lent and honesty

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

i have, for the first year ever, kept a mental tab of things people i know have given up for lent.

i suck at lent and i suck at new year's resolutions, and the truth is that this year i have elected to spare myself from the associated sense of failure and humiliation for both of these endeavors (pat on the back followed by a slow clap); however, it occurred to me today that people really do sacrifice a lot of serious stuff for lent. like eating out... white bread... booze... wine... soda... chocolate... naps... processed foods... sweets... things that would wreak havoc on my life if i opted to forego them for an extended period of time (as required with the laws of lent, penance, and resolutions). 

so i have a new theory, but before i share it with you, i really need to know if the crime rate increases during the lent season...let me know if you have any hard data on this, and then i'll get back to you on my theory. 

yesterday a friend of mine posted a link to my facebook wall...the link was to a blog post that has, apparently, gone viral in its efforts to encourage people to just be real with their facebook posts. 

no more fake-booking.

i loved it. it was hilarious, and honest, and fabulous, and a sad reflection on how we choose to portray ourselves in an effort to seek approval and admiration from others when we are, in reality, creating false and unrealistic expectations for what it looks like to be a parent. 

and then my yahoo got spammed with coupons for poise pads. 

oh, the irony.

and in a fantastic illustration of what it looks like when life comes full circle, i found the same link shared on another friend's facebook wall with a myriad of mamma confessions that included the following from her friends. i thought the honesty was a pretty amazing thing:

--the truth: we are both in our undies eating dinner with plastic forks because i have not washed the dishes in a few days.
--the truth: i didn't even put on a bra today.
--the truth: the slacks i wore to work today haven't seen the washer in a week...maybe two.
--the truth: i just chugged a beer.
--the truth: i just ate two bowls of chili with half a block of cheese on top immediately followed by a cookie, all while my kid and the cat played in the bathroom with the door shut.
--the truth: i opened a bottle of wine at two.
--the truth: i have gas that could make a truck driver cry.

brutal honesty, mostly beautiful truths. 

life isn't perfect and neither are we. 

and in the spirit of being real, here are my truths for the day:
--truth: i'm more than a little bit upset that one of my college friends has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and i can't believe she's starting her second dose of chemo tomorrow. 
--truth: i'm confident that if everybody could get a tiny little taste of her confidence and faith in fighting this battle, the world would be a much better place.
--truth: i'm a little bit floored that the ten year old son of one of my college friends has just been diagnosed with leukemia - because that just seems so incredibly unfair.
--truth: i checked both of my daughters' necks for lumps before they went to bed monday night because i felt like it was the right thing to do since that's how it started for my friend's son.
--truth: i am feeling ridiculously overwhelmed by work right now.
--truth: spring break is only seven school days away...and i can't wait. 
--truth: i opened a bottle of wine before 5:30 today.
--truth: i'm sorry i have gone an entire week without writing...i've been battling a wicked case of writer's block and a subtle sense of impending doom.. 
--truth: i would do anything for these two little love bugs. 

if you want to read the blog post that has inspired thousands of people to be more honest with what they share, i encourage you to do two things:

1) find yourself a poise pad or a kleenex, depending on how you roll in situations like this. if this is new territory for you, it probably won't hurt to have both handy.
2) click here to read some blogosphere greatness. 

i hope you get a chuckle, a moment of reflection, and a chance to pause and appreciate all the great things you already do. 

no need to sugarcoat our lives...'real' rocks. 



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of my divorce, and what an incredible four years it's been!

someone was asking me about my relationship with the girls' dad yesterday, and that's what made me remember it was the 19th. i told her that she'd just reminded me of my fourth 'divorce-a-versary'...her immediate reaction was to hug me and tell me it would be alright.

but that wasn't what i was feeling at all. not even close!

i have been happier in the last couple of years than i can remember being in a very, very long time.

like, maybe, ever.

i'm at an incredibly comfortable place in my life - i have two amazing little ladies who entertain me daily; i get to freely make my own choices every single day; i am completely responsible for my mistakes, and i am equally responsible for my achievements.

i was reading what bossy had to say last thursday, and i had a mini-epiphany while reading about her ex.

if i had a nickel dime for every time someone asked me when the girls' dad and i were getting back together, i would be banking. part of our deal when we split up was that we would always co-parent our amazing daughters. always, no matter what.

if i had a dime quarter for every time someone complimented the two of us for how we co-parent, i would be five years away from retirement. we made a deal with each other, and we stuck to it.

if i had a quarter dollar for every time someone asked me why we don't get back together, i would be able to home school the girls from our dreamy home smack-dab in the middle of some fabulous tropical wonderland.

not to wax all taylor swift on you, but we are never getting back together.


