Six or Seven on Saturday or Sunday

Wow.  That's my reaction to being a Working Mom.

I've said it before, and I'm sure with my early onset dementia that seems to be setting in I'll say it again:  I don't know how women do this.  Rising at the ass-crack of dawn every day, trying to not fall asleep before dinner...and getting everything on this earth done in between.  Not to mention trying to watch at least one full episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer every other day or so.

This has been a trying week..not because of work, but because I'm once again dealing with the nefarious evil-doings of my ex-husband.  Long story short?  I'm losing my health insurance because of him.  The details of this latest shitstorm are tedious and mind-numbing enough for me, I can't imagine the snoring I'd cause if I attempted to get it into a coherent chain of words for you guys.  Bottom line is, he is once again going back on his word (gasp!) and once again putting his own self-loving interests before what is best for his kids.  My heart, which I thought had been broken into too many pieces to possibly break any more, is indeed breaking again.  Oh, don't worry, no need to get the violins warmed up with some weepy tunes...I'll be ok.  The kids will be ok.  We've learned how to get up and over these little bumps in the road but dammit...I wish we'd get a smooth ride one of these days.

Do nice guys (and girls) always have to finish last? 

Anyhoo. No more pity partying. I've been through enough crap with my ex husband to know that it's going to take more than this to kill me.  Sure, it sucks that Charlie's long-overdue wisdom teeth extraction will have to be put on hold now.  It's a crying shame that Molly is going to have to stop seeing this absolutely kick ass therapist we found for her, to help her deal with her crippling anxiety.  It's a huge bummer that my scheduled mammogram is going to have to be unscheduled.  All of that is less than ideal, but it won't kill me.  It won't kill my kids. (actually, the mammogram one could be iffy, but I don't want to think about that)

What it will do, however, is strengthen my resolve to make sure that the man to whom I was once betrothed, the dude who fathered my children...this chap who used to rock my world and was once King of the World as far as four little babies were concerned...I'm going to make sure that he's around when the kids and I make like the Jeffersons and start movin' on up.  I'm going to make sure he sees exactly how awesome and amazing we are, and I'm going to thank him for making us that way.  Seriously..I'm going to thank that a-hole.  Thank him hard.

Ok, and now, since I've been slacking on my blog duties, here are some random thoughts, observations and yes, a couple brain farts that I've been holding in all week.

1.  If they ever create the show "Hoarders:  Purse Edition", I know for a fact I'll be on it.  Bless the young girl at PetSmart this morning who didn't say anything as I stood there in front of her, elbow-deep in unwrapped tampons, an ocean of receipts, hockey medals, chapsticks and the wadded up red wax remains of countless Babybel light cheese rounds (my lunch as I drive from school to school) looking for my Pet Perks card.  But sweetie, don't you think you could have told me right away that all you needed was my phone number? 

2.  Have you checked out the blog Dog Shaming?  It's a guffaw-worthy place full of dogs wearing their shame notes.  I submitted this picture:

That's Walter in his favorite spot to sleep:  On top of my laptop and phone-charger cords.  Notice the one cord wrapped artfully around his too-long dewclaw?  He did that.  And yes, that claw needs to be trimmed.  I know.  He will lay like that for a while, and then when he decides to get up the plugs slide from the outlet.  And if we're really lucky, he will pass noxious gas too.

3.  I was having an absolutely crap-tastic night with the kids a few days ago.  Like, the kind of night where I made one of my "OMG I wish I had another parent here" facebook posts.  So I gave myself a time out and checked in on my blog and found what I think is the funniest comment ever.  It's on the last post I wrote, where I mentioned boinking my latest beau even though we are on opposite sides of the political spectrum.  It was from a chick named Gigi, and all she wrote was:

"I could never f a republican. More power to you."

Gigi, thank you for that much needed laugh. Everyone else, click on her name up there to take a peek at her photography skills..they're mad crazy.  Don't think I won't hunt her down when I finally find Mr. That'll Do.   And by the way, when I woke up the next morning I loved my kids again so all was right in our worlds. 

4.  My birthday was this past Wednesday, the 26th.  I celebrated by working and then going to church (confirmation has started up again, please don't ask me to go on about how I started crying when I saw my girls on our first night back...I love them and can't believe this is our last year together).  And then falling asleep when I got home.  Can I just say, how about the facebook on birthdays??  Felt the love, people.  That was nice.  But then my friend Gillian wrote something on my wall that absolutely touched my heart.  Gillian is a lawyer turned stay at home mom, and is one of my most ardent "fans", giving me more support than a WonderBra.  I never knew she had such a way with words.  Here's what she wrote, and I'll let you take a big fat guess whether or not it made my weepy ass cry:

Who can start a gabfest at eleven pm? Who wears honesty and humor like a coat of armor?Who has the capacity to remember the names of and really care for 1000 (this number is not exaggerated) children at once? Who makes her friends feel great even when she does not? Jenny! Happy Birthday to a dear friend and special woman.

