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Where to buy cheap generic viagraCan you buy dapoxetine in the us On the Road Again

23 Feb

Recently, I have had some rather unpleasant drama land unbidden on my doorstep. Uninitiated by me, but rather the result of some else’s selfish behavior and disappointing choices. I was not a willing participant. And, as such, I removed myself from the fray as quickly, and gracefully, as possible. But it has brought a certain kind of clarity that previously eluded me. And I am more grateful than ever for my true friends. Deeply appreciative of the people who care for me, and do not love me simply by half measures, or only when it is convenient or advantageous for them. I am reminded of the advice I recently doled out that life is hard, and being an adult sucks. That people will hurt you on purpose, and for no reason. But that life, if we pay attention, is also filled with unspeakable beauty, and moments of incandescent joy. So despite pain and disappointment, and people who suck, we must engage in our own lives. We must do it anyway.

The truth is, I need some peace in my life. So, to that end, it feels like the perfect time to actively seek it, or at least plan for the journey towards it. And nothing makes me happier than a journey. Recent home improvements may have curtailed the impetuous travel budget for a time, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go big this summer…

That’s right, after a discomfiting hiatus last year, it’s time for Crazy Momma’s Road Trip to make it’s triumphant return! Time to get started on the planning phase of CMRT: Summer 2016 – K9 Edition. Yep, because 1 mom, 3 kids, and a minivan wasn’t crazy enough, we’re throwing the dog into the mix! CMRT is undergoing a major overhaul. Instead of a slow, leisurely jaunt up and down the Eastern Seaboard, with bizarre and exciting stops along the way, we are making quick tracks for Maine, and staying put in Kennebunkport for two solid weeks of blissful Turbat’s Creek living.

Just typing those words put a smile on my face. Two weeks in one of my favorite places on earth, but with a twist. The house we rent is dog-friendly, and the beach at Turbat’s Creek is definitely dog-friendly, so I figured, why not complicate my life exponentially?! Yes, it means we’ll have to put in some hard driving days. And yes, there will be limited entertainment stops, at least of the museum variety. And the kids get that. They are so excited to stay in Maine for two weeks, and to have our goofy dog with us, that they barely batted an eye at how this will change our travel dynamics. Of course, it may also have something to do with the fact that after 5 years of CMRT, we’ve hit pretty much every roadside attraction within spitting distance of I-95. When I asked them if there was anything they really wanted to do on the drive up, keeping in mind our canine travel companion’s limitations, they said that they still wanted to drive into Manhattan. Because what’s cooler to some suburban Florida kids than just randomly taking your dog for a walk in Central Park? Nothing. And this little dream? Yes, kids, your crazy Momma will make it come true.

But, as well trained as our pooch may be, and he is a very good boy, I recognize that this will necessitate changes in our overnight locales. I’ll need to find a few (large dog) dog-friendly hotels for a few nights. And I will wipe the slate clean, not presuming that anyone who was brave enough to take on Crazy Momma & the Willim 3, wants to up the ante by adding a 55lb standard poodle to their guest list. If I’m wrong, and some of you are willing to take us on, we’d love to see you, and would be eternally grateful. One of the ways CMRT has morphed most pleasantly over the years is the home visits with friends, old and new. So, if you still want to stay in the line-up, please let me know. I’m in the initial route planning stages. Our Maine rental runs from June 18-July 2. I’ve already locked up a few nights in CT to start our southbound leg – it simply wouldn’t be CMRT without a visit to Chez Tison – but everything else is still up in the air.

Friends, we’d love to see you, but I only recently got over the guilt of accepting people’s gracious hospitality, and I certainly wouldn’t expect you all to be onboard with the changes of CMRT – K9 Edition. So, I’ll start my planning, and maybe I’ll hear from you, or maybe I won’t; and that will be fine either way. Because I just can’t wait to get on the road again…


I will keep it safe.

16 Jan

It is a particular weakness of mine that I am terribly affected by words. I recognize that other people are not burdened with this particular affliction. There are those who can casually toss off words of no consequence, say things they don’t mean. There are people who don’t take others’ words to heart, and who do not assign meaning to a lack thereof. I am not one of those people.

In relationships, I am often most affected by a lack of words from others (“Say something I’m giving up on you…”). I’m a talker. A sharer. I don’t just talk too much, I say too much. And I have this need to hear others, to understand them. I believe that the only thing we can know about what another is thinking or feeling is what they tell us. This is not to say that I don’t value, or place an importance upon, actions. I believe they are probably to be trusted above words. But still, I need the words. It is awful this insecurity of mine that begs for coherent communication. Truly. Awful.

So, in general, as an epic understatement, words are exceedingly important to me. And I am constantly being affected by random quotes. It doesn’t really matter who said the something I find in the pages of a book, or posted on the internet. The author is not what makes a sentiment poignant to me. I am constantly finding someone else’s words speaking to me, even if they were not written or uttered for my express benefit. Sometimes, upon being struck by a particular quote, I merely smile, or laugh, or feel warm inside. Perhaps a hand to the cheek, or a heartfelt sigh. Maybe a misty eye. (Ugh, it’s annoying how quick I am to cry – out of sadness, or anger, or love, or sentimentality.) But I receive enjoyment from the written word, or the carefully crafted dialogue or lyric, I may jot it down to revisit later, but it is a passing moment. I move on.

But occasionally, a quote sticks around. It gnaws at my brain, messes with my heart. Makes me think. Sometimes changes the way I think, or view the world. Most recently it was this:

“Why should I be sad?

I have lost someone who didn’t love me.

But they lost someone who loved them.”

