A letter to my sixteen year old self...

Thursday, December 15, 2011
The following letter was inspired by reading a book called 'Dear Me - A letter to my sixteen year old self'...

From:
You at 39
East Sussex, England (yes, England)

Dear Me,

I don't know why I'm bothering - you don't take advice and will probably ignore every word, but I'll try anyway...
- You should probably break up with Tommy. I know you won't believe this, but he's a terrible boyfriend. That being said, he'll be one of the best friends you'll ever have so tread lightly with him. Before you do though - make sure you've met Robin first. She leads you to people you won't want to miss.
- Speaking of Robin - be casual friends with her, but don't waste your time trying to be close friends - she is not worthy and will only disappoint you.
- On the subject of friends - Don't let a boy come between you & Nicole and what ever you do, do not punch Nelson Roman in the face. Nicole won't speak to you for a few years and you'll miss her every second she's gone. If by chance you do punch the little f*cker, don't worry, the rift won't last and once it passes, Nic will always be there. She'll be your rock for years and years to come.
- Contrary to what people tell you, it's not an awful thing to be sensitive and emotional. You can't change this about your self no matter how hard you try. Embrace your big heart and stop beating yourself up over it.
- Don't smoke. Seriously - just don't.
- When the next guy breaks your heart, believe me when I tell you - the lessons you'll learn from him will be well worth the heartache. A part of you will always love him. He will change your life and will teach you about love in a way that will shape you and you'll be better for it. Try to take it as gracefully as possible. Don't be ugly or angry. He'll be there for you through the years and he will play a part in leading you to happiness.
- Don't drop out of college. You'll want money and a job, but if you stay in school, you'll end up with more money in the end and move out of your mother's house much sooner (this fact should be enough to make you consider my advise).
- DO NOT GET A CREDIT CARD OR LIVE BEYOND YOUR MEANS. SAVE YOUR MONEY.
- When you have a serious boyfriend who buys a sports car instead of a ring, you should seriously re-evaluate your relationship. Take my word for it.
- Start exercising. Your body will not stay that beautiful and if you'd start working out now, I'd really appreciate it.
- Try not to let your parents break your heart. They'll never be what you want them to be. The sooner you can accept that, the better off you'll be.
- Avoid Roger like the plague. When you meet him, run - fast. Then, save your money and take a few years to be single. Have fun and enjoy a few one night stands (oh don't be so shocked).
- On the subject of sex - don't sleep with Kevin or Sal. Neither are worth it. Oh, and Chris B is a virgin. Knowing this ahead of time will be helpful.
- I may have led you off your path so let me say this... In November before your 33rd birthday, join online dating sites and cast your net WIDE. This part is important. I know you don't know what 'online' is but it will become clear soon and calm down, 32 is NOT old! It's worth the wait.
- Pregnancy is not a license to get fat!
- Even if you ignore all of my advice, it will all work out just fine. I know it won't always feel that way, but it will be okay. You're stronger than you think you are. You won't be lucky in money, but you will be lucky in love.

With Lots of love,
A much wiser you

PS Don't forget to play your regular lottery numbers when Wayne goes into the hospital. This would be a really big help. Thanks xo

If you'd like to write your own letter you can post them here

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New Meds

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I've been having a pretty bad flare-up since I got back from the US last month. Last week, my doctor put me on new meds that have me a bit loopy. I'm hoping once I get used to them (or I finish the 2 week course he gave) that I can get back to my 5 minute writing sessions. I only got to write one, but it's a little difficult to do without a clear head. Fingers crossed, it won't be too long...

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The five minute writer

Saturday, December 10, 2011
I just bought a book called the five minute writer. It gives exercises and inspiration for daily writing of 5 minutes a day. As I don't blog nearly enough, I've decided to combine the two. The first exercise asks to describe a ritual or ritualistic behavior you take part in. Here's mine...
I love Mallomars (an American cookie which is a vanilla cookie topped with a marshmallow and covered in dark chocolate). They are my very favorite cookie of all time. When ever I eat one, I have on odd ritual that I follow (although I have no idea how or when it started, but it's been as long as I can remember). The first thing I do is press my finger onto the top of the chocolate covered marshmallow to crack the chocolate. I strip the marshmallow of the chocolate bit by bit (eating them as I go, but leaving the chocolate on the cookie base). After the marshmallow is bare, I then eat the rest of the cookie by taking bites. The first bite is always the best. I love biting into the soft fluffy marshmallow and getting the cookie and bitter sweet dark chocolate that follows. I eat every one just like that. My husband thinks it's both ridiculous and adorable at the same time. My mother hates that I do it and during the last trip to the States, I caught my son eating one in exactly the same way!
Now I desperately want a Mallomar and they don't sell them in the UK!

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What a week (and it's only Wednesday)!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Over the weekend, an old friend contacted me and asked if she could come and stay with us. She had a baby 7 weeks ago and eluded to having problems with her husband. We haven't seen each other in years. We had a falling out over the man she is now married to because I thought he was bad news. At the time, she was only twenty and didn't want to hear what I was telling her so she put an end to our friendship and didn't speak to me again until a few months ago.
When she asked to stay, I had a feeling it was down to abuse (due to cryptic text messages and the fact she couldn't actually speak to me over the phone). With that in mind, I asked her not to tell him where she would be staying until after we spoke, but it was too late. She was on her way and he was driving her.
When they arrived, I could feel the tension. He stayed briefly and when he left she crumbled and cried. I hugged her and told her we'd talk when my son was in bed, but what ever it was it would be OK.
Later that night, she confirmed my suspicions. She is in an abusive relationship and trying to get out. He is in the Army and has been to Afghanistan. She believes what ever he went through has made his temper worse and since the baby, things have escalated. We talked deep into the night (while I drank wine and chain smoked through our discussions). I have experience with this sort of thing and was forced to face demons I was in no way prepared to face.
She considered not going back, but admitted he has a fire arm in the house and with him knowing where she was thought it wouldn't be safe for any of us. I have to admit that my reaction to this information was a strong one. I yelled at her and said, 'How can you bring this into my house?? You are not the only one with a family here!' She crumbled and cried again. I hugged her and apologized and then I went into survival mode to come up with a plan.
My plan was instant. I told her to call him and tell him that she talked to me about their problems and she felt 100% better. She did. She told him I made her realize that it was hormones that made her over emotional and behave badly. She told him that I helped her see that all that's important is their love for each other and their new family. This completely defused the situation. He felt secure and happy (which was my plan all along) and let her stay a few extra days instead of making her go back the following day.
During the last few days we called hotlines for victims of domestic violence and got advice on how to get her out and what she could do to get assistance. The plan is that she keeps him happy while she's there and makes her plans to leave. She says all the right things (which I tried coaching her on) to never let things escalate into an argument. In the meantime, she will tell him that I've moved and a few weeks later tell him that her and I had a falling out so he never comes here looking for her when she does get out. We got her a phone he won't know about and arranged for her to get a separate bank account and a loan for a deposit and first month's rent on a new place. It will take a couple of months, but a plan has been made.
Today, he came a day early to pick her up and I had to let her go and just watch her and her precious baby leave. She's so young and I feel like I threw her to the wolves. I'm a wreck. Between what's happening with her and facing the demons from my past, I have gotten very little sleep, have been plagued with nightmares and have managed to eat very little in days. Until she's out and safe, I doubt very much I'll be able to relax or even breathe normally.

