Friday, June 17, 2016

Surviving the Big D: Wedding Photos


13 years later I’m going thru my wedding photos.  I’ve been divorced 8 years, I don’t need all of these.  I paid for a crazy amount of photos, photos I thought would mean something, photos to look back on.  Well those are in the wedding album I had made, that I never got back from the ex.  Thankfully the photographer gave us 2 sets of proofs, plus now I have the negatives. 

 
I’ve had all of these albums plus the video (VHS) I never wanted done in the first place in a box, taking up space in my storage area.  It was time to go thru them.   In sorting thru all of the photos I began to realize how angry they make me.  Not because I got divorced and all those painful memories are coming back, but because of things that happened, or things missing from the albums.  I’ll start with things that happened.  First off, if children are part of the wedding, the mother should speak to the bride to be sure about what attire to put them in.  I was left out of that conversation.  My ex-SIL decided to go buy a dress for her daughter, and not consult me.  Secondly, children should not be at the reception.   These pictures reminded me of how angry I was to continually get interrupted on the dancefloor. I’m sorry, but that was my day, they should have been in bed.  I love my niece and nephew like crazy and would be happy to pay for a sitter.  Thirdly, my parents are divorced, my mom remarried, I have three families.  These albums show 2 ½ families.  I’m missing a whole side of the banquet hall with that side of the family and friends.  I know they were there but key photos that could have been taken on that day would have meaning now.  Especially now that my father has passed away.  I have enough photos to remind me of that day with him, but being the organized, detail oriented person that I am, I think I had pretty good instructions for the photographer.  I am grateful for my friends that day who shared with me their photos, a lot of them are better than what I paid for.
 
Other things that set me back 10 years of flooding emotions, my bridesmaid pictures, at least I have one good one of just us, and not with the children.  My sister and her new boyfriend at the time, where are they?  Had it not been for a good friend of mine at the time, I would have never seen the video recorder tripod set up in the corner, which I did not want.  Yes I watched the tape once, in fast forward it is hysterical, and you actually see her telling me about it and pointing to the set up.  I didn’t want to cut the cake, but somehow they wrangled me into it.  A lot of things that went on that day even though it came out of our pockets, it still had some influence from one side of the families.  All of that will not be repeated if I ever decide to do this again.  It’s the couples’ day, not everyone else’s.
 
I’m going thru the 2nd book of proofs now, and I’m still angry.  I’m mostly angry on how much we paid for all this, how many photos show me with a ‘fake’ smile.  Which I now have seen for myself in many photos that were taken.  It was a reaction to the amount of photos being taken and the fact that I had to be a bride and be an organizer at the same time rallying everyone to the main picture taking area.  What a PITA.  What was I paying people for?  Anyway, the garbage men are going to get an eye full if they even look at my recycling pile.  I have no idea who that girl is in the white dress anymore, she is long gone in a life far far away.  The memories I have with my family that day cannot be repeated in photos, they are snapshots in time for only me.  Photos that could have been taken.  So I write this as closure to tossing out the past yet again and knowing the next time, if there is one, this anger will not exist because I know better.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Happy Easter - The Adult Version

Easter cannot compete with Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving is one of the most vulgar holidays of the year at the dinner table.   Even so I still keep my notebook handy with a pen and take notes.  Yes I take notes at the dinner table.  Conversation = great quotes.  You can judge all you like but it makes for good conversation besides politics, cars, gun control and sheep.

Here’s some snippets from my table to yours:

-          I’ll do you
-          That’s head cheese
-          We had pickled pigs feet in lots of vinegar
-          Sniffing that alone will make you cry
-          Split rear
-          What’s better than make up sex and learning how to drive a stick?
-          I should have punched it before I left
-          Gotta let it rise two times til its just above the rim
-          See the bones and pull them out
-          Roll your fingers
-          Roll your index finger and then your thumb
-          She uses too much pressure
-          They are so small, they will fit in my hands
-          Then there are the big ones that you need two hands
-          Before you put it out you have to open it up
-          Open it half a turn
-          That’s good eating size
-          Taste like chicken
-          If they’re delicious then look at all those wasted meals
-          There was a squirrel hanging by his cohones
-          Don’t feed and pet the animals
-          Chitty chitty bang bang
-          Who knew that Julie Andrews was so sexy?
-          Imagine being at a nudest camp while being next to a donkey farm?