When I first read it, I actually gasped. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but it’s true. After having been fairly recently dumped by my boyfriend, and then had my feelings hurt by a toxic friend, I found this a startlingly different point of view. Indeed! Why should I be sad? Why should I be sad? They should be sad, damn it! I am the most caring and thoughtful individual I know. You should be so lucky as to be loved by me! Anyone who has the chance, but choses not to love me, or treat me well? That is their loss! And why should I be sad if someone is too stupid or selfish to appreciate me? I actually experienced a moment of liberation. A moment of: screw you, sadness, get the hell out of my life, and good riddance! But that bravado felt hollow. I started to really ponder the sentiment, and found that it didn’t ring true. At least not for me. Because, despite the beautiful and poignant lesson of The Velveteen Rabbit, I believe that what really shapes us and makes us real is the act of loving, not whether or not we are loved in return.

Why should I be sad? Because when someone important to you leaves your life, they take away your love. Not just the love they may, or may not, have once, if ever, had for you. But the love you gave them. Obviously, your feelings are still your own, and it is certainly possible to feel love for someone who is gone, but to my way of thinking, love is a verb. It is more than something you feel, it is something you do. Something that is expressed, and acted upon. I define myself far more by the things I do for other people, than the way people feel about me. And when a relationship of any kind ends, I keenly feel the loss of my own ability to love that other person. It is not just a loss to them. (Though they should also feel sad; after all, “they lost someone who loved them.“) I find the greatest joy in expressing my love to others. In the giving of thoughtful gifts, simple kindnesses, physical affection. And, of course, in words. Those oh-so-important words. Written. Spoken. Chosen. Words.

So, I think it’s okay for me to feel sad that those things were taken away from me. I can’t control how other people treat me, whether or not they want me in their lives. And when someone choses to lose me, I find it perfectly rational to feel sadness over the many losses that entails. But I don’t have to let that sadness define me. I prefer to be defined by my love, not the love of others. How I chose to love. What I chose to say.

That reminds me of another quote I saw recently. This one stuck with me, too. Maybe because it’s like me. It says too much, but means every single word it says…

“Lately I’ve been thinking about who I want to love, and how I want to love, and why I want to love the way I want to love, and what I need to learn to love that way, and who I need to become to become the kind of love I want to be… and when I break it all down, when I whittle it into a single breath, it essentially comes out like this: Before I die, I want to be somebody’s favorite hiding place, the place they can put everything they know they need to survive, every secret, every solitude, every nervous prayer, and be absolutely certain I will keep it safe. I will keep it safe.” 





Hair today, gone tomorrow

09 Dec

All off.

That’s what I’m going to say tomorrow at my haircut appointment. All. Off.

About 2 weeks ago I woke up with the decision firm in my head that it was time to cut off all my hair. I’ve done it before. In law school, my hair was super short. (Though, in full disclosure, I fell into that haircut when I asked a small town beautician to “get the bulk out” of the sides of my head, and she gave me a mullet. I then told her I had changed my mind and wanted it all that short.) But I loved that haircut. It was so damn easy. Light. Freeing. And so, when I woke that Saturday morning almost two weeks ago with the thought that I was tired of it, and perhaps it all just needed to go, I felt happy.

The overriding thought in my head that morning was of two significant movie haircuts. Audrey Hepburn’s in Roman Holiday. And slightly less classic, but delightful in it’s own right – “Bollocks to him! Bollocks to him!” – Gwyneth Paltrow’s in Sliding Doors. I truly couldn’t shake the thought, or idea of Hepburn’s Roman Holiday cut.  It was soooo cute!! And before you comment, yes, I fully and entirely realize that I am nowhere near as elfin and adorable as Audrey Hepburn. And, my curly, insistently center-parting hair would never maintain those cute bangs. I know all that. But the idea is the same. All off. And it seems the universe was pointing me in that direction.

Later that day I happened to be in a restaurant with a specialty cocktail menu. One of the cocktails listed? A “Roman Holiday,” and it was delicious. Then I went to the movies, and the girl behind the concession counter had the most adorable super short haircut. (Again, younger and cuter than me from the get go, but I’m still assigning her and her hair status as a sign.) I’m pretty much convinced at this point. But then the next morning at the dog park, two pups come running up to play with my dog, and their names? Samson & Delilah. If that isn’t the universe calling out for me to move forward with a haircut…

So, of course I wanted to do this immediately. I wanted to go in the next day and have it done. I wanted to take my own scissors to it to start the job. Because, as I may have mentioned before, patience is NOT my strong suit. But I didn’t know who to call. I usually only get an annual haircut, a trim really, and for that I go to the Aveda school in town. And while I’ve never been dissatisfied with the experience, this sort of appearance-altering haircut, seemed best to be trusted to the hands of an experienced professional. Somehow paying salon prices makes me at least feel like there is a little accountability in play. So I asked around, got some suggestions, and ended up making an appointment at a local salon for tomorrow afternoon. Which has given me loads of time to think about what I am about to do. So, to generate some of my own accountability, I have told people what I am going to do. I have used the phrase “all off” and watched it sink in. How much? How short is short? Super short. “Boy short.” It has been humorous watching some people digest this idea that I will be shorn. Which is super comical to me. Because as much as I occasionally like my hair, in fact I love those tight ringlet curls that lay against my neck, it’s just hair. It’s not my identity. Or maybe it is. And that’s part of the problem. I want a new me.

In 1998, a tv show named Felicity began airing, and totally rocked my world. In 1999, the lead actress, Keri Russell, she of the glorious mane of supernaturally thick, fluffy, curly hair, played a scene where Felicity Porter walked into a NYC salon with her loose hair flying, and emerged with a pixie cut. It was the haircut heard ’round the world. The loss of her luscious mane was blamed for a ratings decline, and generated an enormous amount of buzz in a nascent-internet era, but I loved it. I thought Keri Russell looked luminous without that frizzy weight on her shoulders. Of course, the only similarity shared between myself and Keri Russell is the genetic anomaly of attached earlobes. So, I may be making a mistake. Tomorrow night I may find myself pulling out any one of the pop culture references to the travesty of Felicity cutting off her hair. But I am excited to take the chance.