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Parenting is hard

Thursday, November 24, 2011
During our trip to the States, my three year old son became obsessed with a TV show called Dino Dan (which they don't play in the UK so I had to buy it on iTunes before we left so he'd be able to keep watching it). On the show, a ten year old boy sees computer animated dinosaurs everywhere he goes. Now, my son also sees dinosaurs everywhere he goes. He's constantly sayings things like, 'A T-Rex! Cool!'
This morning, he tried to climb up to a window in my bedroom which is on on the top floor of our three story house to look at a dinosaur he was sure was outside. In the UK, most windows open out (like a door) and have no screens or child safety latches to keep children from falling out.
In his room (also on the top floor) and in the rooms on the 2nd floor, we have window guards to keep the window from opening too wide. We didn't put them in the master suite because he's never in there without supervision. He's older now and I know it will have to be done, but I digress...
He tried to climb up. I yelled at him to never do that again. He said he just wanted to see a dinosaur that made a noise outside. I told him that if he climbed up and fell out he could get very badly hurt. He told me, 'but if I did, I would get up and go inside through the door'. This terrified me. I said, 'No you wouldn't! You might get so badly hurt that you would go to sleep and never wake up because that's what happens when you die!' He calmly told me, 'Mommy, people don't die'. I wanted to cry. I couldn't tell him. I chickened out. I hugged him and said, 'OK Baby'. I closed the window, locked it and decided now is a good time to get those window guards.
I just couldn't tell him. I didn't want to take that innocence away. I knew telling him might scare him into not doing it again, but I also knew telling him would scare him in a much deeper way. I couldn't do it. He's only three. I don't know if I made the right decision or not, but for now, it was the only one I could make. Parenting is hard!

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The last few months...

Thursday, November 17, 2011
It's been months. The first part of my absence was down to my laptop being in for repairs and held by my insurance company until they decided if they were going to cover the damage or not. They had the laptop for a month and a half. I wanted to kill someone! In the end I got it back repaired, but it runs far too slow now and I've been putting off the inevitable - reformatting and starting with a clean machine again. The process is long and tedious, but I know sooner rather than later, I will have to do it.
The second part of my absence was down to 3 weeks spent in NJ visiting my family and friends (and a week of recovery time).
The trip was both wonderful and terrible (as all trips home turn out to be). The day we arrived, I came down with a high fever followed by the worst sore throat of my life. I ended up at the doctor finding out I had a bad case of strep throat. This was followed by my son coming down with it as well. Our first 7 days, we were stuck in my parents house and we saw no-one but my parents.
A week lost is heartbreaking when you only get three weeks a year to visit. The two weeks that followed were spent running around trying to make up for lost time. With the last few days of the trip ending the same way it started - being stuck in the house with my son who was sick with a high fever and throwing up. I'd love to tell you that he was fine for the flight, but I'd be lying. He started the day with no fever and appeared fine, but by the time we got on the plane that night, the fever came back and he threw up three times during the flight. I don't know who this was worse for - my little boy and us or the rest of the passengers. I can't imagine how badly the rest of the passengers must have wanted to get off the plane (just as badly as we did I'm sure)!
It was an over night flight. My son got about 3 hours sleep and my husband and I got none. The trip home is 15+ hours long from door to door. By the time we got home, we were up for 24 hours and it took a week to come out of the haze of exhaustion.
There you have it. I'm back now and hopefully, I'll be getting back to blogging on a regular basis.

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Seeing it through the eyes of a mother

Sunday, September 11, 2011
While seeing footage on TV this morning, I had to try to explain to my 3 year old son what happened on 9/11. I told him some buildings fell. He asked how. I told him that some very bad men knocked them down. He asked why and then asked, can I see? I started to cry and turned on Mickey Mouse instead.
I cried for 10 minutes thinking to myself, how do you explain to a 3 year old that such evil exists in the world? I was completely overwhelmed with the knowledge that one day, my very sensitive son (who cries when he sees children play fighting), is one day going to realize that the world he lives in is one that people get into airplanes and crash them into buildings. I hate that this will happen and there's nothing I can do to shield him from it or make him feel safe when that day comes.
It's occurred to me on that day, there were parents that had to change the channel so their children would not see the horrors that unfolded. Those parents would have had to be terrified by not knowing what was happening and like me (who had insomnia at the time and fell asleep at 6AM that morning and slept through the whole thing) would have been shocked and horrified when they later saw the footage on the news.
For me, sleep didn't come for weeks. I sat in front of my TV waiting for someone to be saved. I wanted so baldly for those rescue workers to get the chance to save just one, but that day didn't come. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be a parent at that time. To know that the world was not safe for their children and be so helpless in that knowledge. I had time to absorb it before becoming a mother and on days like today, it's still such a hard pill to swallow.

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The Story of Sal...

Monday, August 29, 2011
My last post made me realize I need to clarify something just to make sure no-one reading it gets the wrong idea about Sal and the nature of our relationship when we first met...
The story of Sal goes like this - It was the fall of 1992. My best friend just died. The rest of my friends were slowly dropping off (death has a way of making this happen), the first big love of my life married someone else and was having a baby with her and my new boyfriend just left for college. I felt truly alone and was miserable. In came Sal.
I was working at the customer service desk at my local mall at the time. The desk was in the middle of the mall (not in a store front). One day a the most beautiful man I had ever seen up close walked by. As he did he made eye contact and kept his gaze as he walked. He was tall and muscular, he had chiseled features, full lips, long blond hair, and pale green eyes. Later that day, I was on my break when he approached me. He asked my name. He told me his name was Sal and then asked, 'Erren, do you have a boyfriend?' When I said yes, he asked how long we were together. I told him 4 months. He asked, 'Erren, do you want to be friends?' I quickly answered yes.
From that day forward, we spent a lot of time together. I made it clear I wasn't a cheat. He said he knew that and wouldn't try to get in the middle of my relationship. I told myself there was no harm in making a new friend. I told myself his constant attention was harmless and when the day came that my boyfriend met him, I pretended not to notice the panic in his face.
Sal was a model. A romance novel model. You know the kind with the ripping muscles and flowing hair holding a woman with heaving breasts. He later admitted he was also a male dancer. Sal knew he was beautiful and he tried to weaken me with every chance he got.
One day I met him at his house go out to lunch and he answered the door with nothing on but a towel. He acted as if this was nothing. He told me to come up to his room to wait while he went and got dressed. I sat down expecting him to get dressed in the bathroom. Instead, he went into his walk in closet which just happened to have no door. I looked everywhere in his room, but towards that closet. He had a few well placed mirrors that kept me from averting my eyes his way. I scolded him and he enjoyed my flushed face as he did. I made him promise not to pull any more stunts like that again.
All that being said, I felt as if Sal was a gift. An angel sent to me in my time of need. He was there for me when I desperately needed comfort and love. He was attentive and sweet. He made me feel special. He took me out, bought me gifts and was a caring friend when I needed one. I was very naive to what was actually happening. I was 20 years old. Sal was 25. I honestly thought that we really were friends because I didn't think that someone like him would have any real interest in a girl like me. He looked like someone who would date a bikini model not ME. I thought it was all a bit of harmless flirting.
I'd like to say I remember how long my time with Sal lasted, but I don't. It's been a very long time. If I had to guess, I'd say it lasted 6 months to a year. One thing I do remember is when it ended...
One night Sal tried to kiss me. I panicked and quickly pulled away. He pulled me to him and tried again. His size scared me and I said, 'Sal, what are you doing?' as I got myself free. He sat down, put his face in his hands and began to cry. He said, 'You don't understand, I am so in love with you.' I nearly laughed, but saw the his red eyes and pain on his face. He said, 'I want you with me all the time. I want you to come with me on my photo shoots. I want you at my shows. I want you with me for all of it. Erren, when I look at you, your eyes kill me and all I want is to love you.' I was truly shocked. I looked at him and said, 'I'm so sorry Sal. I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. You know I care for you, but you know I have a boyfriend. I can't do this to him.' He put his face in his hands again. With tears in my eyes I told him I couldn't see him again.
I didn't see him again (not for 10 years anyway). I missed him and thought of him often for many years to come, but I was always glad I held my resolve and didn't become the cheat I didn't ever want to be.
I wish I could say the story ends there, but it doesn't. I'll continue the story in my next post...


