Freud, help me out here.

So I woke up with a start at 5:00 a.m. this morning. The remnants of the dream I'd been having were still clinging to me, like a spiderweb.

It was still crystal clear, and yet made no sense. In the first half, I was road-tripping with my eBay girls. We were all together, my Minnesota girls and the ones from across the country I met on a wonderful long weekend getaway many moons ago. We were stuck somewhere, and were all gathered around a map, trying to figure out our next move.

Cut to the weapons training. I was being schooled in the art of slingshots by some old dude. He was showing me how to use various hand held machines of mayhem, including one weird bristly thing that was whipped around above your head and then flung out with all your might. The old man demonstrated for me, and in doing so clocked a pig on the head. "We have to eat the pig now" he said, and a woman dressed head to toe in old fashioned Mexican garb (like with those black and red headdress things, and the veil??) (Flamenco! that's it.) grabbed the unconscious pig, dragged it into a fountain in the center of town and cut its throat. Yes, I watched her do it, in my dream, and was horrified. The pig stayed unconscious until the last second and then one eye opened and it looked right at me.

Cut back to me with my eBay friends. We were still talking about where we should go, when one of my bottom teeth, one of the front ones, fell out. Plop. Just popped out, into my hand. I remember looking at it, and saying, "Holy shit, my tooth just fell out." One of my eBay friends (Janet, in case you hens are wondering) grabbed the tooth, looked at it and said, "Wow." I went to a mirror and practiced smiling with my new gap.

Then I woke up. I cautiously felt the spot in my mouth where, just seconds before, I had no tooth. Phew. Tooth intact. I looked around the room. Phew. No dusty weapons-handler or bleeding pig. No eBay friends with big confusing road maps, or lovely Hispanic women wearing Flamenco dresses. Just my room. Walter rolled over and looked at me. If he could talk, I imagined he'd say, "Well, as long as you're up, how about getting your ass out of bed and taking me for a walk?".

And so we did. We went four miles, and as we walked I thought about what that weird dream was trying to tell me. I came away with this:

Time to take a road trip.
Time to see some eBay friends.
Time to stop eating bacon (I wavered between 'time to stop eating it', and 'time to start buying more of it', but I couldn't get that pig's eyes out of my brain so I went with stop. We'll see how long that lasts).
Time to floss more often and also make that dentist appointment I've been putting off.

And most importantly, time to start the 5:00 a.m. walks again. It's hard as hell to get out there, but once you do, it's so worth it. The quiet, the stillness of this lovely little city as dawn approaches...what a fabulous way to begin the day.

I'm not used to feeling so accomplished this early. Typically, the only thing I feel before 6:00 a.m. is a blurry mix of drowsiness and dread, with a pressing need for caffeine.

This is nice. Eye contact with a dying pig and dental horror notwithstanding, it's very nice.


Blogstipation. Or, impacted blog post.

Whatever you want to call it, I gots it.

It's not for lack of anything to say, believe you me, I always have something to say. It's just finding the time, the patience, the willpower to sit down and get the words from A (my head) to B (this page).

I've had a few posts rattling around in my head over the past week, and even named them. Here's a few of the titles I've birthed (and don't be surprised if I recycle one or two. I'm so green like that):

GRAY MATTER: I'm dyeing to make a change

This one was going to be a witty, introspective piece on the coloring of one's hair. And how sick of it I am. Also I was going to give my own little review of the new foamy hair color. Here's the short version: it's ok. Except it spatters. My formica bathroom vanity looks like a decades-old crime scene. Note to self...stop forgetting to buy Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

Dear Miss Manners: Is a Summons a proper baby gift?

Guess what this one is about. Just guess.

The Twins are in Love. Thank you Chico's Soma.

I have found the perfect bra. It makes me want to wear deep v-necks and shake my moneymakers. Ok, so they haven't made me a dime but stranger things have happened. Surely there's a market for fishbelly white, freckly middle aged boobies? Seriously. Chico's has a lingerie line called Soma and for the first time in my adult life I have a bra that works. Ok, ok. For the first time in my adult life since I breastfed four babies for 5 years each* plus gained/lost the same 50 lbs. over and over again, I have a bra that works. And it works like a 5 year old in Kathy Lee Gifford's sweatshop ( ie.; hard and for squat in return).

