Thursday, March 20, 2014


There are so many moments and instances when one should remain silent, and not just to not stick their proverbial foot in their mouth. I've been a victim of my own lack of judgement in this area many times, and the majority of these opportune "foot sticking" icky moments were under stress or anger - things I wish I hadn't said during a job interview or an argument. But while my keeping silent may or may not have conveyed anything more than good judgement, it certainly wasn't conveying anything profound.

So when I think of when silence may actually convey MORE meaning than a spoken word, my only thought is when it's accompanied by something physical; a touch or just a physical presence.

Many years ago, when Julianne was about 4 years old, she made me promise to never cut my hair short (as though I ever would). Throughout her younger years, she would lay with her head on my chest or shoulder, and stroke my hair for comfort.  I promised her then that I would never cut my hair, so that she would always have that which comforts her from her mother.
The other day, after a particularly tough day, we were riding in the car together and she reached over and pulled my ponytail over my shoulder to the side she was sitting on and once again stroked my hair while she silently looked out the window. The stress she was feeling, and the comfort and relief that she got from that one small gesture, was indescribable. The depth of love I felt for her, and compassion for her need right then was overwhelming for me as her mom.

And what of just "being"? Being in the presence of someone in deep emotional need, where your mere presence says it all. I love that kind of beautiful silence. The kind that wraps it's arms around you from across the room. Aren't we always more blessed by the ones in our life who "show up"? Even if it's a little awkward and you don't know what to say.  Probably the best time to remain silent. And when there's a language barrier (as has been the case in so many of my experiences that demand communication), what is left but your physical presence? Your willingness to jump in and help someone in need, or as I said earlier, just "be"?

Olivia recently moved back in with me after living away at school for 3 1/2 years, and sure enough she brought that pain-in-my-butt-dog named Thomas. Not only does he share the unfortunate name of my ex-husband, he is a card-carrying, certifiable Audrey hater. So of course we already know that he's insane. This dog loves everyone. Except Audrey. I want to kill him when he growls as she approaches. She doesn't even need to touch him and he's aggravated by her. Half the time I want to kill him for daring to diss my perfect baby. But in a rare moment the other day in my kitchen, a very tired Audrey was sitting on the floor lost in thought, enjoying a nice quiet bottle of milk. And this crazy dog, who 99% of the time would like to walk her to the nearest bust station and buy her a one way ticket to the Bermuda Triangle, sat next to her on that kitchen floor and didn't even twitch as she lovingly, and silently, stroked his ear.  

Saturday, March 01, 2014

What does your joy look like today?

I'm trying to answer as many of  these questions as I can, and have decided to post them here (even though most of my friends that used to read this blog have moved on to Facebook, etc., to keep up).

This is my first crack at it...


Today my joy is a 23 month old little girl who asks me to cuddle, crawls into my lap, and stays there by choice. A child who I never saw coming, but who just may have saved my life. A child who has brought joy to so many people, and that too, in turn, brings joy to me. She's funny, and beautiful, and brilliant. And she has swept through here like a hurricane, upending everything I thought my life would be right now.
I was done. I'd had two kids, who I raised and loved with all my heart, but I was done. I thought when my girls were grown, I would do everything I ever wanted to do - alone. I would have an extra bedroom for sewing and reading. And I would travel to places where I didn't know anyone - and love it! And my girls would be off at school, or building lives of their own, independent of me.
But then all of that changed and no one consulted me. None of it worked out the way I planned. This child was on her way. And I was devastated. I thought all of our futures were irreparably altered.
But now there's HER. The most beautiful, amazing, awe inspiring human being I've ever known. The one who makes me so proud to be a Grammie. The one who showed me that this plan is better than the one I had. The one who reminded me what sheer joy truly is.
And now on a daily basis, I see my heart walking around in a pair of red sparkly shoes, and I thank God for those cuddles from a child that I never saw coming.

Monday, January 07, 2013

A Memoir

I’ve decided that I‘m going to write a book.  A memoir.  I already have two possible opening lines.

1)      “For as long as I can remember, I have been living a double life.”


2)      “I truly believe that I wasn’t born being ‘gifted’ at anything.”

I definitely have good reason to consider both of these statements, and if I continue to blog, I may flesh the book out right here. My life has definitely proven both of those comments to be true. (More to come on its content)

 This is not a New Year’s Resolution, but a decision I’ve been pondering for quite some time. With technology the way it is today, you can have just about anything immortalized for generations to come. So if no one but my granddaughter ever reads it, I’ll be totally fine with that. I just want to write down the story of my life.  I’m proud of my story, and I think she will be too.

 I’ve done some really amazing things in my 46 years thus far. Truly amazing.  But the amazing parts will only be the icing. I told my daughter about the book plan tonight and she said, “I know you’ve done some really cool things in your life, Mom, but you know you have to write about the bad stuff too.”  

My thoughts exactly.

The bad parts ARE my story. The amazing parts never would have happened if the bad hadn’t happened first.

I’m a bit hesitant to put in writing things that could offend some who are close to me – and it will – but I have to believe that only the right people will actually see it. I don’t think I’ll be published any time soon. I’m also a little nervous because if I’m committed to writing about the bad, it’s very personal. My friendships have always been sort of based on, “Well…this person knows that about me, and that person knows this about me, but no one knows it all.” Deep dark secrets have been less shared than rationed.  Laying myself out like that for my daughters will be somewhat humbling.

But what if this turned into a family tradition? What if my daughter decided to do the same, and my granddaughter, and generations from now our descendants had volumes of family history to ponder? How I wish I had that from my grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.  I can only hope that I follow through with this, and that it becomes something worth reading to those that I love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes"

Tomorrow morning, I'm getting up at the crack of dawn to drive my daughter to college. She spent the last semester going to a community college, and decided to transfer to a school out of state for the spring semester. The emotions running through me right now are overwhelming, obviously. My girls and I have always been close, and through 12 years of it being "just us" I'm not sure how to let one of them go. I know I have to, and I will. I'll even help her set up her apartment with pretty things and take her shopping for her schoolbooks with enthusiasm. We'll walk around her campus and hit all the cool college hangouts while we're there - last time when we out there to check out the campus, she even got me into a hookah bar, which I don't see myself repeating.

I'm just pretty sure that the entire drive home for me on Wednesday will be a six hour drive that's full of tears. I've made my daughters my whole life for so long that I'm afraid of what happens now. I still have my baby at home, but what do we do now that one of us will be gone? I've always known that the reason I was put on this earth was to raise these two girls. In response to people asking about me getting remarried, I've always said, "I have two girls to raise. I'll think about it after that." It's the best thing I've ever done for them and for me. I'm beyond thankful for our relationship.

"This miracle God gave to me
gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes"

Tomorrow's drive would have been hard under normal circumstances, but it's even worse right now. It's worse because I don't want to do it. Not because I'm afraid of letting her live on her own, or even because I'm afraid I'm going to miss her so much it will paralyze me. Those things worry me, yes. But right now, I'm sad to say that I just don't want to GIVE to her anymore. I don't feel this way very often, but the last couple of weeks have been sad and shocking. I've seen a side of her that for the first time in her life, I can honestly say, I'm ashamed of. I'm a single mom - a single mom whose ex-husband will not contribute one penny towards this move, or this education. He's never contributed to her college fund (which thanks to out of state tuition will be drained after one semester, and then we're at the mercy of financial aid). He is not contributing to her rent, books, living expenses - yeah, pretty much nothing at all. It's just me. I'm a little pissed off at him for it, but it doesn't diminish the fact that it needs to be paid for. It's not like after all these years it surprises me. I'm going to be putting out so much more money every month to send her to school, that for the first time since my very early and very poor single mom days, my youngest daughter and I have moved into an apartment. I would think that my oldest daughter would be aware of this - that she would see a certain amount of sacrifice and be at least a little thankful. Sadly, she's just not. I know this move and this transition isn't just about me. I'm not one to look at her and say, "Look at all the sacrifice I've made for you over the years!" But come on... Like I said, I've seen a side of her over the last couple of weeks that makes me ashamed that a child I raised could be so self-centered. During our entire move, she was not only useless, she was actually a liability. She made things harder on me during a time that was stressful enough. So stressful that I finally told her I would not be driving her to school now or at any time in the future if she didn't get off her ass and contribute to the work that needed to be done NOW. It was way worse than I can communicate here. It was the worst interaction she and I have ever had in her 18 years - and that speaks volumes. The worst part is, I sit around blaming myself for not raising her with a stronger work ethic. I've been mulling over for days how my entire family has always treated her like the Golden Child and pampered the crap out of her for so long that she's come to expect it. She has shirked all responsibility in this move and school transfer. Yet I force myself to keep going forward for her, keep trying to help her, in the back of my mind knowing that this mindset has resulted in the very problem I'm complaining about. I have no clue how to fix this except to let her sink or swim. Let her go out on her own and make it work, even if means talking her through the times when she inevitably falls on her face; bailing her out when I feel the lesson has been learned. It's my job. It IS what I signed up for. It IS what I committed to, even when I just feel so done.

"It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes"

As much as I feel like it sometimes, I know I'll never give up. Every parent knows that he or she will never give up. After all the ranting and raving, all the moaning and groaning, all the blog venting, the truth is...she's my baby. I will love her through her selfishness, through her self-centeredness, through her 18 year old narcissism. She's part of me. Although she's my frustration, she's also my pride and joy. She's my flesh and blood. She's my baby. My firstborn. My hope.

She's my golden child.

"In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"The French say that the best part of an affair is going up the stairs. Desire is almost always more thrilling than fulfillment."

~ Tom Robbins

Monday, September 28, 2009


(I found this post in my drafts folder and I can't believe I forgot to publish it 6 months ago. Oh well, it's never too late...being forwarned is being forearmed.)

If you see this girl...

...behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle, pull safely to the side of the road and wait for her to get outside of a ten mile radius surrounding you or anyone you remotely care about. She is now a licensed driver in the state of California and a menace on the road. The poor weak man at the DMV passed her just so he would never have to see her again. She hit three trash cans, a palm tree, and only narrowly missed a small child crossing the street because she was aiming for the three slower senior citizens behind him. Do not take this warning lightly. If you happen to find yourself in the greater Orange County area, proceed with caution. You never know when she's going to come flying around a corner on two wheels or run another red light because she was texting her girlfriend about where to score a six-pack.

Good luck...Godspeed...and can learn a lot from a Dummy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

dis⋅sat⋅is⋅fac⋅tion [dis-sat-is-fak-shuhn]

I love

I'm on it almost every day. There's always something I want to look up to make sure I'm spelling correctly, or using correctly.

This is my latest find...

"Dissatisfaction results from contemplating what falls short of one's wishes or expectations: dissatisfaction with the results of an afternoon's work.
Discontent is a sense of lack and a general feeling of uneasy dislike for the conditions of one's life: feeling a continual vague discontent.
Displeasure suggests a certain amount of anger as well as dissatisfaction: displeasure at being kept waiting."

Ahhhh....welcome to my world.

Everything about me is screaming to run. Everything about me is dissatisfied. Discontented? Yup, that's me. And displeased...wholeheartedly.

So why am I still here? Because I'm insane. We've all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Based on this definition...I am insane. I need to run. Get the hell out. Get the hell away. I'm half way there. Half way further than I was before.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm running towards it.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

"Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'."

I came across this song while listening to an old CD (and by the way, who listens to CD's anymore? I'm pretty sure they'll be the next casualty of the new millennium).

Hearing it again made me wonder when I switched teams. When did I check out of the "your sons and your daughters" group and join the "mothers and fathers"? And no, it's not obvious. I was still practically a kid myself when I had my first child. I marched in the California Peace March, had a bumper sticker on my VW Bug that said, "Give Peace a Chance," I dragged my dad out to the California desert to participate in Hands Across America, raising money to fight homelessness and poverty (OK, so maybe my motivation for this one may have been that I heard Tom Selleck was doing it in Hawaii. I figured that this would be the last sign he needed to see how much we had in common and that we should be together forever, but no. He never called. I cannot be responsible for a man who doesn't recognize God's will for his life. But I digress...). I refused to eat meat before it was popular, and was a card-carrying member of Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. Where did THAT girl go? Grew up I guess. Definitely on to what I think are more prevalent causes. But damn, I sure miss that youthful idealism.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dear Complacency...'s over.

It was fun for awhile, but face it - you are no good for me. Oh sure, things were great for awhile. When I got laid off, you were there to pick up the pieces. I was a needy mess and you were there for me. I let myself get lost in your endless generosity, and in the contentment that only you can offer. I was depressed and you were my drug. You loved me through my financial meltdown, through my daughter's illness, and you didn't judge me when I stayed in bed for days. You made me feel secure, relaxed and fulfilled. And I let you. I loved you unconditionally and I thought it would last forever. You and I spent hours together just laying by the pool, reading the classics, practicing deep breaths - basically convincing ourselves that we'd had a hard few years and it was OK to take a break for awhile. When it was good, it was the best. Yes, I realize there was the smallest hint of denial. After all, by definition you're a downward spiral waiting to happen. But I was going to be the exception - I thought I could change you. I was so naive.

And now, because of the ferocity with which I embraced you, I can't pay my bills. My ability to support my family is failing, and my self respect is circling the drain. All because of this dysfunctional relationship we've both become so comfortable in. This is the ugly side of you that I refused to acknowledge, but can no longer ignore. And that's not all. I don't want to be unnecessarily cruel, but for the first time in our relationship, I'm embarrassed to say that we're together.

Please don't think you've done anything wrong. You're not the one whose changed. Trust me when I say it's not you, it's me.

I know this is sudden, and seems impulsive. But the truth is, Complacency, I've found someone else. A long lost love named Responsibility. Responsibility and I are finally reunited after a way too long separation. I realized that I've loved Responsibility all along and this time I am determined to make it work. Yes I know it's hard work. Yes I know I have to re-learn some old habits. But Responsibility has always been good to me and I'm willing to take the plunge for Responsibility's sake.

To quote a really bad Lionel Ritchie song - thanks for the time that you've given me. I will never forget you and you can be sure there's a part of me that will always love you. But please let me go. No drunk dials in the middle of the night. No calling my friends under false pretenses in an attempt to gain any piece of information about me that you can. That type of behavior would just embarrass both of us. You'll find someone else, just as I have. You have so much to offer that it's just a matter of time before someone else needs to be saved, and is sucked into your facade of instant gratification.

I'll never forget you and on some level, I hope we can always be friends. I might look you up next time I'm on vacation, or when my relationship with Responsibility finally affords me the luxury of retirement. But until then, I'll be putting every ounce of effort into my new love.

Take care,

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken"

The picture is hard to see, but one road sign says YOUR LIFE and the other says NO LONGER AN OPTION. I love this. I found this picture many years ago, but it's proved to be relevant many times in my life ever since. How often are we brave enough to even know that one way is no longer an option? How do we know the road signs are facing in the right direction, and that the NO LONGER AN OPTION route is truly going nowhere?

This poem is one of my favorites. Frost himself says that this is a "tricky poem," and the more times I read it, the more I understand what he means. It's oftentimes interpreted as inspirational; a poem of self realization. But I'm not sure it is.

The person in this poem didn't make his choice lightly. He says, "long I stood" and he looked as far down that road as he could see. The second road he refers to is greener, it looks better - until he realizes that it really doesn't - and it's the road he ends up choosing. And even though he intends to revisit the first one, knowing that "way leads on to way", he realistically knows it won't happen. In the end, he makes no claim that the road he chose was the right one; just that it made all the difference - a difference that he does not define as good or bad. I think Frost's bottom line (the "tricky" message of the poem) is that choice is inevitable, but we really don't know what the impact of our choices are until they've been made and lived.

The person in this poem could have started down one road, and if it didn't please him, just turn back. We all have choices and sometimes those choices are not definitive - we can turn back. But do we ever want to go back to where our journey began? Has that ever worked for anyone?

What if we choose one road and spend the rest of our lives second guessing our decision? Or even just wondering? Is that even healthy?

How do we know?

Well, I guess we just do.
Intuition, discernment, gut feelings, divine intervention. We just know.

And today...I just know.

Thank God I just know.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Random Memory

I was in Newport Beach yesterday at a very expensive tennis club, liked you'd expect to find in Newport Beach. I was a guest obviously, and met a woman who like me had grown up sailing with her dad. There were a few flags flying overhead and the sound of the wind blowing the rope against the flagpole sounded just like when rigging on a boat hits the mast. If you've been around boats, you know it's a sound that you can't escape at the harbor. To me, it's music to my ears. It instantly relaxes me. Growing up, I spent almost every weekend at the harbor on our family's sailboat. The picture above is where our boat was docked. Beautiful, isn't it? I was so lucky to have grown up with such beautiful surroundings. We sailed to Catalina and took many day trips, but even if we never took the boat out, we would spend the weekend fixing something on it or cleaning it, etc. I should say my dad did that, while my sister and I laid on the dock getting suntans waiting for the BBQ to be ready. I have so many memories on that boat - some amazing, some not so great. One time, we sailed to Catalina and my dad dove into the harbor and found us some abalone for dinner which we cooked on the boat (seems I'm allergic to abalone, as we soon found out, but the experience was great!). My sister and I learned the hard way that Ban de Soliel orange gelee needs to be rubbed in evenly or you're likely to get fake tanned fingerprints on your legs. :)
When I was 10 years old, it was on that boat where my dad told my sister and I that he and my mom were separating. I remember thinking, "If you're leaving, why can't you take me with you?" But I never verbalized it. Not long after that, I remember sitting on the back of the boat with my feet in the water, and my Walkman cassette player on. My eyes were closed as I was listening to whatever new Elton John album had just come out, and in my mind I was lost in a song called Cold as Christmas. Every once in awhile, I hear a song that I would describe as "haunting". This was one of those for me. I remember thinking how it was so my parents, so much my family.

"The temperature's up to ninety five
But there's a winter look in your mother's eyes
And to melt the tears there's a heat wave here
So how come it's cold as Christmas in the middle of the year?"

I can't hear that song without going back to that boat, with my feet hanging over the edge into the water of Dana Point harbor. I can't hear the sounds of the harbor without remembering that song and that moment.

My parents divorce wasn't particularly traumatic for me, and neither was that moment. In fact, I remember feeling very peaceful then - the feeling of the water and the music and the sun so perfect. It does surprise me, however, the vividness of that memory.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I Hate Mother's Day...

I've said it before...I dread Mother's Day every year. For one simple reason - my mother is not normal. Trust me. She's so not normal that my brother and sister bailed years ago, moving 3,000 and 400 miles away, leaving me alone to fend for myself with our mom. Sure, every once in awhile they'll call me and thank me for taking it for the team, but it could never make up for the insanity that living in such close proximity to my mom brings into my life.

One of the problems with my mom is that she gauges how much I love her by how much I do for her, buy for her, spend on her, etc. on holidays and birthdays. I've been a mom myself for 18 years, but she manages to make Mother's Day all about her every year and never even mentions that I'm also a mom and may want to spend the day celebrating MY family. I always have to make plans that she thinks sufficiently spoil her, and she never even offers to pick up the tab even though I'm a mom too and deserve it once a year. Mother's Day every year entails brunch AND dinner at nice restaurants.

Last year, she was out of town for Mother's Day and my girls and I had the best day we'd had in a long time. We went to L.A. and window shopped on Rodeo Drive and then had a great lunch at one of the restaurants there. No pressure, no stress, no mom. The girls could feel the difference too and commented on how relaxing this Mother's Day actually was. The woman even drives them nuts. My mom got home about a week later and on the way home from the airport asked me what we were going to do for Mother's Day. Mother's Day was over! The not so thinly veiled message was, "I wasn't here for you to do anything for me on Mother's Day, so how are you going to make it up to me?" I had been laid off from my job two months before, money was tight, and did I mention - Mother's Day was over!! So I said, "You know Mom, the girls and I had a really quiet Mother's Day this year and since money is really tight, we didn't even go out to dinner. I know I usually take you out to dinner each year, but this year I can't really afford to, so if you want to (still) celebrate Mother's Day - a week later! - you're going to have to pick up the check for dinner." Her response? "NO! It's Mother's Day! If you can't afford to take me to dinner, you can just make me dinner." The fact that my mom has more money than God notwithstanding, her response just pissed me off. For me to say no would put into motion a chain of events that would be absolutely intolerable. It would be a relationship ending scenario. I've tried, not caring that I would finally have the albatross off my neck, but she gets weird by doing things like showing up to the girls schools to see them as if she's been banned from their lives, representing herself as the abandoned grandmother. Drama overflows during situations like that.

Yesterday, I ran into her while I was out running errands - shitty luck, I mean this isn't frickin' Mayberry! - and she asked about Mother's Day. It just reminded me again that every year I am stuck with dealing with this woman's expectations. I said, "Mom, this year is going to be different. I can't afford dinner, I can't afford anything. Sorry, that's just the way it is right now. So I decided for Mother's Day this year, you can come over in the morning and I'll make something small for brunch and we'll just be really low key at home." The beginning of her response gave me hope..."Well, Steph, you've always gone way out of your way for Mother's Day for me. You've always made great plans and taken me to really nice places and I can tell you've put a lot of thought into it in the past..." I'm thinking there's hope here... "So if all you can do this year is make brunch at home, I guess I would be OK with that." Argghhh..

Any suggestions? Do you know a guy who knows a guy? I know I need to grow a pair and just be honest. But really, if she just got a wild hair and decided to move to the east coast to be closer to my brother and his daughter, that would be OK, too.

The only thing that made me smile about this today, is of course, John. I texted him my frustration and he replied, "I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that you're the one left holding the bag on Mother's pun intended." HA! Love that guy!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Yeahhhhhh, babyyyyyy.......

Obama is in the White House and the Pittsburgh Steelers just won the Super Bowl.

'09 is shaping up pretty nicely so far!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In the Name of Forced Family Traditions...

I have these bowls (and if that's not an attention grabber, I don't know what is). I call them the "Grammie Bowls". I don't call them that because they belonged to my grandmother - who I called Grammie. I call them that because they remind me of her. As soon as I saw them I had to have them. This picture doesn't even do them justice. Yes, I'm that excited about my bowls.
Anyway, when I bought them, I immediately called them the Grammie Bowls which left my daughters a little confused, knowing they never belonged to the woman they knew as Grammie. I had to explain to them that when I'm dead - after years of their kids calling me Grammie - and they're baking with their daughters, they'll use these bowls and say, "Oh look...these were Grammie's favorite bowls." And if they have a little chip on them, well they'll be just that much more charming, won't they? In my mind, that's just the sweetest of memories. Rolling their eyes, my girls aren't exactly catching the vision. Brats. But others have. Sometimes when I'm serving chips in them when I have people over, someone might randomly say, "It's the Grammie Bowls!"
They know.

On a side note, I joined this group of women called Operation Baking GALS (GALS standing for Give A Little Support). It started online and over 100 women bake cookies once a month and send them to the troops in Iraq; sharing a little bit of homemade love to those who so deserve it. I'm honored to be part of it. If anyone out there loves to bake and feels like joining, follow that link. :)

So I set out yesterday to bake three different kinds of cookies. I have been told that I make the best oatmeal cookies this side of, well...the moon. So off I go, baking away, when what do I notice? There's a crack in one of the Grammie Bowls!! I turn it over to see if it has cracked all the way through, and it has! I'm pretty much beside myself at this point, filling the bowl with water to see if the crack is going to leak. Luckily it doesn't, but I still am overwhelmed by the tragedy. I hear my oldest daughter come in the house, walk right by the kitchen without stopping in to talk to me, and then head upstairs to her room. By the time I'm over the temporarily paralyzing trauma of finding the crack, I stomp up to my daughters room. She's trying to take a nap and doesn't even open her eyes when I walk in. How can she sleep at a time like this?! My part of the following converasation was in a voice that I'm pretty sure only dogs could hear, but this is how it went...after I stomped across the room to her bed...
"Boo, wake up!! You didn't even come in the kitchen to say hi to me, and I have news!" Not even opening her eyes, she says, "What's wrong?" to which I screech, "THERE'S A CRACK IN ONE OF THE GRAMMIE BOWLS!!"
At this point, she's smart enough to open her eyes and feign concern. "Really? What happened?" I responded (in my dogs are only hearing this voice), "I DON'T KNOW!! I just found a crack in it a little while ago and not a little chip like we thought would be cute and add character but a real crack that goes all the way through and I'm not even close to being dead yet!"
"Wow, that sucks."
"IIIIIIIII KNOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!" At which point I stomp out of her room.
I get to the hallway, stop in my tracks and yell, "Wait a minuteeeeee......WHICH PART SUCKS?!"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


There's a country song that says, "If Heaven were an hour it would be twilight, when the fireflies start their dancing on the lawn." I love that. When asked if there would be dogs in Heaven, Billy Graham replied that since Heaven was supposed to be filled with that which makes us happy, and his dog makes him happy, then yes. There will be dogs in Heaven. I know when we get there we will feel no pain, only joy. But some things do make us more joyful than others, don't they? Which ones would we choose if we could make that choice? I could use a little piece of Heaven right now. I know it will be exponentially better than anything I can imagine right now. Imagine how safe and secure, and loved, we will feel in the presence of God.

But if I could fill Heaven with little pieces of life on Earth, what would it look like? I think Heaven should be filled with sweet little children running through the sprinklers, squealing with delight. And forget the harp music. Maybe some Norah Jones for the soundtrack, or Kenny Chesney singing songs that he wrote just for me. If the weather turns cold and windy, George Winston will definitely be there with his giant blue grand piano. It would be nice if the voice of God were a young Robert Redford. Or James Earl Jones - soothing yet strong and safe. Heaven would be filled with deep purple lisianthus and pink peonies. There would be an endless supply of blackberry pie, and my grandmother's cooking. She would be there too, doing what she loved best. She would tell me all the stories about her childhood. And this time I would listen, instead of secretly rolling my eyes and cursing my sister for not being the one who got "caught" by Grandma's stories that day. She would always smell exactly the way I remember her. My dad would be there, and he would be teaching me how to dance like he did when I was 13 years old and nervous about my first high school dance. He would show no signs of aging, just the young exuberant man he has always been. I could sail with my dad and my brother every day if I wanted, because the water and wind would always be perfect. My girls wouldn't be there yet, but when they got there we would all sing songs together before we fell asleep, like we did when they were very small. There will be an endless loop of 'Life is Beautiful' playing, even though I would probably change the ending a bit. There would be a French cafe on every corner that served chocolate crepes and good Champagne. And all the French bread and Mimolette cheese I could eat. We could see the Big Dipper, the Southern Cross, and all of the other constellations close up. And I'm pretty sure I could talk God into letting me float around the brightest part of the Milky Way for awhile.

I know I'm dreaming and not dreaming nearly big enough. Like I said, it will be beyond our wildest imaginations. But it was fun to imagine for just a few minutes.

Friday, July 25, 2008

fin·ished (fĭn'ĭsht)

v. intr.

1. To come to an end; stop.
2. To reach the end of a task, course, or relationship.

A couple of years ago, someone tagged me to do a certain post answering various questions. I don't remember all of the questions, but one of my answers is something that I have thought of most of my entire adult life. The question was "When do you know it's love?" And here was my answer...
"When you realize that the other person's baggage is not a deal breaker, when you run to the front door every time that person walks in, when you see the future and they're in it." Obviously relationships are much more complicated than that, but love...I think it's pretty simple.

However, recently I realized that no matter how long or how strongly I've believed otherwise - love is simply not enough. When I worked in ministry years ago, a friend of mine was the pastor who officiated the wedding of some of our mutual friends. During the ceremony he said, "Marriage is two people becoming one, and that ONE is always the other person." Wow. Can you visualize a relationship as unselfish as that? A relationship where you continually put the other person before yourself and you can trust them to do the same for you? I can. I have ever since then. I think this is why I've remained single all of these years. I'm holding out for that kind of selflessness, that kind of mutual respect and that kind of honor.

I'm having to say goodbye to someone who I have loved for years. Yeah I know...who knew? It wasn't something I felt comfortable writing about on this blog. It was shaky from the very beginning, a roller coaster really. The love was there, but that type of "oneness" wasn't. Realizing what was lacking is what's making me walk away now. Finally. Finally finished. It's been years. Most of my friends are just frustrated with me and for me because it's been so long. It's why no one else I ever dated stood a chance against this person coming in and out of my life. And until now, I never stood a chance in any other relationship. But now I feel comfortable and right with this decision, which is more than I have been able to say in the past. So many times in life you just have to take the long way. It's part of our imperfect emotional structure. I walked away before because I felt I HAD to. I knew I SHOULD. But I kept going back because we loved each other. I realize I knew all along that it wasn't enough, but you know how these things work out - you gotta go through the crap. You gotta sift through the muck before you realize you're never going to find the treasure.

What I know is that I still love my answer about love. I mean it as much as I meant it when I wrote it almost three years ago. But I'm amending it a little to include being "present". Showing up. Paying attention. Live selflessly. Put love before fear.

This has been such a long time coming. It had to happen before I could ever find a love that I know I deserve and know I can reciprocate. Now I know that my future will be with someone else who can give me all those things. And I can honestly say - my future is lookin' bright! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I hate sleeping. It's just pure frustration. I can't do it, so I hate it. Sleep should be a good thing, right? I should look forward to it and wake up feeling refreshed.
I can't fall asleep at night, so I have to take something to keep me from being up for days. I've tried everything on the market, and the one I take works the best, but still not that well. I wake up too early, I can't fall back to sleep.

I hate it.

Last night was a typical night's sleep.
I started out reading and/or watching TV, which I have to do to make my mind tired enough to fall asleep. I turn on my nature sounds of a rainstorm to block out any other noises (my ideal sleeping conditions would be an abandoned mine shaft somewhere, where there was absolutely no light and no sound for miles). And I fall asleep. For a few hours if I'm lucky. But now I've not fallen asleep until well after midnight and wake up at the crack of dawn. I try to will myself back to sleep. I try relaxation excercises like concentrating on every part of my body falling asleep. I focus on the sound of the rainstorm and it is comforting for awhile. If I have to go to the bathroom, I don't - because I know that I can put myself back to sleep no matter how bad that particular problem is, but if I get up, I'm awake for good. When the sun comes up, I have to make sure I'm facing a certain way because my blinds suck and the light keeps me awake.

There is just so much noise. Just noise.

The sound of the spa pump coming on, then I anticipate the sprinklers; both things I've tried to change but am electronically inept enough to have no success so far. There's the neighbors dog barking. I want to kill him. Sometimes he gets my dog going and she runs outside to start barking. If I lock her dog door at night, she sits in the house and barks. Noise.

And now I'm awake enough to start thinking. Crap.

I think about everything - my kids and what they are going through at the moment, my job situation, my relationships, my bills. Good things, bad things. All things.

I can't turn it off.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh, To Be Young and Entitled

My 17 year old thinks her dad is going to buy her a Mercedes for her first car. She thinks that because he said he would. Daughters have always had powerful manipulative skills with their fathers and she is no exception.
This is a girl who has pretty much had everything handed to her all her life, and trust me when I say that I take my share of the responsibility. That's what parenting out of fear gets you.

I've raised her by myself since she was old enough to walk (although her father and I were married until she was six years old, as a parent, sadly he was less than useless).
Over the years most of my parenting has been based on these two questions...
1)What did my mother say to me in this situation that made me never want to discuss anything important with her ever again? and...
2)What do I wish she would have said?
Well, that's nice in theory. And I must admit that due to my lack of over-reaction, I have a daughter who tells me more than most - the good, the bad and the ugly. She's told me some things that made me want to plug my ears and hum "Oh Happy Day" until she stopped talking. And I'm thankful for that part of our relationship. The downside is that when you parent out of fear, you're always one step behind the teenager. They can smell it and they immediately start circling the waters.

Then they think they own you.

And apparently, if you're her father, the next thing you know, you're promising them a Mercedes.

This is a girl who has never had a job. My first legal job was when I was 14 at Del Taco down the street. I walked there four days a week in my dorky little uniform, just so proud that I had a job. I say my first "legal" job, because when I was 13, some lady who owned a children's boutique hired me to stock shoes for 10 hours a week and paid me under the table. The point is that I had the balls to go into that boutique and ask her for a job. She recognized this and respected it. So she gave me a job that she probably never even needed filled and taught me a great lesson about taking initiative.

Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather dive head first into my own vomit before I admit to my mother doing something right as a parent. She's the "What Not To Wear" of parenting. But to give credit where credit is due, that woman taught me about initiative and hard work. She talked me into walking into that boutique at 13, because I had nothing to lose (she also talked me into stowing away on a cruise ship and tried to get me to move to Hawaii during a family vacation when I was 18, but that's a whole 'nother post). So why didn't I get that parenting gene? FEAR!
First and foremost, in fear of "becoming" my mother (orphaned Tupperware lids aside), I threw the baby out with the bathwater. Second, fear of losing my daughter - forcing her out of her comfort zone to the point that her reaction was to blame me for the discomfort. The same person, who at 13 boldly walked into a store asking for a job, now at 41 is sometimes unable to stand up to her 17 year old daughter. Out of fear. Don't get me wrong, she doesn't walk all over me, but this issue is not only present, it's rearing its ugly head right about now.

So now she feels entitled. To a Mercedes. To car insurance. To a gas card.

Now, there is no way I will let this happen, and after today she knows it. Her attitude towards the car and all the accessories - her basically sitting back and waiting for it all to be handed to her - is what has kept me from getting her driver's license thus far, even though she's over 17. But I can't ignore how we got here.

I know I'm venting and this post doesn't really do her justice. As far as teenagers go, she's put me through very little stress. She's very loving, she's honest, she respects my rules even though her curfew is earlier than her friends (I checked). This is the only area in which she and I will go to the mat. But oh boyyyy do we.

But I do have to wonder - how do I undo the damage that I have most certainly contributed to?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation (Part 1)

I just got back from Lake Havasu where I spent 5 days on a big boat doing nothing, stressing about nothing, thinking about NOTHING! It was a beautiful 5 days. But one more day, and I would have looked like this...

...and that's never good. My youngest daughter went with me for the first 4 days and then her sister joined us for the last day and night. Look at my little cutie - she's turning into such a big girl...

Alright, now a confession...and this one is sure to win me Mother of the Year for the 17th straight year in a row. It even beats the time I let my little girl walk around on a broken leg for three days, and the time I didn't realize that her hand was broken the first time until she broke it the second time a month later. Yeah, this is a good one. In my last post, ya know how I mention that the girls and I kind of have a song that means something to the three of us? Well, my girls have always said they wanted to get the word STAND tattood on them somewhere. Yeah, what is it with kids today and tattoos? Don't they realize they're permanent? These are little people who don't realize one day they'll have to get A JOB! Well, I broke down - big time. We all got 'em. Yup, even I am the proud owner of a brand new - permanent - tattoo that says Stand. I know, I know! But I got sucked into the whole bonding thing with my babies. And it's on my foot, so hopefully shoes will cover it. But why couldn't anyone have warned me that it was going to hurt like a mother??!! It's supposed to be a purple-y chrome-ish color, but it just looks red because no one told me it was gonna bleed!

So if you're watching the news tonight, watch for the story about the crazy mom who got arrested for letting her 13-year-old daughter get a tattoo! Then come bail me out.

Monday, July 07, 2008

John Rocks

So John reminded me the other day that I haven't blogged in over a year. I actually have a couple of posts saved to drafts that I may get around to finishing soon. But for now, let me say a sincere thank you to everyone who was concerned about my daughter Olivia. In my last post from over a year ago, she was being tested for Hodgkins (see below), and we discovered that she does not have it. We never figured out exactly what she did have, just that it was probably something fungal (eww...) or viral that has already run it's course. After the oncologist, we took her to an infectious disease specialist and by the time a couple of months passed, he had NO idea what we had been dealing with except that it was gone. The only remnant is the fact that she's had a hard time putting the weight back on. That's a bummer because she eats like a horse and is still a size nothing on her fat days. But thank you so much to everyone who wrote, prayed, and generally loved us through it. It was absolutely invaluable to me.

So before I post my adventure filled update on 'What I did on my summer vacation (thus far)', let me share this little gem that John turned me onto...It's a mix of my favorite songs. I have a thousand and one favorite songs, so I picked just six that have significant meaning for me. I'll try to explain why in as short order as possible (you know how I get)...

Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
I chose this because a couple of my other favorites by him (like Jungleland) weren't available. This reminds me so much of high school and college and a thousand great times. I also grew up playing the piano, and this song has some of the best rock piano I have ever heard.

Stand - Rascal Flatts
My daughters and I have spent almost their whole lives with it being just the three of us and this is our anthem. When things suck particularly bad for one of us, and life knocks us on our ass, the other two will lift her up by saying, "We're Flynn girls. We Stand."
Here's the chorus:
"When push comes to shove,
you taste what you're made of.
You might bend 'til you break,
'cause it's all you can take.
On your knees you look up,
decide you've had enough.
You get mad, you get strong,
Wipe your hands, shake it off,
Then you STAND."

Refine Me - Jennifer Knapp
So hard to pick just one by her. She's a Christian singer/songwriter who's about as deep as they come. I love her music. This is a terrible recording of a beautiful and profound song that reminds me that I am not the boss of me, and I do such a crappy job when I try to be.

Anything But Mine - Kenny Chesney
Awww...this songs reminds me so much of someone from the east coast who I spent a very sweet two weeks with several years ago. He left to go home and we parted with love and respect for each other that has remained over the years. It's about someone leaving to go home the next day after a beautiful summer romance and it makes me think of my friend every time I hear it. I've seen him a couple of times since then, and it will never go anywhere, but what a sweet memory. :)

My One True Friend - Bette Midler
I'm one of the rare people of my generation to truly love her music and crazy style. This song reminds me of my deep deep love for my sister, and that if any human being would go to the ends of the earth for me, it is her. It talks about forgiveness, but I've never had to forgive her for anything - very rare between sisters. But she has been endlessly patient with me. Knowing she's there makes me feel safe and like I always have a home.

Hey There, Delilah - Plain White T's
Shouldn't this be called Hey There, Stephanie? Really. :) If this song were written for you while you we're in college, would you not just die for the romance of it? It reminds me of young, sweet, blind adoration and I love it!!

If you only want a snippet of each song, hold your cursor over the bottom of the tape and a menu bar will pop up.

Hope you enjoy them.


By the way, the picture on the tape is of my youngest daughter and her friends playing at the beach and I just thought it was cute. But now that I see it again I'm really just thinking, "skinny little brats." ;)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Not sure how to start this, so I just will. Obviously I haven't posted for awhile, but I know I have blogger friends out there that would care about what I'm about to say, so I'll just jump in...

Last Friday my oldest daughter had a surgical biopsy for what her doctors are assuming is Hodgkins Lymphoma. It's been going on for about four months now, leading to the biopsy on Friday. The good news is that it's highly curable, as her oncologist confirmed last week. The bad news is that it is a form of cancer and treatment for it would very traumatic, even though the prognosis for this type is very good. After four months of doctors, tests, CT Scans, etc., I feel like we're finally in capable hands. The first time we met her oncologist, he hugged her and kissed her forehead and said, "Don't worry sweetie. I'll treat you as if you were my own little girl." He's my new hero.

When we went for her pre-op appointment last week, I took this picture with her holding her urine sample in her lap. Yeah, I know it's gross. And the look on her face indicates that she thinks she's surrounded by idiots! :)

Then we went to the biopsy at 6 AM Friday morning. Here she is in her little purple hospital gown. The picture isn't very clear - I took it on my cellphone.

The doctor removed three lymph nodes. One to send for cultures, two to send to pathology, looking for Hodgkins and other types of lymphoma. We won't get the results for about a week. At times I have so much to say about this, and normally I would give a lot more details. Now I'm just really tired. I'll try to write more about it later. For now I would appreciate your prayers.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Get The H&%# Away From My Daughter!

My daughter turned 16 a couple of weeks ago. Last Saturday, we had a Sweet 16 Party for her at a local Italian restaurant. Too late to lock her up isn't it?
We rented out half of a restaurant, hired a DJ and invited 100 of her closest friends(!). Thankfully, only about 60 showed up, but she had a great time! She wanted a Tiffany's themed party, so we threw a bunch of fake pearls and diamonds on the tables and I made a couple of cakes in the shape of Tiffany boxes. Here they are...

I was stoked - everyone thought they were presents! I took a picture of what my kitchen looked like after I finished with the cakes - I'll post that soon. It's hilarious! By the time I was done, I was covered in powdered sugar from my hair down the front of my jeans.

I could not believe the way teenagers dance these days. I was totally shocked, and my ex-husband wasn't exactly happy about it either. He spent most of the night getting between our daughter and some gropey little hormonal teenagers. One of them even tried coming up behind me and getting way too close. Little horndogs. In spite of all that, we had so much fun! But by far, the highlight of the night was that I got asked out by the way hot owner of the restaurant. This guy......

Uh-huh. This picture is from when the restaurant was written up in a local magazine. I played hard to get for about a minute and a half.

I'll keep you posted. Or maybe not... ;)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Do I Love This One So Much?

Because of text conversations like this...
(By the way, she's "BOO")

BOO: just wanted to let you know I ditched 7th. I'm going to in n out. Love you. See u later tonight!

ME: Better be kidding.

BOO: I am. I'm in spanish right now. I just wanted u to think I was a bad kid :)

ME: No chance of that.

BOO: hahaha gracias :)

Me: I love you.

BOO: love you too. Can I be home at 1130 if I'm not too tired? PLEASE!!!Pretty please with cherries on top my most prettyful mommy dearest!!

ME: Tell me I'm the best mommy in the whole world and you want to grow up to be just like me. Oh yeah, and I'm a really good dancer!

BOO: duh, I was already saying those things to my teacher I just didn't want to over-do it. I was totally saying it tho!! Haha :)

ME: That's a good girl. ;-) Ok, you can stay 'til 1130.

BOO: Yayaya! Thank you mommy I love.

ME: You're welcome, baby doll that I love back.

YES!! I know it's enough to give you a cavity, but she's going to be 16 in one week!!! I have to hang on to this AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!!!! I have to hang on to the sickeningly sweet stuff while she's still not embarrassed that she has a mom.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why, God?

Why does she have to get so big? She's my baby, the one who is supposed to stay little forever. Why does she have to be so pretty? Why does she have to have those amazing blue eyes that are just going to make boys want her when she older? What am I saying - she already has boys asking her to be their girlfriend. And she said yes to one of them! That's not okay.

And she's such a stud. She's wearing motocross gear in this picture because she rides her own motorcycle! In fact, two weeks ago (at the end of this particular trip) she broke her nose. And it still didn't make her ugly. Why?
Her older sister is already a knock out. I don't like it, but I've accepted it. This little cutie was always my baby - the one who still holds my hand every time we ride in the car. The one who can't go to sleep if I don't tuck her in at night. The one who, before I close her door at night, says, "Goodnight, Best Friend."
But now she has movie nights with her friends. She wants to be dropped off at the mall (thankfully, not two blocks away yet). This morning on the way to school she informed me that she and her "boyfriend" have been going out for a month. What?! I don't like it.
So God, if you're listening...and I know you are...please keep her little just a while longer. Let her keep calling me Mommy, even between motocross races. Keep that sincere joy that she exudes every day intact. And please keep those blue eyes shining with love and innocence.
Thank You.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

They Say I'll Laugh About This One Day...

I haven't been around for awhile. I've been too busy getting my sorry ass fired from the most lucrative position I've ever had. It was the proverbial "perfect storm" of the workplace. Everything coming together at all the right times, from all the right angles to create total destruction. Yeah, kind of a bummer. But hey, everyone keeps telling me to consider it a learning experience. And I must say that the biggest lesson I learned is as follows...

1. Never tell your boss to fuck off.

Apparently I learned lesson #1 a little too late, which led to the following lessons...
2. If you must tell your boss to fuck off, be sure to send out the blanket "I have a new e-mail address..." e-mail to your address book before uttering the previously mentioned offensive phrase.
3. Clean out all personal folders on your hard drive, so the next person who ends up in your little cube doesn't get to read all of your personal letters. Not to mention that resumé you've been updating in preparation of the offensive phrase.
4. If given the chance to apologize, you should probably take it, instead of uttering the next offensive phrase, "HELL NO!"
5. Be sure to have a Plan B - a bigger, better, more lucrative job which you get to start even sooner, considering your recent unemployed status. least I did that part right! ;)
Most importantly...
6. There's nothing that riding around with the top down on an 85 degree southern California day won't fix.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

"Yes, Virginia...

