast infections (those are superfun), and of course urinary tract infections (what I call bladder infections). At this point, I'm ready to trade in my crotch for a penis. Honest to Christ, my husband pees pain-free and that right there is worth it.

Anyway, I raced to Minute Clinic after my intense game of Nemo Memory and I swear to God, the doctor was thirteen years old. He had braces and proceeded to pull out a handbook complete with Post-It Notes and writing from what I believe to be his college classes. Since he's my gatekeeper to the goods, I had to listen patiently (because I'm literally a patient, so patience is required). He explained every possible bacteria and what meds target which bacteria. We were figuring this out together.

I don't give a shit what targets what as long as something targets my pee zone. Give me M&Ms and call it a medication and let the placebo effect do its thing. I don't care about medical terms, side effects, and certain bacteria. I do care that I'm peeing liquid fire.

I wanted to grab tiny his wrist and march him over to the pharmacy like a mother scolding a child. I would have explained to the pharmacist that my son, er doctor, isn't understanding that I need to feast on every antibiotic available. Pronto.

Instead I waited until his incessant, insecure, rambling came to an end and he finally wrote out my beloved prescription. I ripped it out of his hands ran to the pharmacy where I tap, tap, tapped my fingers on the counter until the angel came forth with my shiny bottle of medicated goodness.

I don't care if he was thirteen and I was his first Minute Clinic client, I am grateful for that man/boy beyond belief. Yes, I could have held him on my hip while he wrote that prescription, but I don't care. I'm on my way to a pain-free life again and I owe it all to him

Friday, November 20, 2009

Goldfish.

Parker's goldfish Daffodil is dying. This is not good for an OCD thinker such as myself. I'm sitting here wondering how she's doing. Is she in pain? What is she thinking? Is she aware how bad she stinks? Is she pissed she's not as shiny as she used to be?

It probably doesn't help that I tapped on her tank a few hundred times asking, "Daffy? You okay, Bud? You alright in there? DAFFY!?" If she could talk, she'd probably say, "Fuck off with your tapping and staring already. I'm trying to die in peace, bitch."

I can barely eat knowing she's suffering just on the other side of wall. My appetite is gone from that "death smell" that's hanging in the air. Well, maybe just a couple more Pringles. It's not like Daff would eat them anyway. She's not even eating her food shavings.

Now what? How long does this go on? I can't handle the lingering death vibe that's reverberating throughout our house. I refuse to flush her down before her time is up. That's just not right.

But could I put her bowl in the basement until the big event happens to clear the air out a little bit? Is that cruel?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Open Mouth Insert Foot.

I have difficulty censoring what I say. Words fall off my lips without my permission, and sometimes, without my knowledge. I won't even realize what I've said until I see people's reaction. Then I have to endure this awkward moment before I ask, "Wait. What just happened? What did I just say?" Then someone will repeat it back to me and I'll want to crawl into a cave. Forever.

Remember meeting your spouse's parents for the first time? I do. It was Christmas at his mother's house and I noticed something like a carved wooden stick in the corner. I thought it was a gag gift. So while surrounded by my future husband's extended family, I thought I'd crack a joke about it. Because that's what I do when I'm nervous. I crack jokes. It's not good.

Here's how this one played out:

I laughed and said, "Oh nice. So who got the stick for Christmas?"

My husband-to-be leaned over to me as everyone witnessed the unraveling of my confidence. "My mother has MS. That's her cane."

Fuck.

Then there was the bowling event with my future husband, his brother and father. I was trying to be helpful when I said, "So, can I help anyone carry their balls for them?"

They all stopped and stared, which made me panic more. I said, "Oh God, not those balls (as I pointed to their crotches), the other balls, you know with ones with holes, I mean the ones you stick your fingers in, I mean the colored balls, the ones that are not attached to your body, the balls that ..."

I cannot believe he had the balls to marry me after committing such verbal crimes to his parents.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Lucky Ones.

Yesterday I created a "Dream It, Live It" board in the kitchen. It's like believing in Santa again. We posted our dreams on the board and every time we walk by it, we see our hopes right there in front of us. And every time we look at it, more energy is poured into it.

It's just a matter of time before my husband gets a '62 Corvette, my daughters "skydive" in a wind tunnel, and I'm on Oprah promoting my book and helping thousands of people heal anxiety and depression.

I also wrote a check to myself for $250,000 for good measure. That should help cover our sailing trip in the Virgin Islands and our long, drunk weekend in Ireland.

It's fun to dream, hope and play. And it works. I met my knight in shining zubaz in 1990 because I dreamed of finding someone to love.

And here's the trick: Be grateful for what is...whatever "it" is." It's important we don't feel lack while roping in our dreams like celestial cowgirls. We don't bang our forks and knives on the table while complaining that shit isn't falling into our laps quick enough. That's Paris Hilton's job, not ours.