* yeah, my smart friends who are good with numbers and know the ages of me and my children are right; this is a mathematical impossibility. But it sounds much cleaner than "four babies for 15 months, 12 1/2 months, 2 1/2 years and 3 1/2 years each. I'm all about clean lines and decluttering, people.

Real Houswives of New York: Obviously Bethenny was the glue that kept this shattered vase of whackadoo intact

So I've had a chance to catch up on this current season of RHONY. So much to say. I didn't think it was possible for Ramona to become any crazier, or to develop any more tics. But she just keeps showing us. What's with the closed eyes while speaking? It's like a blink with narcolepsy. Countess LuAnne is turning into an even bigger, even more pretentious twat. I love how she's the Wine Queen now. Because she's knocking boots with David Schwimmer- oops I mean Jacques.

Sonja? "Luxury has a taste for me"...please. Luxury must enjoy noshing on Botox and ego. I wonder how that would taste on a bagel? Toasted in a toaster oven? She's killing me with the hints of financial distress this season. Uh huh. Because I wept bitter, salty tears when I could no longer afford more than two assistants and had to start using the children of my friends as unpaid "interns" to help with monumental tasks like fetching the mail and putting out fresh pee pads for my dogs. I feel your pain, Sonja.

Kelly is still looking mannish to me. Still waiting for a penis to flop out from the bottom hem of one of her too-short skirts. Maybe it will happen in Morocco. "Living the American Dream one mistake at a time." Starting with your self-tanning lotion, Oompa?

I love Jill, though, and laughed non-judgmental laughs when she bestowed those koala clip on things upon her friends as souvenirs from The Land Down Under. I think she is the least-awful out of all of them.

I have no words about Alex. Ok, just a few. She's modeling. Like, with pictures of her face and everything. God only knows who's hired her, or if this is just a production for the show, but really? Here is what I see every single time her big rectangular, lantern-jawed mug is on the screen:

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees a resemblance?

Gotta run. We are under yet another tornado warning. This has been the wettest spring since God tried to drown the world. Maybe those Rapture peeps are on to something? Mayhap the End of Days is more of a progressive-type thing, rather than a flip-of-the-switch thing? I need to befriend someone with a big boat.


Random Vents and one Yay

You know that up and down look some woman do, when you walk into their airspace, or they into yours? That quick evaluating look, sometimes followed by a curled lip, sometimes with a tiny smile, sometimes with nothing except the same vapid expression they had on before they scanned you? That look sucks. I know it's a habit for some of us, something that we've done since we first noticed that people look different from each other. I get that. I have friends who do it, and they are lovely people.

But if you do it, and you know you do it, try to stop. Or at least try to make yourself less obvious. It's a harmless thing, really, but it can make someone who already feels pretty freaking iffy about their appearance feel more like a turd with two legs. The person you're scanning, she probably knows that her jeans are out of date, that she doesn't have the right purse/haircut/makeup. She doesn't need your bitchy up and down sniff of judgment.

Non-custodial parents? When you bring your kids back to their mom/dad at the end of your visitation time, please do us the small courtesy of returning all of the clothes we sent them with. And it would be extra-special-sweet if those clothes were returned washed. Especially sports uniforms. Especially sports uniforms that were worn on muddy fields. Thanks.

People in general? When someone holds a door open for you, or lets you go ahead of them in line at the grocery store, or basically does something that they didn't have to do but did because they are a semi-decent human being? Can you, at the very least, grunt some sort of thank you? Doesn't even have to be audible. Maybe a nod, with some eye contact. The fact that you don't acknowledge this tiny bit of kindness won't hinder me or most other people from continuing to do it, but damn. A "thank you" would be nice once in a while.

People in cars? You ever see those signs, big signs on the street that have a bright yellow background and picture of a person walking on them? Those are called "crosswalk signs" and in pretty much every state here in the U.S., they mean that the pedestrians trying to cross the road have the right of way.

I'm not a total moron, I'm cautious at the crosswalks. I love my dog too much to just walk ahead, balls out, eye forward, point being made. So I'll stand there, and count on your knowledge of basic driver/pedestrian laws to slow your vehicle down so I can cross. Please don't honk at me, or shout garbled insults at me, or sit there and gun your engine as I cross (all of which happen on a regular basis). Someday it will be your kid on her bike trying to cross, or your wife with your baby in a stroller, or your mom and her Xanax prescription clutched in her hands. Have mercy on us all, please.