Who wears honesty and humor like a coat of armor?  Damn girl.  That might have to be my new lower-back tattoo.  I have some pretty great friends.  

5.  I think I mentioned that Charlie sent Big Daddy a nice long text, telling him how he felt.  Well, in that text, Charlie mentioned how he felt about the fact that his mom has to work her butt off, and how sometimes making ends meet is hard.  He mentioned that I had to go to the food shelf last winter, which of course I cringed about but you know what?  I'll own it.  Wasn't my proudest moment but I did what I had to do to feed my kids.  And I hate to be Captain Obvious but if a certain someone had been paying child support, supporting the children wouldn't have been so freaking hard.  Doy.  Anyways, both Henry and William told me that Big Daddy has taken them aside at some point over the past week and told them "you can live here at my house, if you don't have enough to eat at your mom's" or something like that.  Nice, huh?  

But you know what's even nicer?  What both boys said when they told me.  William said, "Like I want to live in a basement and play video games for the rest of my life." And Henry said, "Mom, I'd rather be homeless with you than live with him."  We won't address the fact that this special invitation wasn't extended to Charlie and Molly.   Oops, looks like I just did.  

I think a lot about what he's put me and the kids through.  I ponder karma and come-uppance and justice.  Some days I wonder if he'll ever feel any sort of pain or even just get some general bruising on his soul.  And then my kids say things like that, and I know...he already has.

6.  I can't speak for all chubby ladies, but when I'm at a less-than ideal weight, I turn into a vampire.  I avoid mirrors and cameras like the plague.  But now, seeing as I'm inching towards the 30 lbs. GONE mark, I thought I'd make eye contact with that lovely lady in the mirror after my shower this morning.  You know what?  It wasn't so bad.  Well, except for that brief moment, before the steam fully dissipated, when I wondered to myself, "Hey, who let Jimi Hendrix in here, and why is he kneeling in front of me?".  But that's just what happens when you neglect to weed the ladygarden for oh, like 2 years.  I think it's time for me to make an appointment at the Beauty Lab for some intense wax time.  I apologize in advance.  Aside from that, though, the lady in the mirror?  She's looking ok.  Better than I thought.  More freckles than I remembered, but not too shabby.  

I will leave you with this funny picture, and an apology for the meal you just lost when the visual from my mirror encounter popped into your brain.  Have a great Sunday, my friends.


The Chicken in the Crockpot is Beginning to Stink

So there's no weigh in post for last week.  No big shameful reason, just a busy week that also happened to be The Week of Bloat.  I weighed myself at home and was pleased with the results, but of course it's not "official" so my inner Weight Watchers Rainman is having a hard time accepting that number.  But I'll use it for my little weekly add up below.

I am still a big fan of the WW.  The more I learn about it, about how to track what you eat, about how to modify recipes so they're healthier, the more I love it.  I also really love finding out about low point treats that I can stuff into my gaping pie-hole and not feel bad about it afterwards.  Lately I've been on a sushi kick.  Sushi is pretty low in points and I love it, so there ya go.  Now, you know me, I'm no gourmand, so I'm not really picky about what sushi I'll eat.  I will buy it at Target, and at my local grocery store.  I also like the sushi at Trader Joe's.  I can hear your eyeballs rolling, food snobs.  But that's ok.  I can live with your judging.  I just inhaled a container of it that I picked up at the grocery store, it was a simple California roll tray.  8 points total and I'm stuffed. 

Not that I eat it every day, but thought I'd pass it on that it's a good, cheap lunch that won't cost you a ton of points.  Plus you can eat it while you drive if you're really hungry.  You may find rice in your bra later that night, but hey...better than going through the McDonalds drive thru.

Another reason I didn't do my weigh in was because last week was kind of full of debauchery.  I had a date last Saturday night, the details of which I need to spill soon because it's killing me to not blurt out the intimate details of my personal life to the Internet.  Also, I'm finding myself in a very unusual quandary...get this:

I'm afraid I am turned off by someone's political viewpoints.  And by turned off, I mean, I don't want to have sex with him.  Weird, huh?  Not that I didn't do it, because you know I did.  But it almost didn't happen.  Like, as we were sitting there at dinner, he was going on about why he's going to vote for the person he supports, and why I'm stupid for supporting the other guy.  The more he talked, the more I could feel my erogenous zone closing in upon itself, like one of those flowers that curls up into a tight ball at night time (what are those flowers, anyway?  They're beautiful.). I actually had to say, "Stop talking about it.  And let's order some more wine."