Here’s the thing about my hair. At times, it behaves perfectly, and I couldn’t love it more. Those ringlet curls, the way it moves. The feeling of someone absentmindedly stroking their fingers through it. Sigh. All fantastic. What’s not fantastic? Not being able to brush, or use a hairdryer on my hair. Feeling like I perpetually have a dead, slightly damp cat on my head and wrapped around my neck when it’s still 80 degrees in December, never mind what it’s like here in July and August! Having these ridiculous wispy hairs on the sides of my head that make me resemble a lionfish whenever I pull my hair back in a ponytail. And not having someone who is absentmindedly stroking their fingers through it.

So, what’s the point of keeping it if it doesn’t make me happy?

What’s the point of keeping anything if it doesn’t bring you joy?

All off.




20 Nov

This afternoon, as my middle child was having her violin lesson, my youngest and I hung out in the backyard with the dog, enjoying the weather that has finally begun to succumb to the truth that it is now Fall. She was playing on our playset, the dog was laying on his back chewing a huge stick, and I was seated on the patio engrossed in the final chapters of a novel. I just wanted to sit and read, enjoy the cool breeze and dying light. Escape. But my daughter, as always, had other plans. She wanted to talk, tell stories, engage me in childish inanity that I find difficult to properly process when I am not feeling my sharpest. And I am not, definitely not, feeling my sharpest these days.

Call it a midlife crisis – though I hope to live past the age of 84. Call it depression, or regret, or just a general malaise. I have always been one to do a lot of thinking, as my brain is this ever-churning machine, that howls when I wish for quiet. But these days, what I mostly do is doubt. How did I come to this life? Not just this particular point in life, but *this* life? I realize that this path has been cut mostly by my own decisions, some of them good, some of them bad. Mostly they were mine, but not all. Sometimes people make decisions for you by default, their actions taking away the options you wished or meant to pursue. You can’t control that. But sometimes even my own decisions feel foreign to me. And I wonder who the hell this is living my life. This isn’t who I meant to be. Who I wanted to be. Things are not turning out as I planned. And I am lost. So I doubt. What was the point of all that education when you don’t apply it? What is the point of loving people who don’t love you back? What is the point of exercising when you’d rather eat? What is the point of cleaning the house when no one except you ever sees it? What is the point of being kind to people who don’t appreciate your efforts? What is the point of taking care of everyone else when no one takes care of you?

How did I get here? Can I escape? And where would I rather be?

Back to the backyard…

She is stinking’ cute, this baby of mine. So sweet. And I realize this is fleeting, her desire to know my every thought, to even have my input. So, as much as I wish to disengage, to disappear in this moment, I force myself to close my book, and attempt to open my mind to her. To not just catch hold of this ephemeral moment, but honor it with my mental presence. She is skipping along the paving stones at the end of the patio, a few feet away from where I’m sitting. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I don’t even recall what it was that she was saying that caused me to present this query, but it was some fanciful story, twisting and turning, into an imagined future. I found myself asking her, “And what do you want to be?” I don’t know what I was expecting her to say, but it wasn’t this. She hesitated for only the briefest second, her hand coming up to her chin in a thinker’s pose, before turning to look me right in the eye, and respond, “You.”

I had to grab her quickly, and pull her into an embrace, bury my head against her hair, so she didn’t see the tears that instantaneously flooded my eyes. Because this wild, magical creature, this innocent child who still truly believes in Santa Claus, this baby so sweet her nickname is “Smoochie”, thinks I’m special. And it broke me to realize that. She doesn’t see me as I see myself. She doesn’t know my regrets, my disappointments, my fear, my sadness. She doesn’t know my loneliness. She sees me as strong, and capable. As kind and loving and thoughtful. She appreciates me. Flawed, broken, doubt-filled me. She knows my love, my protection. She knows my silliness. And she loves what she sees so much she wants to be me. Hell, most days I don’t even want to be me. But she doesn’t wonder why her mother who has a law degree is staying home, and working part-time as a substitute teacher, she just wants to be a substitute teacher when she grows up. She doesn’t know that I’m always tired because I hardly ever sleep well, she just knows that she is safe in her bed at night, and that her lunch box gets packed, her permission slips get signed, and her karate uniform is always clean. She doesn’t know that I worry about money, because I want her to have everything she wants, as well as needs, she just knows that her adventure-loving mom will take her to Maine in the summer, and there will be plenty of food to eat and appropriate clothes to wear.

She doesn’t need to see me any differently. But I do. I need to try more often to see myself from her point of view. Because to her I am enough. Because for all my doubts, for all my mistakes, for the missteps, the bad decisions, the moments and people that have turned into regrets, there are three things I did perfectly and wonderfully right. And while I might not have turned out to be the person I wanted to be, they still might. And they need a mother with passion, who fights for them, and teaches them the fine art of sarcasm. One who throws them My Little Pony birthday parties, and who takes away their electronics when they make bad decisions. They need a mother who reads, to them and around them. One who makes mistakes, and shows them how hard, but also how necessary it is, to genuinely apologize. They need a mother who shares their interests, and celebrates their triumphs, but doesn’t let them believe they are the center of the universe.

They need me. Flawed, broken, doubt-filled me.

And in *this* life, I have three amazing children, who look to me for everything. And it took the baby of the group to remind me that for all the myriad things I get wrong, I sometimes get this part exactly right. And in that moment, I found that I really do want to be me.



Do it anyway

08 Nov

I recently had the occasion to write a letter to a high school aged boy who is very dear to me. I don’t see him nor talk to him often, but we share a connection. He reminds me of me, though he is far cooler and more self-possessed than I ever was. We are both observers – of life, of people. Constantly processing information and thoughts and feelings. He is far more quiet than I, but goofy in his own delightful way. I’m not sure when I might have the opportunity to see him again, so I wrote him a letter. Truly wrote one. Pen, paper, envelope, old school. Kind of a rambling hodgepodge of my thoughts couched as life advice; as if I am in any position to be giving advice to youngsters. And I realized when I finished it, re-reading it for the mandatory edit my neurosis requires, that I had written the letter to myself as much as to him. It was advice that I needed to hear. And maybe I knew that all along, and just needed an external focus to hear it. But I found myself wishing after I had mailed it off that I had some record of it. There was no digital copy. I did not take a photo, or record my words in any way. So I’m going to try to remember what I said, even if the words don’t match verbatim, and write those thoughts here. So I can return to them. As a touchstone. And who knows, maybe you need to hear them, too. So here’s the heart of, or at least the gist of, my letter to a 15 year old boy, and my 42 year old self:


Life is hard. So flippin’ hard. Being a grown-up sucks.

