when I remembered

It's almost the 4th of July which is a pretty fun holiday here in the states. Mostly it means picnics and fireworks, days off work, and relaxation. I remember when I was a kid my dad would have this bonfire party every year where all my relatives and friends would come. My dad would make the hike to Missouri or Indiana to buy a load of fireworks since it's illegal to sell them in Illinois, and he'd put on the most fab fireworks show. It's funny when I think back to all those parties and what I remember the most are the 'almost disasters' that somehow seemed funny at the time but now that I'm older seem more pathetic since most were due to my father being inebriated. I didn't realize it back then, or maybe I did but I didn't know what to make of it, but alcohol always played a huge part in every holiday party or event we had. Although my mom wasn't an alcoholic I still remember her being falling down drunk as she tried to drown out the reality of being married to my dad. It's almost like a chain reaction isn't it? Miserable = addiction. We're miserable or in pain so we find something to focus all our energy on. Alcohol, drugs, sex, crime, violence. I used to think I escaped the chain reaction but looking back I realize I had my own addiction - I was a codependant. I still have to fight myself sometimes to keep me from falling back into that old pattern but I suppose that's what having an addiction means. It's never fully gone or erased rather it's controlled. Isn't it strange that it always comes down to control? We fall into addictions because we think we're gaining control when in reality we're really surrendering it.

Anyway...I somehow got sidetracked because as I started this post planning to talk about those great 4th of July parties I realized...they really weren't so great after all. It kind of sucks when that moment happens when you discover you've been 'stuffing' or 'pretending' life really was something other than what it was. I suppose that's all part of healing though isn't it? And just when I thought I could take off the band-aid....well I guess that means I still have more work to do. Sometimes I think it's going to take me a lifetime - good thing I'm learning to be patient.




I was a child and a butterfly landed on my shoulder and fluttered its wings against my face...

I was ten and my father brought home a kitten he'd found by the side of the road and she licked my face every night before I went to sleep...

I was a teenager and a boy told me I was pretty..and I believed him...

I thought I was grown up enough to stand on my own...

And I was happy.

Six days ago I stood in front of friends and family and became a wife...a partner...a confidant...and still - I'm happy. I really do deserve this...and I believe that.

Happy Half Nekkid Thursday HNT_1


the movement

I felt the baby kick...the one inside of me that is. I was sitting in my favorite chair trying to relax after trying to keep Alice in her bed which is sometimes stressful in itself, and as I let out a deep breath of relief I felt that tiny life I'm carrying move from one side of my belly to another. Although I've felt this feeling before with my first pregnancy it was just as amazing. The first time I was pregnant I would sit and concentrate on feeling any little flutter and when I finally did feel 'the real thing' I was scared and amazed at the same time. When you feel a baby move it somehow becomes more real to you. It's one thing to take a pregnancy test or hear a heartbeat or even see them on a monitor, but feeling them inside you reminds you of what precious cargo you are responsible for. I admit that during this pregnancy I have not been as diligent about trying to feel the baby but last night when my insides seemed to be shifting it reminded me that I must take time to feel everything about this baby because it is just as special as the first. Soon my little bundle will be moving about more frequently and kicking me on a daily basis which is really ok because when you think about it we all need that extra inspiration to keep us on the right track.

For those of you that have never experienced carrying a child or never will...find your inspiration somewhere...anywhere...just as long as it keeps you moving forward to some better place than you are right now.



Most of you know that my step-father has Alzheimers and has been in a nursing home for the past 5 months. He's steadily gotten worse which partly comes from the fact that he has a disease but mostly comes from where he lives. It seems that when someone is placed in a nursing home their life starts to make its spiral decent towards death and most times it picks up speed at a much faster rate than before they landed in a nursing home. It's been tough watching someone I love slowly lose all sense of control over his life. I always thought that Alzheimers was about losing your memory but as I watch my step dad lose the ability to take care of himself while his memory of how things used to be stays burning bright, it seems that life has become nothing but a bitter ending waiting to happen.