Speaking of dogs...dog owners, please pick up your dog's shit. It takes less than a minute to grab a few plastic bags on your way out, and less than that to pick up the poop itself. I know, it's one of the most awful tasks a person can do, picking up a hot, slimy pile of feces, but for the love of God. Just do it. And please toss the bag of poo in a garbage can. I simply cannot understand how someone will go to the trouble of picking up the crap, tying the bag securely, and then dumping said tied bag on the sidewalk. Really?

Tina Fey? You know I love you. The restraining order says so. But I'm finishing up Bossypants and I have to say, boo for your blip about the time you were fat. And you were a ginormous SIZE 12. Oh Tina. All that talk about woman power and it still comes down to the numbers? I will always worship the ground you walk on, but I'm a little more self-conscious now.

Blogger? I understand that you had server issues and that's what caused the nearly 30 hour outage last week. I get it. I pay nothing for the privilege of using your site for this little blog so I don't have much bitch-and-moan room. But I'm bummed about you deleting the comments from my last post. I love hearing from my 8 or 10 regular readers, and not being able to read what they had to say made me sad.

And here is an accolade, instead of a vent: To the people who wrote and acted in "The Bridesmaids"?

Thank you. It's been a long, long time since I've paid full price for a movie and didn't feel totally ripped off. In fact, my friends and I agreed that we need to rustle up even more hens and see it again at the local Cinema Cafe when it plays there.

It's hard to pinpoint my favorite bit. I liked the airplane scene (the male flight attendant? Perfect.). I liked when Kristin Wiig drove back and forth in front of the cop, trying to get his attention (the low rider, gangsta one was the best. Followed by the faux-drinking of the 40-ounce). The bathroom scene. That was classic. I really liked pretty much everything that Melissa McCarthy said or did. Kudos to her as an actress, and as a woman, for allowing herself to appear on camera as Megan. Chick must be one strong, self-confident lady. Certainly, a hilarious one.

So, there you have it. Yes, the up and down look happened to me today, and yes, it made me feel like crap. I know, I know...no one can make you feel like crap besides you but still. The fact that it was a chinless, boobless doofus doing the looking was small comfort when I already felt just blechhy about myself, about my hopelessly outdated mom clothes, about my increasingly Michelle Duggar-esque hair. I need a makeover, a head-to-toe makeover, pronto.

Hope you all had a beautiful weekend, had a chance to laugh, some time with your friends, some relaxing moments, a bit of quiet time.

I had all of those, plus much more. And I'm feeling pretty good.


Thank you, Secretary.

I know, crazy, huh?

I've been a bad, bad girl. I haven't been working out, I haven't even been on a walk in like, four or five days. I can feel all of my hard work slipping away, like chicken fat sliding through my fingers. I've been eating (and eating terrible food) when I'm not hungry, and although I'm beyond pissed at myself for doing it, I'm trying my hardest to understand why.

I haven't quite nailed it yet, but I think it has a lot to do with the stressors that have come bouncing my way over the past several months. The money stress, the bankruptcy stuff, the increasingly difficult task of raising three teenagers by myself...all of it takes a toll on mama. The working out, the eating whole and healthy food, the no cocktails, the focusing on wellness...it was really helping. Not only was it helping me lose some of this padding I've acquired, it was helping my brain. And my heart. And my soul.

Then, when I found out about Big Daddy and Secretary getting knocked up, something clogged up all of that goodness that was starting to flow so freely. I'll be honest with you, and you too, Big Daddy, if you still read this: the news hit me hard. Really hard. It didn't seem to, at first. But like a single germ blossoming into a horrible bout of the flu, it festered and mutated and grew inside my head. I know, it makes no sense for something like this to knock the wind out of me, but there you have it.

It hurt.

Maybe it was too close to the feeling I got when I first found out he'd been unfaithful. That feeling you get when you realize you've been living in a shiny glass bubble, full of happy music and rainbows and kittens, and then that bubble shatters. That feeling of waking up from anesthesia or a super hard, deep sleep. "Where am I?" you ask yourself. "Was I dreaming? Or is this the dream?".