People can be mean, downright cruel. And sometimes they will hurt you on purpose, and for no reason. But people will also surprise you with their kindness and thoughtfulness. Their tenderness. Their love. When they do, be grateful, and express your gratitude. Tell people how you feel about them. Tell them the truth.

People will disappoint you, and they will break your heart. Fall in love anyway. Because opening your heart and mind to another person is one of the best feelings in the world. Connection to another person is a powerful thing.

Life is going to knock you down. And potentially kick you while you’re lying there trying to figure out what the heck just happened. But you will also feel moments of incandescent happiness. Because life is beautiful. Truly. It is staggering in the scope and breadth of its beauty.

Life is scary, so be scared. But do it anyway. Engage. Participate in your own life. Listen to other people’s stories, and then write your own.

Believe in yourself. I believe in you. And sometimes just knowing that there is someone out there in the world who believes in you is the one thing that makes all the difference.

Read. Keep reading. Read some more. It is the key to everything.



The World We Live In

28 Oct

Given an hour or two for perspective, I’m becoming more convinced that this was just a simple case of mistaken identity. Probably a Craigslist meet-up that went astray. I do, after all, drive the most common vehicle on the planet. Not just a minivan, a Honda Odyssey, and apparently Smoky Topaz (otherwise known as “gray”) is the most popular color for this particular model. But the encounter set off immediate alarm bells in my head as it was happening. And I felt myself slipping into the same demeanor as when I’m facing a venomous reptile in my own backyard. My senses were on high alert, but I was calm, forceful, and vaguely pissed off that I had to deal with it at all. It was like someone flipped a switch and I went into Momma Bear mode. Handle the threat. Prove myself capable. Protect the cubs.

I really do think it was a case of mistaken identity. It must have been. But I have a residual icky feeling, an ache in my chest. I feel a little off kilter. Because this is not the way I want my world to be. I don’t want to have experiences like this, questionable encounters that must be turned into learning experiences. I want my innocence back. I want my kids to keep theirs intact. I don’t want my children to have to overhear a conversation I have with the sheriff’s office. And at the same time, I need them to know that this is the world we live in. We cannot afford to live in blissful ignorance of the potential evils around us. Be kind to everyone, respect your elders, use your manners – that’s what we drill into our children every day. And yet, today, I was forced to teach them the counterpoint – be rude if you need to be, run away, make a scene if you feel threatened. If you see something, say something. How confused they must be. How can I teach them to trust their instincts, the way I did mine today, when they are daily taught that manners are of paramount importance? I don’t want them to doubt a smile on a stranger, but they must. They must. It causes an ache in my chest, a sadness that resides in my heart. I urge my children to shine bright as the sun, but they must also beware the shadows. What pains me is teaching them that the evil may potentially be lurking right there in the light, in plain sight. It might not creep like a silent menace in the dark, it may approach in broad daylight with a smile on its face.

After taking the kids straight from the bus stop to an afternoon and evening full of an allergist appointment, karate class, pumpkin patch, pet store run, we drove through the drive-through at the Wendy’s on Racetrack Road, in the Publix shopping center. After clearing the drive-through I pulled into an unused section of parking spaces in order to pass food back to the kids. I was broadside across several parking spaces, with no other cars near me, the car still in gear, and my drivers’ side window still down. I noticed a man walking with great haste across the parking lot. Coming from the Publix, in fact with a full plastic grocery bag in his left hand. I assessed where he might be going, knowing there were no cars between him and what appeared to be his destination. I assumed he was going to cut in front of my van to exit the parking lot onto the sidewalk that runs parallel to Racetrack Road. I kept tabs on his brisk trek across the parking lot out of the corner of my eye while I was getting the food issue settled, not out of any abject fear or distrust, but only because I’m the type of person who notices everything that is happening around her. (Perhaps we can discuss latent paranoia issues in a later post.) At the last second I realize that he is not aiming for the pedestrian exit to the sidewalk, and he is suddenly right at my door, practically leaning his weight against it, with his face almost breaching my open window. In that snapshot moment I took in that he was a white male in his late 40s-mid 50s, balding dark hair, dark mustache, glasses, a white golf shirt with thin, horizontal, burgundy stripes, and khaki pants. The plastic bag in his hand is full of canned goods. He has a huge smile on his face. As he takes those last two strides into my personal space, I lean slightly away, and with a somewhat unfriendly look say, “Yes?” Big, bright grin in place, he manages to enthusiastically get the words, “Hey, young lady! For $20…” out of his mouth before I put up my hand, and in my best imitation of a law enforcement officer, firmly say, “I need you to step back.” (I’m not going to lie, I sounded completely badass. At least I did in my own head.) To be honest, I don’t know if he stepped back or not, but he must have – not that I would have cared if my tires had rolled over his feet – because I immediately accelerated away from him. He had been reaching into his pocket as he approached the van, and through my open window I heard him say loudly, “Don’t you have a picture for me?” as he extended his right hand, holding out his wallet. At the time, as I drove to the parking lot exit to make a right turn onto Racetrack Road, I wasn’t thinking anything like, oh, maybe he thought I was the woman who agreed to sell him a framed print of Elvis Presley off Craigslist, and told him to meet her in the Public parking lot, she’d be the one in the gray minivan. No, instead I was thinking something along the lines of,  What. The. F%@&. Was. That? I kept an eye on him, watching him still standing there, his right arm extended, wallet still in hand, as he watched me drive away. And it just felt creepy, and wrong, and like some kind of close call. Some horrible crisis that had been narrowly averted. Because who does that? Goes barreling up to an open car window of a stranger like that? Talking about money, and pictures? Who does that? Mentally unbalanced people. Dangerous people. Seriously, who does that? (Oh, yeah, looking back on it now, people  who are engaging in commerce with strangers from internet sites may do that.) But in the split second heat of the moment, it felt like stranger danger of the worst kind.