I was upset that my step-dad couldn't make it to my wedding but I understood why, traveling and chaos only makes his reality harder to cope with. Just after the ceremony my mom's cell phone rang and it was my step-dad asking if we'd 'done the deed' yet. I had to laugh because part of me was thinking...we'd done that deed a long time ago and this day was more about celebrating those deeds. My mom hands me the phone and he tells me how proud of me he is. At first I'm not sure how to respond, mostly because I've never taken praise well. He tells me that he still remembers the day he married my mom and how confused he was before that moment when his life joined hers. "People get lost too often," he said. "They lose their way and sometimes they are so busy looking back at where they've been they never lift their head to notice what lies ahead, possibility." I cried, partly because his words moved me but mostly because tiny pieces of the man I used to know surfaced - if even for a brief moment.

I know so many people that lose their way and I was one of them for so many years. I looked behind so often at what had already passed that I'm sure I missed a hell of a lot of great possibilities. That doesn't matter now, not for me, not for you. What matters is that you lift that chin off your chest, focus in front of you instead of behind, and notice what may be. Even my step-dad who seems to have lived out his life of possibilities looks ahead at what may come. What may come might seem nothing short of painful as he steps closer to an end but as he reminded me, even endings can be beginnings.


old married lady

Well, I'm married. It was a small ceremony at the courthouse but actually it was rather nice. My mom drove up for the occasion and new in-laws came too. Most importantly my daughter was there standing between us as we became man and wife. The judge told us that she loved to see parents get married but most of all she loved seeing parents getting married after a child was at least a couple of years old because she knew they were doing it for the right reasons, not the moral ones. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with Alice and it never crossed my mind that I should be married first. Sure it's nice to do things in the right order but does it make it less special - no way. On Saturday I married the man I love because I can't imagine my life without him in it. I can't imagine going to sleep at night or waking up in the morning without knowing he's there...somewhere in our house. I can't imagine my daughter not being able to kiss her daddy every night before sleepy time or in the morning when she opens her eyes. I can't imagine not loving him...and somehow now that there is a solid commitment, I don't have to. I know that marriage doesn't mean guarantees...I'm not naive, but it does mean that two people have agreed to give it their damndest to make it work.

My mom told me that she hasn't seen me smile so brightly in a long long time...and I have to agree. A feeling of peace has settled over me and although I know there are still many trials and tribulations to come because life never has a shortage of them, I'm not scared to face them any more. I've spent so much of my life searching for that place I belong next to that person who belongs there with me that I'm really looking forward to folding up my map, placing my compass on the mantle, and enjoying the scenery. I'm not lost anymore.


being whole

It's almost here, one more day until I take marriage vows again. When I think back to the first time I took marriage vows it seems like not only a lifetime ago - but someone else's life completely. Although back then I knew that marriage vows were supposed to be forever, I'm not sure I actually believed it. There's something about the concept of 'forever' that just doesn't register at the tender age of 23. Wishing for something to last forever seems more like closing your eyes and wishing on a star knowing the chances of it coming true are quite slim. But now at age 38 as I let that word tumble around in my mouth, I not only believe in forever, I know that wishing on a star isn't the way to make it happen. Part of me is scared, not of joining my life to someone else's because when you have a child you've already done that. I'm scared of the things I've held on to so tightly for so many years, the things that protected me - or at least I thought they did. Things like the ability to walk away without ever looking back, things like keeping my things separate...a separate life, a separate heart, a separate piece of myself that no one could ever touch. But now when I've decided to marry the man I love, I must give up all of those things. It's not to say that some things cannot still be kept private but if I want this marriage to work, those things can no longer be only in my sole possession. If there is anything that I've learned in the last ten years it's that giving up 'things' doesn't mean loss. God, I finally know that sometimes you have to surrender yourself, your parts, your possessions - to have more than you've ever had before.

Tomorrow my family, my daughter, my sig. other, this baby I'm carrying - will join into one. One heart, one soul, one unit. You know what? I've never felt so whole in my entire life.

Have a great weekend.


