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!

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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.
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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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