Wednesday, June 30, 2010

That was NOT cheese

I've been pretty conscious about processed food lately.  By lately I mean the last few months.  I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with body and in doing so I've become very suspicious of processed food.  I bought a few books awhile back, The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food, both written by Michael Pollan.  One theme of both books is, if it doesn't grow on a tree or in the dirt be leery of it.  There's also a lot written about meat but I don't eat much of it so I've focus on the processed food parts.

So, my body has been acting really funky for nearly a year, not quite a full year, but almost.  It could totally be stress induced, cause there has been a lot going on, or maybe hormones or perhaps my diet?  I'm still in the process of investigating.  

Well, my daughter (aka Lovey) and I were watching my son (aka Handsome) play baseball last night.  During the game we wandered over to the concession stand.  And it doesn't take much to realize that when trying to avoid processed foods, the concession stand is NOT the place to be.  Anyways, for whatever reason, I don't know why, but I broke down and bought nachos with "cheese".  The woman behind the counter handed me a plastic bag of nacho chips and 2, yes 2, containers of "cheese".  The "cheese" wasn't even heated up, just disgustingly blobbed at room temperature into a container.  As she handed it to me I knew I didn't want it but took anyway.

So Lovey and I headed back to the bleachers and I began to eat.  Down went about 2/3 of the chips dipped into 3/4 of one of the containers of "cheese".  Almost instantly, my stomach was frantically sending messages to my brain like, WTF????  Why is this non-food being delivered down here?  What is it that you want us (stomach juices and what not) to do with this??  So in retaliation, my stomach cramped up like it has been doing this past year when it disagrees with any decision I have made, food related or not.   The rest of the night was misery and my brain punished me by replaying the step by step "cheese" eating over and over in my mind all night.

Thankfully, I am feeling better this morning but I swear and will write in blood that I will never eat that nastiness again.

Apple in the purse....good.  Concession stand nachos.....bad.       

Monday, June 28, 2010


So I had my 20 year high school reunion on Saturday.

In my eyes, the turn out was great! BFFs that I am still sister-close with and good friends that I don't get to see all that often, were there. People that were friends of mine but, for one reason or another I haven't seen since graduation day, they were there. And those that I didn't interact with at all during school, they were there too.

The thing that always gets me at these reunions is the easy conversations that can spark up with people I am certain I didn't make eye contact with in high school. You know how things are in high school. Some people you hang with and some you don't. But as I age, I have found, it is easy to talk to almost anyone. So, at the reunion I found myself having real conversations about work, kids, spouses or non-spouses with people I never talked to in high school. It can be awkward if you really think about it in the moment, a little fake maybe. But it was all sincere and they were real conversations.  How things can change after you've been away for a long while.

I guess I was a little cliquey in high school, I don't like to think I was nasty but perhaps a bit standoffish to some. A result of nothing other than my own insecurities, I'm sure. But that's how it is in high school, right? Different interests, different groups.

But I can't help but wish that there could have been a little "this is me now" whispering to the "that was me then". Little bits of advice like , "Go ahead and sing in the choir, you'll really like it." OR "Take out a map every now and then and pay attention to where you are in the world." OR "You'll feel really good about yourself when you are good to others." Or maybe this oldie but goodie, "Take advantage of all the learning opportunities in school, join clubs and get involved because the day will come when you have to pay for stuff like this!"  All things I'm sure my parents said, but who listens to their parents in high school?

Well, it was a splendid night!  What was the best part? Was it when one of my dear old (male) friends compared me to the "life sized girlfriend doll" of an old classmate?  Charmed, but no it wasn't that.  Was it the 'totally 80s' pre-party? Nope, not that. Maybe it was the sincere (I think) "You look great!" that I received from some, even though I feel like a beast these days? No, not that either.

The best part was seeing old friends, remembering the easy days of high school, and feeling that bond, still after 20 years, that you have with the people you grew up, yep that was it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Telling Your Kids

I have a lot of stories to tell from my last three years of dealing with divorce. I'm feeling very compelled to share some of them. I'm not sure why. It's not in an effort to air any dirty laundry more so to provide comfort and knowledge to someone like me. There are so many books and websites to read regarding the befores, durings and afters of divorce but I might be able to share some very real, relevant every day stuff that could maybe help someone out.

This is one of them:

The absolute most difficult day of my divorce process was the day we decided to tell our kids we were separating. I hate that day. My nights were consumed with the thought of telling our kids we were splitting up. I read several books about children and divorce and read endless things online. These resources were a good launching point but no situation is the same as yours and of course no children are the same as yours. Write down what is in your heart. Chances are you know what you want to say. You know what your children are able to understand. I took notes, I didn't want to forget to say certain things. I didn't want to tell them too much or too little.

My stomach is in knots and I cry as I write this, three years later, because it was surely the most difficult conversation I have ever had. How do you justify a decision that will hurt the two people you love most in the world?

However, if divorce is where circumstance has lead you, this is a conversation you must have. It is also a conversation you must have over and over. You cannot possibly anticipate the reaction of your children. But you must talk, ask, answer and comfort over and over. This is not a conversation you can have once and then breathe easy that it is over. You must continue to bring up the divorce, the changes your children are experiencing, their worries, their sadness, their anger. These are all things that cannot be ignored no matter how difficult it may be to talk about.

Even if your children say that they are OK, continue to ask them questions about their feelings, worries, struggles. Ask, talk, reassure again and again. Make sure your ex is talking to them as well.

Three years later this is still a conversation I have with my children. As they grow and develop new questions and concerns come up. Different situations make them sad and mad. This divorce was not final and finished two years ago at the courthouse. It is an evolving event that will need to be dealt with for the rest of their lives. I do my best to make sure they feel secure and loved always.

Socks on the Beach

After reading a post from my cousin's blog yesterday and writing this today I might be like the lady at Redbox in Kroger.....

My kids love music and being a totally cool mom, so do I. Soooooo, we're in the car this morning listening to California Gurls by Katy Perry w/ Snoop. Yes, I understand a song that involves Snoop might not be 100% appropriate for kids, but it has a great summertime beat! Also, I like to believe that they are not really paying attention to the words or to the meanings of the phrases in some songs. Kinda like me, when I was a kid listening to Darling Nikki and was completely, and I mean completely, clueless about its content. Pre-teen daughter is not this way. She is overly attentive to all that is going on around her.

So there we are in the car and as always my son tries to sing along with songs whether he knows the words or not (he gets that from his grandpa) and here comes the part where K. Perry sings "sex on the beach" and son sings "socks on the beach". Daughter immediately says "What did you just say?" Son says "socks on the beach" I quickly interject with a 'Don't say another word' look on my face in the direction of daughter. However, Dr. Ruth decides she wants to clear a few things up for her brother. "That's not what she says", she tries to explain. "Quiet", says now very annoyed mother. Daughter continues, "But mom, that's not what she says". "Dear daughter", I say, "Your brother is 7 and yes she says 'socks on the beach' ". "Let me explain, sweet innocent boy," I say, "Sometimes people go to the beach with socks and tennis shoes on and then when they get there, they take them off so they can put their feet in the water. So "socks on the beach" means that people have taken off their shoes and socks to go into the water to have a good time.

There, all set. Son stays innocent for another day and daughter is actually impressed with my quick response and entertained by my explanation. Tally one for mom and no more Snoop Dog with the kids in the car.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dog Knows Best

Anyone who has a dog has said at one time or another, "What a life you have (insert dog's name here)." Why is it that dogs have figured out the ideal lifestyle while most of the rest of us struggle to find balance? If my pooch could talk I'm certain she would have these words of advice:

1. Stare out the window as often as possible, there is so much to see if you take the time to look.
2. When not staring out the window, it is a good idea to take a nap.
3. Hover near people who have food.
4. A few extra pounds can actually make you look cuter.
5. Get really excited about any type of physical activity.
6. Be heard when you are suspicious of something or someone.
7. Back away from all unknown men. If they stick around and continue to talk to sweet to you then maybe they're not so bad.
8. Always greet your family at the door with an overwhelming welcome.
9. Stay close to those you love and trust during inclement weather (real and figuratively).
10. Always snuggle up close when a loved one asks you too and even when they don't.

This post is written on behalf of my loving and loyal dog, Maggie, and in memory of my big, beautiful, forever loving dog, Mandy. I miss you Della!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Clap Out

I almost titled this post "The Clap Out" but thought some might get the wrong idea seeing the words 'the' and 'clap' together. :) Yesterday my daughter officially finished elementary school. She'll be in 6th grade in September. A tradition at her school is to have the 5th graders walk through the entire building while all of the other kids, teachers and administration stand outside their rooms and clap, thus called Clap Out.

The Clap Out continues outside as the 5th graders walk through lines of parents clapping and cheering. The students look excited and proud, the parents also look proud, some are sad and others are relieved. Good thing I had my sunglasses on because the tears welling up in my eyes caught me off guard and would have "totally embarrassed" my daughter.

She passed 5th grade with flying colors including some courses that were not labeled on her report card. Such as:
sassiness - A
eye-rolling - B+
stomping - B
sighing - A
crying for no reason - B
Telling me I always say 'NO' - B
Threatening her brother's life - A+

Yes, she is officially a middle schooler. This all being said, when she rounded the end of the Clap Out she came over and allowed me to give her a giant hug and kiss. I also enjoyed several minutes of chit chat with her teacher and she smiled sweetly, waiting patiently. While out to lunch she told me I was a good mom because I flagged the waitress down to get her a refill of her drink. that all it takes??

So my little girl is really growing up. She's got the dramatic undertone of a 6th grader and barrels of sweetness in reserves to use at her discretion. So things are progressing as they should.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bad, Bad Snack Vendor

While on that wretched roller coaster I do believe, along for the ride, was a snack vendor. He was strapped in tightly, right next to me, and he offered endless amounts of comfort food. I don't like to think I'm an emotional eater but the scale is telling me otherwise.