So yes, I did do it.  But I was kind of mad at myself the next day.

Is this yet another sign that I'm growing up?  Or is it just another indication that I am getting to that point in my life where I'd rather eat diet popcorn and watch Netflix than have skin-on-skin contact with a man?  Either way, it's not how I usually roll and it's kind of freaking me out. 

Oh yeah, and it was also a sinful week because it was my friend's birthday (Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people on the planet, Danielle!).  And her birthday just happened to coincide with the re-opening of one of the bestest restaurants in Minneapolis.  Figlio's was the restaurant where everyone who was cool or who happened to be getting their drink on within stumbling distance would end up after the bars closed.  It was also open during normal dining hours, but the fun was had late at night.  They had a garlic pizza that I'm pretty sure I would have married if those types of marriages were allowed.  The servers were all fabulous in that "I am infinitely cooler than you can ever hope to be" kind of way, the kind of cool where you desperately sought approval from them and if you made them smile or laugh you felt an almost Olympian sense of  accomplishment. Or maybe that was just me?  Oh well.  It closed down about 3 years ago and by some miracle is now reopening just a couple of miles away from my house.

They had this announcement on the facebook, that they were having a "soft opening" (yes, of course we joked about "soft openings" until even we got sick of ourselves laughing) on the Saturday after Danielle's real birthday, and if you called them and were lucky enough to get through you could go and have FREE DINNER so the kitchen staff and servers could get ready for the real deal. Danielle called like 127 times, and we got in! We being Danielle, her awesome nieces Emily and Julie, and me.  That was this past Saturday.

Free dinner, at the restaurant we practically grew up in?  A dream come true.  So we went.  And we ate. And of course, we drank.  We met many fabulous characters over the course of the night:

Henry, the manager.  Henry was HOT in a 'vaguely ethnic, works out a lot, $$$ haircut' kind of way.  Plus he had hands the size of catcher's mitts.  Henry schmoozed with us a bit, and said that he too had hung out at Figlio's back in the day.  But he didn't know about my garlic pizza, so I kind of think Henry was bullshitting us.

James, the Gay Alec Baldwin. By the time we met James, I was already licking the glass of my third dirty martini so I can't remember exactly what he does there.  But he truly is the gay Alec Baldwin.  And James wasn't a liar, like Henry.  He knew about the garlic pizza.  When he described how you'd squeeze the cooked garlic out of the roasted bulb, I felt something move (yet another George Costanza reference, for those of you keeping track).  James, you had me at "it was like garlic toothpaste".

My friends Tracey and her daughter Mara.  Ok, so I had already met these two but I saw them there and have to apologize publicly for my creepy, overly enthusiastic hugs.  I had just met James.  Tracey and Mara are a kick-ass Mother/Daughter duo.  Tracey has been a huge support with the whole Big Daddy thing, and a lot of help with the Charlie stuff.  And Mara is quite simply one of the most lovely people I know.  I want her to mentor my Molly.  She's a strong girl, with a strong mama.

So, we really only met two new people that night but it seemed like more.  Point is, it was fun.  If you're a local, please go check out Figlio.  And say hi to James for me.

As for the title of today's post, I had a funny/disgusting story about how I tried to be all Pioneer Woman last week.  I made a whole chicken in the crockpot (actually that was delicious and pretty much impossible to mess up).  But then, I had this crockpot full of chicken juice.  And I thought, "Hey, I bet I could make homemade chicken soup".  But apparently I skipped a step, or else I just did what I usually do in the kitchen and that is make a disaster.  Because my homemade chicken soup tasted like butt.  Or at least what you'd imagine ass tasting like, I wouldn't know firsthand.  I was mad at myself for wasting celery and chicken stock and carrots, so I let the disgusting, fatty chicken soup sit there for a couple of days.  You know, because I didn't want to face my failure.  And after a couple of days, one of my kids said, "I don't know what you've got cooking in that crockpot, mom, but it's starting to stink."

Now that I wrote it down it's not quite as funny.  But there ya go.

And now I must wake the angels.  I've decided to not put my weekly weight check in here at the bottom, because although Laid Back Jenny knows it would be just fine, OCD Jenny is screaming, "BUT YOU DIDN'T GO INTO WEIGHT WATCHERS AND GET WEIGHED!!!".  So I will post my weight stuff later this week, after both of us go into the actual place and have them weigh us.  But I have officially retired my Fat Jeans, so something is working.

Enjoy the day, my friends.  


Ten on Tuesday, September Style

Well well well.  Can it be?  I'm actually doing a Ten on Tuesday?  On a Tuesday?  Will wonders ever cease?  How many question marks can I use in one paragraph?

Last night I turned the furnace on.  Two days ago we had the air on.  Welcome to Minnesota!  I woke up sweating my ass off, shuffled to the thermostat and almost choked when I saw it said "87".  Guess I need to schedule that furnace check up.