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Today

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
This is always a tough day for me. Nearly 20 years ago, I lost one of my very best friends. His name was Jeff. At the time, we were best friends. We told each other all the time and every time we left each other or hung up the phone, we said I love you. It doesn't matter how many years pass - it never gets easier. Some years I dread this day the whole month of August. Some years years it takes a bit longer to get to me, but it always hits me hard. This year, it didn't get to me until yesterday. I was moody and down all day (probably dreading today). This morning while having my coffee, I cried. It came like a wave and I was surprised by my tears because it's been so long, but it all came back and I missed him with all my heart and mourned losing him as if he died yesterday.
During my last trip home, I had the closest thing to a religious experience than I've had in a very long time. I was having an awful day. I had a huge argument with my mother, hadn't seen my husband in weeks and wanted to cut my trip short. I had enough. That day, I met my high school sweetheart for coffee. When I left the house, I was a wreck. I started the car and a song came on the radio that reminded me of Jeff. A song I hadn't heard in years. His memory instantly calmed me and I played the song loud feeling better just listening to it.
After meeting my high high school sweetheart, I was emotional again. Our conversation was not lighthearted and I very effected. As I was leaving, my best friend called to see how it went. I started the car and on the radio another song by the very same group came on. This song reminded me of Jeff probably more than any other. The minute the song started, I burst out in tears and hung up the phone telling my best friend, 'I have to go because I think Jeff just came down from heaven to tell me he loves me'. I felt him with me. the thing is, I hadn't felt him with me in many years, but right then it was as if he knew I needed him. My husband couldn't be there and he knew I needed him. Even when he was alive, he did things like this. He'd call me and say, 'I felt like you needed me. What's wrong?'. At that moment, I felt as if he was right there letting me know he was still there for me. I turned the volume up and cried (smiling through my tears). The song was November Rain by Guns and Roses. He loved that song. I was with him when he bought the CD. He played it all the time before he died. It's a long song and I sat there in the car and cried all the way through feeling like he was right there with me. No-one could take that from me and I am still so grateful for the experience. I feel better since then. I feel like he'll always be right there with me if I ever really need him.

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A Great Day

Sunday, August 21, 2011
Yesterday, I felt awful in the morning, but forced myself out anyway and I'm so glad I did. We started with a trip to a place called Paradise Park which is a play park for kids. It has a small science center that teaches kids about dinosaurs (as well as other things), a large botanical garden, miniature golf, playgrounds & a train ride. It has two displays of huge dinosaur models that roar as you walk by. There's one outside & one inside that's dark and the dinosaurs move as well as roar. Ethan is terrified of it and screams every time we go anywhere near it. The outdoor one is near the gardens. He's never gone anywhere near that one either (despite his love of dinosaurs). Yesterday, he was brave and went into the outside display. I was so proud of him and he ended up walking through it 3 times even touching them as he went through.
In the gift shop we bought one of those airplanes that flies by winding the propeller that's attached to a rubber band. On the way home we went to the cliffs to fly it. I got to take some really great pictures of the scenery and we had a really great time flying the plane with Ethan.
Later after we put Ethan to bed, my husband and I sat on our back deck that over looks the harbor (the photo is the view from the deck). We haven't had a great summer and don't get to sit out there very often, but it was a beautiful night so we had our dinner on the deck.
We ended up staying out there for the rest of the night. We drank (got quite tipsy), talked and laughed all night. It was so lovely to have such a great time just hanging out. We're so lucky we still enjoy each other like that. After nearly 8 years together, we still laugh like we did from the beginning. I had such a wonderful day (which was quite a contrast from the day I had on Friday)!





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Miserable

Friday, August 19, 2011
I have an illness called Anklylosing Spondylitis. I've suffered with it for many years, but only got diagnosed about 3 years ago. It's managable with medication (thus far), but my husband and I have decided to try for another baby and my doctor took me off the medication (as you have to stop taking it at least a month before trying to conceive). Being off my meds is awful. I feel miserable. The pain is worse than I remember it being before the diagnosis and I feel like I'm falling apart. Every joint in my body hurts, my back is killing me and the fatigue is horrible. I hate complaining. I hate feeling useless and I HATE feeling sorry for myself. Right now I feel useless and very sorry for myself which just pisses me off to no end. Wayne told me to just relax while Ethan is at nursery school for the morning. I don't want to relax. I want to clean the house and get things done. I want to do the shopping that I need to do and be fine to push it home in the stroller along with my 40lb son the half hour walk it is to get home and still be able to function when I get back, but as a mother, I need to know my limits. The house will not be cleaned today and the shopping will wait until my husband can get to the store. I'll take a cab to pick up Ethan and feel useless doing it. I am miserable.
Living with a chronic illness is a challenge on the best of days, but living with it without being medicated is terrible.
When I told my husband that I couldn't go to the store or walk Ethan home today (which took a lot to admit), he said 'How are you going to do it with two kids?' He said it in a plain way that made me angry. Not because he was being insensitive, but because he said what I have been quietly thinking myself. I sat down and cried. I am worried too. What if it's too much? What if I'll be taking on too much with a second child? It's infuriating to have moments of weakness. I don't want to let this get to me. I want to be strong and feel like I can take what ever comes my way. Maybe I just need more time to adjust to this. Maybe it's just the shock of the pain and I'll get used to it with a bit more time.
I don't want this to change my mind on trying for another baby. I want to feel like I can do this. Maybe I won't be able to breast feed. It will break my heart, but maybe I'll have to do it for a few months and switch to bottle feeding so I can go back on my meds. Ethan will be in school by the time a baby came. I'll have only one at home most of the day. We'll have to get a me a car so it's easier to handle. I'm sure we can make adjustments and I can do it. I'm almost sure anyway. I am miserable.

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Old posts lost!

Thursday, August 18, 2011
I just realized since I moved my blog to this domain, I have been missing a large number of past entries. I've been able to recover a portion of them and re-publish them, but finding out just how many there are and re-publishing them will take a great deal of time that I just don't have. I'm really bothered by this. This blog has been a chronicle of my time here in the UK and also a place where I've stored memories from throughout my life. It's really upsetting. I just don't know where to start to fix it and don't know where I'd find the time. I've already spent way too much time doing it today. How aggravating!

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Robbie Williams and Brad Paisley - Collision of Worlds



My son is a huge Pixar Cars fan. We recently took him to his first movie in the cinema which had to be Cars 2. One of the songs on the Cars 2 soundtrack is a song called Collision of Worlds by Robbie Williams and Brad Paisley. My son asks to hear the song everyday. It's about the differences between being American and English. Anyone in an American/English relationship or an American living in the UK (& vise versa) will be sure to enjoy this song.
I've added the lyrics below:

At the first sign of the morning light, Old Glory's in the sky
Across the pond, it's afternoon and the Union Jack flies high
We're on our first cup of coffee
We're on our third cup of tea
And we can't pretend to live on different planets, you and me

In this collision of worlds
Watch the new day dawn on a distant shore
In this collision of worlds
Oh you can't sit this out no more

Abbey Road, Route 66, CIA, to the MI6
Right lane, left lane, Metric, Imperial
Pounds, dollars, howdy, cheerio!
A v8 growls, to a v12 screams
Hail to the chief, God Save the Queen
Cops, bobbies, tabasco, wasabi, pistachio ice cream!

In this collision of worlds
Well it's too late and you can't stop it now
In this collision of worlds
Yeah find you a place and just watch it now

Well you're a good ole' boy
Yeah you're a decent bloke
I say it's irony, I say it's a joke
When I look around, now I can see
We ain't so different, you and me

Meat and potatoes, bangers and mash
Dollars, pounds, dosh, cash
Autobahn, to the rising sun
The I10, to the M1
Congress, Parliment, President, The Queen!
Petrol, you say gasoline
Now grab your bird, and get your girl
Now its a small world

Collison of worlds
Watch the new day dawn on a distant shore
In this collision of worlds
No you can't sit this out no more
In this collision of worlds
It's too late and you can't stop it now
Collision of worlds
Find you a place and watch it now