Half Naked

I know today is half nekkid Thursday but for some reason I've been running out parts of me to show. I come here to this place every day and I reveal pieces of myself to virtual strangers and yet somehow - you don't seem like strangers at all. You know what I've realized the older I get? It's hard for women to create and maintain friendships. I have some really good friends and for that I'm thankful but when I look back at all the people, women and men, that have carried the label of 'best friend', it saddens me how many of them have disappeared from my life. A few, hang on not by being present on a daily basis but by keeping me in their heart and every now and then reaching out and telling me 'I'm still on their mind.' I remember when I was younger, before puberty, when friendships seemed so much easier. Your friends were determined by who lived on your block, who you went to school with, who had the coolest toys or the most laid back parents. It's only when you reach puberty that the mind begins to complicate things. In high school friendships were created or broken on popularity - either you had friends because everyone liked you, or you had friends because no one liked them either. As adults it's less of a popularity contest but it still seems that somehow the friendships are so much more complicated. There's still the 'she said this, and they said that' component which I'll never understand. I've always been the type of person to say what's on my mind rather than play a cat and mouse game. Once not so long ago someone I considered my good friend told me that she wasn't getting anything out of our friendship so she chose to let it go. At the time I had just had a baby which was in itself a life altering event but I still tried to send emails asking how she was...apparently it wasn't enough. I didn't go out drinking all night, I didn't want to pick up 'boys' at the local pub, I wanted to be a mom and that ultimately ended our friendship. The thing is, I've always thought that friendships were not supposed to be about what you get from someone. Friendships should be about people coming together because of some like circumstance, some like feeling, some like pain, some like...something. What keeps them together is the willingness to keep them in your heart even when your 'like' changes.

Anyway, I'm rambling...but today while the rain falls heavily upon the streets washing away debris left behind from careless passer bys, my mind wanders back to places and times when things and people - were simpler. As I start a new journey I want to take the friends I have now, with me. That's all of you...I'm learning that sometimes if you want to create friendships, keep friendships, you have to be willing to reveal a little nekkidness.


when I knew it all

When I was 27 my whole outlook on life changed. I remember thinking at 21 that the things I believed to be true were exactly what I'd believe for the rest of my life. I got married when I was 23 to the man I thought I'd love forever...well actually I do still love him but I'm not married to him anymore. I thought I was seasoned, 2 years past my 'official' birthday of becoming an adult, I knew everything I needed to know for the remainder of my life. I knew that I wanted to be a writer, I knew that I wanted a big house with a nice car and two cats and one dog. I knew that I'd have children when I was 27 and they'd be beautiful and they'd love me unconditionally. I knew that my parents would live forever and that some day my dad would realize he was an alcoholic and he'd apologize for all the pain he put me through in my childhood. When I was 23 I believed in things that I thought mattered. It's amazing how something can seem so significant at one stage in your life and at another fall clumsily to the lowest priority on your list. I remember people telling me that getting married at 23 was too young because I'd change, things would look different in a few years, life really had just begun and I needed to live it for awhile before making such a life long commitment. I ignored those people because I knew what I needed to know, I was grown up. At 27 I realized how ignorant I really was. When once I believed that love was enough to survive on, I now slowly realized that love is really only the consolation prize. Love can bring you to a certain place but it cannot keep you there. I had no tools to build the foundation that I needed to make my marriage survive so at 28 I got divorced. I remember on the day that I signed the papers to end my marriage feeling like a failure. I was convinced I was doomed to repeat my parents history and that my own future was already mapped out by the mistakes of my past. For a long time I believed I would never get married again because no one would ever love me enough, have enough faith in me, or want me to be their forever. I chased away so many men fearing that if I didn't break their heart first, my own heart would be the casualty. And then one night I sat in a smoky bar watching a man I deemed a 'good friend' play the guitar. My heart fluttered, my stomach flip flopped, and everything I knew, everything I believed - changed again. It wasn't an easy road to get here to this place I am now but as I finally let out the breath I've been holding for so many years, I can breath more easily. I'm going to get married in 3 more days. I'm going to have faith in someone, in something...that I stopped believing in so long ago.

I'm 38 now. Ten years after realizing that everything I thought I knew was really not much at all, I realize that not having all the answers is what keeps you humble. It's what keeps you real.


hello...can you see me?

Every morning I ride the El train smashed in between dozens of self absorbed people. Did you know that it's an unspoken rule that you can't talk to people while riding public transportation? If you do speak, everyone stops and stares at you as if you've just broken commandment number one. People read their papers, listen to their Ipods, stare out the window at a tunnel of darkness and absolutely never ever make eye contact. I suppose that may be the reason that no one seems to notice the belly protruding from my cute maternity dress. It must be why not one single person offers me a seat because if they actually looked at me they would have to realize that I'm pregnant and pregnant ladies hate standing on their already swollen feet. I have to believe it's because they don't see me because if I did actually pass through their field of vision, wouldn't that make them....well...arseholes? I'm not sure why I keep expecting some nice young man to offer me his seat because honestly it never happens. When I was pregnant with Alice and my stomach was out to -------> there...I was only offered a seat twice and both times it was a woman who graciously gave up her comfy germ infested seat. I want to know why? Why are people so afraid to make eye contact? Why is it against the rules to say hello to your fellow passengers? When the hell did we become so self absorbed and who let us continue to be that way?

You know honestly it's not so much about me needing a seat as it is about realizing how invisible you can actually be in a city of 3 million people.


I had a bit of a scare on Friday with a tiny bit of spotting (sorry fellows for the slight graphics) and I decided instead of waiting patiently for the doctor to call me back that I'd head to the ER and have things checked out. I have to admit that I was calmer than I thought I'd be but mostly because I had a bit of the same thing with my first pregnancy. But, still my heart wrapped itself up in knots worrying about the tiny life inside of me that had only just begun. As I sat there waiting in the ER with a homeless guy with thoughts of suicide, a teenage girl under the care of DCFS (department of child and family services) who tried to get rid of her unborn child by overdosing on birth control, I could only pray that God protect this child I was carrying and give them a chance to find out for themselves how screwed up this world can be. So after about an hour I'm taken to a room and after another 1/2 hour a doctor comes in with an ultrasound machine. He chats briefly as he's rubbing cold jelly on my stomach and I tried to be cheerful but inside I'm wishing he'd hurry up and show me my sweet little baby. He places the wand on my belly and in an instant the screen captures a tiny little being with arms flailing and legs kicking...and at that moment everything was right with the world. "He's a fighter," the doctor says. I didn't even pay attention to the fact that he called 'peanut' a boy...we still don't know that yet, I could only stare at the life dancing gloriously around the screen. Before the doctor removed the wand he listened for the baby's heartbeat which was strong and healthy. I have to tell you that a beating heart, especially when it belongs to your child, is the most beautiful music your ears will ever hear. As I sit here typing this I can still hear the faint echo of that heart and it calms me like nothing else could.

So it turned out that everything was fine. Baby is healthy. They have no idea why I spotted but said it's actually more common than most people think. I have to wonder if I ended up in that ER with those two people who were both trying to end a life to remind me how precious life really is. It's not that I forgot that life if is a gift, it's that I rarely remember to be grateful for it.


backed into a corner

There is nothing I hate more than being backed into a corner. If that happens, I'll kick and scream and my claws will come flying out...well not literally but I can be one stubborn Irish lass when I feel that I'm being bullied. So last night my soon to be inlaws came over for a brief visit and I knew I was in trouble when my sig. other's father tried giving me financial advice. First, I don't mind financial advice from people that can actually manage finances but this man...cannot. As he sat there trying to tell me that I needed to buy a house in the suburbs and that on my salary I could afford a nice place...I started to fume. I have no desire to move to the burbs which would make my commute to work longer, would prevent me from having a nanny since most of them won't travel outside of the city, would make me have to give up the various kid friendly friends I've now developed. As I sat there fuming and listening to my sig. other agree with his dad I just about lost it. "I will not discuss this," I quickly responded. That didn't shut him up but my walking away did. After he left I was so pissed off I could hardly speak. I've asked my soon to be husband before not to involve me in any advice financial or otherwise that he wishes to seek from his father but somehow he either forgot that little tidbit or completely ignored it.

Eventually my sig. other apologized for backing me into a corner an applauded me for retracting my claws as his dad droned on about what he thought was best. I love this man and I want to marry him but does that mean I have to invite his father into my personal affairs? I never put my sig. other on display for my own parents out of respect..and my parents never offer him advice because they know it is not their place. Part of me knows it's mostly a cultural thing. His dad is Palestinian and in their culture the women are not part of any decision making but he's seriously underestimated my willingness to abide by his 'traditions.' I thank God every day that my sig. other is more like his Filipino roots where women are strong and independent. Every once in awhile he falls into his dad's bully trap and it takes all my strength to pull him free.

Now that's out of my system I hope you all have a fab weekend...it's going to be a hot one so stay cool.


My belly is protruding quite nicely. When you are pregnant it doesn't really seem real until your stomach starts to round and pop out. Even through all the morning sickness it was still sort of 'far away'...the concept that is. But now as my clothes are getting tighter and it's becoming quite apparent that there's someone inside there...I smile because this is the part I like about being pregnant. The part when your belly button stretches, your tummy becomes round, and soon...I'll feel the flutter of the tiny life growing inside of me. God life is amazing isn't it? Ever since I had my first child I've never had to ask "Is there anybody in there," because I've discovered that the somebody in there, is me.

Happy Half Nekkid Thursday HNT_1


I'm so glad you are all still here...I've been having serious withdrawals not being able to post...but I'm back and hopefully this blogger thing will stay on track.

I spent the weekend back in my hometown visiting my parents and my brother. I'd like to say that going back home isn't stressful but that's rarely the case since my parents fight over who gets to see me more...in a way I guess that should make me feel good. I was able to spend a little time with my niece which is always nice because even though she has the usual teenager attitude of knowing everything about anything, I relate to her so well. We talked about life like we often do and yet again I'm surprised at her clarity about a world filled with chaos. She asked me if growing old was as hard as growing up and although part of me wanted to shout out...who's growing old...I decided to accept my label and offer a few bits of wisdom. I had to think about it for awhile because we're taught from the time we're little that the 'growing up' part is the hardest part of life but now that I look back on my life I have to wonder if that is really true. In a way, the two things are very similar. When we grow up it's usually against our will. We fight against the inevitable task of becoming responsible for our actions. We hold on to our childish hopes and dreams until reality no longer allows it. There are parts of us that never want to be 'grown up'. If we are not grown up, people expect less from us. When we grow old it's always against our will. Growing old means we already grew up and that in itself is scary. When we admit that we're growing old, we admit that part of our life is past us - good parts, bad parts, parts we may not be ready to let go. When we're growing old we're supposed to know more things, make better choices, set good examples - sometimes that's just too much pressure. Growing old means that an end is closer than a beginning.

So when my niece asked me which was harder I had to answer that they most times they are equal but the most important thing to remember is that neither are inevitable. Not everyone grows up, not everyone gets old, but all of us die trying to accomplish both. "I wonder if I'll ever finish being grown up," she said. "Probably not," I replied. "I think if you ever finish growing up, you stop growing old."


I'm fixed I'm fixed

The funny thing about being a techie is that I actually hate fixing techie things outside of my normal daily scope. I let my computer at home sit quietly gathering dust because quite honestly I'm all techied out by the end of the day. But...I got so sick and tired of Blogger not showing my posts that I had to pull out my hat of tricks and dig deep in my reservoir to try and fix it. Now...the true test is if you all can see what I write so please....comment and let me know. If all is good I'll be back with my mildly amusing words tomorrow.


Blogger woes

I'm not sure what's up with Blogger lately but comments have dwindled to about nothing and some people say you can't see my template anymore. Here I thought people didn't like me any more...boohoo for me. But really, is it still screwed up? I tried republishing it but I'm seriously considering moving it because Blogger has so many issue lately. Has anyone else had problems?

This really isn't the way to start a weekend now is it?

I hope you can see me....I still see you. Happy Friday.


Kickin' Back

It's only 8:45 a.m. and already I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Do you ever have those days when the minute you walk in the door it feels like the rest of the day is going to be spent chasing your tail? Well this morning I decided to kick off the sandals and prop up my feet on my desk and take some well deserved slack time. Give yourself a break today...kick back a little.

Happy Half Nekkid Thursday HNT_1


my voice

I've been busy lately rallying for causes. I'm not sure what's happening to me but lately I've felt compelled to open up my mouth and shout, "I don't like this and I want it to change." That statement alone is nothing unique but for me, it's out of the ordinary because I usually grumble a bit, stomp my feet, and deal with whatever comes my way whether I like it or not. I decided yesterday that I was sick and tired of the idiots speeding down my street, running stop signs, acting like my quiet little side street is the Indy 500. You see I have children and dogs and I like to walk with both of them without the fear that I'll be run over. No one seems to care that children play on that street and whether they've been taught to stay out of the street or not, sometimes kids just don't listen. No one cares that every time you cross the street you have to do it with the fear that someone will decide that a stop sign really isn't meant to actually make you stop, so they roll through half way until they realize someone is trying to cross the street in front of them. So I'm mad and I decided to stop being that person that complains about something being wrong, and actually take action to change it. So I searched the Internet, I called my Alderman, I did research...and I found a committee that helps people get these sort of traffic woes changed in their neighborhood. Woo hoo...someone actually emailed me back and applauded my efforts and told me they'd be happy to organize a committee, get the alderman involved, get the neighbors on board...and now I feel wonderful. I feel like finally I'm taking charge of the things that matter to me. So I'm riding in the car this morning listening to the normal radio show that amuses me on my short commute to the train when the hosts start making fun of the little boy from China with 3 arms. Have you read about him? Anyway, I was completely offended by their comments. Now I do not offend easily but as a parent I thought the last thing that would offer comedic effect is the plight of a child. I was quite pissed off actually, so much in fact that when I arrived at work I sent an email to the radio host...here it is:


I normally listen to your show every morning and usually enjoy it as a start to my workday but this morning I was particularly offended by your discussion about the little boy with 3 arms. I found it very disrespectful and not humorous at all. Now I understand there are medical anomalies that are in fact funny but the comments made by you and by Kathy really were out of line. As a parent, I'm sure you can understand how if this were your own child, the last thing you would want to hear is a couple of radio hosts making jokes about your child's unfortunate situation. I know you were not serious in your comments and were probably just going for the comical effect, but really, was it necessary to use this child's handicap as your inspiration? One particular comment from Kathy about using the child's arm to hang jewelry was extremely insensitive and had no humor effect at all.

Like I said, I do enjoy your show but I felt compelled to speak up about this morning's show because as a person that does not offend easily, I was in fact offended. I'm not sure my complaint or opinion will urge you to choose your content more carefully in the future but my sharing it with you lets me start my day with a little more piece of mind.

I'll wait to see if they respond but either way...I feel good about speaking up. You know there are so many things that happen in our lives, things we don't like, things we're truly bothered by, and most of us let it slide. We deal, we cope, we stop listening, we run away....and I'm guilty of all of these things. But for today and hopefully tomorrow I want my voice to be heard. I'm no hero, I'm just a normal every day human being that's somehow found her voice.


A Big Girl Bed

My baby is growing up. Last night my sig. other and I spent an hour putting together Alice's new castle 'big girl bed'. I've been putting this off for awhile mainly because I didn't want to admit that my sweet baby girl has grown into a sweet little girl. There's something about your first born growing up enough to leave her baby crib that makes your heart ache. As we took apart her crib the tears sprang from my eyes, it wasn't so long ago that she seemed like a tiny spec of life in that gigantic bed. I remember laying her in the crib, wrapped up like a cocoon, thinking, she's too small - she'll get lost in there. But now she's grown out of her cocoon and it's time to spread her wings. A small part of me can't help but wish that I could keep her small enough to hold in my arms forever and keep her safe from the world, but I know that's impossible. Still, the tears fell as I realized how fast time moves past us. We live each day with little notice of the small things that shape who we'll be tomorrow or next year. I've tried really hard these past two years to remember every tiny detail about Alice, and now they are tucked safely inside my heart. So, I gave my baby space to grow. She was so excited about her new 'Big Girl Bed' that it took her awhile to go to sleep. Most of the night I slept in partial consciousness waiting for her to cry out to me - but she didn't. This morning I snuck into her room to watch her sleep and her little legs were pulled up under her belly, tiny butt sticking in the air, and I smiled. She had her Raggedy Ann and her stuffed Elephant tucked safely beside her where she could hold on to them. I suppose she learned that from me...

When Alice woke up she smiled at me and giggled. "Mommy, I'm big girl," and then she ran to me and cried "mommy hold Alice, mommy hold Alice." You see...even big girls still need their moms.


say yes more often

I sat and listened to a college graduation speech over the weekend and it had it's usual message of go far and achieve much but something that was said at the closing of the speech got me thinking (and that's always dangerous), "Be less cynical in your lives, say yes more often." I kept mulling those words over in my brain long after the speech had ended because most of the time I don't consider myself cynical but I do find myself saying no quite often. Do those two things go hand in hand? I thought maybe my definition of cynical was wrong so I looked it up, "Negative or pessimistic, as from world-weariness." Hmmmm, world weariness? I suppose I've been that many times in my life. It's hard not to be weary when you've experienced so much pain in your years of living, but I've always had a "I'm a survivor attitude," at least on the outside. When I'm honest with myself I have to admit that parts of me resemble a cynic. I've been cynical about love most of my life an although I've found what I believe is true love, I struggle on a daily basis to actually trust in it. There's some part of me that lays quietly waiting for it all to be a fantasy, for the love to be a lie so that the cynical part of myself - wins. Isn't that crazy? I often boast on the fact that I'm an optimist, always believing that in the end things will turn out better than when they started but now I'm discovering I'm kind of a hypocrite because while I'm painting my walls pretty with hope, on the inside I'm doubting that any color would be bright enough to chase away the gloom. And so then comes the word No. I say No more often than I realized. I say No to letting people see the real me, they may not like what I show them. I say No to trusting people enough to rely on them, they may let me down and then I'll be left the fool. I say No to letting people see that sometimes I'm not strong, they may feel pity for me. I say No too often. There in lies the heart of my cynical self.

So how do I change? How do we all become less cynical? How do we trust in the love we find to be exactly what it reveals itself to be? How do we stop expecting the worst to happen and start believing there is nothing worse than losing faith? How do we live our lives being less cynical and start saying yes more often? I suppose it begins right here...by leaning on the people stronger than we are. We're all teachers in this place right? Someone told me once that knowing where you need to be is half the battle of getting there.



It's that time of year again...Graduation time. Last night my niece graduated from 8th grade except they don't call it graduation anymore, instead it's a 'promotion'. I suppose the lingo is more fitting since really that's what she's doing, being promoted to high school. A week before her little step sister 'graduated' from pre-school and they call it graduation and nothing else. I have to tell you I'm a bit put off by the whole concept of graduating from pre-school. Being raised by an English professor has instilled in me the notion that in this lifetime we should be rewarded for accomplishment not for simply existing from day to day. Now I know it's quite popular to have these sort of 'graduation ceremonies' for these tots but honestly what are we teaching these children? It's not that I think that at age 4 or 5 you have not accomplished something...in fact these kids have accomplished a great deal, it's that when it comes down to it who are we having these ceremonies for - the kids or the adults? I believe that when a child stands up on a stage and receives a diploma they should know exactly what it means. Why not call these 'ceremonies' a celebration, a party, or heck...a promotion? It reminds me slightly of those parents who enter their children in beauty pageants, dress them up like dolls and place them on a stage to perform. It seems that so often we spend so much time having parties and graduation ceremonies that we forget to teach these kids the more important things in life like values and morals. Maybe I think about this a little too much but when I talked to my niece last night and she down played the importance of her own 'graduation' because her 5 year old sister had the same ceremony a week earlier - I saw exactly what we're teaching our children. It's like if you give someone a present every single day and then their birthday rolls around and you give them another gift, the present has little meaning because one - they expect it, and two it happens too often so there is nothing special in the gesture.

I tried to make my niece realize how important this day was for her. It's a passage from childhood into young adult hood, a chance to begin a new. She left me with some very wise words that I wish more children heard and believed..."I want to be rewarded for the things I accomplish not the things I fall into by circumstance." My sweet darling niece has already become a wonderful teacher.

Happy Friday all....


Are diamonds a girl's best friend? Well I wouldn't go so far as to say they are a best friend...but they can make you feel pretty darn...special. The thing about a diamond is that in one moment it can make you feel all sparkly and special and in the next it can remind you that even the hardest stone on this earth can crack in a million little pieces if it's not properly taken care of. I try so very hard to pamper my diamond on a regular basis.

Happy Half Nekkid Thursday HNT_1