I have approximately 17 minutes until I need to wake the angels, so we'll just jump into this one.

1.  Thanks, Kraft Mac and Cheese, for putting the nutrition information on your boxes.  Except, one thing:  Why in the hell do you put the nutrition information for the dry ingredients only?  Do you know how happy I got when I saw the unreasonably low carbs and fat grams?  How many people do you think eat your product dry, out of the box?  I can tell you:  not many.  I don't know, maybe there's a few of those freaky eaters, like the ones who eat stuffing out of furniture, but for most of us, the appeal of your product lies in the buttery, fake cheesy goodness of it all.  Way to dash a fatty's hopes, Kraft.  (I still licked the spoon)

2.  So my dog has yet another ear infection.  Yes, this is the same one he's had for a week and a half.  Because this is a chronic thing, I have medication on hand for it.  However, just in case I'm not the only one dealing with a stinky-eared, head shaking dog, let me tell you about a product I have discovered and so far, love:  Dry Ear Powder.  I got it at Petsmart for about $7.00 and hello, wonder product.  It provided almost INSTANT relief for Walter.  Just an FYI.

3.  So we've been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer here.  Thanks, Netflix, for feeding my illness.  Can I just say, this show is awesome!  How did I miss this?  Oh yeah, I had three toddlers and was getting all nice and knocked up with another baby.  That tends to cut into your television time.  But I'm hooked now.  In fact, I started talking to the t.v. last night. "Oh no!  Spike can't bite anyone!  He could die!".  My kids are worried.  And how hot is David Borneanaz?  Pretty hot.  Except when he's playing Angel all depressed and sulky.  That got old.  And one more thing:  Why did they dress Sarah Michelle Gellar like a 30 year old assistant manager at The Limited?  Girl was smokin'.

4.  Do you know of the band Dinosaur Junior?  I love them.  They're coming to Minneapolis on October 18th.  Local friends?  Be warned.  I'm going to try and get there and I'm probably going to try and drag one or more of you there with me.  The lead singer has a voice that causes strange stirrings in my nether-regions.  He's not so stimulating, visually, but that's ok.  Just close your eyes.  Give a listen:

If I was younger, not sterilized and had a willing partner?  That would be some baby-makin' music right there.

5.  My laptop is on its last legs, and these legs are not doing so well.  The cursor will jump, highlight and delete things at random.  Also the fan keeps coming on with such gusto that it wakes up the dog. And the space bar doesn't work so well.  Oh, pink Dell.  Please don't leave me. At least not until I can afford to replace you.

6.  Here's my Weight Watcher's treat tip of the week:  Siggi's Yogurt.  It's Icelandic style yogurt, whatever that means.  I think the folks in Iceland were getting all jealous of the Greeks and all the attention their yogurt was getting so they came up with this.  It's tasty.  And ONLY 2 POINTS for a container!  Plus, it has a cute container, which sadly matters a little tiny bit to me.  The staff lunchroom can be a very judgy place.  Caveat:  this isn't cheap, but it's on sale this week at Target.  And did I mention it's ONLY 2 POINTS??  (so far my favorite flavor is acai/mixed berry.  YUM.)

7.  Speaking of Weight Watchers, and all things weight-lossy, I am now officially down 2 sizes.  That's awesome, right?  Except, now I'm right back where I started a year and a half ago.  Part of me is so mad at myself for letting things get so out of hand, but the other part is all Pollyanna and is saying, "You can't go back in time!  March forward, crazy lady."  So I'm going to listen to Pollyanna this time and just go with it.  It feels pretty awesome to put on clothes that were becoming a little snug a few weeks ago and now, they're almost too big.  I'm hoping to resurrect my favorite winter outfit this year:  The Black Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater and Jeans and my man-repelling Danskos.  It's a classic, and I miss it.  Those t-neck sweaters can be really flattering.

8.  I've said this before, but it bears repeating:  You can tell a lot about a person just by observing whether or not they put their shopping carts away in parking lots.  Yes, I'm talking to you, Entitled Twat at Target.  I don't know if it was just too much work to put your cart in the corral that was 3 spaces away from you, or you were too busy trying to concentrate on walking in your hideous platform wedges, but you made me want to trip you.  And yes, it was me who put your cart away, since you left it smack dab in the middle of the parking lot.  I loathe you.  PS:  those jeans do make your butt look fat.

9.  Word:

Which likewise gets me thinking about hooking up with freaking Comcast again.  Just say no, Jenny. 