 
And there you have it.  Unfortunately I never saw the “unicorn jumping over a rainbow while farting” nor did the creepy bunny make an appearance.  All had a good time followed by homemade desserts, babka and Opici.

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Minor Setbacks


We all have a few of those bad days, and unfortunately mine turned into weeks.  I had a mystery illness that caused me to gain 6 lbs. in two weeks, have trouble sleeping but have all this energy.  Here I was willing to accept the consequences for diving into the French Onion dip after New Year’s Eve.  That wasn’t the case.  My clothes didn’t fit, I lived in yoga pants and leggings for weeks.  I refused to buy new clothes, I knew this was temporary whatever it was.  It was also frustrating, it was painful to workout. I was on the brink of losing it, my doctor was baffled.  He put me thru blood work, pregnancy test, x-rays, and finally an appointment with a specialist.

 
I eat healthy, I stay away from processed foods, soda, white flour, fast food.  Yes I like my carbs, I like my French fries and the occasional piece of chocolate cake (as long as I know what it’s made with).  I don’t overdo it with supplements or those over the counter gimmicks.  I drink detox tea, water like it’s going to run out and keep a regimented workout schedule.  Maybe my body had enough, it was telling me something.  I know what the feeling of being ‘burnt out’ is and this wasn’t it.  Something was wrong.
 

At the Specialist I get to hear those great words people of my age want to hear or don’t want to hear depending on how you look at it: “You’re too young to be going thru this”, and the ‘this’ was still to be determined. Now the Specialist is thorough,  he asked me a ton of questions to diagnose and at the end of the appointment I now have another appointment for more testing a week later.  “Now I’m a guinea pig, he has no idea what the problem is.” I think to myself, another $60 co-pay I’ll never get back. 

 

There’s never been 4 weeks I’ve gone without exercise of some sort, I was frustrated, angry, actually getting bored since I caught up on my recorded movies, Netflix and magazines, and getting organized around the house.  Things I’ve put off for a rainy day that would get done eventually.  Preparing for the tests was interesting, I had to have my last meal a day before the test.  Chicken, ½ of a sweet potato and left over Orzo pasta, if I wasn’t going to eat for that long I better carb up.  Now three hours later I have to drink this stuff that tasted like watered down lemon jello, by the gallon.  Yum!
 

I try to sleep in, and since my appointment isn’t until lunch time I still can’t eat anything or drink anything but water.  I’m cold, I’m freezing at this point, and it is February but for me to sleep in sweats and walk around in a robe and blanket during the day is nuts.  “It’s almost over” I try to remind myself.   In the waiting room I now realize I’m the youngest person in the room. Lovely.  Now I’m counting the hours since I last had something to eat, I’ve got a slight headache, I’m freezing, just get this over with.  It was 24 hours since my last meal, so of course when the nurse calls my name next and asks me how I’m doing, the first thing out of my mouth is “Feed me!”  It’s not her fault I’m here, but it made her laugh, she said no one has ever said it that way!  She was great, we actually had a nice chat because somehow in the midst of me answering questions I brought up I was going to write about this experience.  She was a great nurse who made this comforting and I probably made her Friday. 

 
She puts me thru another pregnancy test (this is test #2), let me just clarify that I’m on a pill that I could get my period or could not get it so dates are never accurate.  Just to be sure, yet again, I have to go pee in a cup.  Now that’s over with again and they put an IV in my arm and I’m being wheeled into another room where the Specialist is and so is the anesthesiologist.  Here’s the best part, they tell me I’m going to get Propofol and that my vision is going to get a little blurry and within seconds I’m out.  When I wake up, my first words to the nurse are, “What are you doing in my house?”  I guess it sounded like I left the TV on and fell asleep, I have no idea, it was funny, I still laugh about it.  I might have made her Friday as well, she did say I had an attitude about it.

 
Now I wait for results, otherwise I feel great.  The 6 lbs. are gone, no more French Onion dip just in case.  I have learned a few things thru the last 5 weeks.  Never be afraid to talk to your friends when something is not right with your health.  They are your biggest supporters (and uplifting card senders, texters).  When your doctor conducts a pregnancy test, at least for my insurance the cost is $45 a pop, $5 of which is not covered by insurance.  Setbacks, are just that, a minor setback.  Nothing should get in the way of your goals. Just keep going, get over that obstacle and continue the routine.  It might be frustrating to start slow, but every little bit helps.  It takes more motivation for you to get off that couch and get moving than to just sit there and press the next button on your remote.  Results don’t happen overnight, everything is a process we work hard at, we strive for.  And I don’t falter easily, I just felt that something was being taken away from me (like a child whose toy is being taken away).

 
So I wait a week to start exercising and on day three I break my toe.  I banged it pretty good, but that’s not stopping me, I can still do most of my work out until I can run comfortably.  Just another minor setback that I cannot blame on the French Onion dip.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Power of 'No'


Many of you may be offended by what I have to say and I truly do not care what you think.  This is my life, I only have one to live and I’m going to live it.
 
I’ve spent the past few years with regrets, most of which because I had to be responsible for making a choice and having a double booked calendar.  Thinking in the fall my team would have enough girls, and those girls would remain healthy I registered for running and cycling events, when later those events I could not participate in because I had to step in as a coach and play for the injured.  Events that were non-refundable.  This happened multiple years in a row and this year, because I turned 40 nothing, besides the weather, was going to stop me.  My goal from May thru November was to run and/or cycle in one or more events per month.  So I may have missed a graduation party, a birthday, I may have missed another softball tournament and practically a whole Sunday season (which I planned ahead for and had someone else manage the team).  I may have said, “No, I’m sorry, I have an event this weekend”, when you invited me to your bbq, or to go to a local wine tasting event. Thing is, I said “No” and by saying “No” empowered me to conquer my goals this year.  I cycled 62 miles, and ran my first 10K and those are two huge accomplishments for me this year.  How many others at 40 can say the same?  I put myself first, for the most part, this year, because honestly the events I was invited to and said “No” would not reimburse the money I put out.  I did this for me, for my competitive spirit, because this is who I am, I compete, I play hard, I still strive to be the best version of myself at 40 years old.  I hate to brag but I am the only person from my varsity team still playing softball.  
 
Many of you may argue that I have all this time to train, compete and play because I do not have kids.  That is true, but I always vowed if I did, I would never lose sight of who I was, how I got there.  Never again would I lose who I am for someone else.  I work nine hours a day, I commute about two hours and 10 minutes round trip on a good day, somehow I make the time.  I’ve always been a firm believer if you lose who you are, what you enjoy, you will lose your sense of self.  You will lose what drives you, what makes you tick.  I tried to live with no regrets until the regrets were costing me money, and another year older made me think I may not have much time left to compete like this.  Saying “No” is empowering, it enabled me to have an enjoyable year so far.  We do not always have to do what is socially expected, we do not always have to follow the crowd, we do not always have to do what we’ve done the same time every single year and we do not have to live a life someone else is dictating.  So I choose to say “No” this weekend, and snag another bib number to my wall of fame.  Don’t hate me for saying “No” because I’m choosing to conquer my goals, support me by wishing me well and not crossing me off the list of invitees for next time.
 
People have this FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome, when in theory the only fear they have is missing out on their own life as it continues right before their very eyes.  We only have one life to live…so live it as you wish.

 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 Unfilted and Not Processed


Happy Thanksgiving 2015 ‘unfiltered’ and ‘not processed’ – the only way to be

After a snafu in attempting to make a healthy frosting for my healthy pumpkin spice cupcakes, and having to forego that and start from scratch the next day with a real cream cheese frosting recipe from scratch thanks to the Food Network, to one broken nail (happened after I cooked everything) and one cut finger (during dishes) I will not disappoint with this years Thanksgiving terms during dinner that could be construed as inappropriate.  Even after drinking "Red Headed Step Child" wine, which could be inappropriate, I am not offended at all. 

Disclosure as always: For the ‘rookies’ this is what is said at our dinner table, uncensored, no filter, and what could be or isn’t normal at other’s houses for Thanksgiving.  *May not be suitable for those under 17 and who may get offended easily. * No children were present at this table.

Q: Do you wanna probe that yet?
A: No I still have an hour to go.
  • Cajones
  • I love the neck, that’s as enticing as sucking face
  • You can do both
  • I got a squirter
  • What plate is this that I’m using for salad? (there were multiple plate settings on the dinner table)
  • This is real china (after turning over the plate) Its made in Japan
  • A little more, I’m a grown ass man
  • Light, dark in between
 

Q: What’s the difference between white and dark meat?
A: After laughing so hard they forgot to answer the question
 

Talking about a Food Network chef.. She can get dirty at my home
Chef would ask: How long does this go in the oven?
The answer: Until you hear the ding

 
I took my hands and put it under the skin and massaged it.

Q: Did you inject it?
A: I massaged it.
  • There’s still a lot of breast left
  • Its QVS. No, you mean QVC
  • I’ll have a neck
  • Do you know if this bird had a beard?
  • You don’t eat the bone
  • I’m gonna do this neck thing
  • I want that whole carcus on your plate
 
The butt is still in there. I like them when they’re fried and dried out.
Fried ass is a good ass!
 
  • Mine would have ear muffs.
  • Would you put it in your mouth?
  • Are you down with the brown?
  • That knob I can deal with
  • A little slippage on the outtake
  • I’m glad it didn’t rise

That should take two swallows. 
In the Godfather it was “slurp, and its gone”.
 
 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Godfathers, Mandanas, Wenches – oh my!


We decided to move up GNO to late June, since the last few times we’ve gone down in August its been too cold to sit on the beach.  The Angels ascended upon AC in the evening, only to visit a local yocal bar by recommendation from the hotel receptionist, which was just that. I felt like we walked into a cafeteria with a juke box.  It wasn’t that bad, the bartender did show us that adding Chambord to a Mike’s Hard Lemonade made it tasty!  Then went across the street to the acclaimed “Bar and Grill” whose parking lot was full.  Can’t say either of these places was our best choices for the night, but they served their food and drink purpose.  At the acclaimed “Bar and Grill” the food was good and the drinks were cheap, we had prime seats and somehow they forgot to charge us for the last 2 drinks. Thank you! And thank you for having the security system on your tvs to pan the parking lot. Unfortunately and unplanned I did not get up to visit the ladies room on purpose to leave one of the Angels alone on a bar stool, unsuspecting to the short yocal who needed nothing more than just someone to listen to his problems besides the bartenders.  Whoops! 

 
The amount of bachelor and bachelorette parties continue to grow, but you will be impressed I only told one group who I will talk about later, not to ‘eat the cake’.  Even after I rode the elevator with a bachelorette party all decked out in matching tank tops, I still bit my tongue (I guess now a days it makes it easier to find your drunk entourage).  We walked passed the Godfathers, who I must say got the award for most creativity for a bachelor party, they were older, and each person had a characters name on the back, similar to Ho’s Bachelor Party with Best Man #1, etc.  Kudos to you guys for not being tacky.  We met Flash Gordon who was babysitting the bachelor party he was with who honestly just wanted some adult conversation with people of his own age.  ‘Flash’ ‘ AAAHH’.  Haha…. Our last group of unsuspecting boys started with a lie.  He came over to the table next to us and was taking pictures with all of them, then fed us a line that he needed to take as many pictures as possible, that it was a scavenger hunt because he was the groom.  At least I got to see the new Samsung phone!  Anyway, this poor guy, well, he did ask for it, had no idea what was about to happen next.  He said he was only with his fiancĂ©, so he really never saw another vajayjay.  (I think you can tell where this is going) The amount of jokes that came from that, well, he asked for it.  He admitted to only seeing his moms’ vajayjay, then said he felt uncomfortable talking about it until he compared himself to the size of a corona bottle.  From then on it just spiraled into another conversation of “Do you like clams?” until the rest of his entourage including “Uncle Joey” and the guy with one chest hair showed up to collect the stray drunkard who was not the groom.  I did tell them to not let the bride eat the cake, but no one seemed to care.
 


