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Home and Away

In my last post, I mentioned that I was about to go for my US citizenship oath.  Well, it’s officially official, and I am now a full fledged US citizen!  Exciting, eh?  I actually have dual citizenship between where I was born and the US.  The best part of that is that I now belong officially to the two countries where all the people I love live.  I’ve always felt a tiny bit torn in life.  Part of my family was here in the US, and the other part overseas.  Whenever I would travel between the two countries, I find myself always saying I was going “home” regardless to which place I was headed. Why? because to me, both places were, and still are, home.   Home isn’t a structure.  It isn’t just the day to day of the daily grind.  Home is where the the people you love are.  Home is where you feel safe, and loved, and where happy memories are.  Home is comfort.

While I was waiting for the oath ceremony, I looked around the courtroom where it was taking place.  It was quite full, but only 30 or so of us were taking the oath.  There were people from all over the world: Portugal, Jamaica, Iran, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, just to name a few.  We all looked happy to be there, and many had a look of relief on their faces.  The immigration process is a bit of a beast, especially for some people who come from countries we don’t always agree with, or those who don’t speak English well.  In my case, you’d never guess I wasn’t an American by speaking to me.  I have a northeast accent which occasionally lapses into a bit of a southern drawl when I am tired or with my friends from the south.  People were always surprised I was a foreigner.  As someone who has had to update docs and maneuver the immigration system throughout my life, I can say it’s not always an easy process.  I speak fluent English and still struggled at times.  It’s an expensive process.  Not only that, but I think some people are probably taken advantage of in their search to navigate the system properly.  Some people in this country have been led to believe that becoming a citizen is an easy, simple process.  While my case was pretty simple, many people’s cases are long, drawn out, and difficult.  At the end of the day, I am glad the process is over and I am officially official as an American!  I have already applied for my passport, and the next step is to figure out how to register to vote.  I haven’t come this far to sit silent and not cast my vote when the time comes!  Silence gets unwanted results.

Another big change is that I purchased a “new to me” car.  That’s another process that can be shady, convoluted, and unsettling! I found a car over the state line by looking online.  The car was gorgeous, had tons of features I wanted, low miles, and was AWD.  I drove to Long Island to see it (this was after 2+ other hours of driving that day) to see the car.  It was beautiful.  I test drove it and enjoyed it.  Then we sat down to talk numbers.  Well, somehow in the middle of this conversation the price of the car started going up.  There was the sales tax, which was unavoidable.  Then DMV fees, which seemed really high.  Then the dealer started tacking on doc fees and dealer fees, and a certification fee……and before I knew it, I was almost $4,000 above the original price.  Isn’t the price supposed to be negotiated downwards? Not upwards?  I started working with them to get the price down, and got an out the door figure I felt comfortable with based on my research of that car with those specific features.  I said “I want to know the total price, out the door, with every single fee and charge included”.  Well, I didn’t buy it that night.  I wanted to go home and mull it over.  After all, a car is a big purchase.  It’s not something to take likely.  The dealer sent me the paperwork within a couple of days.  The numbers were over $1000 above our agreed upon “all inclusive out the door price”.  I balked, and explained what was agreed upon, only to be told the fees didn’t include the DMV fee.  Even the numbers they gave me didn’t match up.  At the end of the day, I called a childhood friend of mine who has a son who is a finance manager at a dealer and asked her to run the numbers by him.  He responded the fees were bogus, and that the dealer couldn’t charge me a fee to certify the car…it was against the maker’s policy.

Still, I wanted that car.  The price was in line, even with their bs fees, but we had a problem.  A BIG problem.

I didn’t trust them.

Trust is important to me. If someone lies to me, I’m not interested in dealing with them, at all. I’ve cut ties with people I’ve been close to because they’ve lied to me.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me three times, GTFOH. The fact is, if this dealership was going to keep throwing me lines of BS, I would never feel comfortable with the deal, even though it looked ok on the surface.  So now began the inward battle….do I still buy the car? Or, do I listen to that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me to cut ties and run?