Every twist and turn was endured with a snack in hand. I vaguely remember thinking....."Uh oh creepy, shaky, free fall coming up, hand me a bag of Skittles!" "Dark tunnel of the unknown on the horizon, quick, fix me up a plate of chips and cheese!" And of course, "This glass of wine will certainly smooth out some of these jerks and jolts!"

So unfortunately, I exited that coaster a "few pounds" heavier than when I first got strapped in. So now, as part of my "release that which I cannot control" mission I am hoping some of these unwanted pounds will be released as well. Because clearly that is something I can control.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I used to love roller coasters.....

As a kid, I was a frequent visitor to Cedar Point. I would ride just about anything except for that awful Witch's Wheel - BARF! What I loved most were the magnificent roller coasters filled with smiling, screaming children and adults...fabulous, fun, save me a place in line!

Unfortunately, I have been on a roller coaster of another kind. The dreadful, downer emotional roller coaster. This roller coaster does not allow quite the same thrill as those from my past.

This past year I had a non-stop ticket on one of those emotional roller coasters and my stomach has been twisted and turned more times than I can count. This ride had way too many dark tunnels, upside-down loops, scary plunges, and even the clank, clank, clank you hear as the train slowly climbs the track and you're not so sure this is what you bargained for.

Well, the time has come for me to gracefully step off this ride. My hair is a tangled mess, I have a strange look on my face, my stomach, I fear, will never be the same and my body feels a bit unbalanced. I'm sure this ride has more to offer but I'm good, I'm done, I'm gettin' off.

Now comes the easy part, or the not as hard as it 's been part, I hope. I am ready to release what I cannot control, lose the stress and stay true to myself and my kids. Good things are waiting for us! I just know it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Little About Me

First and foremost, I am a mom. I have two children, ages 7 & 11. In my professional world, I am a teacher. I am also divorced and my life as a single mother has involved much drama! I do believe that most of the time I am not the creator of this drama. Instead, I am the recipient and the 'cleaner-upper'.

I am often told I could write a book. The thought has crossed my mind because sometimes things are really juicy and I think to myself "Ohhh this would be a good read!" I'm trying out this blog business to see if it helps me to relieve some stress and maybe connect with others who are familiar with my type of life! :)

I am not and never will promote divorce but I do have a lot of first hand information that might be of use to someone who is contemplating a divorce, in the middle of a divorce or experiencing life as a single parent.

I am not an experienced blogger so I don't know the "rules". Do people reveal their identities on blogs??? For now, I will not use my name or the names of my kids, that just makes sense I think.

The story behind 'Second Chance Moon'

There was a full moon that Christmas Eve night. My children were excited as we gathered the carrots and reindeer dust to leave on the driveway for our late night visitors. The sky was clear and dark, except for the brilliant beam of the moon. However, I was not the one to notice it.

We stepped off the front porch. My daughter walked a few steps ahead. I was behind her holding my 2-year-old son’s hand. He slowly raised his chubby, little finger up to the sky and says, “Mamma, look at the moon."

“OK”, I said, “Come on, we have to get the food out for the reindeer." I moved him along quickly toward the driveway.

My heart sinks as I watch this video. I am standing at the kitchen counter four years later, watching this lost moment through the lens of my camcorder.

OK????? We have to get the food out for the reindeer?????
Were we doing our chores that night? Did we have a herd of reindeer that we tended to daily? My stomach is tight as I blankly stare off, the way you do when your mind is drenched in thought. Deep sadness takes over. I feel as though I’ve lost something. I begin to cry and the tears will not stop. What kind of mother am I?

This video haunts me for days. I feel an overwhelming sadness. The image of that little finger pointing toward the night sky plays over and over in my head. My "busy, busy, no time for distractions" attitude plays over and over in my head.

It had been less than a week since I had watched ‘the video’ when my kids and I were walking toward the car one evening after a school function. My daughter walks a few steps ahead. I am holding my 6-year-old son’s hand. “Look at the moon, Mom”, he says.

This child is not moon obsessed in any way and I am certain this is only the 2nd time he has ever said those words to me.

My feet stop, my stomach tightens. This is my second chance. This is my Second Chance Moon. We stand and stare at the moon. “It’s beautiful.”, I say. “Look how big it is!”, I say. “Do you know when the moon looks like this it’s called a full moon?”, I ask him. “It looks so big and bright, doesn’t it?”, I ask. What else? What else can I say about this moon?? I want this moment to last forever. I want to stand here with his little 6-year-old hand in mine forever and stare at this gorgeous moon.

I’m not sure how I got us home that night. My mind was full of the image of that moon and my heart was filled with joy and thanks. As I write this, my son most certainly does not remember that moon. I will never forget that moon.

I remember my Second Chance Moon when I feel crazed with life, which is often. It reminds me to slow down. I try to relax, watch closely and listen well.

Thank you God, message received.