Although we were missing one Angel on this trip, she was in our thoughts. We found a new way to kick off the weekend with tequila shots, free drinks from Captain Morgan and the wenches, people watching on the beach and inside the casinos, which led to another fun bought of a A-Z rating system and giving guys with buns nicknames such as MB (manbun), any guy wearing a bandana was a mandana.  They did however leave us confused as to why guys (obviously who do not exercise) would wear ladies fitness tank tops that say ‘It’s my cheat day’ because that could mean many things.  Boogie Nights and Providence rounded out the night for us. Kudos to the 80’s club that never disappoints and we never get harassed or groped in the process of shaking our groove thing. 
 



After the Angels left we still had a day and a half left, being incognito at Bungalow hiding from the ‘Uncle Joey’ entourage, which you couldn’t miss because one had on bright Nike sneakers, which seemed to be trending if you wanted to find your friends the next day.  We closed out the Dueling Piano bar at the Playground, which, as long as they remain open next year, will be our hot spot to hit.  We have to retain our ‘girls with the wavy arms in the back’ status!





And always on our last day on the beach we get the old man who sits next to us, passes out and wears the shorts without a liner….nothing appealing about lifting your head up to see or not see that!  Maybe next year they will have designated beach areas for ‘family friendly’ and ‘seniors only’.
 

 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Country Road Get Me Home

Never in my mind had I ever thought I’d be singing this on a trip home, more or less hearing it 4 times in 2 and a half days.  But I did, and I’m home and I haven’t sung that song since I walked thru my front door.
 
I must say traveling through Philly is awesome, it does not compare to Newark at all.  Economy Parking is convenient and you do not have to drive in circles to check to see if the lot is open.  Check in was a breeze, maybe because I flew US Air Express, you know the jet the corporate types fly to short distances.  Security at Philly was easy too, again, it may have just been the time I was at the airport and maybe people knew what they were doing to keep the line moving.  It was the quickest under 30 minutes of arriving at any airport in my life. Except for the very nice woman at the check in counter who complimented me on my hair then asked if I ever saw the Dove commercial with the children with curly hair. I still need to look that one up.
 
My lunch was interesting, every seat had an IPad in which to ordered food and beverages.  I watched two women enter and exit because of the new technology way of ordering and paying.  I wasn’t even carded for my large Yards Pale Ale.  I also met two ladies traveling from Nepal, and learned that Nepal has 1 runway which after being stuck there another three days, they were happy to be in the US, even if it was to connect on their way home.
 
My flight was ok, I actually flew sober, which means I didn’t order any beverages in flight.  After the two and half at lunch, I had enough, plus I wanted to save room for real bourbon later.  If you haven’t figured it out yet I went to Tennessee for work.  I flew into Nashville, which is like any other airport except for the country music posters everywhere.  
 
I had a car service to my hotel and a nice conversation with the driver about softball.  In some ways made me jealous they get to play year round (almost), it would have been a great experience if I was younger.
 
My cab from the hotel to the place for dinner actually steered me away from the overpriced, small plate fare and dropped me off at Fast Jacks.  The food was great, but I did get carded.  Let me set the stage, the bartender, who was a much younger version of Yosemite Sam (minus the hat) asked me for my ID after I ordered the drink.  It was off the menu, because like any martini, drink connoisseur if you ask a real bartender what they recommend, they will tell you its not on the menu and its one of their signature drinks that they are trying to implement.  So that’s exactly what I did and I ended up with a Bourbon martini which tasted similar to an Old Fashioned with George Dickel Bourbon.  Now the bartender says to me, “I know you have to be close to my age, because no 21 year old would order a bourbon drink, the owner doesn’t believe me, can I see your ID?”  As usual I laugh, smile and hand it over.  The owner, who was a woman in her late 50’s (I’m guessing) across the bar says in her best accent, “Man, you look so young you sure make me feel old.”
 