Who knows exactly why it hurt me, but it did. So...you have that, and the other things that have been ongoing for what feels like for-freaking-ever, and something in me just stopped. I lost my momentum. I let myself become paralyzed, let myself fall back into those old, unhealthy ways. Pizza for dinner three nights a week? No problem! And no one has to know that it's mommy who eats the last two pieces after everyone goes to bed. Tortilla chips and guacamole at midnight? Sure! You go right ahead, sister. If anyone deserves a treat, it's you. A margarita or two? Absolutely. In fact, make it three. Or four! You've had a tough year, woman. You've earned those drinks.

Maybe I've been watching too much "United States of Tara" but I swear there is part of me just waiting for failure. Just sitting there, biding time while the workouts and the healthy diet continue, twiddling thumbs, doing crossword puzzles...waiting. Waiting for the tiniest of holes to form in that new shiny armor I'd been sporting. And then boring in and undoing all that good that had been done.

But tonight, something happened. If you're friends with me in real life, you've probably noticed a difference in me. Not quite as happy, not quite as funny. Not quite as Jenny as I usually am. I've been feeling that old hermity feeling again, going all Greta Garbo on everyone and "vanting to be alone". I'm sorry about that. And I love you all for sticking with me through all of these incessant phases of growth or change or whatever they are. Thank you for not giving up on me.

So, the past few days have found me becoming increasingly annoyed with this turn of events. I miss working out. I miss my 5 mile walks. I miss going to bed at night feeling full of pride for sticking to a healthy plan...instead I've been going to bed at night feeling full of whatever late-night binge was handy. Today was an epiphany day. It was a rare day off, a day to do whatever I wanted or needed to do. I had a list of errands that needed to be done. A short list: books to library, packages to post office, sign William up for Park baseball and then a quick trip to Costco (oh shush..yes I'm still a member, for 4 more days. I needed my organic salad, dammit). Got the errands done and it was only 11:00 a.m.

I was sitting in my truck, in the Costco parking lot. Looking at the clock, realizing that I had just accomplished my day's worth of errands in less than an hour. The rest of the day was my oyster, wide open in front of me. What to do? I thought of the possibilities: Walk the dog. Go to the gym. Clean the bathrooms. Visit with my mom. Go to the old house and dig up a few more hostas. There was no shortage of things for me to do.

So what did I do? I went home, sat down in front of the computer, and played Bejeweled Blitz. Posted something on facebook and then spent an hour LOLing and reminiscing with a couple of my elementary school homies.

By 4:00 p.m. my self-loathing was palpable. I cursed myself, out loud, for being such an immobile loser. I vowed that I was done with this vegetative state, this paralyzing pause. Told myself to get the hell over whatever it was that was freaking me out. Made a mental plan to get with the program first thing tomorrow morning. What I did was, gave myself a good old fashioned ass kicking slash pep talk. Enough with this self-sabotaging bullshit. Then I got William ready for baseball (how long does it take a 5th grader to put on a jock strap and practice pants in your world? In mine, a long time), drove him and another boy to practice.

Practice tonight was at the field which is scarily close to Big Daddy's house. The field which, when I see the name on the practice schedule, makes my stomach hurt. Whenever I drop William off, or pick him up, I feel sort of creepy, like I'm stalking Big Daddy. Like I'm tip-toeing on enemy territory. Tonight, when I dropped him off, I felt that old weirdness again. Noticed how my eyes darted from the field to the street, wondering if one of them would drive by.

But I had errands to run, so I ran. Looked at a store to find a shrug/shawl and/or cute flats for Molly. She has her 9th grade Semi-formal on Friday and we are just about done with the outfit. Ran into a friend at the store, spent time gabbing. Found a few goodies (not the stuff for Molly, but tomorrow is another day..) and then went back to grab William.

Only this time, I didn't feel that stomach ache. I didn't feel like a trespasser. The friend I had run into at the store, another baseball mom, got out of her car and came over to chat. She's a single mom and runs a business selling vintage furniture. She and I talked about real jobs, and ex-husbands, and our boys, and Craigslist, and all sorts of stuff in between those subjects. She encouraged me to continue with the eBay stuff, and to branch out into other areas..."There are a million ways to make a million dollars" she said. She lit a little fire under my lazy, no-workouts ass.