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A few of my favorite things...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I just read an article about some of the best feelings in the world or things that just make you happy. It inspired me to make a list of some of mine (in no particular order):
* My son has a thing that he does when he's really tired - He climbs up on my lap, puts his face up against mine and lays on me. He makes this noise when he does it that lets you know he's completely content. It makes me feel like the most special person in the world!
* Freshly washed sheets. It's lovely to climb into bed with sheets fresh out of the laundry. Combined with my down pillows and my husband to curl up with - it makes me never want to get out of bed!
* When the cat chooses my lap to sleep on apposed to the couch or a bed.
* Finding the perfect gift.
* The sound of my son's laughter.
* When my husband walks over and hugs me for no reason at all.
* That just after sex, completely satisfied and falling asleep happy feeling.
* Sunbathing on vacation - the feeling of my toes in the sand, the sound of the sea near by, the hot sun beating down on me, a drink next to me, and not having a care in the world.
* The feeling I when I was pregnant and felt the baby move.
* Doing something for someone you know touches them or makes their day.
* Kissing. I love kissing.
* The feeling of accomplishment I get when I achieve a goal I've set for myself.
* Uncontrollable laughter - the kind of laughter that makes me snort
* Falling asleep in my the arms of someone who loves you.
* The feeling I get when people laugh at my jokes. It's really great to make people laugh or smile.
* Cooking a great meal.
* Getting caught in a rain storm on a day that's so hot, you just wish it would rain (not in England though - the rain here is always so damned cold)!
* Watching someone open a gift I bought for them & seeing their face light up when they see what it is.
* Standing in the falling snow late at night (when the air doesn't feel too cold). It's a beautiful peaceful feeling standing there in the silence of the snow falling around you.
* How I feel when I hang out with my best friend - knowing that I can just be me and the comfort that gives.
* The feeling of pride I get when I see my son accomplish something new & how proud he is to have done it.
* Having a connection with someone and knowing it the minute you meet them.
* The feeling I get when my son or husband say they love me out of the blue for no particular reason.
* Being surrounded by friends.
* My son's spontaneous singing or dancing.
* Finding out you made a difference in someone's life.

I could probably go on and on, but I'll stop there. Feel free to share yours...


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Off my meds

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I've been off my meds over a week now. It's a real shock to the system. I've been on this medication (an anti-inflammatory) for a couple of years now and although I knew it helped, I wasn't aware of just how much.
For the most part, I do okay during the day, but mornings and evening are difficult. My husband keeps asking me why I'm so quiet. Last night, I had to ask him to stop asking. I think he was afraid I was upset with him for something. I get quiet when I'm in pain. I don't like to complain and I'm also quietly trying to figure out how long I'll be able to do this for. I'm hoping I'll get used to it and cope better after a little time.
Today, I tripped over one of my son's toys and made things worse for myself. I jolt like that really makes inflammation worse and I'm really feeling it. When it first happened, it hurt so bad I thought I'd be sick. My three year old son kept saying to me: 'Breathe out' while patting me on the back and then said, 'don't you remember what Daddy said to me the other day? You have to watch where you're walking!' If not for him being so adorable, I'm not sure I would have pulled myself together so quickly. That and knowing he was truly concerned. I didn't want him to worry so I sucked it up and put on a brave face. Now, I'm just wishing there was something I could do to help calm things down.
Last night I cursed my doctor while trying to sleep. I may have called him a sadist. I'm sure there is a very good reason I needed to stop taking my meds before even trying to conceive, but it felt better to curse someone.

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Can't Sleep

Friday, August 12, 2011
It's 5AM. I've been awake since 3:00. I'm still not feeling 100% and had a coughing fit that woke me up and haven't been able to get back to sleep since. There's nothing worse than trying to keep up with a 3 year old on so few hours sleep and I'm dreading the morning.
My husband told me tonight he'll be able to have some time off next month and we'll be able to take a trip home. Maybe that's what's got me up. This trip will be shorter than most which will be hard. I miss it and every time we go back, I wish we didn't have to leave.
During the last trip back, I got to see so many old friends. They arranged homecoming parties for me and we went out to a couple of bars to meet up with everyone. It was so nice to have so many people come out to see me. Some I hadn't seen in 20+ years. I missed my high school reunion which is how the gatherings ended up being planned. Facebook makes the world a lot smaller and the people that wanted to see me came out those nights instead. I had a great time and look forward to doing it again when we go back this time.
I had two best friends in high school. Nicole & Anthony. Nicole is still my best friend to this day, but Anthony and I drifted after a girlfriend of his didn't like our friendship. It happens. It happened to me with many male friends throughout my life. It's just the way it goes.
Anthony and I were constantly together back then. We drove to school together every morning and shared a locker at school. We went to the Homecoming dance together senior year because he didn't want me to go without a date. My boyfriend was in the army and couldn't get home for it so he took me.
There were a lot of rumors about us at school. One drunken night after graduation when we'd both been dumped, he snuck in my bedroom window and we talked all night. That night, we even tried kissing to see if there was something to all the talk, but as soon as our lips met, we burst out laughing and knew the answer was no.
During my last trip, Anthony and I got together. He came out for one of the nights out and he took me out to lunch as well. It was great to see him. He's such an amazing guy. We talked as if we never lost touch and have stayed in contact.
The day we went to lunch he told me he bought a lottery ticket on his way to see me. He said, 'I thought to myself, there's something magical about this girl. I think I'll buy a ticket and see if it some of that magic spreads my way.' It was such a wonderful thing to say. It may have been one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. He's the the greatest and I'm so glad to have my friend back.

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Flu

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
My son was sick last week and this week it's my turn. I'll be back soon. I'll be updating book talk as well with quite a few books as soon as I'm feeling better.

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Parenting Mistake Number 2...

Saturday, July 30, 2011
When Ethan was a baby, I always made is food from scratch. I cooked for him purees and mashed food from the time he was on solid food and then when he started with finger foods, I continued with my healthy meal plans. I never offered cookies or sweets, I gave him only wheat bread (no white) and fresh fruit and veg. He was such a good eater. I swore I'd never be a parent that made separate meals for my child. Then, he turned 2 and his food world turned upside-down. He started refusing more and more food. He became a child of plain pasta (with only butter, salt, pepper & Parmesan cheese), no sauces of any kind, no meat except for chicken, He likes fish but only if it's breaded and he alternates with being picky about his fruit or veg. He always eats it, but is has random refusals of things he used to like. He still only eats wheat bread, but won't drink milk so I have to give him 3 yogurts a day to make up for the lack of milk. For breakfast he'll eat toast, french toast (made with wheat bread and tiny bit of syrup, and on occasion, a honey raisin bran. He is a fussy eater with a limited diet despite all my cooking and hard work I put in when he was a baby or toddler.
Instead of buying frozen processed things the only thing I can do for now is keep cooking his meals. I make homemade chicken nuggets with the best ingredients that I freeze myself, I buy the best fish sticks I can that are made with whole fish fillets and make him fresh fruits, veg and sandwiches. I admit with shame, that every night I make a separate meal for my son.
We've started a star chart for foods as well as his sleeping chart. He was doing really well for a few weeks. He has added wraps, eggs, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pancakes and salad to his limited menu but has given up on trying new foods. I try not to make a big deal out of it and to keep meal times stress free, but must admit that every time he refuses to eat something, internally I want to dump it over his head and scream. I don't though. All of the books say to relax and just keep offering up the same foods. In time it will work it's self out. How many adults do you know that won't eat much more than chicken pasta and yogurt? I'm just hoping it works out sooner than later.

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Parenting Mistake Number 1...

Friday, July 29, 2011
Before I had Ethan, I was one of those childless people who said things like: 'When I have kids, I'll never let them into my bed', 'I'll never make two separate meals - if they don't like what I make then they won't eat' and 'I'd never put up with THAT sort of behavior (when a child had a meltdown in a supermarket)!' Yes, I was the childless person that parents probably wanted to smack if I said anything even close to those things in their presents.
I thought being a mom a bit later in life would be a good thing. I thought I could benefit from other parents mistakes and know exactly what not to do. The thing was that I wasn't a parent and had no idea about the unbelievable love you can have for your child. Now that I am a parent, I have had to go through all the trials and hardships that go with making my own mistakes all for the love of my child.
When Ethan was about a year and a half old, we went though a scare where doctors said words like 'Lymph nodes', 'surgery' and 'Biopsy' all in the same sentence. It was an awful couple of months. During that time, Ethan came down with the flu. I was terrified to leave him and took him into our bed (my old self would be shaking her head in disapproval) and that's where he stayed for a long time to come.
We've always been able to get him to go to bed on his own in his room, but at some point of the night, he'd almost always end up in bed with us. Once you make that mistake, it's difficult to undo. In the following year and a half we tried giving him a big boy bed, an even bigger big boy bed and then I even slept with him in his room for a while hoping he'd get used to sleeping in his room again (my old self would have been appalled by sleeping separate from my husband for any amount of time).
In the end, a star chart did the trick. He started sleeping through the night with the intensive of a toy after 2 weeks. Once he got that toy though, he slowly started waking up every night around 3AM. Exhausted, for the last couple of weeks I almost always ended up back with him. We're on star chart number two now and he's now slept through the night without me for 3 nights running (ahh, glorious, uninterrupted sleep). This time we've pointed out that if he doesn't continue sleeping through the night his reward will be taken away! This parenting never gets easier.