A handy number to keep in your contacts? The non-emergency number for your local law enforcement agency. As I pulled out of the parking lot I had already dialed the St. Johns County Sherriff’s Office. This felt like a See Something, Say Something moment. But it didn’t rise to the level of 911 urgency. He had no visible weapon, I had not been overtly threatened, he had not exposed himself, etc. But what if I hadn’t said something, and later I heard that some random attack had occurred in that parking lot? Some random woman in a gray minivan went missing, or was violently attacked? When I got dispatch on the line, I described the situation, gave a description of the man, his physical appearance, his clothing, etc. I gave my name, and said I’d be happy to talk to someone regarding my report if the need should arise. It felt like a natural extension of controlling the situation. I was safe, the children were safe. They were going to send a car into the parking lot to check it out, see if the man was still lurking about. I felt like it was a weird and discomfiting encounter, but that I had handled it with capable efficiency. But then it got hard. Because I had to discuss it with my children, and consider the implications.

My 11 year old son initially said, “Why didn’t you stick around to see what he had to say?” And my knee jerk response to him was, “Because that man could have stuck a gun in my face and shot me.” That silenced the crowd. But I feel like my kids need to be shocked every now and again. I do everything in my power to keep them safe and protected from an ugly world. But I can’t be there all the time. And they need to know. They need to know that this is the world we live in. Where this has, quite disgustingly, become a real fear. Random violence at the hands of a smiling stranger. I felt uncomfortable on a base, instinctual level, and I reacted. So this became their take-away from this split second encounter of which they were truly only vaguely aware was unfolding: trust your instincts. It is always okay to put distance between yourself and a person or a situation that makes you uncomfortable, makes you feel threatened in any way. It is always okay to be rude, if rudeness is required for you to feel safe. I was terribly rude to that man. And that was perfectly fine. In fact, it was the right thing to do in that particular situation. Be aware of your surroundings, and trust your gut. That’s a difficult lesson for an 8 year old who beams sunshine and light and love. But it’s the world we live in where this instinctual resonance may be the very thing that saves your life one day. As much as it pains me to reveal the worlds’ harsh realities to my children, I know they need to see, and occasionally taste, the real life beyond the bubble I have created for them.

Were we in danger today? Looking back, probably not. That was probably one super confused guy who doesn’t understand why I reacted to his friendly overture in the way that I did. I think it was probably an innocent case of mistaken identity. Something that could have easily been sorted out quickly and calmly, with sheepish laughter and slight embarrassment on his part. But would I do it differently if it happened again? No. I don’t regret my reaction for a single moment. Because you never know. Evil can smile in your face. Danger can approach you in broad daylight. That’s just the world we live in.



29 May

I rushed out tonight to the movies. Alone, as per usual. Just masturdating on Friday Night – Date Night. But I’ve been dying to see the new Cameron Crowe movie – Aloha – and I didn’t want to wait another day. Here’s my brief review: It was disjointed, ridiculous, uneven, thrown together, missing huge elements of plot, requiring massive suspension of disbelief throughout, and, well, mesmerizing. Brilliant. Mostly because there is no one writing movies today who turns a phrase like Cameron Crowe…

“The future isn’t just something that happens. It’s a brutal force, with a great sense of humor, that’ll steamroll you if you’re not watching.”  (delivered by Bill Murray)

And while there were times when the performances did not quite seem the stellar best we could expect from this particular A-list cast, there were moments. So many moments. Ironically, so many moments of silence, that were touching. It’s not like Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone are difficult to look at even when they are at their worst, but did ever two people have more gorgeous eyes? And both of them have the type of eyes that light up when they smile. I remember that feeling. And I’m pretty sure that there are hours and hours of exquisite raw footage that wound up on the cutting room floor. Heck, some of what was shown in the trailers didn’t even show up in the theatrical release. So this one might be worth watching on DVD with extras. But the music, ah, the music. Perfection. Set the mood for every moment without me even noticing it was doing that.

My two cents is that not everyone is going to love this movie. In fact, I bet many, many people are going to outright hate it, and call it garbage. I found it charming. It moved me. It is, at it’s heart, a relationship story, about several different relationships. And different types of relationships. Here were a few things in particular that I picked up from it:

(1) I really, really, really want to go to Hawaii. Really. So if one of you wins the lottery, please consider making that particular dream of mine a reality.

(2) I want to thank Cameron Crowe for creating the character played by Rachel McAdams. I identified with her on many levels. Most especially the way she craved words. Especially from the men she loved. And how it wasn’t really the words themselves, but the thoughtful effort required to share the words that was what she needed. She needs the people in her life to be present, to show up. She lost the love of her life when she asked him to show up to something specific, and he didn’t. He was selfish, and he lost her, because she walked away. She had to; even though she really didn’t want to. Hers is a strong character who comes across as vulnerable. She has a few great quotes about regret, and putting things back together after someone else wrecks them. She also gives Bradley Cooper’s character advice about how he needs to stop letting people go. She tells him to fight for the girl, the way he didn’t fight for her. Takes a big person to say that when she is still struggling with her own emotions.

(3) I have girl crush on Emma Stone. I want her to be my best friend.

(4) Alec Baldwin makes everything funny. Bill Murray has an endearing smile. Bradley Cooper is damn hot.

(5) There is value to myth. The entire film is interwoven with Hawaiian stories and myths. Cameron Crowe does a beautiful job of relating them to the symbolism of our everyday lives. Overarching themes of respect and honor, the return of a great spirit, a force to be reckoned with. The way belief in something greater and beyond ourselves can help us make sense of and enrich our lives.