it isn't as though we were sixteen and we got in an argument about prom. our divorce was a very sound decision that centered around very adult, very real issues. it was too far gone when it ended, but this isn't something that you can easily explain to very many people.

so here was my epiphany on divorces: some are nasty, some are painful, and a few are beautiful; on-lookers will struggle to make much sense of the mess, the aftermath can be a disaster, and no two will ever look exactly the same.

kind of like childbirth. or puppies.

i am so happy with how far we have both come in four years as individuals.

i am so pleased with how we've managed to forge a parenting relationship that is entirely kid-centered.

whenever i see divorced parents who don't talk to each other, i don't judge. i do feel bad for their kids (that's a sucky place to be), but i honestly don't judge because i can vouch for the fact that getting to this point has been anything but easy. on the contrary, it has been very hard and tedious work.

i'm glad i was able to walk away from a situation that was no good for me without burning a bridge and instead ending up with a pretty cool friendship (said the world's biggest grudge holder).

if you would have asked me four years ago if i thought we'd be friends one day, i would have replied with a quick and resounding, 'no way. never.'

if you asked me today if i'd have it any other way than how it is now, i'd have the exact same reply.

and that's all i have to say about that. :)


how did i miss this?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

yesterday i read a piece from the new york times about lee radziwill. what an incredible woman who really has lived her life to its fullest. she's an iconic socialite who was also the younger sister of jackie onassis.

and how did i not know about her until just yesterday?

i've already ordered 'happy times', and i can't wait for it to arrive.

i seriously can't believe that my obsession with all-things-kennedy allowed me to overlook lee radziwill. this feels like a major faux pas.

photo credit 
read the article - i know you'll be intrigued, too...or did you already know of her?


a writing prompt

Friday, February 15, 2013

cee was the 'rock star' of her class this week.

in the past, this has meant that we make a poster, we color it, we put cute pictures on it, and it goes with her to school on friday to share with 20 other kids in her class.

this year, the ante was significantly larger. in addition to the standard coloring requirements, a letter - from me (and her dad), to her - was part of the deal.

in case i haven't mentioned it to you (you're welcome), cee sees her teacher this year as a proverbial tough cookie, and she reminded me of this several times this week by encouraging me to 'write better than anything you've ever written....she likes that kind of stuff.'

as i looked through the 'you rock journal' and read what other parents had written about their own children, i realized that this was a pretty big thing for little cee, and getting to pen this letter for her was a pretty cool writing assignment for me.

here's how her rock star letter ended up (after a handful of revisions):

dear cee-

from the moment we laid eyes on you, the depths of your eyes had our attention. you've grown into an amazing young lady who still holds our attention with your incredible sense of humor, your beaming smile, and your old-soul wisdom. your laugh is absolutely contagious, and you can turn anybody's frown upside down with it. you are a wonderful sister, a thoughtful friend, a caring daughter, and we are blessed beyond words to be your family.

some of our favorite memories definitely include our trip to taos, spring break in cancun, and taking you from austin to steamboat to maui before you knew how to walk. we cheered for your first kick on the soccer field when you were five just as loudly as we cheer for you now, and we will always be your biggest fans both on and off of the field.

we look forward to the many adventures we know you'll take in your lifetime. you have big plans for yourself, and we can't wait to see you continue climbing your way to the top. your determination will take you any place you'd like - we're sure of it! we're looking forward to seeing how your life story unfolds; it's bound to be a best seller.

mom, dad, and jay

the writing assignment, for me, was such a personal thing to compose...and to then let go into someone else's home, life, situation, influence, judgment.

the writing assignment, for her, was such a personal thing to admire and read aloud to her classmates...free of judgment and full of open-minded children who have so much ahead of them in their own lives.

as we carefully selected the pictures she would share with her class on the 4X6 page left in the notebook, she assured me that i exceeded her expectations in my letter...i told her how easy it is to write about her because she's such an amazing kid.

it's truly a beautiful thing to watch your daughter blossom into an independent being of her very own choosing.

but i will say that her life seems to be going by way too fast...and i feel like i have to be careful because if i blink, i might miss some of the best parts.

cheers to my little rock stars (yes, i got lucky enough to have two of them!)...


an open letter

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

dear mr. soderbergh,

i've been waiting patiently for nearly six years now:

danny and rusty, plus 12.

too much to ask?

i think not.

please don't ignore the directorial genius you have going on here.

prompt attention to this request would be dearly appreciated.

love, me

my favorite seven minutes of the day

Sunday, February 10, 2013

the girls bought themselves alarm clocks with some of their christmas money.

at first i was a little sad about their purchase because i love waking them up each morning. i love those first sweet moments of a new day with them. i love their yawns and first questions of the day, and i was pretty sure the alarm clocks were going to be the end of our sweet morning greetings.

i was wrong.

if it's possible, our mornings have gotten even better.

i walk into their hallway at 6:14 am. at 6:15 am, jay's alarm goes off, and five seconds later, cee's alarm follows suit. there are only a couple of seconds of the overlapping, beeping cacophony, but it always makes me smile.

i walk into jay's room as she's turning off her alarm - she crawls into my arms.

we walk into cee's room together, and cee makes room for us in her bed.

for the next few minutes, we lay there together and talk in the dark.

there is so much peace in the room. nobody's fussing; nobody's arguing. everybody is in a state of a nearly perfect bliss, and it's a thing of beauty.

when cee's clock changes from 6:22 to 6:23, we all get up and start making our way to our respective rooms to get ready to conquer the day ahead of us.

seven minutes doesn't seem like enough, but those are seven minutes that i will continue to cherish for as long as i'm allowed to be a part of it.

of course there are other times in the day when i stumble across their perfect sister moments...

...but none of those seem to be as sure as our mornings.

i can't imagine a better start to each and every day...it makes waking up something to look forward to!


the british invasion and a misconnection

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

i am not into resolutions, but i am all about practical & logical decisions - especially when they make a whole lot of sense.

therefore, early in january, i opted out of my high speed internet in exchange for a wifi hotspot.

for the first 27 days, this worked out beautifully for me. it was a seamless change. it was an easy adjustment. and bonus: it would put nearly $70 back in my pocket each month.

everybody wins!

in the meantime, i have fallen in love with a new tv series. if you haven't hopped on the downton abbey bandwagon and you have even a smidge of anglophile in you, then you have to take a peek at this wonderful creation.

i'm completely hooked (which will be important information very, very soon). i watched season one on netflix in an impressively short amount of time, and then i switched to hulu to devour season two.

and then, half way through episode four of season two, something horrible happened.

my hotspot started acting up (the audicity!).

by the end of episode four (which should have taken me less than an hour to watch but was inching its way towards the two hour mark), i started to twitch a little bit.

by the time i was ready to start episode five, my hotspot and i were both getting dangerously close to defcon 4.

i needed to know exactly what evil deed thomas was going to do next. i needed to know what was going to happen with anna and bates.

but i couldn't know because my hotspot was on life support.

i thought to myself, 'what would lady violet do in this situation?'

that didn't really help because lady violet wasn't even sure what to do with a swivel chair, better yet a wifi device.

last night, i tried again to holistically cure my hotspot of its horrid ills...to no avail.

so at that point, i did what any sensible woman would do: i tried my hardest not to cry.

'afterall,' i told myself, 'it's just a tv show. this is not a life or death situation. get a grip.'

and then i proceeded to have a minor melt down.

and when i woke up this morning, i checked my horoscope. i practically never believe what my horoscope says is going to happen...the daily horoscope check is more of a habitual thing for me...i check in with the universe and usually i get a good laugh.

but today was different.

obstacles may arise in the course of your chores when machines break down and interfere with your efficiency. your frustrations may cause you to want to yell and throw things. if you must blow your top, scorpio, do it in such a way as to avoid causing upset to others. go for a workout or jog. the machines will be fixed and the situation will pass. hang in there.

for the first time in a long time, i actually put a little faith into my horoscope...it's like my horoscope was spying on me with a hidden camera!!

maybe it's just telling me what i want to hear, and maybe i'm just interpreting it exactly how i want it to read, but either way, i found a little bit of comfort in my daily prophecy.

now, if you'll just keep your fingers crossed that my hotspot finds its second wind just as the stars have promised, i would really appreciate it.

violet would want it this way, i'm sure of it.


eight is great

Sunday, February 3, 2013

yesterday was jay's eighth birthday, and i promise i'm not going to take you down that path of 'eight years ago...'

i'm so proud of how graceful, thoughtful, and entertaining this little lady has turned out to be.

thursday night when we were making cupcakes for her class, she said to me (very seriously), 'mom, you reeeaaally need to make sure you fill those up the exact same - my class is kind of weird about equality issues.'

she's growing up too fast.

i asked her if she knew what equality issues meant.

she said, 'well one example is that martin luther king jr. fought his whole life because of equality issues, and another example is that girls used to not have as many rights as boys until susan b. anthony fought for equality issues.'

touché, little one. touché.

in true jay form, she also fought a fever for most of the day yesterday. but you'd have never guessed it. she had a ball playing with her friends and having her moment as the shining star of the day.

i love this sweet girl so much. she rocks.

more soon.


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