Monday, March 31, 2008

Your Princess Can Have an Eating Disorder Too--McDonalds Will Help

Is it just me??

I wouldn't think this would be good for their business.

I'm so not lovin' it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Got a Cork?

Sometimes I feel like a bucket that's sprung a hole at its seam.

On the outside all looks well, but I feel empty on the inside. The things that should normally fill me up are washing out as quickly as they're poured in--so much so sometimes that there is barely any residue left by their presence.

I don't know if it's exhaustion or frustration or restlessness, but I need to feel full before I begin to collapse in on myself.

Tomorrow I may feel completely different.

I hope I do.

Because today, I worried to myself that I was becoming a black hole, and a black hole by its infinite nature is impossible to fill.

But then again, I tend to be a worrier.

Let's chalk this all up to hormone fluctuations and an impending birthday. I used to love them, but now I'm looking at the number and wondering what it is I've accomplished and what it is I have ahead of me.

I desire change.

I know I'm the only one who can make it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

How He Became Our Son, Part I

We had been married for nine months when we got the call.

We were going to have a kid--a three and a half year-old kid!


Parental responsibilities were to begin in forty-eight hours!

Holy shit on a cracker! In forty-eight hours?! What do I need? What do they eat? Where will he sleep? What does he do when we go to work? What about when we're at happy hour?

There had been those three days a month after our honeymoon when I thought I might be pregnant, but it was a false alarm. Even then, I would have had nine months to prepare for the arrival. But this? We weren't getting much notice.

Then I found out why.

Life with my sister has never been what you'd describe as predictable--life with a drug addict rarely is. I'd lived through screaming matches, visiting hours at rehab, sketchy friends, suicide attempts, rehab, dropping out of school, "your sister has run away," "well, I'm going to live with Dad," parents kicking her out, rehab, wrecked cars, the MS diagnosis, arrests for posession, rehab and then finally "I'm pregnant, can't work, not married, but I'm keeping the baby anyway."

Seriously, mom's Christmas cards were always the first ones opened I'm sure.

I was fully prepared to step in if the MS ever got too bad for her to care for my nephew. This had been made clear to the husband when he was still just the boyfriend. Luckily her disease had progressed slowly and my nephew's birth didn't cause her any loss of mobility (as we were warned it might). The possibility of taking on his care seemed a long way off.

But of course there I was on the phone getting the "your sister's in jail and you need to come get him now" call.

I know, hindsight is 20/20. I should have seen it coming, right? As stupid as it sounds though, I just didn't.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Boys Have Their Own Paparazzi

I've always wanted to be an artist. I love the idea of throwing myself into the creative process and producing something that appeals to me.

My mom, she IS an artist. She creates and sells incredible paintings.

I've tried. I can't.

In all honesty, I don't possess the patience (oh okay, nor the skill) to work for hours or days coaxing an image onto a canvas.

I'm an immediate gratification kind of girl, so digital photography?? My kind of art. And lucky me, the hubs got tired of being hit over the head with hints surprised me with a new SLR for Christmas.

I've been experimenting.

But I had originally wanted the camera to capture my boys faces. So you can imagine how psyched I was when Hipmommy (thanks Hipmommy!!) was hosting a contest on her site to win a copy of Photographing Your Family. It's jam packed with terrific examples, easy to digest information about shooting people and creating interesting photos--and it even includes information about using editing software to make your photos even better.

Now I haven't gotten to editing these yet, other than cropping them, but I've been pretty happy with the lessons I've learned so far.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why I Love St. Patrick's Day--It's Not What You Think

I have a fondness for this day we celebrate our collective Irish heritage--both real and imagined.

I don't necessarily imbibe in green beer, though I have, and I did enjoy corned beef and cabbage today (a first). I don't love St. Patrick's Day because I'm particularly fond of bagpipes or long lines at Irish Pubs.

I love St. Patrick's Day because I'm adopted.

I've always known I was adopted. I went straight from the hospital to my parents. I'm taller than both my parents, but I am a brunette like my mom. Like many modern families, my parents divorced and my mom remarried when I was 10, so I mainly grew up without anyone questioning if I was adopted because they knew the guy I called my dad was actually my step-father.

In my sister's case, the fact of her adoption was a little more obvious. My first real memories are of the events surrounding her adoption when I was 3 1/2. She actually went home with her biological family for a few months before coming to us and we know that she is of Puerto Rican descent.

My sister and I look nothing alike--but I tend to forget. As a matter of fact, when my nephew (now my eldest son--different story for a different day) was born he looked so much like my sister that I cried when I met him because I finally felt like I looked like someone I knew.

So what does this all have to do with St. Patrick's Day? I'm getting there.

In my twenties, I requested the non-identifying information about my adoption from the agency that handled it. Honestly, I wasn't looking for much information, though I did discover I had been given another first name at birth (my mom swears she told me this--I contend that's not something I would have forgotten) and that my birth parents weren't related by blood (Phew! Dodged that bullet! Shit I hadn't even contemplated the possibility.) I was interested in a totally different piece of information. There was only one thing I wanted to know--one little thing that has always bugged me.

I want to know my ethnic background.

As an adoptee, I've never been too interested in finding my biological parents, but I have wanted to feel some connection to those who have come before me. To be able to stake a claim to an ethnic "home country" feels like it would give me a sense of my place in the chain of human events.

So there I was, scanning through the documents I received from the agency, finding out that my name had been Emily for a few days and my birth parents were young and probably "made" me in the back of a Trans-Am with Led Zepplin blaring on the AM radio, when my eyes found the box containing the information I had been searching for.

Ethnic heritage: American


My blue eyes, dark hair and plethora of freckles suggest that this didn't mean Native American.

My physical characteristics suggest I'm Irish. I once dated a self-proclaimed "black Irish" guy and it was somewhat awkward to kiss in public, because people often thought we were siblings.

Does it make sense now why I love St. Patrick's Day?

It's the one day a year I get to have a nationality--even if I don't have proof.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

*grumble grumble* Morning

I've treated my body and face as the enemy for so long. They always disappointed me. I'm always trying to change them. I've never been willing to love them for who they are.

It's pretty hard to properly nurture someone you don't love.

Over these past few weeks, I've been more dependent on parts of my body I hadn't given much thought to previously. Not being able to use one part has forced me to develop a relationship with others.

And you know what I discovered? They were here for me all along, and I took them forgranted.

Well no more.

It's time for me to alter my expectations, come to terms with a few things and appreciate what I have.

So here's a start.

Me. Unadulterated. With a side of sleep.

I have to thank a number of cool chicks for the inspiration.


Thanks for the inspiration ladies. I think every single one of you is gorgeous.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'll Tell You I Love You

My grandmother has lost most of her words. After watching her cholesterol for years and denying herself her beloved chocolate, it was her mind that went before her body. Alzheimers has robbed my grandmother of her personality, her memory and her words. Despite this, I remember some of them very clearly.

I don't remember how old I was exactly when we had the conversation, but I couldn't have been more than five or six. I imagine it must have started by me questioning why she always told me she loved me. I probably wanted to run and play but was delayed by her just wanting a hug. I don't remember.

However it started, my grandmother told me a story that has stuck with me forever, and I bet that even if she did remember who I was now, she would have no idea how much it's influenced how I communicate with people I care about.

My grandma was born and raised in Scranton, PA. Her grandfather was a Welshman who came to America to work in the coal mines. At some point after getting married, she moved to Connecticut with her new husband who was soon shipped off to war. She moved back to PA to live with her father, her two, much younger baby brothers and her brand new baby girl--my mom. My grandfather was gone for two years during which time my grandmother ran her father's house--her mother having died years before. With the war over and my grandfather safely home, she returned to CT and her relationship with her father was conducted over frequent trips home and the phone. She had another little girl, the 60's came and life was busy. She and my grandfather saved their pennies and built their own house from a plan they bought from a catalogue. Her dad came to visit her in her new house too. I've seen pictures of him celebrating there on my mom's 16th birthday. Not too much time later, back in PA, he died.

My grandmother had spoken to her dad on the phone the day before he died. There had been no indication that he was ill. They were making plans for her to come down soon. She ended the call and told him she'd see him soon. She didn't tell him she loved him. And I don't think she's ever forgotten that--even now.

So years later, when her precocious granddaughter asked her why she always told her she loved her, her response was simple.

The last time I talked to my dad I didn't tell him I loved him. I didn't think it would be the last time I talked to him. He died and I didn't get the chance to tell him. I don't know if he knew I loved him. I can't ever let that happen again. You never know when you talk to someone that it may be for the last time.

Last weekend my best friend lost her thirty-eight year-old brother to a complication related to a surgery that occured a month before. He died in the hospital, by himself, in the middle of the night before she and her parents could get to him. The other night, she cried as she lamented the fact that she didn't get the chance to say goodbye--or to tell him how much she loved him. She worried aloud that he might not have known.

That night as I got ready to pull away, she told me she loved me. And I told her I loved her too.

I was the kid who couldn't fall asleep at night if I thought my parents were mad at me. I actually threw up once because my mom left for her night shift at the hospital not happy with me for something I'm sure I pulled as she was trying to get to work.

I tell people I love that I love them. I tell my kids all the time. Ask them, they'll tell you. I say it in cards. I write it in emails. I don't end a phone conversation with anyone I love without telling them so and making sure they heard me.

I just can't take the chance that it's the last conversation I may have with them.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dammit Eliot!

You know I loved watching you. I loved that you weren't afraid to go after anyone. I had high hopes for you.

And now I feel like a disappointed parent. (Wait! I am a parent and I am disappointed.)

I mean really! Didn't you think you'd get caught? Didn't you realize those you've left in your wake would want to nail something on you?

Or were you trying to make up for some shortcomings?

What is it with you meglomaniacal politicians?? Or maybe I should be asking what it is with our country that we demand so much from our politicians that there is only a certain type who can fit the bill?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Post I Might Delete Later

I'm in a really bad mood. Lately, I haven't posted when this happens because I worry what I might say when I do. Too many people I care about stop by here on occasion and I don't want them to fret over me.

But today I remembered that my attraction to writing developed during my teen years as a way to get the thoughts out of my head. As a fairly outgoing person, you might be surprised by the size of the crowd and level of volume that can be reached in my brain.

I don't hear voices per se (cause damn if I did they might have answers), but rather have conversations with myself--constantly.

So back in those hormone-filled days of angst, I often wrote letters to people as a way to say the things I didn't feel I could say/or didn't have the opportunity to say in person. I never sent the letters. I don't remember burning any of them. Who knows? My mom could be sitting on a stack of them right now waiting for the perfect time to embarrass the crap out of me. The letters didn't necessarily make me feel any better, but they seemed to quiet the sounds that prevented me from noticing the rest of the world and moving on.

Like many bloggers I know, I do keep a private blog where, to this day, I still write letters. Interestingly, putting my thoughts out there feels safer than recording them in a journal that someone might happen upon. There is further irony to that blog, but for now I'll enjoy that by myself.

Do you have a place you write that is separate from your public blog? Are there topics that you only cover there?

As I wander through the blogosphere I read about a vast number of topics that are finally seeing the light of day. Moms are opening up about topics ranging from sex to the trials of PPD. Women are discussing the frustration and heartbreak of infertility. People of all walks of life are sharing the trials of serious illness, depression, racism, bullying, addiction, the death of loved ones and abuse. These brave people are sharing a part of themselves in a way that allows the rest of us to not feel so alone in the world. In my mind, they are the pillars of the social networking community.

What I've noticed though is that there seems to be one topic that remains fairly off limits (unless addressed anonymously). I understand why. Many people have discussed their reasons for not talking about it. I see this in my real life friendships too.

I just have to ask though...when will we all stop pretending like marriage is easy??

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Mother Never Thought I'd Wear Skirts

I was quite the tomboy. I'm fairly certain my dad wanted boys, which is probably how I ended up being the first girl in my hometown to play little league. But today, here I am one of the brand new editors at Sk-rt!

Now I know you all know about Sk-rt. If you don't, hop over there immediately for some of the best links on the web.

I'm personally pee-in-my pants excited to be working with the amazing women who founded the site and all of the other new editors (especially her). I'll be cruising the Interwebs looking for cool new posts and articles to highlight on the site. If you see a story you really like in the up and coming section, let me know and I'll slap it with an editor's pick.

As if you didn't need another reason to go check out the site, Sk-rt is hosting a contest to mark the new changes that have gone up over there this week. Just take a look around and let the
Sk-rt chicks know what you think in the comments for this post and you'll be entered to win one of a number of fantabulous prizes.

What you still doing here? Go on now. Git your booty over to Sk-rt and tell them Mamma says hey.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tell Me How I Did It

I know I owe you some winners from last week's contest. I know you're just dying to know where I was, but first I need to fill you in on a little thing that took place while I was away.

Yep! I broke my ankle.

And that dark stuff on my foot? I swear it's not dirt! Just some se-xy bruises.

Since I just love giving stuff away (I'd be happy to give you this cast, really), I have a great prize for the most entertaining story describing how I've found myself in this predicament. Write the story (please, because I need one) on your blog and link back to this post and I'll pick the winner at the end of the week.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Dreams, Observations and the Final Clue

Okay kids you have just a few hours left to win one of two HP Photobooks in the Where in the World is Mamma Contest. Get your guesses and rhymes in now. The final clue is at the end of this post.

I woke up this morning having visited Broadway in my dreams. We never actually made it to the show, but we were contemplating the tickets we were going to purchase. The top show on our list? CHUCK! A musical adaptation of Chuck Norris' book Little Brother.

You want the drugs I have don't you?

Tonight Larry King will host a number of stars who will be talking about the importance of voting. Now while this is a topic I can get behind 110%, I must wonder who Larry is using as a booking agent. The headling guest? Josh Groban.

What is this Soft Rock the Vote?

Or maybe this is Larry's sneaky way to throw his support behind Hillary by getting all the middle-aged white women to the polls.

I'm looking forward to Tuesday. As BOSSY would say, I'm pulling for Barak Oboyfriend.