Is it a perfect movie? Not even close. But I enjoyed it. I enjoy the sledgehammer to the heart that Cameron Crowe can deliver. A plucked heartstring he can achieve with just a few words. Less than 5, actually. Don’t bother telling me if you hate this movie; I kind of warned you. I’m not even necessarily recommending you run out to see it. But yet, this quirky, emotional girl found a lot to love about it.


Hearts. Conversation.

11 Feb

Well, it’s early February, and you know what that means. That’s right! Time for my annual screed against Valentine’s Day!

Now, before you write this off as the rantings of a bitter, pathetic, lonely loser who sits alone at home on Saturday nights over-thinking every aspect of her life, well… um… you’d be mostly right. But don’t write me off yet. I’m actually not so bitter. All that other stuff pretty much applies, sure, but bitter, I am not. I’m like the Yoda of loneliness.

Though I do still hate Valentine’s Day. And those feelings are not limited to times when I am alone. Last year I had a real, live boyfriend. One who actually lived in the same zip code as me. A living, breathing, romantic, piano playing, music writing, hand holding, enjoyed cooking me dinner kind of boyfriend, who once, while on a date, spontaneously and completely without guile said, “You look magical.” Melted into a puddle on the spot, I did. And I still didn’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with him. Seriously, I had to go back and refer to my calendar from 2014 to see what, if anything, we did on February 14th. Turns out we ran a midday 5k at NAS/JAX, and then I vaguely remember going to lunch together. Where I ate salad, for goodness sake. Obviously not a celebration. And then my kids had their two best friends sleep over, so I made ice cream sundaes and watched bad tv in the other room, while occasionally telling five children aged 9-6 that they might try lowering their speaking voices since we were getting noise complaints from the next state. So, I guess that was sort of a celebration of love, of the maternal kind. But I didn’t need to turn February 14th into some kind of event, or even be with him, for boyfriend to know he was my valentine.

So that was fine. I don’t understand the obsession with Valentine’s Day. I mean, sure when you’re a little kid, and there is the excitement of coming home from school with brightly colored scraps of paper, scribbled on by your classmates, and candy of all varieties, I can see the appeal. But once you get past the stage of making a Valentine for every single person in the class so no one gets their feelings hurt, Valentine’s Day can become less a symbol of love and happy feelings, and more about the stress of doing it wrong, and the disappointment when it inevitably goes astray. I remember the cheerleaders (or the Key Club, or some other school-spirited organization) selling carnations on Valentine’s Day when we were in high school. There was nothing worse than that day. I mean, I’m sure it was nothing but, well, sunshine and carnations, for Suzy Popular, who got more carnations delivered every class. Flowers and more flowers from boys who wanted to date her, boys who had already dated her, boys who just liked looking at her, her best friends who wanted to be her, etc, etc. But for people like me, and so many other misfit nerds, it was just another day of dashed hopes. It was torture for girls like me, the tomboy who pined after the boys who never even knew I existed, or worse, asked me for advice on what color carnation they should purchase for another one (or more) of my friends before chucking me on the arm or ruffling my hair. Sigh. And I liked high school, really. There were enough of us misfit nerds that I had people. I think it was probably a lot less angsty for me than some, even if I did acquire the nickname of Elvis the very first week. Seriously, I truly did like high school. But I hated that damn carnation day. Because no matter how cool I wished I could be, no matter how much I wanted to be above it all, I wanted one of those damn carnations! From a boy! Who was at least potentially going to fall in love with me (if he wasn’t already)!

And now that the commercialism of the holiday has reached an apex, it’s just rife with more opportunities for pressure and disappointment. Jewelry ads everywhere – nope, he still isn’t going to propose! Candy available in every store – but you’re off sugar, because you feel like you have to be on a diet to fit into that new dress you bought to wear tonight! A seven course prix fixe menu available in that fancy restaurant that your boyfriend saved for months to take you to – but you don’t actually like half of the courses, and you’d never eat veal! He thinks you want something fancy, you wish you could have ordered pizza or gotten Chinese take-out, and eaten it on the couch in an outfit that didn’t require Spanx. He buys you long-stemmed red roses, when you would have rather had wildflowers, or better yet, a new book by your favorite author. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of women who really, really want jewelry, and red roses, and fancy meals. To them that is the ultimate expression of love from a man. But this expectation of what the celebration of Valentine’s Day is “supposed to be” or “should” look like is ridiculous. If you must celebrate, and if you are truly using this mandated day as a springboard to celebrate your love, then celebrate her (or him). Make it not about what the card companies, and the florists, and the candy manufacturers, and the savvy restaurants tell you it should be. Make it about your partner, your lover, your girlfriend or boyfriend, your spouse. What do they love, other than you? What are their interests? What are your shared interests? What do you love most about them? What do they need? Pay attention. Look for clues. Ask for specifics, if you need. Have a conversation. Heart to heart. But don’t make February 14 about Valentine’s Day, make it about your valentine. Make it less about the holiday, and more about the person. The one you love. The one you want to love. The one you admire.