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Baby Talk

Thursday, July 28, 2011
I'm not the sort of person that get's all warm and fuzzy around babies. I don't offer to hold them or feel all nostalgic for the days of tiny babies. What has done that to me lately has been watching my son play and enjoy himself. Recently, I actually cried while taking a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine with him and watched him bop along to the Thomas music they played. HE makes me want to have another baby. It's when he says 'Mommy, I love you SO much, says the word Ferrari (which is the cutest thing I've ever heard) or when he has a look of pride on his face when he does something he was afraid to do. It's when he climbs on me to cuddle close for a what he calls a 'face hug'(which is a hug with his cheek up against mine) or when I listen to him have a conversation with his Dad. It's all these things that make me want to have another baby and go through it all over again.
It started a couple of months ago when my husband and I were sitting on a park bench watching Ethan run and play. I watched Ethan run with the biggest smile on his face and I said to my husband (much to my surprise), 'Crap, I want another baby' the reason I said it like that was because we were pretty sure we weren't going to have any more babies. Ethan is 3 years old and I just lost a ton of weight. I thought we were pretty much done and were actually talking of a vasectomy. Now, that's all changed. Now, we're talking about trying again in the next few months.
Ethan has been asking for a baby for a while. He says he wants a baby brother named Frank or a baby sister named Ester. Which is comical and God knows where he gets this stuff from. We don't know anyone with those names. Maybe in his last life he was an elderly Jewish man.
I spoke to my doctor and need to go off my meds for a full month before we start trying. It will mean a lot of pain before I get pregnant, but the doctor says not to let my illness get in the way. I'll feel better during pregnancy and probably wouldn't feel the need for the meds anyway. So, in the next couple of months, we'll hopefully on our way to a two child family.

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A Suprising Turn of Events

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
When the chips are down it's sometimes surprising what you can end up needing. You can end up needing people you thought you outgrew the need for. Recently, while in crisis mode, I found out that there are some people we never outgrow the need for (you just don't know it until faced with something that triggers it). I've been lucky enough to find comfort and support from someone completely unexpected and I am so grateful for it. Years pass and people come and go. Some leave their mark, some fade as if they were never there and some leave more than just their mark and they stay with you long after they've moved on from your life.
You would think approaching someone with a problem after not even hearing their voice in almost a decade, would be awkward, but it wasn't. They could have responded with 'This is unexpected, isn't there someone else you can go to with this?' or simply, 'Why me?' but it wasn't like that. The first response was 'What's up?' as if we just spoke yesterday. What followed was the exchange of two very long emails and peace of mind. They talked me down and gave me insight to the situation that I never would have found without them. It wasn't a magic cure to the situation, but it was a place to start and I am so grateful for the guidance and support from such an unexpected source.

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Family Matters

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
It's been a while. When I go through difficult times, I tend to go quiet until it passes. I don't blog about highly personal matters and it's hard to find the inspiration to write about the small stuff when other things seems so substantial.
We got back from my in-laws last night. It took a grueling 5.5 hours to get back. Without traffic, it takes 3.5 which is tough enough. Ethan was a doll sitting still in traffic for over an hour in an oven of a car. He's always good when it comes to that sort of thing.
The trip to my in-law's was different than most. I spent the weekend playing family counselor. It started with my sister-in-law (the same one who was talking about me the last time I saw them). I walked outside to have a cigarette and found her crying with her boyfriend. I went to leave and she said to stay. She told me she was upset because her brother (who she hasn't been on good terms with for 5 years now) refused to come to come because she was there. She has been battling with his wife for years and he has taken his wife's side. I'll say this - his wife is one of the most awful people I have ever come across. I hate being anywhere near her. She is a toxic bitch. Anyway, I digress - We were there to celebrate her son's 18th birthday and her brother's refusal to show up really upset her. I listened, but didn't have too many pearls of wisdom to offer except that she should try to approach him away from his wife & try to carry out some sort of separate relationship (but this was nothing her boyfriend hadn't already suggested).
A while later, Wayne was inside talking to his nephew (the birthday boy) and when I came in, he said, 'Ask Erren what she thinks'. He explained he was thinking of dropping out of college to get a full time job. He's fed up with never having any money or freedom. I could see he was about to burst into tears so I took him by the hand and took him outside. I tried to talk him out of dropping out. I told him I did the same thing at his age and ended up stuck in a dead end job for years until I put myself through school much later in life. I assured him that if he missed this opportunity he'd be sorry later. I know my advise made no difference. his mind was already made up.
The following day, Wayne's brother came to visit with his bitch wife (sorry I just can't help it). Tensions were high over what happened the day before. Wayne's Mom (or mum) was ready to snap. I mentioned I wanted a Pepsi and she jumped to her feet and said, 'I'll walk to the shops with you' I knew at that moment there would be another discussion with a family member that needed to be heard. My mother in law told me how her blood was boiling over what was happening between her son & daughter. She wanted to give him a piece of her mind and if she didn't leave right then and there she just may have right in front of everyone including his bitch wife who would be sure to hold her grandchildren hostage over it. I listened and tried to validate her feeling with little to add. I am no expert in resolving family disputes. If I was, my father would be speaking to me instead of missing his grandson grow up.
I should point out that this has not been a roll I play in this family. They are not a family of talkers. Although, I do talk to my nephew about things every time we're together and I've always been aware of the tension with mt brother & sister in-law but have never had them talk to me about it. I avoided my brother-in-law every chance I got. I didn't want to get involved. If he breached the subject with me, I would have been in danger of telling him I thought he was an ass...
By the end of the visit, my mother-in-law cornered her son and told him how upset everyone was. She asked him to call his sister and he did. They formed a truce and with any luck, it will all work out.
I left feeling a part of the family. Although I'm close with my mother-in-law, I have never felt like a part of the family. As odd as it was to be such a big part of things this weekend, I'm glad it happened and I'm glad I was able to help in some small way.

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Case Histories By Kate Atkinson

Friday, July 15, 2011
I have spent the last week falling in love with Jackson Brodie, the main character in Kate Atkinson's Case Histories series. I have read all four books by auido book walking around for days with Jason Isaacs sexy voice telling me the stories. Jason Isaacs also plays Jackson Brodie in the BBC series based on the books. I watched the first episode and quickly switched to the books (which I already owned in book form). I chose the auido books not because of Jason Isaacs, but because sometimes when the narrator of a book is Britsh, I have a difficult time finding their voice (for lack of a better word) while reading and I struggle with the story. I tried reading it in book form several times and then looked for the Audio version. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the star of the show would be telling me the stories. I did 4 books in five days and now that I have fallen for Mr Brodie, I look very forward to the next edition (I really hope there are plans for one).
Kate Atkinson is a great storyteller. This was the first detective series I have ever read. Crime novels are usually not my thing, but these books are so well written and the charters are are so well formed, you can't help but get sucked in. I liked each book as much as the last. She has a gift for linking the characters together and I was not able to solve any of the mysteries before they unraveled - usually I see them coming a mile away, but I enjoyed the stories so much, I didn't bother trying to think ahead. I just enjoyed going along for the ride. Jackson Brodie is a perfect hero who I'm sure is loved by woman and admired by men. These books are fantastic and I highly recommend them.
Book 1 - Case Histories (click the book to find it on Amazon.com or below for UK)
Book 2 - One Good Turn
Book 3 - When Will There Be Good News
Book 4 - Started Early Took My Dog



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What I wanted to tell you...