10.  I'm doing a Favorite Movie Night swap thingy over at my blog-friend Lin's place, Linny's Vault.  I hope the chick I got matched up with, Jamie (her blog is here) is in the mood for some old school romantic comedies.  Also, I got her my favorite Trader Joe's treat in the world, one that I cannot even buy and have in the house anymore because it's like crack.  I won't tell you what it is in case she's reading but I will tell you that it's like eating a dream about puppies and kittens.  And big-handed men.  I will say that I am old enough to be Jamie's mom, and that she's an Army Wife which means I admire her a bunch already.

Speaking of Lin, check out her weekly Ten On Tuesday and hook yourself up over there if you have one yourself.

And that's the Ten.  Now it's time for me to go play with adorable kids for a day.  Have I mentioned how much I love my job?

P.S.  I just want to say that I've never lied on my taxes.  Have you?  If you have, you may want to remedy that.  Soon.  Because sometimes, people who lie and cheat on their taxes get in trouble.  That is all.  Have a great day!


Observations from a ballgame

William is playing fall baseball this year.  I love fall baseball...it's like a little bonus summertime before fall and winter roll in.

The two younger boys were with Big Daddy this weekend. Well, technically they were with him, but physically they spent the nights at friend's houses.  They frantically arrange sleepovers on Big Daddy's weekends, for some reason they are loathe to spend too much time at "that" house.

So, William was over at our neighbor boy's house this afternoon.  He and his friend spent some time here, and when the time for baseball drew near, I told William to just let his father know I'd take him to the game, seeing as he was right here and all.

Fine.  It went fine.  I saw several hens at the ball field, caught up with them, saw lots of kids from school, etc.  It was a beautiful day, a little warmer than my fat ass enjoys, bit still, very nice.

William's game started and I settled in with another friend who has a son on the team.  We talked a little bit about how things are going with the legal situation, she expressed mild horror and not-so-mild disgust when I filled her in on the latest developments.  And then she asked, "Is he here?".

I shrugged (divorced ladies?  This is when you know you're healing...you no longer scan the perimeter looking for him). I looked around, and then I saw him.

He had Spawn with him, and was gently, sweetly helping Spawn walk around, holding his little hands in his, bent over and smiling.

My first thought?  It was something like "Ha!  My kids walked SO much earlier than that.  Obviously they get their large motor skills from me."

Second thought?  "You fucker."

I watched him lead his little progeny around and I thought about my kids.  His "other" kids.  I thought about Charlie, who is experiencing a kind of scary emotional backslide as of late,  and who tearfully told me a couple days ago that he had sent his father a vicious, berating text telling him exactly how he felt.  I thought about Molly, who was at work that day, making gyros and felafel for the suburban Minneapolis population.  She hasn't seen her father since June, for Father's Day.  And before that?  Christmas 2011.

I thought of Henry, the sweet child who recently shared with me that I'm his hero.

And William.  William was out on the field, the place he's so comfortable, the place he feels so at home.  I thought about the fact that Big Daddy is refusing to help pay for hockey this year.  For a while it looked like William wouldn't be able to play, but then She Who Has No Pride Left (me, doy) contacted the head of the hockey league, explained my situation in great detail, and got my boy a scholarship in exchange for promising to volunteer most of the season in the concession stand.

I wondered how much daycare costs...I honestly have no idea, but I have to guess it's in the $12-$15,000.00 a year range.  And then I thought about how much Big Daddy has paid in child support since September of 2008 (I'll give you a hint:  it's about $12-$15,000.00 less than that). 

I watched that turd of a man walk his little boy around and thought about the text that Charlie sent his dad.  He told him, for the first time ever, how abandoned he feels, and has felt, for the past several years.  He told him how broken he felt, how he feels as though his own father has given up on him.  He congratulated his dad on his fabulous taste in women, and expressed exactly how he feels about his stepmommy.  He swore and said things that he probably shouldn't have, but at the same time, they were things that absolutely had to be said.

He closed it with this:  "I hope Spawn gets on the varsity hockey team."

(I, personally, would have said I hope he sucks at hockey, but that's just me)

As my friend and I sat there, watching our boys play baseball and every so often glancing over at that son of a bitch with his own little son of a bitch (the former a figurative SOB, the latter, literally), we talked about how bizarre it was.  How very surreal it was to see this man, this graying, aging man frolicking about with a one year old.  How strange it was to see him express such tenderness towards a child, when there are four other kids who have, for all intents and purposes, been denied that very same tenderness.  That closeness.

The game ended, and my friend and I watched as Big Daddy scooped up his yearling and all of the baby gear.  We wondered, out loud, if he'd walk past us and by golly, he did...eyes straight ahead, child held firmly to his chest (just in case I tried to eat its soul as they passed, I guess).  He collected William for the remaining 3 hours of his visitation and we watched them walk down the path ahead of us, William looking back at me with that heartbreaking expression on his face, the expression that says "I wish my parents didn't hate each other."

My friend gave me a supportive smile, and we both exchanged gee-this-couldn't-be-more awkward looks.  And then she said:

"He looks so stupid with that diaper bag."

You know what?  She was right. 

He did look stupid.  And not just because of the diaper bag.


Saturday Weigh-In...Weight Watchers Works! Also, Alliteration's Awesome Too

I skipped last week's Weigh-In post, but never fear:  I'm here today to divulge the details of my very personal weight loss journey (because me divulging personal stuff is so uncharacteristic).

I'm also going to take this opportunity to brag about something cool that happened to me.  If we're real life friends on The Facebook, you may want to skip this part.  Go play your turn in Words with Friends (or start a game with me, please??).  You've heard this one before.  Here goes:

So one day last week, I happened to take a peek at my blog stats before heading out to work in the a.m.  I was a little shocked to see a few hundred visits.  Normally I don't get a ton of traffic here.  I mean, don't get me wrong, the fact that more than 1 person checks in on a semi-daily basis rocks my world like nobody's bizness, but still...these were weirdly high numbers.  I tried to see where they were all coming from, but all I saw under "referring URLS" was facebook.  I figured one of my homies had posted a link to my blog, and as much as I was dying to figure out who it was, I had to get to work.

Work, by the way?  I am in love with my job.  Love.

Back to my little braggart tale:  It was one of my short days, so around noon I headed home.  Before leaving the parking lot, I decided to take a look at my stats, to see if the wave of lookers had receded, and to see if I could figure out where they came from in the first place.

Um...holy crap.  During the three hours I was at work, there were over 1500 new visitors to my blog.  And not only were people looking, they were READING.  Like, some people had hour-long visits.  I started to get a little excited now..this was kind of big.  Big for me, anyway.  And then I noticed I had a new comment...a comment that mentioned the fact that FAMOUS AUTHOR EMILY GIFFIN posted a link to my blog on her very own Facebook page.

Yes, best-selling author Emily Giffin somehow found my blog, took time out of her life to read it, and then posted about it on her facebook page.  Her facebook page with over 16,000 fans.  Do you know of Emily?  If not, please get to know her books.  She's a fabulous writer with a knack for creating absolutely real characters, characters you visualize in your head and try to figure out which celebrity will play them in the movie while you're reading.  And speaking of movies, one of my favorite movies was based on her super awesome book "Something Borrowed" (really, Kate Hudson and girl-crush Ginnifer Goodwin dancing to Salt and Pepa's Push It is classic...see that movie if you haven't already).

When I saw that comment, and realized what had happened, I got goosebumps.  Seriously..that doesn't happen to me very often, being a very warm-blooded, sweaty lady.  This was big.  Then, of course, because I seem to have crying-Tourette's, I started weeping.  So I figured that was a great time to start driving home. Crying while driving isn't edgy enough, so I also rang up my BFF Danielle and wheezed out the details of this most exciting development.  She looked up the page on the facebook and read it out loud to me, and then invited me over so I didn't have to experience this coolness all by my lonesome.  She also made me a really nice turkey sandwich.  I love her.

Now, here's why I loved this experience:  Of course, the fact that someone like Ms. Giffin called my blog "well written" and actually said, "Thanks for the good morning read, JENNY" was, on its own, one of the most tingly moments of my life thus far.  Seriously.  First Jennifer Weiner, then Sarah Pekkanen, and now this?  Thrilled doesn't begin to describe how that felt.

But more importantly:  it gave me some validation.  You see, that morning I got another little nugget of news that wasn't so awesome.  It involved Big Daddy, of course, and the fact that he has yet to pay a penny of child support.  Not only that, but his attorney suggested that I am purposely under-employed, and boy would they like to see what the Family Law courts have to say about that.  Yes, he's trying to find ways to throw me under the bus, rather than manning up and doing what's right (and what's legal, but that's beside the point, I guess). 

Can I tell you how sick and tired I am of this struggle?  How annoying it is to have to wait, and worry, and stress about this shit?  You have no idea how badly I want to be successful, to be able to provide enough for my kids that I can finally, for once and for freaking all, tell that bastard to (in the words of my beloved Violent Femmes) KISS OFF.  To wash my hands of him, completely.  Be done with his icky ways, his shadiness and his cruelty.

So, the whole Emily Giffin thing gave me some hope.  That was why I was crying as I was driving down the highway.  I felt somewhat validated, at least for a few hours.  To paraphrase Sally Field, "they like me!".  I felt, for a blissful handful of moments, like there was a fantastic, bright light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.  It made me think about the life beyond this one, the life that my kids and I could have.  The life I hope we will have.