Lest you think me a total humbug, I am not above appreciating a silly Valentine’s card – I especially like the new trend towards humorously ironic, or blatantly steamy cards. I think hearts are sweet, and some shades of red, and especially dark pink, look really good against my skin tone. And I do have a particular affinity for conversation hearts. (For the reason why, see my post from February 2013.) So when in Target with my children on Monday, purchasing the brightly-colored scraps of paper they’ll be handing out to all of their classmates on Friday, I bought a large bag of conversation hearts to share with them. And I naively thought they’d be similar to the conversation hearts of my childhood. I mean, I expected that perhaps “Call Me” might have changed to “Text Me” – because who actually calls anymore? And maybe “Marry Me” would have dropped out entirely in favor of something less partriarchally oppressive. But I was not prepared for what I saw when I opened this bag. First and foremost, the majority of them were sloppily misprinted. Not just smudged, but print was off the edge of the candy. Very few had their phrases stamped dead center in their edible red ink. And the ones that were legible? Oy. I can’t even. And those weren’t even the sayings, those are just my feelings on the candies I found. First, there is a conversation heart with only a picture of a moustache. A moustache? Because nothing says hipster love like a handlebar moustache. I fully support the idea that full conversations can be achieved without words, but that’s not a conversation at all! And then there was “Pugs and Kittens”. WTF is that?? I mean, I get it, it’s supposed to be some humorous take on “Hugs and Kisses,” but it failed. Surprisingly enough, the “Marry Me” was still present, though I’m assuming now the proposal is gender-expectation neutral. And apparently a New England bag got mis-routed down south, because “Wicked Cool” is not a typical phrase in the land of sweet tea. There are a few of the classic standbys: “Let’s Kiss,” “Hug Me,” Sweet Pea” (now that’s a land of sweet tea kind of saying!), and “Real Love” (despite the picture on the front of the bag depicting a conversation heart that says, “True Love.”) But my 7 year old daughter actually found the one conversation heart I can really get behind. The one that was apparently meant for me. She came up to me with it last night, loudly claiming it was her favorite, she was going to save it to eat last, and she hoped she got more of them. It simply said, “Let’s Read.” Now that’s true love.

The boyfriend is still real and live, but he no longer lives in the same zip code. No more hand-holding, no more cooking me dinner. It’s been quite awhile since he’s written me any music, and I haven’t felt magical in a long time. However, even if he were here I wouldn’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in some special way. But since February 14 is on a Saturday night this year (what a boon to the economy!), I also decided that I didn’t want to pathetically sit home alone like I do most Saturday nights. Not when my favorite little renovated theatre, Sun-Ray Cinema in Five Points, is dusting off one of my favorite movies for a one off showing on Valentine’s Day. “Amélie” is the story of a quirky dreamer, a lovely soul who wishes to spread happiness, and along the way finds a little for herself. One of the best compliments I ever received was when a friend said that the character, Amélie, reminded her of me. So, on the day when Hallmark tells us that we should be part of a couple, it will be good to revisit an old friend. Someone who makes me laugh and smile, and feel good that a beloved friend once saw me as a quirky dreamer. And the good thing about about making that visit alone? No one to distract me while I’m reading the subtitles.


Who am I?

14 Nov

Here’s the honest truth: I hate being a grown-up. Hate it. I mean, sure, it’s cool eating cake whenever you want, and staying up past your bedtime watching inappropriate television shows and movies. And sometimes it’s fun to be in charge. “Because I said so” is a powerful phrase. But overall? Being a grown-up is overrated. And I hate it. Nay, loathe it. With the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. Being in charge means being responsible. For everything. Suffering consequences when you get it wrong. Paying bills. Being judged for things outside of your control. Saying no when you want to say yes. Saying yes when you want to say no.

Lately it feels like my life is going a bit off the rails. I won’t go into specifics, but I’m a big control freak. I willingly admit it. A huge control freak. And control is something that is completely absent from my life right now. I’m flailing. And failing. And because I’m an adult, those failures matter. There is no final exam to raise my grade point average. There is no second, third, or fourth up to bat to raise my average. This is it. Life. Real life. Not childhood, where you were taken care of. Not even college, where mistakes were mostly made in a safe environment. But real life. Being a grown-up. Decisions have to be made. Consequences have to be weathered. Children have to be raised lovingly and mindfully. Houses have to be maintained and repaired skillfully. Mortgages have to be re-financed shrewedly. Dogs have to be trained effectively. Yet, somehow, along the way, you aren’t supposed to lose yourself. You aren’t supposed to forget who you are, even in the face of walking the dog, packing lunches, signing field trip permission slips, paying the handyman, making sure everyone is wearing the right outfit for school Spirit Week, making sure the right outfit for Spirit Week is clean and available even though the only t-shirt that will possibly do was worn just two days ago and/or was left at Dad’s house, keeping full toilet paper rolls in the bathrooms, remembering shoe sizes, changing the bedding in the hamster habitat, RSVPing to parties, buying and wrapping birthday presents, soliciting and accounting for Boosterthon pledges, making waffles, helping with long division, reading aloud at bedtime, making nutritious dinners that will only be picked at, picking up dog poop in the yard,  trimming fingernails, having the proper school supplies on hand, sorting Legos, loading and unloading the dishwasher x10, cleaning and folding laundry x20, soothing skinned knees, soothing hurt feelings, mediating sibling disputes, standing firm on discipline even when the consequence ends up shooting you in the foot, grocery shopping so there is always microwave popcorn, cereal, and milk on hand, making sure the classroom stock of allergen-free snacks is kept up so your child is never left out of a birthday celebration at school, buying teacher gifts, reading teachers’ e-mails, attending school events, chaperoning field trips, vacuuming, dealing with the stress of being a tactile person who is affection-starved, cleaning up after a kid wets the bed, telling the children to stop shouting I’m only inches away from you, and approximately 800 million other things that must be done on a daily basis. In the face of all that. Who am I? Who the hell knows. A mom, I guess. That’s what I am. And some days that feels like all I am.