Well, the answer is I did more research.  I kept looking for cars, and I found the same car, same features, same packages, with 1000 less miles, closer to home.  The base price was about 1000 more than the initial price I had seen on the other car before I got their list of bogus fees.  So I hopped in the car and drove an hour to see it.  The car was in even better shape than the other one.  Before I even test drove it, I looked the salesman in the eye and said “let’s talk numbers.  let’s talk fees.  Even the hidden ones”.

Well, yesterday I picked up my car from the second dealership.  I got the car for about the same price but this time I got it with a full bumper to bumper warranty, free oil changes, and some other perks.  I also got it with the satisfaction of listening to my gut and not going with a company that “mansplained” buying a car to me, and tried to saddle me with hidden costs and fees.

So that’s two good things in a week!

Later taters!  Stay positive, stay happy!




After years of having this blog, I am now faced with possibly having to move it due to an unfortunate circumstance with an online stalking situation.  I’m still mulling it over.  If you’re a follower and are interested in getting the info on the new name, please let me know.  Otherwise, stay tuned….

Follow up on the minefield…it’s blowing up

So in my last post, I went over why good deeds sometimes go punished.  Well, since that post there have been some developments.

What I am going to say, I will refer to as “allegedly”.  Everything about this post from here on out, should be construed as “allegedly”.  Got it?  Gotta cover your bases and your ass, you know?

So about a week and a half ago, I get a call from someone who has been involved with he situation from the beginning.  One of the silent few who were helpers from the get go without any public recognition. They tell me the “off” woman (from here on I’ll call her Ann) had checked the ill woman (I’ll refer to her as Sue) out of the hospital promising 24 hour care, stayed a day, and left.  Poor Sue was home, unable to access her antibiotics, and got an infection which caused all sorts of issues.  Another woman, who had been by Sue’s side since the very first few days of hospitalization, but who had been ill herself and not around for a week or so, showed up to find poor Sue in a bad way.  Sue ends up back in hospital.  Next thing you know, an investigation by the state is in process, police are being called by all sides, and wars are waged on Facebook. It’s a big ol’ mess, y’all.

In the middle of hearing how tragic and awful all of this got, I went to visit Sue.  She apologized profusely to me for believing things Ann had said about me and accused me of.   I felt a little bad, too.  Yes, she can be a bit difficult, and yes, she may not always understand how to deal with people, but Sue was nice. She is who she is, I respect that good and bad, and I wish her well.  We had a frank discussion about things, and I left feeling better for going.  I think we both felt better for having met.

Sue ended up posting a rant about what Ann had done on FB (there’s a lot involved but I am not going to go into it here).  Ann responded by attacking Sue and having all of her friends, including a guy, attack Sue and call her all sorts of names.   People who have no inside knowledge of what happened are attacking Sue. People are blindly defending Ann. The cat turds were nothing compared to the shitstorm this all turned into.  Honestly, I’d clean cat turds every single day over dealing with the people side of this bullshit.

With all the investigations, both state, police etc, I am leaving the situation be unless needed. I trust that people will do their jobs and me commenting isn’t going to help. That’s a tough pill to swallow, because I hate injustice, but I trust they will sort it all and get to the bottom of things. Frankly, I am queen of the screenshot because I have learned people are not always what they seem, so I have proof of who people are.

Sue is doing a lot better than she was when she went to hospital the second time, and is getting cared for.

I am left so sad and frustrated though that all these people bound together to do kindness and now the end result is so ugly.  The world we live in often feels cold and hopeless.  Kindness could make all the difference. I often wonder what the world would be like if we all started getting involved in being kind to people. The hardest part is keeping things like this from stopping me helping people in the future. It won’t though.  I have kids to raise and I have to show them that kindness is important, even if it doesn’t work out the way you hope.



Chubby Malificient

Halloween is over.  Halloween is a massive holiday in my house, probably my husband’s favorite.  We decorate the house, pull out all the animatronics, and do it up.  We also dress up, have family dress up, and we haunt the neighborhood.  We typically get several hundred kids a year trick or treating.