Friday, July 1, 2011
Here is what I want to tell you - I turned out OK. I am happily married - really happy.  Most people are not.  I know maybe two couples that are happily married, but most I know don't even like the person they wake up next to every day.  It's sad but true.  We are happy and we are in love.  It's been nearly ten years and I see no change in our behavior or our relationship than when we first started out.  He takes good care of me so you don't have to worry about that.
I am a mother. I am finally a mother and I am a good one at that.  This morning I heard him singing in his bed before he got up.  What a wonderful sound!  I went to his door and peeked in.  His head came up to look, I opened the door wider so he could see it was me and his face lit up as he smiled (that kid smiles with his whole face), he jumped up and ran to me with arms wide open.  I got to him just as he reached the edge of the bed and we started the day with the biggest hug ever.  If I ever have doubts about the kind of mother I am, he always finds a way to let me know what a good job I am doing.  He is a great kid.  He's funny and dare I say it, he's sensitive and sweet.  I didn't want him to be like me in that way.  I want to protect him from that and give him a thick skin so he doesn’t get his heart broken so easily, but it's there already.  He is sensitive, emotional, and so loving.  I really didn't want him to take on those traits, but I love who he is and can't wait to see who he'll become (although I don't want it to happen too quickly).
You are right about what you said - how the bad times of our past casting such a long shadow.  They do cast a long shadow, but please don't look at it like that.  I carried you with me and what we had, gave me the insight I needed to not settle for anything less.  If not for what we had, I would not be here in a happy marriage with this great kid.  If not for what we had, I would have settled for an ordinary life with a man I wasn't in love with and I would never have been happy.
You gave me so much so don't look back at the shadows that are cast.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  The good out weighs the bad.  We were lucky to have had our time. I'll always carry it with me.  It not for you, I wouldn't be the person I am today.
I hid this entry because I wrote it for you not for the world to see, but I also wanted to give you an option to not read it if you didn't want to.  With email, it’s hard to not scroll down and once you do, it’s just too late. 




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This is where I leave you by Jonathan Tropper

Friday, June 24, 2011
When Judd Foxman's father dies, he is faced with seven days under the same roof with his mother and three siblings to sit Shiva as a family when they are told it was their Father's last dying wish. After finding his wife in bed with his boss (a shock-jock radio DJ), Judd isn't in the best place emotionally to be mourning his father's death - never mind stuck under the same roof with his dysfunctional family. This is a laugh out-loud (albeit heartbreaking at the same time), heart-warming tale that keeps you surprised with each turn of events. The brilliantly crafted cast of characters will shock you, make you laugh, cringe and want to cry throughout.
I loved this book. It really did make me laugh out loud more times than any I've ever read before. The only thing I will say is that if you're the type to be offended by scenes of a graphic sexual nature (which I'm not) this book is not for you. It's a definite R-rated novel from the very beginning. A great read!

Click the book to check it out on Amazon.com or


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Motherhood Under Duress

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Being a mother of a small child during a trying time is difficult, but being a mother of a small child that's sick during a trying time is even harder. I am not myself. I try to put on a happy face and make things normal for him. I've comforted him and tried to keep him entertained while confined to the house, but after 7 days, my patience and energy are wearing thin.
He's over the worst of it. It's been 2 days (rainy days) since he's had a fever and his energy levels are back up. Which is good for recovery, but not so easy for me. He's bored and demanding and I can't entertain him the way he needs me to. I'm distracted and moody and go back and forth over feeling guilty over it and wanting to run away.
Earlier, I gave him a hard time over something small and walked away in a huff. It's not his fault I'm exhausted and miserable. I went outside to have a cigarette and listened to him play on his own upstairs. I felt awful about it. I went back upstairs picked him up and kissed, ticked and hugged him and took a moment to enjoy his giggles. I apologized for Mommy's mood. I told him I haven't been feeling very well, but he makes me happier than anything else in the world. We had some quiet time together until my friend came to the rescue with her 3 year old to play with him and keep him busy so I could have some much needed adult conversation.
They are gone now and Ethan seems some-what satisfied by his time with his little friend. Admittedly, I am counting the hours to bedtime and hoping my short visit with my friend was enough to keep my mood up until then. He's well enough to go back to nursery school tomorrow and I will have 4 hours to escape, get out and try to clear my head.

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This is where I leave you by Jonathan Tropper

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I'm reading this right now and love it. I'm going through a rough time at the moment and wouldn't think I'd have the concentration to stick to a book (I'm not the sort to read when I have a lot on my mind), but this book is excellent. I have laughed out loud several times (despite some very serious subject manners) and pick it up every chance I get. Right now it's been a real saving grace. Thank you Jonathan Tropper!

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Rough week

It's been a rough week - a stressful time that I can't and won't blog about. On top of that, my son has had a fever and cough for nearly a week. I have been confined to the house like I'm grounded for as long as he's been sick with no escape from my stress except for the smoking breaks I take every hour or so and a few hours out on Sunday to try to make father's day a less miserable experience for all of us.
I am losing weight by the day because I can't bring myself to eat more than a couple times a day. I have now reached my thinnest since Ethan was born, but am not really celebrating because it's the sort of weight loss that will creep back as soon as my appetite returns.
To add insult to injury, tonight my son smacked me in the face with such force that it still stings a half hour later. I had a slight impulse to smack him back, but restrained myself and walked away instead. We're not parents who hit and until today, Ethan was not a child who hits either. In his defense, I'm sure he thought I deserved it because not long before that, I had to hold him down and force antibiotics down his throat. It was not my finest moment as a parent, but he refuses to take it and he has a respiratory infection that can turn to pneumonia. It was a necessary evil so for tonight, I'll take my slap and call it a day.

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My latest fox photos

Thursday, June 16, 2011
I watch the fox a lot lately. He has a calming influence on me. We have an unspoken deal - he lets me snap all the pics I want as long as I keep my distance. We watch each other. I don't think he's the same fox from the night with the cat. He seems small and harmless (although I know he's a hunter by nature). The fox that looked down on me from the fence was much larger (or at least seemed to be in the dark staring me down). I have come to like this fox. He and my cats stay out of each others way and as I said, he's become a calming influence which is welcomed right now. Here are today's best shots...


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Smoking again

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I've started smoking again after 6 years of quitting (not counting one brief relapse that only last a few weeks). The thing is I have smoked more of my adult life than I haven't and some things just send you straight back to it. As much as I don't want to be doing it, it's a coping mechanism that is hard to avoid. I've been through a lot since quitting and never went back. Maybe I've used up all my strength for a while and this is how I'm dealing with stress this time around. I'm hoping it's a short lived relapse.

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I'm not a writer

Monday, June 13, 2011
I've been researching how to write a proper book review. Since I'm writing book reviews for a website, I thought maybe I should research how to write a real review instead of going on about how I liked the book (or didn't).   There's not a lot out there. I looked at the NY Times website because I use it to choose books and to see what's out there (although I read a balance of English & American books, I prefer American - only because it's just easier to relate to).  Looking at those reviews, I know one thing - I am not a writer (nor have I ever claimed to be). I wish there was another place to look instead of the highbrowed NY Times.  Like maybe People or OK Magazine.  Problem is, they don't do reviews.  I've looked at Amazon but they aren't professional.  I was looking for professionally written without the intellectual jargon. I cringe at my reviews and I don't like them being published with my name attached to them.  They are hardly reviews.  They are snippets I've written when I have a second either before or after Ethan gets put to bed.
I've always wanted to write.  I was good at it once, but I can't commit to it.  I can't because it's something I've always wished I could do and can't possibly set myself up for failure. The only time I'm any good at it is when I write about what matters to me.  I could write a book on my story with my husband or the loves that led me here because it's real and meaningful.  Sit me down to write a book review and what you'll get is - I loved this book (without and real reason why).
I made the Top 25 list on the circle of Moms website Thank you all who voted).  They sent me an interview to fill out for their feature.  Again, I cringed.  They asked me to list my 3 favorite blog posts - Yikes! I don't read my blog! It's like going back and reading your diary! I can't read it.  It's too personal.  I don't like to look at it. Faced with having to fill in my little interview, I had no choice.  What I found was - a lot of entries that were lost when I imported this blog from my last hosting provider that I didn't know about because I don;t read my blog (which really bothered me) and nothing I'd consider to be favorite entries. I did my best picking them and ended up with one about my son and two that were self deprecating humor (which I'm pretty good at). Like I said - I'm not a writer.  I just write down thoughts when they come to me.

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The very last time

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Last night I dreamed about someone I haven't laid eyes on in what must be 20 years now. Despite that fact - in my dream, he was aged as if we see each other all the time. He was different yet exactly the same. It's not that I haven't seen pictures of him in recent years. I know what he looks like, but you'd think in my dream, he would have been just as I remember him the last time we were together.
I remember the last time I saw him. I know exactly where we were. I remember his face - his narrowed lips and sad eyes that said I'm sorry and please change your mind both at the same time - just as he was about to walk away from me for the very last time.
Don't you wish you knew when it was going to be the very last time you'd be with someone - so you could memorize it and make it as momentous as it should be? I wish I could go back to my young self (not to change the outcome because that might mean I wouldn't have my family now) and say at that very moment - this person in front of you - he is significant; he has shaped you and changed you, he is more  influential than most people you will ever come across again and this is the last time he will ever stand in front of you. Make it count. Make it beautiful. Tell him you love him (although I may have) and for God's sake, take off your work uniform so his last vision of you is not wearing a white lab coat!

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A Moment of Clarity

Friday, June 10, 2011
I had a moment of clarity today. I've been really down this week. I couldn't figure out why. I mean my social life has finally turned around after 6 long years. I've been really busy socially for the last few weeks. It hasn't stopped. I had Ethan's party, 2 weekly play dates (which are a regular thing), I went to a party with a bunch of woman that had music, drinks and conversation about our lives, started my book club and even had another couple over for dinner. So what the hell is there to be down about? I mean this is what I wanted all this time right?
This morning it came to me - finding a normal life here makes me feel like I'm moving on from my life back home in America (where my heart truly lies). This revelation made me want to burst out in tears. I'm struggling not to cry right now. I miss my friends. I miss my old - friends the ones that really know me. I miss my best friend - the one that knows me better than anyone else in the world.
What it comes down to is that finding a social life and friends here, has made me start mourn the loss of my friends back home (even though I know finding normalcy here is what's best for me). It's been a hard pill to swallow knowing all my friends and family back home moved on a long time ago. They all went on with their lives and got used to me not being there. I never did. I've been happy with the family I have with my husband and son, but I never got used to life without all the rest of the people I love and now that things are finally turning around, I feel sad and terrified of leaving it all behind.
I hate this time difference. All I want to do is call my best friend in NJ and tell her all about this so we can have a cry together. Instead, I'll have to suck it up, put on a happy face to pick up Ethan at nursery school and hope that tonight at my book club meeting, I don't burst into tears.

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Summer Reading Recommendations...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
To me, a summer read should be something that's not hard work or difficult to get into - something you can sit on the beach and relax with. I've had a few requests for summer reading choices so here are my recommendations:

The Book of Joe by Johnathan Tropper
The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
For One More Day By Mitch Albom
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Chick Lit - Not my first choice in reading, but sometimes we need a bit of Romantic fluff :-)
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (My first & favorite Chick lit book).

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Today is the last day of voting. Please vote if you're a follower.
To vote, click the banner above, scroll down to PondHopper and click the thumbs up symbol. Voting ends at 5pm PST. Thank you all who have been supporting me :-)

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Semi-happily Ever After?

Sunday, June 5, 2011
I read an article in 'The Times' today that just annoyed the hell out of me. The title read - 'Modern Love - Are you living a semi-happily ever after?' The article mainly talked about a book called 'Marriage Confidential' of which the author explores modern marriage and it's lack of romance, fidelity and fulfillment. As bleak as that sounds, I can't comment too much because I haven't read her book. I may buy it though or maybe not because I hate when marriage is made out to be grim. That being said, I don't know many happily married couples.
On the same page of this article, there was another small piece that read, 'You know you're in a post-romantic marriage when...' This is the one that bothered me most:
You make small talk - Just like on your first date only different. The big things have already been addressed, your vows of undying love are over and have been swapped for gossip about kids, kitchen utensils and garbage collection.
Has this person ever been in a long term relationship?? Are they a parent?? My God, I find it irritating. Not that this describes my marriage, but after years together, EVERY SINGLE couple will move away from the honeymoon stage of a relationship. When you see each other every day and you spend most of your time together caring for your children, talking bout your children (in my opinion) does NOT qualify as small talk. Nor does it make you less in love. Also, in a marriage sometimes you have to discuss things like kitchen utensils (just this morning I discussed with my husband that we need a new food processor) and garbage collection. You do live together after all and nobody wants to miss the garbage being picked up. Just because you've shared the big stuff years ago and a lot of your conversation isn't of an intimate nature, doesn't mean the romance is dead or you never discuss meaningful things.
A majority of what was listed as signs of an post-romantic marriage were pretty obvious signs (ie - celebrating your anniversary with friends instead of alone or going on vacation with your best friend instead of your spouse), but some were also unrealistic and unfair to categorize as 'post-romantic'. Like not having your heart race over their Facebook profile (Christ, half the time I'm on FB, my husband is sitting right next to me) or scheduling sex. I'm sorry, but when you have a child, you can't very well rip each others cloths off in the middle of the day and screw on the kitchen table! I'm not saying couples should make entries in their daily calendar, but it can't possibly be as spontaneous as it used to be. It's just life as a family.

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4:30AM

Friday, June 3, 2011
It's 4:30 in the morning. I slept from 12 - 3AM just fine, but woke up wide awake. I'm sitting here thinking of a topic to write about. The internet is a beautiful thing - there isn't much that's not right at your fingertips. So, I googled 'Blogging Ideas' and came up with this: What's different about you?
My first thought was - that's a loaded question! and then I really thought about it. What's different about me more than most other people I know? One answer - when it comes to people - I try to look at the whole picture rather than just make a quick judgement about them and their actions (unless my feelings are hurt and then I'm a bit of a nightmare). Anyway, I digress...
Case in point - I've had a bit more of a social life lately. A part of that is groups of moms being together. When alone with most of them, they usually have something negative to say about the other moms. Like - she's a bit quick tempered with her child isn't she? My thought process here is - well, maybe there's a reason for that. Maybe she's got a lot on here plate with 3 kids to deal with and a husband that doesn't help. Maybe she's just tired and when you're tired and fed up, it's hard to be a patient mom. It may not be MY parenting style, but who am I to judges her and her life? When I presented this to the woman who was judging so harshly, she got quiet and had nothing more to say.
Another point - I once worked with a man who was a terrible grouch. He'd complain and for the most part, was always in an awful mood. The people I worked with were always talking about him and hated the guy. Me, well I got to know him and as it turned out, he was grumpy for a reason. His wife was very sick and he spent most of his time outside the office taking care of her. He was pissed off at the world and he was ornery, but who could blame him? Ever since then, when I meet someone who's miserable and moody, I think to myself - maybe there's a good reason for it. There usually is. It's rare to find a person who's just unhappy for no good reason. No-one wants to be that way. No-one plans to end up that way (they couldn't possibly) but it happens and I think most of the time we should probably feel sorry for them instead of being nasty right back.
Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Being alone is hard. I could go on and on. In my opinion, we shouldn't judge people. We should try to understand them.

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Pooh's Bridge

Thursday, June 2, 2011
I went to Winnie The Pooh’s Bridge today in Hartfield, England. My friend Angela & her husband took Ethan & I with their daughter (who’s the same age as Ethan & his best friend). The history behind it is this - The famous children’s author of the Winnie the Pooh stories, A.A. Milne, lived in a house in Hartfield, close to Ashdown Forest. When his son, Christopher was a child, they would visit the rickety old bridge in Ashdown Forest and played a game they called “Poohsticks”. The bridge became infamous in the tales of Christopher Robin and families now flock to the little bridge to play their own game of Poohsticks.
We played Poohstick (at least we tried but the stream wasn’t moving. The kids had a wonderful time all the same. A little bit past the bridge was a little tree with a door on it which was Piglet’s House, It was the most precious thing. The kids knocked on the door and rang the doorbell looking for piglet which was a joy to watch. The bridge was slightly unimpressive, but it was exciting for the kids and the most touristy thing I have done in ages!