But I know that’s not true. And I chafe against it. But please don’t misconstrue. I’m not whining. I hate sounding, or being perceived as whiny. Almost as much as I hate being a grown-up. After all, on the balance, I have a really good life. I have wonderful kids who are, other than a few allergy issues, really healthy and active. They are bright and funny, and when they remember their manners, respectful. They shine. Their dad is wonderful, fully involved, and a really good friend to me. So my complaints may sound trivial. But they’re not. Because “Who am I?” is a pretty fundamental question. Am I just a mom? If that’s my only marker for identity, then I feel like I am failing miserably. Sure, I have my good days. And some times, like when I am rocking out in the minivan with my 8 year old, singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of my voice, and dancing in my seat without giving a single thought to how crazy I look to the other drivers, that’s a time when I’m getting it exactly right. But I raise my voice. A lot. I lose my patience. Often. I am sarcastic. I am strict. I am hard on my children because I know they are exceptional, and I expect them to live up to that potential. Sometimes I forget that they are just kids. Kids who need to make mistakes and learn things the hard way. Kids who need to be treated not as the young adults I would like them to become, but the awesome kids they are now. Am I a writer? Hardly. This is it. Right here, right now, the sum total of everything I’ve written in the past four months or so. Do I still hear the voices of characters in my head? Yes. Absolutely. Am I doing anything at all to give them their freedom? I’d say that’s a resounding yes, but that sounds like effort, and clearly I’m too lazy for that. I no longer run because my knee pain is too pervasive. I don’t see my family as often as I should considering we all live in the same city. My house is an absolute wreck, and there is really no excuse for that considering I only substitute teach 1-3 days a week. I feel like I am constantly spinning my wheels, but getting absolutely nowhere at all. It’s hard for someone like me. Someone who likes to check things off the list. Someone who likes to see tangible forward progress. Someone who is desperate to be in control.

Phew! I actually feel a little better. Just for having said the words. For naming my disappointment. My challenge. Besides, I don’t have any more time to complain. I have to gather my kids’ things for the weekend, transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer, and give the hypoallergenic dog that absurdly has allergies his Benadryl.

I may not be any closer to figuring out who I am, but I’d like it noted for the record that I still hate being a grown-up…


Day Twenty-Four: CMRT, fait accompli

01 Jul

(Subtitle: Why, Wyoming? WHY?)

Full circle. Done deal. Fait accompli.

Crazy Momma’s Road Trip is over. CMRT: Summer 2014 Edition is officially in the books. It feels absolutely bizarre. I, as always on these final days, can’t quite believe it. I am excited to be home. There is comfort in my own bed, my own things, my familiar surroundings. But how could it be over? Didn’t it just start? Or did it happen at all? Were we really in a hotel room overlooking Times Square 19 days ago? Was I on a hike in Acadia National Park only 9 days ago? We once again crammed days and weeks of amazing adventures and wonderful visits with friends into one vacation. CMRT was bursting at the seams. But it has all taken on this surreal quality of perhaps never having happened at all.

Part of that may be the manner in which we end this road trip. With three straight visits with dear friends, where just hanging out and spending time together is the goal. Today, for example, the very last day, felt just like one of our normal summer days. We went to the dollar movie with friends. Got lunch out. Stopped by Publix for a little grocery shopping. Did some laundry. Yes, okay, so they were friends who moved away last year. And there was a 2 hour drive inserted in the middle there somewhere. But today just felt normal. And yet, at the same time, it felt strange. Being back in my own grocery store, surrounded by the familiar faces of the checkers, put me a touch off kilter. Pulling into our neighborhood, our garage, it was all under the simple comfort of rote muscle memory, I did it all on auto-pilot, and yet, I almost didn’t recognize the place. My house, oh my beautifully clean house! I truly almost didn’t recognize it. It was so clean, and yet, too sterile. As much as I loved seeing all the empty countertops, not a single toy or item out of place, it didn’t feel like home until we brought some things out of the car and cluttered up the joint.

Anyway, as always, I am conflicted. Happy to be home. Sad the trip is over. Confused, in a way, about how to feel. It will take some time for it all to sink in. CMRT, fait accompli. Now, for the summary…

CMRT: Summer 2014 Edition – BY THE NUMBERS:

Total miles driven: 3,699! That’s right, let’s write it longhand for fun; three thousand six hundred and ninety-nine miles. The only driver. That’s my butt behind the wheel for all of those miles. (Is it really any wonder that I developed a painful case of sciatica?)

Total number of days: 24 – I kept thinking that this year the trip was longer, that I had added days. Not really. I’m guessing that the fact we went north at the beginning of our “southbound” leg made it feel significantly longer. That and the fact it was almost 300 miles more driving!

Total number of states driven through (not including home state of FL): 13 – GA, SC, NC, VA, WV, MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, MA, NH, ME

Total number of states slept in (again not including FL): 8 – VA, MD, NY, CT, ME, NC, SC, GA

Total amount of money spent on gas: $530.48 – that’s 9 different fill ups. Most I paid for gas was in CT at $3.89/gal. Lowest price was in SC at $3.26/gal. Most I put in the tank was 18.58 gallons, least was 14.07 gallons. It’s an approximately 20 gallon tank.

Outcome of the CMRT Lottery Project: Abyssmal failure. Epic losses. But still fun. I’ll consider it an entertainment fee. We put $130 in and got $62 out for a loss of $68. But hey, you never know if you don’t play. One of these days we may hit a big one…

And now for the stat you really care about. (Okay, maybe you don’t care. But I care. Obviously waaaaay too much) But you already know where this is going, don’t you? You do if you paid attention to the subtitle…

Number of license plates found: 50 – but don’t let the number fool you, because it includes the District of Columbia. That’s right, for the second year in a row we got all but one state. This year, I spotted North Dakota along a rural road in Kennebunkport, Maine. But we did not spot a single Wyoming plate. (Why, Wyoming? WHY?!) So. Very. Frustrating. But, for some reason coming this close and missing doesn’t feel as bad as it did last year. Perhaps because I’ve found Wyoming plates in the past. North Dakota hadn’t been spotted in years; it had become a nemesis. So, really it was a successful year with the license plate game. But it was so close I could taste it. Probably I’ll see one tomorrow. Nah. I don’t plan to leave my house for at least a day or two. It’ll take at least that long before I’m willing to sit behind the wheel again. My sciatica is better today than it was yesterday, but still not okay. Not moving properly, having difficulty doing things that require me to get from a standing to a sitting position. Not my favorite ending to an epic road trip, but seriously, I’m getting old and falling apart. What could I possibly expect?

But it’s over now. That epic road trip. The 5th annual. So, I’ll say it once again. CMRT, fait accompli.

Now what?


© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim