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Monthly Archives: November 2012

RHOBH, my loves, hates, and general thoughts

After the last very serious blog post, I figured I’d go back to a bit of fluffier material today.  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is probably one of my favorite franchises of RH.  I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because I love me some Lisa Vanderpump, (probably because she sounds like my mom). I’m going to throw out what is purely my opinions on the cast and happenings, and you guys tell me what YOU think!

Let me start with Lisa.  I enjoy Lisa.  Sure, she scores brownie points because she sounds just like my mom, whom I miss very much, so I feel an instant warmth with her.  What I also like about Lisa is that she has a certain sense of power and class, yet she’s rolled it all up in pink and diamonds. What could be better?  The party at Villa Blanca was a perfect example of why I like Lisa.  It was over the top, yet fun, and her handling of the flower monstrosity was well played.

Brandi.  I’m a fan of Brandi’s openness and personality.  Sometimes I see why some of her jokes fall a little flat, but for the most time, I think she’s funny and probably a blast to be around.  Of course, hanging out with Brandi is not for the insecure, because let’s face it, she’s beautiful and will joke about sleeping with your man.  I feel bad for what happened in her marriage, but I hope she moves past it and finds happiness with someone else.  It feels like years later, it’s such a big topic of conversation when it comes to her.  While I don’t blame her anger, IMO, it is starting to seem like she’s holding on to a lot of bitterness.  I don’t know, I’d probably be bitter too.  Na, who am I kidding, I’d be in jail.

Kim: I just can’t get with Kim.  Her flighty weirdness seems so awkward….awkward enough that i can no longer tell if she’s flighty, or high on a bunch of Xanax.  Ok, perhaps occasionally it’s editing, but really?  Did anyone else think it looked completely ridonkulous when her daughter is getting ready for prom and Kim is sitting in the background, by herself, kind of in an out of focus way, just tossing a salad with her hand?  Who was that huge salad for? What was the friggin deal with the salad????  I also loved the whole big scene of going to see “aunt Kathy” for dress try ons, only for her to choose a totally different dress.  Bravo, what was the point of that?  Just to remind us that she’s related to the Hiltons?  I was REALLY put off by Kim’s “whatever” nature about Portia’s party.  It’s her niece, you’d think she would go for a child.  Instead, even though she does end up going, Kim goes out of her way to make Kyle see that both Kim and her kids are pretty “whatever” about Portia.  Dirty pool in the game of sibling arguments.  Every time she comes on screen, I get antsy and agitated.

Kyle:  I love Kyle’s hair.  I covet it.  I think she’s trying harder in some ways to tone down the bitchiness this year.  It’s like she’s trying to channel a bit of Camille from last season.  I also love her car.  I think kyle can be a lot of fun, but I haven’t really sussed her out this year.

Yolanda:  She seems a bit up herself.  Maybe it’s the European thing.  I need to see more to suss her out.  She looks amazing for her age though, and certainly pulls a look together.  I think she could make a sack look couture.

Taylor:  I can’t handle Skelator.  I just can’t.  I can’t handle her mugging faces, grimaces, fake tears, and attempts to move her botoxed within an inch of her life face.  Her weird facial expressions at Yolanda’s party are ingrained into my retinas, and I want to off myself because of it.  I am also REALLY hating her catty meow meow comments about Brandi.  (see insecure comments above).  I also love that that guy couldn’t remember Taylor’s name at the party and she got all pissy pies about it.  Really Taylor?  Do YOU remember what you’re calling yourself this week?  Because if memory serves me correctly, you’ve had a few switcheroonies in the name department.   Bleh, Blurgh and ugh.

Adrienne.  WOW.  See, this is when watching a show filmed last year gets really interesting.  Surprisingly there is quite a bit of interaction between Paul and Adrienne thus far on camera.  Mostly where he talks to her and she gives him looks like “I wish you’d die”.  But we’re all supposed to believe things are decent, since they’ve almost always seemed cold and distant towards each other on the show for the most part.  Meanwhile, in the news the past few months, we’ve seen their marriage unravel faster than Kim D’s (from rhonj) ratty weave.  Their divorce got not only ugly, it got CREEPY, with Adrienne’s chef tweeting nakkie pics of Adrienne with bruises on her that were supposedly from Paul.  In other words, Adrienne didn’t leak them (wink wink) the chef did.  Now why does her chef have nakkie pics of his boss?  Was he soapin’ up her chicken?  Now while we watch Paul all pissy at Lisa this season, when it came down to the nasty divorce, who defended him from the Hoof??  Lisa.  It’s such a soap opera I could squeal.  Now look.  I am firmly and totally against domestic abuse.  The problem is, I don’t know about these pics.  To me, it’s looking like a setup over money and kids.  No matter what, it’s bad.  But after watching Adrienne make her HUGE passive aggressive statement with that flowering turd she sent to Lisa’s party, I am not surprised that she would have her chef passive aggressively plant seeds of character defamation while Adrienne stayed mute.  If her kids were getting beaten, why not go 100% public with that? I’d be screaming from the rooftops to protect my babies.  She stayed strangely quiet all things considered.

So there you have it.  My thoughts in a nutshell.  I can”t WAIT for the rest of this season to pan out!!!

Messy xx

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We Got 99 Problems and Self Esteem is One. (or, Why Women Stay in Toxic Relationships….a Blog Reader’s Request)

I have meant to write this blog many times, but I just never got to it. Today I threw out a request on Twitter and asked those who request to see what I have to say in 140 characters or less what they would like me to write on if I had a full space to toss out my thoughts. One person asked for RHOM and RHOA recaps, but sadly, I just haven’t been able to get into the Miami one, and I missed Atlanta’s beginning. The next request came for me to write about why women stay with toxic men, or in toxic relationships. This, dear readers, is a subject close to my heart, so much so, that it almost killed me.

People see my life now with my husband and kids and comment how lucky I am. Indeed, I am lucky, but to say I had to kiss some frogs before I met my prince is an understatement. A BIG understatement. I started playing toxic relationship Frogger in high school. (Did I just date myself there?) One of my first boyfriends started out by all appearances as a great guy. Then it started going down hill in teeny tiny steps. Little digs at my appearance. Comments about my decisions on a day to day basis. Nothing overtly horrendous, just subtle little jabs that I tried to take as constructive criticism. He was my second boyfriend ever, and I wanted to impress. I thought we loved each other, and I handed my V-card over. It was love….right? The comments got worse, slowly but surely. It was as if he was steadily chipping away at my self esteem and my beliefs about who I was. Then, I found out he was seeing my best friend behind my back. When he told me “you’re nothing” I believed it…both my boyfriend and my best friend had turned against me. Of course, now as an adult I look back and feel so terribly sorry for the young me (why hadn’t I realized just how fabulous I really was? I was a total catch!!) but then…I just couldn’t see it. And so started a cycle that continued for years.

My next boyfriend was awesome. Awesome at breaking my heart and then making me feel like a million bucks before he crushed me back down. He was a sweet guy in general, well liked by everyone who knew him. I adored him. I adored him even when he broke up with me to date my so called friend, who excitedly accepted his offer while I was a pile of tears. When I accepted him back after he woefully declared his mistakes a few weeks later, only to have it happen with a different friend later….well, I blamed the friend. I never fully laid the blame where blame was due, because then I would have to lay on the person I had put so high on a pedestal. So high in fact, not even I could knock him off. When I tell you, dear readers, that I let this pattern continue for 9 years (mostly off, but occasionally on) I say it with humiliation. Who could be so stupid to let someone treat them that badly? Well, sadly, that would be me. Yup.

Not all the guys were horrible that I dated. Most were kind, but lacked any drive in life whatsoever. Most didn’t share my “big picture”. A few that did seem perfect, well, I let them go. I was distrusting, horrifically jealous, and probably not at all my best self either.

The one that changed my thinking in a lot of ways was D. D was a sweet guy, with a lot of drive and had a lot of the same values as I. Pretty soon though, his major flaw emerged. He was an alcoholic. A black out alcoholic who could get physically violent. Of course, this didn’t show up until the relationship was pretty solid. I was hooked in, and my Nurse Nancy nature kicked in. I could help “fix him”. Sigh. What a mistake. Before long, I had bruises, usually on my arms, legs or ribs. You know, those convenient places where outsiders can’t see. When he was sober, he was great. When he was drunk, he was a monster. I went to Al-Anon. I tried to get him help. I tried to get him to help himself. A few weeks would go by, and I would think we were on a good path. Then I would clean (yes, me! Clean!) and find hidden bottles of booze behind the dresser, or in sneaky little spots around the house. I found a LOT of hidden booze. I was disappointed. I was angry, and I was scared. Sometimes I would defend myself, sometimes not. It was escalating, and it was TOXIC. I remember the one time he went for me outside and threw me into a bush. The next day I found a note on my car that read “I saw what happened to you. “No man should ever hit a woman. If you decide to leave, I would like to take you out and show you that real men treat women well. They don’t hit.” I didn’t even get the message at the time. All I could think was “Maybe a real man would have stopped him”. Looking back, I wonder if this stranger knew I’d kicked D out only to take him back over and over. How did I rationalize taking him back? In my case, him blacking out while drinking was a major issue…he often had no clue what he had done by the next morning. D would ask me how I got a bruise, and would surprised when I told him. Somehow, I rationalized I guess that he hadn’t meant to do it, since he couldn’t remember most of it. What I failed to see was that because he didn’t remember much due to the blackouts, he never really internalized what he was doing….never could fully feel remorse because it didn’t seem real to him. If I told you that last night you robbed a bank and killed someone, you’d tell me I was crazy, right? How does one feel true remorse if they honestly don’t truly believe they did anything wrong? The events for him just simply didn’t exist in his conscious.

What I refer to as D Day shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. he was drinking. An argument broke out. This time, he pulled a knife. A KNIFE. He got me down on the rug and had the knife to my throat. All I can remember of that moment is having 2 thoughts: “I love this rug, I don’t want to get any blood on it”, and “I need to getout of this mess, both now, and forever”. I tried talking him down. I agreed with him and spoke softly. He got up and went by the open sliding door where only the screen was closed. He blamed me. He told me this was all my fault. He turned his back on me for a moment, and I used the opportunity. I charged at him and kicked him from behind with every ounce of force I could muster. He feel through the screen and landed outside on his knees. I slammed the glass door and locked it. I ran to the front door and locked it too. Then I grabbed a baseball bat from the closet and called the police after locking myself in the bathroom. “Get here quick, or he’ll kill me.”

The police came. They’d been there before. “It’s cold out, why don’t you let him back in and you can work it out in the morning?” That’s what a cop told me. After having a knife held to my throat. Why? Because that’s what I had done before…what so many battered women (and men!) have done before. I knew at that very moment….I had had enough. Of course, the phone calls came with apologies. I didn’t pick them up when I saw his number on the caller ID. Flowers, gifts. Apologies. Promises. Begging. Anger. Apologies for the Anger. I sank into a deep depression, and tried to figure out what to do. The only thing I could do is stay away from him, one day at a time. I had friends stay with me each night. He slashed all my screen doors and windows. He broke in once. I held strong, for the first time, and I wouldn’t let him back. I hung out with all the friends I hadn’t seen because I had been hiding my problems. I TOLD them my problems. Why? Because it made me accountable. Hiding the abuse was making me shamed, and I didn’t want that any more.

A few months later, I was still single, and just spending time being me. Life was good. I was awoken one night by a call in the middle of the night. A woman’s voice came down the line, half in a whisper, half in tears. She told me she had heard through a friend of a friend that I had gotten out of an abusive relationship. How did I do it? Where did I get the strength? How could she leave? I was in awe. And then I told her everything. She called me one other time, and that was it. The last time I talked to her, she had left and she thanked me. I hope her silence after didn’t mean she had caved and gone back. Strangely, she wasn’t the only one who called. I had a few women from all over the country that called me. Friends of friends of friends. Friends of strangers. I never questioned them too much. I just told them I left, how I had managed to stay away, and I tried to tell them they could too. I told them they were worth better, that it wasn’t their fault, and that they could do it when they wanted to. I told them the sad truth: “it won’t get better, it will only get worse from here, no matter what he promises you. Once they hit you once…that barrier has been forever broken”.

I’ve since been open about my experience. Why did I stay? To answer that, is complex. Abuse generally doesn’t start immediately with physical abuse. It’s often slow, calculating. It starts with little comments, and works up from there. Usually there is love, or what appears to be love, before abuse of the mental or physical kind becomes apparent. Women are the great healers, fixers and lovers in relationships. We feel that if we love enough, DO enough and BE enough, love will conquer all!! We’re taught that in fairy tales and movies. So we try to do, be and love enough, and when it doesn’t fix a problem that isn’t ours to begin with, we turn our hurt, our pain, in on ourselves….we must be unworthy, not good enough. So we try try again. Where does this stem from? Low Self Esteem. Being critiqued constantly by the person we love the most to the point of disparagement. It’s a vicious cycle. Almost all of my worst decisions in life boil down to moments when my self esteem has been the lowest.

Fast forward many years later…..

My relationships got healthier. I got engaged a few times, but I always ran before things got too deeply into the planning stages. My friends joked I was the runaway bride. I felt I would just “KNOW” when the right guy approached. I knew I lived still in a certain amount of denial. As soon as relationships got incredibly serious, I would suddenly have a gut feeling “he isn’t the one” and I would end it. I still battled with self esteem, but I didn’t want to ever settle. I wasted a lot of time with the wrong guys while I was hoping in my heart for Mr. Right. One day I was talking to a friend who was in a dead relationship, but she was afraid to just end it and be alone. I told her “Any man who is Mr. Right will not waste his time nor be immoral enough to try to be with you while you’re with Mr. Right Now or Mr. Douchebag”. Oh jeez. I was a big, fat, raging hypocrite. I could give great advice, I just had an aversion to taking it!

Before I knew it I was single, and ready to just be on my own. My feeling was, if I wasn’t happy in my own company, why would anybody else be? I set out to relearn who I was, what I wanted, and WHO I wanted. I made a list of my non-negotiables. I wrote down facts about who I was, what I NEEDED in my life. I spent a lot of time doing things on my own. I took time to notice what drove me mad about other people. They say that what makes us irritable about others is often a mirror about things about ourselves we don’t like.

When I met my husband, it was like there was a gravitational force pulling me towards him. I can’t explain it, but something about him made me want him in my life as a friend or more. He had a kind, gentle air that made me feel calm before we ever spoke. He gave me butterflies. Most importantly, he made me laugh. He treated waitstaff at restaurants with the utmost respect. You can tell an awful lot about a man by how he treats those who serve him or do things for him. If he treats them as lowly, he will no doubt treat you the same. He was kind and respectful to his mother, me, and my mother. My mom saw my dad (a total stranger) pass by on a bus one day and pointed to him, turned to her friend and said “see him? I’m going to marry him one day!” I called my mom after my first date with my husband and said “I’ve met the one”. I knew it purely, instinctively, and without question. For a long time, my insecurities caused some arguments. The years of being treated badly, being cheated on, and just generally having self esteem issues made me horribly, horribly jealous. I would have a dream he cheated on me and spend the morning surly and distrustful. I was irrational. He gave me no reason to suspect he was anything other than what he said, but I dug to find imperfections. One day I just opened up about my past relationships, and he understood why I was the way I was. It did NOT, however, excuse me accusing him of things without merit. He made extra effort to quell my fears. I made more effort to trust. We are in a much better place because of it, and I now trust him implicitly. He supports me in all I do. When I am down on myself, he picks me back up. He makes me feel beautiful, even on the days I may not look my best. He loves me for me, no frills attached, and he wants the very best for me.

They say a good litmus test is to picture losing a parent or sibling….who would you most want by your side? If you TRULY cannot answer your partner, then they aren’t the right person. Plain and simple. A spouse needs to be there for the bestand very very worst life has to throw at you. If you wouldn’t want them there, then you need to ask yourself why. A big part of making relationship progress is allowing your true “primal” thoughts to come through without trying to squash, repress or change them. If you can sit in a quiet room and just BE, you will do yourself some favors. Sure, marriage and relationships take some work, but honestly? Not THAT much work. A true partner not only loves you, but wants the very best for you. They want to support you in every way. When they offer advice or criticism, it should come from love, not from jealousy, or anger, or fear of losing control. Relationships are NOT about control. Good relationships are about letting go and being yourself and knowing you are loved. A good relationship is about being your very best, and having support in being your best. Each and every one of you is amazing, and interesting and fabulous in your own right. Sure, somedays you may not like your thighs, or you made a mistake, or whatever it is. But honestly? You wouldn’t look at a little girl and say “ughm, look at those THIGHS!” so why do we treat ourselves so cruelly?

If you are in a toxic relationship, the first step is acknowledging it to yourself. Know that you CAN get out, and there are people who will help you. It is better to be alone than to be miserable with someone else. One of the hardest things to watch is a loved on in a bad relationship. I am going through that now. Someone I love is with a man who is at the very least, verbally abusive. I have tried and tried to get her help, and watched in triumph as she left, only to be crushed in defeat as she went back. He has alienated her from most of the people around her. She has pushed others away who speak badly of him. I am now trying to walk the fine line of offering my friendship and love while not disparaging him. She knows how I feel, but I also don’t want to make her feel that she must choose between us, or it’s a “them against us situation”. It kills me. I want better for her. Mostly, I want HER to feel better for her. Right now though, all I can do is keep the lines of communication open so that if she chooses to get out of that relationship, she knows she won’t be alone.

Whenever I think of all my past relationship mistakes I always feel poor self esteem led me down the wrong path. Not believing in myself enough, or loving myself enough put me in some precarious positions. Much of what happened to me was not my fault per say, but I take full responsibility for putting myself in bad situations or not walking out when I should have. Hopefully I can make amends to myself by letting others know that you deserve the very best life has to offer! Perhaps my daughter will magically come across this blog someday and know that she is far too precious to ever settle for a partner who doesn’t treat her as if she is priceless, because she is!

Be good to yourselves, Loveys.

Messy xx

If you want to help families made homeless by Sandy, here’s a way!

So many people are struggling right now due the hurricane and following store.  I am in daily contact with the family I went to visit, and since so many people were asking how they could help, what people would need, and where to send it, I asked her and got a list.

If you’d like to help supply needed items to families on Long Beach Island who lost their homes in the storm, they are in need of the following:

  • Long Underwear/thermals in all sizes for the firemen and displaced.  The gas is off on the island and they are COLD.
  • Gloves, Knit Hats, Scarves, etc
  • Medicine (over the counter cold medicine, Tylenol, etc
  • Immodium.  Some of the people have been eating what’s in their freezers and are sick from it.
  • Adult size depends. (VERY needed and requested)
  • HEAVY socks.
  • Anything holiday spirit-ish
  • Toys or Games.  Some of the children on the island have no toys after the storm destroyed their homes.

The above items would be HUGELY appreciated.  UPS isn’t delivering to the island yet, but I have found a local business woman who lives an hour away and who has VERY generously offered to drive the donations to the Firestation on the island and drop them off for the families.  She made a trip yesterday and will be going again shortly. 

Please send all donations to:

A Time to Kiln

50 Broad Street

Red Bank NJ 07701

The business is owned by Wendy Jones

 

Thanks Wendy for your help!!!!

Devastation and a new lifelong friend

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I am writing this blog so tired that I can barely think, but I just have so much to say. As many of you know, this weekend I came across a story of a family that had lost everything in Hurricane Sandy. their home, their cars, and everything they owned. This wasn’t the only story like this I had heard, but something struck a chord with me and I just couldn’t shake it. The husband was one of the first responders to ground zero on 911, and had worked there for 9 months. Now, he has terminal cancer. Plus he’s diabetic. They had moved to the Jersey Shore because he wanted to live out his days by the beach, with less stress. Now, they are homeless. I was trying to find a family to help, and this, my friends, was the family I chose.

One phone call with the wife and I knew I had met a “sista from another mista”. I felt, from that first conversation, that I had known her my whole life. She told me they hadn’t evacuated because her they didn’t want to leave their sons, who were firefighters and staying, they also couldn’t leave with their dogs because no shelters there would allow them. They chose to stay and ride it out. I had always been someone who thought “why don’t people just evacuate when they are told to?” yet for some reason, i understood, as a mother, why they wouldn’t leave their sons on the island. I promised her I was coming the next morning, and told her I would bring her husband the insulin they needed.

I barely slept a wink last night. I was nervous. Would I have enough gas to get there and back? Would I be able to get the supplies there? There is currently a gas shortage, and in NJ they ration each day according to whether your license plate has an odd or even number. I had the right plate for the day, but the lines could run a half mile long. The other issue I knew I would face is that the family live on Long Beach Island, and the island is closed off completely and blocked off by the national guard. We had made alternative plans, but I really wanted to meet the family. The other issue I faced, was that they were 3 hours away. I set off this morning with my car jam packed with supplied and donations. What to give those who had lost everything??

Along the way, I passed one car accident, more roadkill than I can tell you about (or would ever want to), tons of downed trees, and strangely, one young boy of about 10 or 12 wandering around on the median of the Garden State Turnpike! He was wandering with cars whizzing past him at 80 mph as he pulled wooden spikes out of the ground. Not a parked car or adult anywhere to be seen. I couldn’t pull over, so I called 911. I’m not even sure if they believed me, but they promised to send a squad car out to search.

I arrived at LBI, and drove up to the bridge, on the side of the road was a toppled RV, and boats strewn about in ditches. I went to the first checkpoint and was shocked when they told me to proceed. I went to the second checkpoint and explained who I was, why I was there, and who I was trying to help. The guards asked a police officer to come over. He heard my tale, and asked me to clarify who I was there to see. “I’ll escort you myself” he said. I couldn’t believe it…I almost shrieked with glee! I had access. They were letting almost NOBODY over. This was huge…and a testament to the family I was trying to help. He asked how I knew them..I told him I didn’t, I just knew they needed help. He shook my hand and thanked me.

I met the family and was given hugs. There were tears. I cried too. I was taken to their house where they had weathered the storm. The neighborhood was devastated. Boats slammed through houses, garage doors and house doors ripped off. Refrigerators were washed outside. “see that green house across there?” she asked me. I replied I did. She pointed to a space next to it. “There was a house there. I don’t know where it went. A whole house…disappeared.”. We entered her house. The first thing that hit me was the smell of flooding and water. The air felt damp and heavy. Everything was covered in mud. There were marks on the walls over four feet high where the water had come in. The stove had water in it. It was easy to see the water had picked up everything downstairs and dumped it elsewhere. Dressers were moved or tipped over. A lifetime of memories were sodden, muddy, and destroyed. I looked at her in horror. Nothing appeared salvageable. What do you say? She looked at me and said “I can’t believe I’m homeless”. My ears welled up with tears. It seemed completely unreal that this had happened, especially when the sun shines brightly on the bay, making the water sparkle.

We walked around the neighborhood and surveyed the damage. I took a few pictures with my phone. I wish I had had a better camera, because it’s impossible to show the level of devastation. I saw a mountain of wood blocking a yard. “that was their back deck”. I saw a boat smashed into a house, but resting on a garbage pail. I saw their cars, misted windows from the dampness on the inside, items inside had obviously been floating. The gas had been cut off to the island. When the power company attempted to restore power, 4 houses exploded due to an undiscovered gas leak. She told me how they had a little swimming dock, and she had been out before the storm tying it up frantically and her family had been laughing at her tying all sorts of knots and ropes, that dock was right where it should be, safe and sound. I couldn’t help it…when I’m nervous I make jokes. “who knew the cars would have been safer parked on that dock you spiderwebbed to safety?” I asked. That made us both burst out laughing. You have to find humor, or you’d never stop crying. The other moment of humor we found was a rowboat that had floated down the street and landed on a fire hydrant. The fire hydrant had broken through the bottom of the boat and it looked almost like a decoration in its absurdity. The boats’s name? “Life’s a Beeeetch,”. The irony of it had us in stitches.

Now, keep in mind, there is pretty much nobody on the island…save for a few people at the fire stations, some national guard members (who were there as 4 pm drew closer as there has been some looting), and us. The streets were EMPTY. You couldn’t see any cars or people hardly at all. It was like life after the apocalypse. I never knew silence could be so eerie. There were streets so full of sand they were impassible. Houses were ripped to shreds.

Before I left, we stopped at the Surf City fire station, where they were setting up clothes, food and water for people. There was a decent supply, but many on the island were still unable to return. They were in for a rude awakening. My newfound friend introduced me to everyone at the fire station. I met Art, an 86 year old man who had lost everything. He was camping out at the fire station. It was heart wrenching.

I almost didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and help them however I could, but I had to go. There are curfews and national guard patrols at night. The fact I had gotten ON the island was a miracle…I wasn’t going to push my luck!

After I said goodbye, with hugs and agreement we would be lifelong friends, I pulled the car down the street. Then I stopped, when I was out of eyeshot, and burst into tears. How unfair that this family had given so much during 911, only to have the husband end up with not only diabetes, blindness, but cancer as well. I cried for them having to deal with all of that, knowing what cancer and diabetes does to a family, and then I bawled for them losing their home and cars. They had moved there to live as stress free as possible, and now…the stress was mind blowing. the insurance companies wouldn’t pay out for the cars because they said they were supposed to evacuate. Never mind two of the car owners were on the island as firefighters! It was sickening.

I drove home in about 4 hours. I stopped to check Twitter at a rest stop, Half the tweets were people trying to help victims of the hurricane, and the other half were whining about political candidates and trying to push their agendas. I wanted to scream….”we need to help all these people!!!!”. I know that after Sandy, we were fortunate to have power after the storm and nearly no damage, I live about a mile from the coast. I was in shock we had fared so well. I think a lot of people thought the storm wasn’t so bad. Areas like Staten Island, Rockaway, and LBI to name just a few were devastated. I’m not writing this blog to make myself out to be something special
for going, but to give you a clue of the turmoil and complete devastation these people are facing. The wife tried to apply to FEMA for help, but was denied because she could’t get off the island to sign the paper they wanted signed. She is frantic.

Please. Contact the fire departments and ask what people need. Help people. Hell, drive down and give them a hug and some tequila. Hand them a 20$ bill. Help them clean up the damage. Do SOMETHING. It’s what makes us human. Help in whatever way you can, big or small. Foster a pet for them. Do some laundry. Bring fresh pillows and towels. Bring coffee.

I drove about 7 hours round trip to help a stranger and to teach my kids how to be kind. It was the best lesson I could teach them, and they are proud of me. They learned from the pictures how lucky we are to have a home. I made lifelong friends today. I feel like I have known them my whole life. It’s kind of eerie. I am mobilizing people to continue to send supplies down there. Please don’t forget these families. If you know anyone in the LBI area who will have a rental where this family can stay, please let me know. When they called one place, the landlord changed the rent from the advertised price of 1400 per month to over 2,000. They need a home. Help me help them.

Night Loveys. Thanks to all those who cheered me on, and to those who are out there doing great deeds!

Messy xx
Ps…sorry if lines don’t make sense or typos…writing on an iPad with a bad autocorrect and I am exhausted!!!

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Calling all folks…my one legged lesson just arrived. Help me help them.

So there I was last night, lying in my bed with a horrifically aching back, throwing myself a big ol’ pity party just for one (world’s smallest violin playing just for me…wah wahhhhh) when I thought of my mom and her common phrase “no matter how bad it is, someone else has it worse”.  I remembered the story of my mother in pain, struggling to walk, and telling my dad how someone always had it worse…just as the elevator in front of them opened and a one legged man stood before them.   I blogged about it.  (This will all make more sense I’m sure if you read the prior blogs, but if not, just take it at face value I might be a bit nuts and keep reading this one at least.)  I blogged about life handing you lessons.  I meant every single word.  Yet life has a funny way of making SURE you got the lesson, and just in case I hadn’t, life handed me a refresher course, and a final exam today.

I headed into work this morning with somewhat better, albeit still abysmal morale.  Without going into too much detail (ya don’t bite the hand that feeds ya, ya hear now?) I was possibly losing 2 days of pay this week for the hurricane, or I had to borrow against whatever vacation time I would get next year.  Now, all my paid leave last year went to my kids getting the stomach flu or other ebola type cooties that keeps a mama home except for 3 days where I made a stressful pilgrimage to Vegas (see prior blogs for deets on that).  Going unpaid was not an option as my husband’s business was shut down all week due to lack of power.  I was bummed.  So bummed, I awoke and decided that said company would get me with unwashed hair today.  I pulled it into a high ponytail as a tiny picket sign of my silent protest.  The pity party was over, but the hangover remained.

After a short while, I spoke to a customer who called in.  I’d spoken to her before, and her story was tragic.  I won’t go into too much detail in the interest of privacy and such, but suffice it to say that her story was robbed a few years ago.  During the armed robbery, her husband shot the intruder, the intruder shot her husband.  Both died, and an accomplice escaped.  Since that time, she has been threatened, robbed again, and harassed.  There is a conspiracy involved here that would BLOW YOUR MIND.  Still, she has persevered. Only now, after being robbed yet again, has she decided to close her business and move on.  I can’t imagine that any other word other than bitterness would come to mind, but when speaking to her, she speaks of healing, blessings, and moving forward.   She is my hero of the moment.  I was so impressed by her that I can’t even fully put it on paper (screen).   My pity party hangover lifted.

Flash forward to this evening, and I was scouring twitter and facebook.  (Mr. is back at work today and I finally can enjoy bad reality TV, beer, my couch and twitter feeling no guilt that I should be doing something else)  One of my favorite authors who lives out west posted a story about her friend in New Jersey who had lost EVERYTHING from the storm.  The woman and her husband had lost their home, their cars, and insurance would cover none of it. (renters insurance).  The family had grabbed their dog, their cell phones for communication, and run.  They don’t even have spare underwear.   They are living in a firestation at the moment, scared and with nothing.

But it gets worse.

The husband worked at Ground Zero for 9 months after 911.  He has since been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus.  His oncology meds were the only other things they grabbed when they left the home.

I have mentioned my mom dying from cancer, but I haven’t yet told you the full story of how cancer has effected my life.  That’s to come.  What I can tell you is that cancer doesn’t just destroy the person who has it, it destroys caregivers, families, willpower and hope.  Losing my mom destroyed a part of me.  Losing my grandfather to cancer of the esophagus and my last memories of how the disease affected him destroyed a piece of me too.  I felt a connection to this family.  I looked at the wife’s fb page.  Red hair, sassy. I looked at her posts from when  Sandy hit.  Comedic at first…a bit sarcastic, but clearly showing some nervousness.Then wry.  Then the fear set in.  Then devastation and exhaustion.  She is Homeless. She has a husband with cancer and 2 sons.  What does she have?

She has little old me.  Why?  Because life has presented me with my “one legged man” that I spoke about last night, and dammit, life, I am listening!  I have no money, but I have heart, and I have kind friends.  I told her I will try to find her some help…clothes, a toothbrush…socks, undies…for her and her family through my FB people and my twitter followers, as well as anyone who reads my blog.  There is a link on my TL to a donation site, and I have her information here:

Lucille Ascolillo

297 route 72W #111 suite 35

Manahawkin, NJ 08050

She needs: well, she has NOTHING but her family, her dogs, and her husband’s oncology meds.  They have clothes on their backs and nothing else.  I am sending a winter coat and likely some toiletries, maybe some shirts.

Her: size 16/18 pants.  shirts: size large.  9.5 shoes.

The husband and sons: XL sweatpants, XXL shirts.  30/30 jeans. medium or large shirts.  Size 11 sneakers.

Donations:  https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/view/9254

Anything will help.

This is my one legged man, life, and I’m listening.

I’m gonna go kiss my babies now.

Messy xx

My mom told me a story once that has kept me going through the rough times. Her and my father were on a trip for a gala they were going to attend. My mother had severe back problems, and was in agony the night of the function. She could barely walk, and was struggling to get dressed and ready. My dad tried to convince her they shouldn’t go, but she would hear none of it. She had on a new dress and shoes, dammit, and she was going! They were welling to the elevated (well, he was walking, she was hobbling) and he made one last ditch attempt to dissuade her. “look, you’re in pain and you’ll be uncomfortable all night….why don’t we skip it?”. My mother would hear none of it. “I don’t care how bad it gets,” she said, “there is always someone worse off than you”. Just then, the elevator door opened…and inside was a man with only one leg. My mom looked pointedly at my dad, and got in the elevator. Sure, she was struggling to walk, but she was doing it with 2 legs.

I’ve used that story to remind myself that someone always has it worse than I do. The way I see it, if a person struggling more than me can do it, then I can get through the tough moments as well. Hey, life handed me a break compared to what someone else is going through, right?

Then there are the days, like the past 2 days, where I want to complain, but feel guilty for doing so. I have daily problems, but my problems kind of don’t measure up at all compared to what some people lost or are suffering for after the Hurricane this past week. I have been venting a bit about some things going on in my life, And then I see footage of houses washed not the sea. It’s enough to make me feel like a huge a-hole for complaining.

Then, I remember a line from a movie that I will paraphrase because my memory is complete crap (I smoked a lot of marijuana when I was younger and my memory is crap because of it.) “what makes your problems so much more i portent than everyone else’s?”. Response?”they’re mine”. So sure, once in a while I will allow myself the pity party, (sometimes it’s a grand, lavish affair…sometimes it’s a seedy Ben and Jerry’s stereotype) but at the end of the day I try to be mindful that all n all. I have it pretty good. I don’t have it all…I just. Noose to be content and dare I say happy with what I have.

This has been a tough week for me. High stress, work issues, and a little old’ hurricane named Sandy had me stressed. I also think my depression is rearing it’s ugly head, and I’ve certainly had my pity party. I wish I could invite the one legged man though. Perspective is good for making you grateful.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost loved ones, homes, livelihood, or even a favorite pillow from the storm. (good pillows are a bitch to find!)
Please pardon any pity party I may have. Tonight,the NyQuil is talking.
Messy xx

Anonymity lets me be be the loudest gal in the room.

It’s funny how a little anonymity allows a person to be raw and real in ways they may not be able to in their normal lives. Some people use that ability that the Internet affords them to be Internet trolls, to say rude things they would never dare say in real life. For others, like myself, it allows a sense of freedom that is refreshing and liberating.

I spent the past few days trying to figure what I wanted to say in this blog. I want to keep it upbeat, sure, but right now, I’m a bit under the weather. I’m actually not from the US, and I was raised to have a certain sense of guardedness when it comes to my life. I was raised that way, but I think my family is often shocked at how open I am. I feel like an open book, for the most part, yet upon closer reflection, I realize that I hold so much in. mostly, I’m sure, for fear of judgement from loved ones, and also because of retribution if my feelings are not popular. How is that a way to live? my tiny bit of anonymity allows me to share more of myself than even some people who know me well know of me. I was raised to be very conscious of other people’s feelings, but I think sometimes I do it at the expense of my own.

I will warn you that I suspect the next couple of blogs may be a bit more on the serious side (after all. I just couldn’t get into the RHOM! Maybe I’ll catch a marathon of them and get drawn in, who knows?). I will share some stuff with you that people who know me don’t even know. Why? Because I can do so without fear of reprisal from those I know, and because this sliver of freedom to be me may help someone else. You see, dear readers, it’s not just my house that’s messy sometimes…it’s my life as well. I’m a firm believer that life hands you lessons, and if you don’t pay attention the first time, you’ll get those same stinkin’ lessons over and over until you pull your self together and pay attention! Hopefully my journey and the lessons I learned will help at least one person out there get the gist of their lessons a little faster and save them some grief. I’ll also share a. It more about my mom. I feel she has a story to be told, and I’m left to tell it. Everyone, if you take the time to listen, has a story to tell.

I’ll get back to the lighthearted fun, I promise. I hope you’ll stick with me through the serious times as well.

Messy xx