I can't thank Emily enough, nor can I thank Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen and every single one of THEIR fans who clicked over here and read a little bit, enough.  Just like I can't thank you guys enough, for being here, for sending me encouragement via emails or comments or facebook posts.  One day, soon, there will be a day when all of this crap is nothing more than a fuzzy, stale memory.

And when that day comes, you bet your gorgeous hineys it's going to be sweet.

Sweet, and hopefully low in points.  Which is my clever way of segueing into the Weigh-In portion of today's post.

I'm converted.  I'm a believer.  I'm all Jennifer Hudson about Weight Watchers.  Given my pretty severe financial limitations, I've been feeling guilt about paying for this service every month.  It's about $40, which for most people is nothing, but for me?  It's something.  It's a tank of gas, it's a few day's worth of groceries, it's two haircuts (with a generous tip, of course).  But I've decided that it's important.  I also decided that if it wasn't working, I'd stop it.

Guess what?

It's working.  I've done my fair share of weeping in my car over the past two weeks.  I've already regaled you with the famous author tear-fest story, now here's the second.

I cried at Weight Watchers.  Like, standing on the scale, tears running down my face, crying.  I had gone in last week not expecting to see a whole lot of  improvement.  I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate exercise into my insanely crazy schedule and so far all I've figured out is how to fall asleep at 9:00 every night (it's pretty easy to do, sadly).  So when I stepped on the scale, I did so with a bit of resignation and a whole lot of apprehension.  When Weight Watchers lady told me what I had lost, I lost it.  I apologized to her, explained that even I didn't know why I was crying.  She hugged me, told me it was ok, and then congratulated me.  Because I lost a lot of weight that week.

Here's the breakdown, and then I'm off for a walk.  I have a date again tonight, and believe you me...mama wants to eat.  Thanks again, each and every one of you (even you, Big Daddy, you stalkery creep.  Without you and your torturous mind games, I would have never discovered the awesomeness inside of me) for giving me so much support and encouragement...it truly does take a village to raise a Jenny, and I'm oh so grateful for my amazing village.

Week 1:  -4 lbs.

Week 2:  -3.8 lbs.
Week 3:  -3.2 lbs.
Week 4:  -1.4 lbs.
Week 5:  -3.4 lbs.
Week 6:  -1.8 lbs.
Week 7: +.2 lbs.
Week 8:   -3.6 lbs.  (!!!)
Week 9:  -2.2 lbs. (!!!!)

Grand total:  23.2 pounds gone forever.  If I can do this?  Anyone can.



Part Two: The Divorced Mommy's Guide to Frenemies

So my last post was kind of a sickly sweet, "aw shucks, ain't friends great?" post, right?  If you know me at all, you know I am all kinds of sweet and that I do love my homies.  But I also have some anger issues.  97% of the time, that anger is directed at one goateed a-hole, and slow walking, sample scarfing people at Costco. But every so often, the anger comes out in more social settings. 

When my husband first left me, I crawled into a shell and didn't come out for a few months.  I had only told  a few friends about what had happened, and it somehow spread throughout Mayberry like wildfire.  When I finally emerged from hiding, I was blown away by the support I got...but I learned, very quickly, that sometimes even support can bring you down.

Herein lies the list of Frenemies:  People the Divorced Mommy needs to avoid.  Enjoy.

1.  The Life Coach (aka Antoinette Robbins) (Get it?  Toni Robbins?).  This one will swoop down upon you, and seemingly lift you up at first.  She's usually pretty successful herself, or is married to someone successful and has become successful at having successful hobbies.  Guess what?  You are now her hobby.  She will come up with a life plan for you, and will be in your ear 24/7 making sure you stick to that plan.   Here's the caveat about The Life Coach:  While her intentions are undoubtedly pretty good, her attention span is woefully short.  You will find yourself hearing from The Life Coach with less frequency as the weeks (sometimes hours) go by.  And that's not a bad thing. 

2.  The Man Hater.  Simple enough, no?  She hates men.  And sadly, she's most likely married to one, and even more sadly, the mother of one.  This frenemy does have her place:  when you have absolutely had it, and need to spew some venom?  This is the one you want to be around.  Like gasoline on a fire, she will build up your rage with crazy-eyed glee.  Not only will she agree with every vitriolic thing you say, she'll give you new ways to hate on the male species.  Ways you never even thought of.  Be careful around this one, because unlike a true friend who understands that you are angry, this one loves that you're angry.  And besides, we all know that only a few men in this world are worthy of our scorn.  As a mother to three future (well, ok, one man and two future men), I see that good in them and know they will be fabulous husbands and fathers some day.  How can you be a Man Hater when you gave birth to one? 