And then I saw them. I happened to look out, through the windshield, and saw a hunched over guy, walking with a super-pregnant, walrus shaped woman. They had two tiny Ewok dogs. It was them. It was Big Daddy and Secretary.

Any other day, any other minute, I would have felt that awful feeling. That punched in the gut feeling. I would have turned away, felt my heart sink and my innards quake as they made their way down the sidewalk. But not tonight.

Tonight, I looked at them for a moment. I saw my ex-husband, the father of my four children, the man who doesn't take care of his kids. The man who left me high and dry, with three mortgages, a Ford Excursion and a broken heart. I saw the woman who helped destroy my marriage, and my life. He looked kind of sad, kind of embarrassed when he noticed that William's team was still at the field. She looked huge, and uncomfortable. And yes, I am acutely aware that I was maybe the fattest pregnant woman ever, but give me this one, ok? This is the woman who called me "fat bitch" when my son was in the emergency room, fighting for his life. Give me this little ha! moment, would you? This chick is enormous. There is none of that skinny arms/legs/swallowed a basketball look with this one. She's wide. Double wide. I think even her flat ass has puffed out. Bitch be big.

I saw them, and instead of feeling hurt for the millionth time, I felt like someone was unlocking an invisible pair of handcuffs from my wrists. I saw them and the only thing I felt like doing was laughing. I laughed. Yes, I know...how juvenile. How mature I am. But whatever. I saw him on that sidewalk, with those two yapping dust mop doggies and that plodding, thick woman, and I laughed loud and I laughed hard.

I thought, for a second, about all the crap he's done. And then I thought about that day in the Bankruptcy Attorney's office, when Bankruptcy Attorney told me how my creditors were going to be going after Big Daddy since there's a judgment against him. I remembered how my BFF and I looked at each other and smiled and how my BFF said, "Well, at least she'll be on maternity leave so someone will be there to field the phone calls."

I thought about the paper my 17 year old son wrote for his Writing Class. The paper where he had to describe someone he admired. He presented it to me on Mother's Day, and the tears are starting to flow just at the thought of it. He wrote about me. He wrote about the things we've gone through, the highs and the lows, and he wrote it beautifully. He helped me see, if only for a few hours that day, that everything I do, all the fighting and struggling and juggling, is worth it. Later that day he went back to being a petulant, smugly intelligent teenager, but just for a tiny bit I realized that what I'm doing matters. And more importantly, my kids can see that.

I saw my ex tonight, and I laughed. I didn't laugh with malice. I didn't laugh as a mean girl. I laughed because for the first time since all of this began, I realized that I am free. For so long I have thought that I was the one stuck at the starting line, the one who has to begin life all over again...but that's not true. He's starting from scratch, and I'm the one who's way ahead. Oh sure...it's awfully sweet to make a new baby, to begin a new chapter. That's all well and good, and I wish them nothing but happiness.

But I'm moving on. I'm not tied down with diaper bags and feeding schedules and runny noses. That part of my life is over, and as much as I loved it, I'm not going back.

So you see, there is no need for this insulation I've padded myself with, no need for closing myself off from life and fun and friends. The world is indeed my oyster now. And for once, I'm not going to smother it in butter, inhale it and then feel guilty.

I'm going to enjoy it, I'm going to savor it. I'm going to share it.

Thank you, Secretary, for taking my husband. Thank you for getting pregnant, and for getting so big. Thank you for choosing tonight to waddle down that sidewalk so I could see you. Thank you for reminding me of me, a million years ago, walking down a different sidewalk with the same man.

I think seeing you tonight was exactly what I needed to see. I am free now, free to carry on with my life and to stop thinking about what was and what could have been and what should have been. I don't need to bury myself in layers, literal and figurative, to hide anymore.

Thank you, Secretary. Thank you for taking the reins. It's your turn to drive.

My turn to relax.


Wellness, Post.....umm...

It's been a while since I've done a Wellness post. I've been putting it off because, quite frankly, I've been a HEATHEN.

It all started about three weeks ago, maybe it was Spring Break, maybe a week before that. I fell off the wagon. All of my wagons (local friends, did you hear the earth shake? That was me, falling.). I've only been to the gym three times since Spring Break. Yes, three times in 3 1/2 weeks. I've been walking/running (local friends, have you felt earthquake-like rumblings? That would be me, "running"), but my gym visits have tapered off quite a bit.