Two years ago I wrote a note to myself when I was feeling trapped in a job that wasn't right for me. It said, "I am writing a book and thrilled to finally be an author! My life is flexible enough to get the girls off the bus every single day."

Guess what I'm doing these days? I'm writing a book and my life is flexible enough to get the girls off the bus every single day. And I didn't do anything to make it happen.

Damn, it's a beautiful thing when dreams manifest. I can almost feel that blue-green water beneath me right now. AAaaahhhhhhhh....

So go on now and toss your rope to the stars. Make your wish and believe it's yours. Because it is.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bring Sexy Back.

A few months ago, I was on a date with the hubbs. We found a postcard for a Boudoir Portrait party laying on the bar. Free drinks, 8x10 framed portrait, hair and makeup, psychic readings and chocolate.

I emptied the contents of my glass and said, “Honey, let’s go.” He slammed his beer and nodded. He was ready. I was wearing his favorite lingerie and the party was right next door. It was meant to be.

Women ranging in age from twenty-one to sixty were smiling, laughing, talking and drinking. Husbands were draining their beer bottles, watching their wives transform into sex kittens. Sweet magic was injected back into a lot of marriages that night.

My hair was Brigitte Bardot and my makeup was set on “whore”, but I didn’t care. I’ve always been the conservative good girl next door and wanted to break out of my shell for once, goddammit. After knocking back a couple glasses of champagne I was ready to rock. As I made my way to the private studio for my personal photo, women were hollering encouragement and support. "You GO girl!"

But the bubbly wasn’t the only thing intoxicating that night. It was the vibe of women supporting other women. I think that's missing in the real world. We're so busy comparing our asses to our friend's asses. Our muffin tops to our colleague's abs. Our thin lips to our neighbor's full lips...

Men don't do this. My husband has never said, "Is my ass bigger than Tom's ass?" He also doesn't stare at other men's abs, thighs, arms or backfat. Men don't give a shit about other men's bodies. They don't feel "less than" if a ripped twenty year old walks by them on the beach. They understand they haven't lost value just because another guy does a million crunches every morning.

I think women forgot they're on the same team. Just because your neighbor is a tennis star and certified yogi, doesn't make you less than who you are. And when women unite instead of compete, it's a powerful thing. The Boudoir party was an example of that. No one cared if someone had bat wings (underarm fat) or muffin tops. We were too busy feeling proud of each other and ourselves for having a picture taken while relatively naked.

It was a slice of time where we stripped down the walls of competition that night and became emotionally naked too. It was an extra gift that wasn't included in the price, but by far the most valuable.


p.s.
I think it would be an amazing way to celebrate turning forty. I have a lot of friends ringing in the new decade this year. What a fun way to celebrate your forty years of fabulousness!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Bus.

When I worked in the city I took the bus. Most days I didn’t mind it, but around this time of year, people were coughing and hacking all over me. Kleenex was hanging out of purses and threatening to touch my arm. I tried to make my body as narrow as possible so nothing touched me, but let’s face it, you can't escape germs when you're riding a germ tube to work.

Once, I sat next to a woman with dirty fingernails. I swear little insects were crawling out from under her nails and onto my book. They were "pretend nails" and apparently baked too long because the french part of the manicure was yellow. It seemed to me that she was scraping cheddar cheese with her nails before work and didn’t bother to wash her hands. I have to wonder if it stinks underneath the fake "topper" nail.

There was one man on the bus that coughed into a handkerchief. I’m so confused about the handkerchief phenomenon. I want to know how many handkerchiefs he owns and how often he washes them. I don't understand the concept. Shouldn't expelled mucous be disposed of immediately? And aren’t 'kerchief users just jamming their faces back into all the germs when they use it over and over and over and over again? At some point, I have to figure they’re reversing the progress and shoving bacteria back into their noses.

Some are handkerchiefs are monogrammed which kills me. No one is going to steal it. Trust me. How does that even happen? Does the crazy aunt give them out for bad Christmas gifts? I can't imagine opening a Christmas present to reveal a square of fabric with "KSN" on it. I'd be like, "What the fuck is this, do I roll it and smoke it?" I can't imagine.

But since I'm a radical optimist, I have to admit there was good stuff too about public transportation. It was thirty minutes of being just me, without owing anyone anything other than the seat next to me. I wasn't a wife, mother, daughter, sister or employee. I was free to read a book, listen to music or just appreciate the changing leaves from my little window.

Handkerchiefs and fake nails aside, the germ tube actually has the opportunity to be a peaceful break from the day. Set the blackberry aside and just be free for a little slice of time.

Enjoy!