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Juliet Naked By Nick Hornby

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Synopsis - Annie and Duncan are a mid-30s couple who have reached a fork in the road, realizing their shared interest in the reclusive musician Tucker Crowe (in Duncan's case, an obsession as well as an academic career) is not enough to hold them together any more.
When Annie hates Tucker's 'new release', a terrible demo of his most famous album, it's the last straw - Duncan cheats on her and she promptly chucks him.
Via an Internet discussion forum, Annie's harsh opinion reaches Tucker himself, who couldn't agree more. He and Annie start an unlikely correspondence that teaches them both something about moving on from years of wasted time.

I just started this via Audiobook (I listen while working or exercising). I'm actually reading another Nick Hornby book in book form as well - Long Way Down and am really enjoying them both. He's a brilliant author and I'm quickly becoming a fan.
Click the book to check it out on Amazon.com or


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If you can't laugh at yourself...

During my first resistance band workout today, I snapped myself in the ass with the band when it slipped off my foot. I now have a big red mark on my upper thigh and ass. I can say for certain that graceful is not a word you would have used if you could have seen me this morning! LOL
I started with my trainer last week. I've had 3 sessions so far and have been really enjoying it. Last night, Ethan came down with a nasty ear infection so I kept him home from nursery school and couldn't go to the gym. Determined to keep up my workouts, I took out my resistance band DVD (bought and never opened about 6 months ago), put Ethan on the couch with Disney Cars and went to jump into the workout. I did ok, but admit I called my trainer in the middle of the workout twice to ask questions.
30 minutes in, Ethan came in, grabbed a resistance band and tried to join in. I can't say it was productive from there on, but at least I tried. I will try again later...
Oh, by the way - I joined the gym on Thursday last week. I went for my Saturday appt, just to find out that the gym will be closing on June 30th. There isn't another gym within walking distance - so much for that! I'm just gutted over it. The black widow strikes again! I am the black widow of the corporate world. nearly every company I have ever worked for has gone out of business while I was employed by them (5 companies in total - try writing a resume with that track record). I guess now that I work for myself, I'll be spreading my bad luck elsewhere!

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Taken Up Residence

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
This morning I came down to find this in my yard. The fox sleeping all snug and comfy on my lawn. I went to let my cats out, saw the fox and quickly shut the door. It's taken up residence in my yard! I went and got my camera and took these photos from the window.



It saw me and stayed put. We made eye contact and it was completely unaffected by my presents. If anything it seemed bored by me and just sprawled out and went back to sleep.

Shortly there after, my cat Luka, jumped out the window, puffed himself up and went for the fox. The fox jumped up and ran with Luka chasing after it. I haven't seen either of them since and I'm trying to remain calm and hope that the fact that the fox ran away is a good sign that Luka is OK and just standing guard somewhere.

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Book Blog

Monday, May 30, 2011
To all of my book blog friends - I'm sorry for the gap in book talk, but with planning my son's birthday party and having house guests for the last week, I haven't touched a book in a little while. I'll get back to it this week. Thank you all for the lovely comments and warm welcome! :-)

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Our Murdous Neighborbood Fox


As you may have read in the my earlier post (Luka's Misadventure),we have a murderous fox in the neighborhood. He's lurks about day and night. So far he's killed the pet rabbit next door, a cat the night Luka (one of my cats) went missing and two seagulls 2 nights running. Tonight, I caught Luka chasing the fox. The photo is of the fox looking down at him after being chased onto the fence while I was yelling out the window for the cat to get the hell in the house. I only took the picture because Wayne was on his way out of the house to get Luka in.
The creepy thing about the fox is that he's not afraid of people. He was in the yard next door the other day looking for food and when he saw me, he glanced at me and kept roaming around the yard and the day of Ethan's party, he sat on our fence and watched us for a few minutes before we chased him away. I'm not quite sure what to do about it. I've tried keeping my cats in, but they cry all day and stalk me until I open the door. I'm afraid for them, but my husband swears to me they only hunt at night and my cats are in before dark. I just don't want it to end badly.

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The party was a big success

Ethan's Birthday was a big success. He was so excited from the minute he woke up (and was still talking about it when I put him to bed). I went into his room when he woke up wearing a party hat - which he loved and requested his immediately (only his had to be pink because my little man - who is very secure with his boyhood LOVES pink). He opened a few presents before our guests started to arrive.
At the party he had the time of his life! He had all of his favorite friends here. We had a bouncy castle, all kinds of party games and a house full of people. The party which was supposed to be from 11AM - 1:00, lasted until after 4:00 (but probably would have gone longer if the kids weren't so tired).
We had a really great crowd. This was my first birthday party living in England where I actually had friends there instead of people I associated with for the sake of the kids (but never actually formed any relationships with) or was forced to have at my in-laws because I didn't have anyone to invite.
A good time was had by all and everyone even behaved themselves (including the adults). I have to say that the best part of the day for me was watching Ethan enjoy himself so much. I got several txts from party guests & friends later in the night telling me what a good time they had. It was such a good time, I'm planning a 4th of July party as well. What a great reason to have a party - celebrating America's independents from English rule (with a bunch of Brits to celebrate with me)!

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My Little Man's 3 on Sunday

Friday, May 27, 2011
I can't believe it, but my little man turns 3 on Sunday. This is the first year that he's aware of having party and he's been talking about it for months! He's requested a Lightening McQueen themed party. He asked for balloons, a Lightening cake, a bouncy castle - the works and of course Mommy has been planning it for months!
At first I thought I didn't know enough people to have a party. Boy, did I cry the first time he asked for a birthday party. I thought I'd have to pay people to show up, but in the last few months my social life has taken a turn and on Sunday (including my in-laws who arrived on Thurs) I will have 15 - 20 adults and 10 children in my house. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't rain because I don't know where I'll put them all (English houses are NOT large).
Needless to say, Ethan is thrilled and can't wait! I am off to start wrapping his gifts. I haven't stopped preparing for days and I am exhausted, but I know it will be worth it. There is nothing better than watching my little man have a good time!

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What I don't write about...

Thursday, May 26, 2011
It may seem odd to some that I almost never write about my husband and our relationship. There are no heart-felt entries going on about him and how much I love him. The thing is, my husband requested I don't write about him a long time ago. He's of the mindset that our relationship is between us not the rest of the world. I respect that and therefore, don't write about our relationship.
What I will say is that I am madly in love with my husband. We are very close. We are a team. We are complete opposites, but never fight(even when I sometimes yell). In our years together we have had maybe 3 serious arguments. He's the love of my life and the best dad I know. He knows me through and through which is why he's not bothered by the entries that involve any past relationships or love affairs (the ex files)because he doesn't expect me to forget what made me who I am today. What matters most is the here and now. We tell each other all the time how lucky we are to have the sort of relationship we have and we know we are truly blessed (although I'm not sure that's a word in his vocabulary).
Now that we're parents, we do all we can to remain a couple as well. We have no babysitters (no family here or fiends that aren't parents themselves) so we don't get to go out for dinners or drinks like we used to. What we do now is have morning dates. When Ethan is at nursery school, we make time for each other. I dress nice for him (as sexy as I can for 9AM) and do my hair & make-up as I would if we were going out to dinner. We go out for coffee, shopping, lunch or stay home for other things he wouldn't like me to mention. When we're out, we hold hands just as we always have and we never ever refer to each other by our names - just 'Babe'. I have heard him say my name very few times in all the years we are together so when he does say it, it either sounds odd or makes me weak in the knees (depending on the setting).
I know we're not like other couples. We're not jealous or hung up on each other's past. Which is why it makes me laugh when he breaks out in big red blotches if any one has anything unkind to say about his ex and why he doesn't mind at all that my blog has a category titled 'The ex files' or that I believe once you love someone - you always love them. The nature of the love may change, but it's still love that is not erased just because your relationship ends.
I know I'm breaking the rules here by writing about our relationship, but I'm hoping one time in years will be ok. I'd love to add a photo here, but that would definitely be crossing a line!

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