This year, my “Descendants 2” obsessed daughter wanted to go as Mal, and asked me to go as Malificient.  Now, Malificient is one of my favorite movies, but I wasn’t really feeling it for Halloween.  That being said, my daughter is only a few years away from being mortified by my very existence, and I know this. She will head into the pre teens, embarrassed by me, as most kids are.  I know I have to soak up every moment of her being proud of me now, as I may need those memories to cling to later.

So I get myself a costume.  And to be fair, a lot of kids and parents liked it.  Some kids trick or treating  even asked me to take photos with them!  I felt rather honored. I felt pretty cute in my costume, and was pretty pleased with how it came out.

Then I saw the pictures.


I looked HUGE. After they cancelled my aqua zumba class that I loved, I stopped going to the Y.  The kids’ activities were taking up 7 days a week and there was no time for me.  My weight loss from the “year of yes” has crept back since it’s been the summer of “I can’t my kids have practice”.  It’s not their fault, it all belongs squarely onto my shoulder, and chins, and I could go on but it’s depressing me……

Tomorrow is my 25th high school reunion.  I’m going, even though I had to leave sophmore year because we moved.  I went to middle school and high school with these folks, and I’d like to see them again. I am less, enthused, however, after seeing those pictures of myself.  How did I let myself go like this?  Granted, I haven’t gained 20 lbs over the summer, but it shows that I am not looking after myself properly.  I look tired, my skin looks drab, and I have thrown a few lbs back on.  I feel like I have lost my luster.  Add to that the medical stuff, and I feel so DRAINED.  I need to get back on track, and take better care of myself.

My daughter sees me only as Mommy.  The mommy who loves her unconditionally, the mommy who sings her awake every morning with silly songs.  I am the giver of hugs, the one who makes sure things are handled.  I am her soft place to land after a hard day.  I suppose I would like to be less physically  My decision to consider surgery in the next few months is based on trying to keep myself healthy for my kids and my husband.  It’s time I started making better choices, taking baby steps, and getting my butt in gear.  The first step is the hardest.

I don’t want to be chubby malificient.


Good Deeds and One Decision

Every now and again, I try to do a kind deed.  Whether it be buying coffee for the person behind me at Dunkin Donuts, or doing a little surprise for a stranger.  Usually I do it when I am having a horrible day, not because because I feel I will get repaid in any sort of way, but because the thought of making someone smile a little brings a little spark to an otherwise crapfest of a day.  Usually I do things where I won’t see the person’s reaction, and I’d like to think it’s a happy one.  I feel like when the world seems like it’s in chaos, a little kindness feels grounding.  Mr Roger’s said his mom told him to “look for the helpers”.  I’d like to be a helper.  My husband is a helper.  He sometimes gives money to panhandlers and when I have asked him why he gives knowing they are often scammers, he gave me an answer that stuck with me.  He said it’s your intent when you give a hand, not their intent.  He gives freely, with no expectations, with no judgement. He grew up volunteering at a homeless shelter.  Giving is in his nature.

Yesterday I dropped the kids off to school, and promptly saw the gas light was on in the car.  I headed over to the gas station, only to see that they couldn’t accept cards, so I went to the one across the street (why the put identical businesses across the street is beyond me, but yesterday I was rather thankful for it.  I went in my bag to get my card out and a face appeared at my window.  I won’t lie, it unnerved me.  I sat there, unsure what to do.  I cracked the window and the man started telling me his story.  Said his car had broke down near the highway and he needed a new serpentine belt.  Said his AAA wasn’t paid up, and that he needed $16 dollars to get a new one (he had taken the max atm withdrawal out. but was short.  It was a scam.  I knew he was bullshitting me.  At first I was afraid he wanted a ride and I said I was sorry, but no way could I put a stranger in my car.  He laughed and said no way would he expect that. He was just trying to raise $16 dollars.  He told me about his job, handed me his passport, which looked dogeared.  The name he gave me matched the passport, and the picture matched his face.   Even though I knew I was likely being lied to, I gave him the money.  He handed me a piece of paper with his email, and he left.  I went to put gas in the car, and as I did so, I watched him run across to the other gas station, grab a backpack, and hope on a white bike.  I watched him ride off.  I wasn’t sure what to think.  Clearly, his story was bogus if he had a bike nearby.  I felt sad.  Not for the fact I had been scammed, because I had surmised it was a scam all along.  I felt sad because he had needed to do it.  Normal people don’t go around scamming people.

Later than day, I pulled out the paper with the email address.  It was a name@gmail type of email, so I looked up the name.  My friends nicknamed me Angela Lansbury a few years ago because I could “find” or “locate” people.  I found it a relaxing hobby, and was able to find some long lost relatives for friends of mine.  In the age of computers, it’s not all that hard to do.  I found his facebook profile.

What I saw was a bit shocking. I saw he had been arrested a few times for trespassing and possession. That fell in line with the scam.  Then I sawwe  grew up in the same town.  He was clearly at some point quite affluent, as there were pictures of him on his boat, at a yacht club, and info about his business.  I also saw that he was facebook friends with some of my friends.  Interestingly, he was friends with my old ex, who wasn’t on my facebook page, but who I saw on his friends list.  It was utterly bizarre.  Was his story real after all?  He appeared to be much more affluent than I was.   I messaged one of our mutual friends who had ended up dating my ex for some time after he and I split.

She responded to me this morning.  Her story was an interesting one.  Apparently this guy had lived with her and my ex for a while.  They were really good friends.  Then over time he started acting off and got into drugs.  He left and struggled with addiction.  He would pull himself out of it, and then fall back in.  He had cleaned up for a while, gotten married, and then his wife passed.  She told me that I had done a kind thing, but that he had likely sunk back into drugs.  It seemed odd because recent facebook posts had him seemingly on the ok track.

I’m left saddened.  The fact is, I may have met him in my younger years.  We clearly hung around the same people.  He was obviously doing quite well for himself, and now is left asking a check to check mom of two for money.  I feel a bit foolish for giving it.  I feel like I may have enabled him, which makes me feel like my good deed fell to a bad one.  Mostly, I feel just sad.

I have always told people “you are always just one small decision from a whole new life”.  I have told my children this, and I believe it.  One small decision can change one’s whole path in life, either for the better, or for the worse.  I tell my children this so that they will be mindful of consequences, but also so that they know that no matter how bad life gets, a small decision can set you on a new path to a happier life.  In other words, you can always change your life if you aren’t happy. I wonder how some choices ended him up in that gas station parking lot.

Part of me wants to email him and just let him know that I hope he’ll be ok in life.  Part of feels like I need to let it go.




Catch up time

Hi Y’all.

It’s been a while.  I’ve actually logged in and started writing, but never finished a post, or just never clicked the publish button.  I miss writing though, and it felt like the time to catch up.

So from my past posts you saw I was trying out the whole “living the yes life”.  I tried saying yes rather than no to new opportunities and events.  It was fun, I learned a lot, I enjoyed myself, and I even lost some weight.  Things were trucking along.  Then my favorite excercise class got cancelled.  Summer showed up with birthdays most weekends.  Work geared up with new challenges.  Life got busy with too much yes.  So now I am learning how to gracefully say no to some things.  It’s a learning process, because no so often comes with that thing called guilt, and I am no so good at handling the guilt aspect of it.

One of my biggest “yes” moment this year was allowing my son to sign up for football. I love football, and buy tickets for us to go to NFL games as our “romantic trip” each year. That being said, I learned that it’s a different feeling altogether sending my son out on the field.  The time commitment is huge…5 nights a week, plus games on weekends.  He asked me to do it.  He wanted to do something new this year, and had been showing a lot of interest in football.  Each of the kids choose one sport/activity per season.  I’ve offered them to do more than one, but they generally prefer to stick to one thing.  This one is the work of 7 activities.

When I learned of the schedule, my brain wanted to bleed out onto the floor.  As it is I work full time, have another child who does gymnastics that I have to coordinate for, 2 pets, a husband and a house that is the messiest it has ever been.  I am in chaos. A LOT of chaos.  Now there are many of you out there who handle all of these with no problem.  You are skilled, and oraganized, neat freakish and super moms.

I am not any of those things.

I am a domestic fail, tired (hot DAMN I am so tired), I am figuring out this mom thing as I go, and I do it mostly by myself since my husband works opposite hours.  It’s not pretty, it’s not graceful, but I get a lot of it done.  Not ALL mind you, hence the messy house.  I am that mom screeching into the parking lot at the last minute with kids still putting cleats on, or me jumping out to quickly braid hair before gymnastics. That movie Bad Moms?  Yep.  That would be me.

Now I have spent 11 years protecting my son.  Keeping him safe. When a kid shoved him a playground I close talked that kid and told him not to lay one single finger on my kid again (I love a good close talk when you need to get a message across). Now, by his choice, I am sending him out on a field to be shoved and pushed and knocked down. Coaches are gruff.  He’s going to get banged up and bruised.  I have to stand or sit there and hold it together and not want to run out and snap legs when someone hurts him.  I have to remain tough and straight faced.  It is just so HARD.  The only reason I do it is because he seems to kind of love it.  Even on the hard days.  Yesterday was hard.  He went down and didn’t get right back up.  He was hurt.  He was frustrated. He questioned his ability to do it all.  He came home, and I fussed over him a little.  He let me.  In the car this morning I reminded him that not everything will come easily to him.  He’s always been that kid that’s learned things quickly. I reminded him of his frustration when he tried a Rubik’s cube.  He had gotten so angry at his inability to solve it.  I had explained to him at the time that most people couldn’t solve them, but that I knew someone who could, and there were certain tricks to solve them.  He sat down and damn if he didn’t teach himself how.  Before long, he was testing himself on speed of solving it.  He reached in his bag this morning and low and behold, was his Rubik’s cube.  Before long he was quickly working on solving it.  mI asked him “do you still want to continue with football? do you still kind of love it?”  He said yes. So today we go again. I will proudly watch him succeed, and I will proudly watch him fail sometimes too, because the kid is giving it his all.

The little one, who I have always referred to as Tiny Diva in this blog, has lost a lot of her Diva-ness.  She had been a tough cookie from 2-4, but she has now settled in to herself. I’ll call her LM, for Little Mama.  Gymnastics has been a huge saving grace.  My sister in law noticed how flexible LM was and mentioned she might be good at gymnastics.  I signed her up, and the benefits have been enormous.  My daughter, who was struggling in school with some self confidence issues, started picking up steam and having more faith in herself.  She has better self esteem, more confidence, and has a good body image.  We talk a lot about being strong and healthy, and that happy girls are pretty girls.  My favorite shirt of hers has the words “princess” and “diva” crossed out, and it says “SMART, TALENTED GIRL”.  The girl who used to pretend like she didn’t know things is coming out of her shell.  She is learning the fine line between being a leader, and being bossy.  Sometimes, it’s a difficult conversation to have.  Women are often told that if they are leaders, they are bitches, bossy, a nag, etc.  Growing up, I remember being told not to voice my opinions so much, to be quite, to fade into the background more.  I’m working on finding a good way to explain how to be a leader, without being bossy and making other kids feel like she’s ordering them around.

Our beloved cat passed away a few months ago.  I had to make the decision to put her down.  She had cancer.  It was heartbreaking.  We all felt the loss, even the dog.  He seemed down and I often wondered if he knew she had died.  He didn’t quite seem himself.  Our family seemed incomplete to me after a while, and I started looking at Petfinder to see if any cats “called” to me. I scrolled through endless pictures over a few weeks until I found a cat that caught my eye.  He was an orange tabby, about 6 months to a year old.  He looked stoned.  He reminded me of the comedian Jim Breuer.  Someone had put him in a box, duct taped it, and left him outside of a store on March 11th.  I was in a wedding that day, and I remember it being bone chillingly cold when the wind blew. I felt awful for this poor cat.  I emailed about him.  I told my husband who seemed less than inclined to get another cat.  “I want you to come with me to see him” I said.  He didn’t sound thrilled.  I said “he kind of looks like Jim Breuer”.  “What time are we going?” he replied.  When I commented I was surprised in his change of heart, he responded “You just told me the cat looks like Jim Breuer, how could I not go meet him?”.  We drove all the way up to the rescue, only to find out the cat had gone to the vet for not eating.  After a few days, the rescue called and asked if I wanted to foster him.  They thought the cat might be depressed in the shelter environment and wanted to see if he would improve in a home environment.  Well, let me tell you, the cat eats more than the dog.  He’s now a member of the family.  He’s a nutjob, full of energy, and wants love the most when anyone is in the bathroom.  He will knock on the bathroom door to come in, and even try to turn the handle to get in.  Every night he and the dog go to each kid’s room to say goodnight.  He fits right in.

So there you have it.  Life right now is about preparing for school starting, football, work, gymnastics, football, pet hair creating tumbleweeds in my house, football and trying to get things done.  It’s a happy time, if not chaotic.  Just like my son is learning something new, I am learning a new schedule, new ways to make it work.  Anything that brings more chaos is just not something I have time for.  I’m keeping things as bare bones as possible, and I’ll work up from there. In just 3 weeks my whole schedule changes again.  So that mom cheering wildly on the sidelines, or from the balcony at gymnastics? The one holding a vat of coffee?  That will be me. I may be in chaos for a while, but it’s a happy chaos.






11 Years.

In just a few days, it will have been 11 years since my mom died.  I can hardly believe it.  So much has happened in those 11 years.  While most of my huge life changes happened in the few months before she died (birth of my son, marriage, new home, back to work), life has kept moving.  My father eventually remarried.  I went through many stages of grief.  I had my daughter.  Life keeps moving forward, and it seems so strange to me at times that it has.  The moment when you lose a parent is the moment that life stops for a bit.  A part of you goes with them.  The part that is your endless cheerleader.  The part that made you feel like it would be ok during times when it felt anything but.  The part that was your calm from the storm.  The part that made sure you had a cup of tea after a car accident, because tea has to make you feel better.  The part that when you heard their voice when life was the toughest, would make you cry.

I was lucky.  While there were bumps in the road along the way,  my mom and I had a great relationship when I became an adult.  She was my first phone call when life happened, good or bad.  We made each other laugh.  I know not everyone has that kind of relationship with their parents, so I know how lucky I am to have had it.

It’s odd, because as each year passes, each anniversary of her death hits me in a completely different way.  Last year seemed a bit easier.  This year seems to be hitting me a bit harder.  I try very hard to take the grief more private.  I know it makes people around me feel a bit awkward.  I know this seems ironic because I’m writing about it in a blog, which is out there for the world to see, but supposedly this is a bit more anonymous.  I’m not ashamed of missing her, of having some moments of grief for my loss, but it does make others feel at a bit of a loss for words.  I have many strong women around me who have fantastic relationships with their moms. It brings me a lot of joy to see, but of course, I miss having that myself.

This year, it is a bit more difficult that some years past.  It doesn’t make much sense why.  I plan on turning it around a bit and doing some things to celebrate her life.  (She’d probably tell me to celebrate by cleaning my messy  I want to find ways to incorporate her memory into a fun activity for the kids.  I can keep her memory alive with stories and pictures for them, but it’s always nice to do a fun thing in her memory with them.  She’d want me to laugh, to celebrate.  This is the woman said she thought we should play “ding dong the witch is dead” at her funeral.

So, if you stumble across my litte blog, do something kind in memory of a woman who always befriended the new kid in class, and who looked after those who felt alone.  When she died I heard many a story of how my mom always reached out to the lonely folks or people who needed a friend.  Reach out, make someone who feels unseen feel seen and heard.  Buy someone a coffee, lend a hand.  Listen to someone who feels their voice goes unheard.  Give your kids ice cream before dinner.  Do something, anything, to make someone smile.  Give a little of yourself.  Do something on your bucket list. Help someone else do something on their bucket list.  LIVE!