 
The bar itself was cozy, picture walking into a country store, playing today’s hits and watching “The Voice” on the big screens.   I had the one drink, plus another one on the house.  Props to Trent the bartender, who not only made killer drinks, but topped them both off with fancy ice cubes with limes.  
 
I met some very nice people at that office, a woman even complimenting me on my hair in the bathroom.  I was beginning to think not only did I stand out with my northerner accent but my hair was attracting attention.  Thankfully no one thought I was Reba’s daughter.  The best compliment which I still laugh about is the woman with whom I’ve spoken to a lot on the phone, “I thought you were taller, you’re an itty bitty thing!”  I guess sometimes in pictures even if its just a head shot it makes you look taller.  
 
The location I was in Tennessee didn’t have much of a nightlife, nor a variety to eat, and you had to make sure they were open that day.  In fact the closest Barnes and Noble, Best Buy was 35 minutes away.  The group suggested we eat at “Tuesdays” for our last group dinner, which by my surprise was a decent place except for the strange group of older ladies sitting at another table all wearing different hats.  I thought maybe that night that group of ladies had a ‘hat’ meeting or something, turns out it was someone’s birthday.  
 
My trip was successful and I am glad I had the opportunity to go, network and taste some real bourbon, not to mention absorb the southern accent.  All in a days work! 
 
At the bar waiting for my flight to leave, in a bar where there is a country singer strumming his guitar playing “Mamma’s don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys”, while enjoying another large beer, I receive a message my flight has been delayed an hour.  I continue to sing along while yet again another message for a flight delay.  Now I order food and another beer, that’s going to be another 2 hours.  I’m halfway done with my beer and now the flight is cancelled.  I think I must have said WTF outloud because the two guys on either side asked if my flight was cancelled.  I drink up, pay my bill and head out to the cancellation desk.  In line I overhear the guy behind me on the phone trying to get on another airline.  This was while I was trying to get a group of people to share a rental car and split the drive home (sometimes I just think on the fly).  He’s successful in getting the last flight out, and so quick thinking I did the same with some help from my sister.  I also didn’t want to lose my place in line because I wanted my luggage back!
 
Fast forward to me back at the bar after getting my luggage, checking in again at a new airline and going through security again (by now I’m an expert), this guy is there.  Now I have a buddy to hang out with for another 3+ hours, and he’s from Middlesex County, he knows people who went to my high school, so killing 3 hours was easy.  Plus I wasn’t by myself, singing to the same country music guy, who I tipped after his last song “I’m on Fire” was a great nod to Springsteen.  Had to give the singer props.
 
Again, many of you will be shocked that I did not drink during the flight home.  By that point I had 4 beers at the airport in about 5 hours time, I was done and I had to drive back home at midnight.  I like to fly Southwest, they are no joke, except we didn’t play any games on this flight.  We boarded and off we went, hauling ass more like it on the runway.  When we landed we hauled ass to the terminal.  I guess at that time the airport isn’t really that busy, I didn’t mind, I just wanted to get home.
 
I’ve learned a few things on this trip: 1) Do not travel during Daylight Savings change into a time zone change and back.  I had to recover twice.  2) Plan out your dinner plans for the first night in advance, that may have saved me time from having to ask the Hotel for recommendations. 3) Make friends at the airport, you never know if you’re flight is going to be delayed or cancelled.  4) Have a backup plan if the flight is cancelled.  I’m going to do research next time I fly so I know what flights leave on other airlines around that time. 5) John Denver isn’t so bad, but hearing “Take me home, country road” twice in one day was my breaking point.