...there is a Santa Claus."

It's Christmas again. For those of you who haven't known me since last Christmas, everything I would love to say I've already said here. Please feel free to check it out. And may everyone who passes by this blog have a blessed Christmas.

"...He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy...Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see...Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world...

...Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

~Francis P. Church
Editorial in The New York Sun
Christmas, 1897

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Too Much Information? Probably.

The other day I went in for what I refer to as My Yearly Violation. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about - getting felt up by a near stranger, feet in the stirrups, being poked and prodded - you know. I've had two children and, therefore, pretty over the whole probing thing. I went to my old doctor, the one who delivered my second daughter, because he specializes in a certain procedure that I'm interested in pursuing. I have to mention that I used to have a huge crush on this man. I looooooved him! He's tall, dark and handsome, dresses impeccably, and is oh so sweet. So I was excited to go see him again and see how he's aged. Of course, he's still gorgeous - just a little grayer, but nonetheless gorgeous.
So we talked for a bit about why I was there, and then it was TIME. Time for the violation. Time to be uncomfortably probed. It's never comfortable, no matter how hard the doctor tries to relax you with the soothing voice, the mundane distractions about how old your kids are now, blah, blah, blah... Once I felt like a doctor was taking way too long and I told him if he took much longer, I was going to have to take him home to meet the folks. So this day with the gorgeous doctor was continuing with dread. And then, as if on cue, my cell phone rings. Yup, right as the doctor is staring somewhere between my legs and the nurse is trying to assist, we were all treated to a little snippet of none other than "Love Shack." Gotta love it.

Thank God I changed my ringer from "Let's Get It On."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holy Crap.

My 15 year old is a sophomore in high school. Last year, she was struggling in her English class, so I had several conversations with her teacher about it through e-mail and phone calls. Her teacher was so great. She came up with ways for my daughter to improve her comprehension while reading at home. She got her to start journaling, and since my daughter had a back injury from volleyball, she even let her take extra breaks and stretch during the three day long standardized testing. She truly went above and beyond the call of duty. She was just so great, and I was grateful to have someone so caring looking over my daughter while she was in school.

Then last week, this happened...

O.C. Teacher Charged With Having Sex With Student

CBS) SANTA ANA, Calif. A Trabuco Hills High School English teacher was charged Tuesday with seven counts of having sex with a male student.

Alyssa Ann Johnson, 31, who is free on $50,000 bail, was charged with three counts each of unlawful sexual intercourse and oral copulation of a minor and one count of sodomy with a person under 18, Orange County District Attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.

Johnson, of Tustin, is scheduled for arraignment on Dec. 21, Emami said. If convicted, Johnson faces up to seven years in prison.

Johnson is accused of having sex on multiple occasions between July 4 and Nov. 14 with a student she met while teaching at Trabuco Hills High School. She was arrested Wednesday at her home by sheriff's investigators, who received word of the allegations through officials at the Mission Viejo school, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

Johnson has been placed on administrative leave, Amormino said.

The student "took an English class from her," Amormino said, declining to release any additional information that could identify the youth, other than to say that he is "older than 14 and younger than 18."

Johnson, who was booked on suspicion of oral copulation, posted $50,000 bail and was released on Thanksgiving Day, Amormino said.

She had been a teacher at the school for about four years, Amormino said.

Holy crap.

What makes a grown woman not only risk her job, but risk going to jail? Not to mention the welfare of that 16 year old boy. I'm absolutely shocked.

People are weird.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Lovely Chera...

Thursday night I had to say goodbye to one of the most important people in my life - my friend Chera. She has accepted a position in Baltimore and left this weekend on her cross country move. It's a great opportunity for her, not only professionally, but to get a fresh start which she feels she needs right now.

Letting her go was torture. I threw her a little going away party Thursday night that was an absolute blast (after which, my house looked like the frat house in Animal House)! We definitely sent her off right. We take pictures just about everywhere we go, even if it's just a concert; two of which I posted above. Isn't she beautiful? I put copies of all of our pictures into a photo album for her and gave it to her at the party. I couldn't even get through it without toally losing it. By the end of the night both of us were a mess.

We met when we worked in the same department at the company I still work for. She was so sweet, kind of quiet, and had the slightest trace of the most charming southern accent. We discovered that in spite of our age difference (I'm 11 years older than she), we have so much in common. It's definitely not obvious, though. On the outside, our lives are very different. But on the inside, our friendship is a perfect match. We're each other's family - both non-judgemental and lovingly accepting of the other, even when we don't agree with the other's decisions. During our friendship, we've both had some really hard times, and we're always there for each other. When I cry she cries, and that's the truest sign of deep friendship. She used to come over with a bottle of wine and we'd lock ourselves in my bedroom, sit on the bed and talk for hours. Or just sit on my kitchen counter, knowing we could totally be ourselves. We both LOVE to have fun and everything we do together is a blast - if it doesn't start out that way, we turn it into one. There is never a dull moment when we're together, and 99% of my crazy stories have Chera right at the center. In the second picture, we were at a Chippendale's show which Chera got a free tickets to. Neither one of us would pay for tickets for that, but when she heard on the radio that you could e-mail in why you thought you should get free tickets, I think she did it just for the challenge! She wrote in and said her friend Stephanie was a single mom working two jobs, never got out to have fun and really needed a night out. Needless to say, we got the tickets and those T-Shirts were part of our "Spank You" gifts that we also won.

Chera and I will never lose each other, but the void in my life on a day to day basis will be huge without her here. I love her so much.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street...


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest...

...And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"

---Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, JOHN!!

It's John's birthday today! Yup. He's the big 2-9.
Oh my gosh - I wonder if he knows how close he is to being officially old like me. ;) If you aren't familiar with John, please read this before you do anything else.



Read it - we'll wait.

Now that you know how incredible this man is, let me offer this...
In honor of my sweet friend John, my words sadly fall short, so I thought I would call on some old and familiar friends to help me out...

By one of my favorite authors...
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin

"No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever."
- Francois Mocuriac

"It's the friends you can call up at 4am that matter."
- Marlene Dietrick

John, you are all of these to me. My life is richer for knowing you. My soul sleeps more soundly at night knowing you're my friend.
And on this incredibly special day that you were born, I know that God is looking down on this earth and smiling at who you've become.

Love is at it's best when you have others to divide it with. May your coming year be filled with long division.

I love you, my friend. May your day be blessed.