You want excuses? I've got a passel of 'em. I've been working more and more. Baseball started. I have been in a strange funk. Stress. At the end of the day, that's what I've got. Excuses.

I'm no Einstein, but I'm smart enough to know that there is, in reality, no excuse. You either go to the gym, or you don't. You either think about what you're eating, or you don't. You either decide to have a glass of wine, or a beer, or a margarita, or you don't.

Bottom line is, I haven't been doing the right thing in any of those situations. But luckily for me, when your bar isn't set terribly high, the fall off of it isn't fatal. It's easy to get back on.

I've broken all of my self-imposed rules: I've had some candy. I've had some cocktails. I've skipped workouts because I was too tired, too busy, or just plain too lazy. I've eaten things that even a month ago would have made me gag.

The good news is that I haven't gained any of my lost weight back. The bad news is, I haven't lost any more. I'm holding steady at a mushy 14, and I'm not happy about it. I had hoped to be squeezing back into my size 12 stuff at this point, but that's not happening.

I've been trying to think about why I lost my momentum, why I let myself revert back to less than healthy habits. This self-sabotage thing, it seems to be my specialty. I was on the verge of really changing, really making a difference. People were just starting to notice a difference in my appearance, and more importantly, a difference in ME. Sometimes it feels like there is a part of my personality that wants to be miserable, that wants to be unhappy. A part of me that hates me, and doesn't want anything positive or good to happen. Almost like somewhere, deep down in my heart or brain or wherever, there's a tiny oppressor, whispering into my ear: "You don't deserve to be happy."

Maybe it's leftover shrapnel from the hate-bombs that Big Daddy dropped on me for so long. Maybe it's that freaking protective shell of mine that comes out whenever things are starting to go in the right direction because, you know damn well that the second things start looking up, someone or something knocks you down.

I suspect it has to do with something else that's happened, though.

My bankruptcy is being filed this week, in fact it may have been filed already as I type this. Again, I'm no Einstein, but methinks that this part of the New Jenny Project is affecting me more than I thought it would.

You'd think that, after everything I've been through, admitting defeat in one more arena wouldn't hit me so hard. I've waved the white flag in so many battles thus far, how hard could it be to do it one last time? Apparently, it's hard.

I thought giving up on my marriage was hard. And it was. I thought having the financial rug pulled out from under me was hard, and yes, it was. I thought having to pack up 15 years worth of life and leave the only house we had known as a family was hard. Holy crap, was that one hard.

But there's something so final about this one. Sitting in an attorney's office, with your entire worth spread out on a desk before you. A man who, for all intents and purposes, is a total stranger, telling you that you have literally nothing to your name anymore. As he went down the lists of my life, my debts, my assets, my income, I felt so small, so beaten down. I felt worthless. Forty four years on this planet and all I have to show for it is a battered checking account and some Ikea furniture? Yikes.

I sat in this man's office yesterday, clutching my bright blue bankruptcy folder and nervously picked at my cuticles as he told me what was going to happen next. My BFF, Michelle, was there next to me. She's been there for me since Day One of this process and I have to say, friends like this one are priceless, folks. Anyhoo...so my bankruptcy attorney was describing the rest of the process for me. I'd get a letter from the bankruptcy courts, I'd be assigned a trustee, there will be one court date that he and I will both attend, etc. I sat there and for a moment, the absurdity of the situation struck me.

"Excuse, me, Mr. Bankruptcy Attorney", I wanted to say, "but I think there's been a mistake...this can't be me you're talking about. Surely you have me confused with someone else."

"You see, at this point in my life, I'm supposed to be enjoying my middle age. My children are growing older and don't need me as much, and I'm supposed to be helping them gain their independence while dusting mine off. I'm supposed to be rekindling the love fire with my husband, golfing in a league and planning our getaway to the cabin for Memorial Weekend. I'm supposed to be shopping for new deck furniture and helping my two older kids pick out their tux and dress for the Prom and the Junior High dance. I'm supposed to be a little worried about my neck getting kind of turkey-like and quietly bringing up plastic surgery in conversations with the other women at one of the charities I volunteer for."

"I'm supposed to be content, goddammit. Content and secure and safe. Not sitting in this office, looking at your dusty Dallas Cowboy bobblehead collection and trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I have less now than I did the day I was born."

Of course I didn't say that. I finished ravaging my fingernails, then signed where Mr. Bankruptcy Attorney told me to sign. He got up, shook my hand and that was that. My friend and I walked out of the office, down the stairs and outside into the bright, beautiful sunlight. She hugged me and said, "Now you're done. It's over."

Is it over? Can I really come out from hiding now? I don't know. This fear I live with every day, that constant worry about when the next storm will hit...it feels permanent, like a scar. It has crippled me. You can't tell from the outside. My speech is clear, my limbs are straight. But there is something inside of me that cowers like a kicked dog, tail between legs, eyes wide open and yet squeezed shut all at the same time.

I think my friend is partially right. This part is done. If what I've been doing for the past couple of years can be compared to demolishing an old house in order to build a new one, the bankruptcy was the last wall to be torn down.

The lot is clear, finally. I think it's almost time to start rebuilding. But first I need to convince the scared part of me that it really is safe to come out. I need to assure myself that all of this insulation I've wrapped myself in, this armor, this hard candy shell...none of this is necessary anymore.

Someone commented on one of my posts, I wish I knew who it was. I was babbling on about love and companionship and oh me oh my would I ever find it again. This anonymous person said, "you are just in the pause before you meet your next mate." I haven't been able to get that out of my head. Not the mate part, because really, I can't even think about mating right now. But the other part...

The Pause. Maybe all of this really has been one long, drawn out pause.

I think it may be time to hit Play.


Today the sun finally shines...

What a crazy few days, huh?

We've had windchills here in Minneapolis. Two of William's Little League games have been postponed due to cold. IN MAY. Now, given my love of all things long sleeved and layered, you know that I don't mind a little nip in the air. But this is getting old even for me. Because not only is it freaking cold, it's gray and dreary and miserable. It's like November. And November kind of sucks even when it's really November. Sucks even more when it crashes May's spot on the calendar.

Osama Bin Laden is dead, so they say. I will admit here, when I first heard the news I felt....nothing. It was as if someone had told me, "Hey, the sky is up and the ground is down." My non-reaction elicited more feeling than the news itself. Why wasn't I feeling elated, like the people on the news and so many of my friends, in real life and on facebook? People were giving hi-fives, cheering, whooping.

The man was bad, no doubt. Evil, perhaps. But still. I remembered scenes that were shown on the news after 9/11. Streets filled with people; men, women and children, celebrating the devastation that had just happened in New York City, and Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. The images of trapped people jumping to their deaths from high atop the World Trade Center were still fresh in our minds and here were these people acting like it was Mardi Gras. Acting like their favorite team had just won the Super Bowl.

I won't do that. I won't celebrate death, no matter how despicable, how misguided, how utterly demonic the dead person is/was. No matter how much he deserved it.

Don't get me wrong. I am patriotic. I love my country, and I love and honor and respect every single person who has sacrificed to make this a great place to live. I love the fact that I can practice whatever religion I want, I can speak my mind freely and I can do these things without worrying about troops sneaking into my home at night and hurting my kids because of it. I am proud to be from the United States, and no matter who is in charge, I honor and respect them.

I can't even begin to describe how I feel about the men and women who fight for these freedoms. They are truly heroic, every last one of them. And those who have given their lives for these freedoms? No words. They are the reason we are able to go on facebook or stand around at parties and barbecues and bitch about the President or our government or gas prices or whatever and not have to worry about finding our heads on sticks the next day. They are someone's son, daughter, daddy, mommy, wife, husband, best friend, first crush, roommate, big brother, baby sister...they left us too soon, but not in vain. Never in vain.

Death is ugly. It's dark and permanent. It's nothing I want to celebrate. Bin Laden not being on this earth anymore is a good thing. He is going to have to answer to someone, be judged by a being much more powerful than any of us. But I won't high five anyone because he's dead. I won't show my kids that a person dying is a call to party. What will I celebrate? The day we finally stop hating, the day people stop killing and dying. The day a mother doesn't have to hear that her son died in a country thousands of miles away. The day that there is no news to report other than sports scores and Mrs. Billie Jo Smith celebrating her 100th birthday.

The day the sun finally starts shining again.

Here in Minneapolis, on this Tuesday morning in May, the sun is out.

And it's shining.
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