3.  Judge Judy.  Or Judge Susan, Judge Francie, Judge Katie or Judge Lisa.  It doesn't matter, just put the word Judge in front of their name and you have the third Frenemy.  She was most likely a very close friend before the shitstorm happened but you must be very careful around this one after the dust settles.  She's watching.  And she's judging.  She will make a mental note of everything you're doing: how much weight you've lost or gained, how well you are parenting, how much you're drinking or eating, how you're spending your money, who you date and how often you date them, etc.  She will also keep an extra close eye on you around her husband, and other males, because Judge Judy, despite knowing what a wonderful person you are, thinks of Divorce like an infection.  And you are infected, dear.  Like that monkey in Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman and hot Rene Russo.  Eventually, your Divorcedness will be too much for Judge Judy, and you will part ways.  She'll still judge you.  Only now it doesn't matter. 

4.  The Relationship Addict.  This is the twin sister of the good friend, The In-Betweener.  The Relationship Addict is kind of like the In-Betweener, only her in-between times are usually just hours long instead of weeks or months.  Girl literally cannot live without a man in her life.  This is not to say that the Relationship Addict is a bad friend...au contraire, she is usually a sweet, kind friend, a friend you've probably known for ages.  We could get into the whole psycho-analysis behind WHY she can't live without a man, but I have neither the training nor the time to do that (I'm a working stiff now, folks...it's really cutting into my "me" time).  But being around the Relationship Addict isn't exactly good for your now-fragile self esteem.  She's there one second, and then *poof* she's gone, off with whichever Lothario has sucked her in this time.  And let's be honest:  The Relationship Addict doesn't exactly have stellar taste in dudes.  Like my heroine Patti Stanger, The Millionaire Matchmaker says:  Her picker is off.  You are just learning how to date again, this is one friend you would be wise to keep an arm's length away. 

5.  Pity Patty.  You will be able to identify Pity Patty in two ways:  That goddamned look of concern in her eyes, and the way she talks to you.  The concerned eyes, paired with a furrowed brow, and the hushed voice (like you talk to an injured animal) are comforting at first.  In fact, pretty much everyone you talk to while your separation/divorce is still fresh will talk to you like this (except the lawyers.  Never, ever the lawyers.).  And at first, it's ok.  You are an injured animal.  You're hurt and scared and don't know what to do.  Concern is good at this stage.  But after a while, after you get your sea legs and you gain some strength, you don't need the concern anymore.  You need "atta girls" and "go get 'ems".  Because you may be fighting for your life, and the lives of your kids...or maybe just fighting to get things back to your new normal and the last thing you need at this time in your life is pity.  You need to surround yourself with people who recognize what a warrior you have become.  Not only recognize it, but celebrate it and nurture it.  Pity Patty serves as a reminder of what you once were.  You don't need that.

6.  Mrs. Jones.  Mrs. Jones may or may not be real.  She's the one who does everything just a little bit better than you, the one who has a really clean house, well-behaved kids and hair that is certainly never frizzy or pulled back in a Crazy Librarian bun.  Her car doesn't smell like dog ass and old french fries, and she always has all the ingredients for sangria on hand.  Her parties are casually elegant "last minute" affairs that look like a Martha Stewart orgasm painted by Norman Rockwell, furnished by Pottery Barn and catered by Giada De Laurentiis, and her marriage, or partnership (hey, it's 2012) is perfect.  Mrs. Jones exercises but she never sweats, and she certainly isn't wearing a giant Dave Matthews t-shirt while she does it.  Mrs. Jones is the one you will find yourself desperately trying to keep up with.  And honey, no matter how well you're doing?  It ain't gonna happen.  Mrs. Jones is a master at what she does, which is portraying perfection.  And she does the hell out of it.  I won't tell you to avoid Mrs. Jones, because she is everywhere, but I will tell you to lighten up on yourself when she's around.  Perfection is overrated.  And trust me when I say, you may just be the one consoling Mrs. Jones when her perfect world shatters.  Mrs. Jones, you see, is very real underneath that glossy exterior.  She has fears and self loathing and self doubt just like you and me, she's just better at hiding it.  Not all Mrs. Joneses will fall from that smooth marble pedestal they perch upon, but some will.  And they'll need someone like you to help them get up. 

7.  The Backstabber.  Without a doubt, the most lethal of all Frenemies.  The Backstabber is pure evil.  She is exactly what her name implies.  This one will hold out a glass of wine with one hand, and in the other hand she's holding a big shiny Wustoff Trident butcher knife.  Or a nail file, or her own pointy claws.  The worst thing about The Backstabber is, she's probably a pretty good friend.  The bright side of this one is, you have lots of good friends, and the real ones will call out The Backstabber.  They'll tell her not only where to go, they'll probably give her directions and a Diet Coke for the ride.  The Backstabber will leave a scar, though, one that will fade over time but never truly disappears.  The Backstabber usually has her reasons for what she does, and believe it or not, one of the biggies is jealousy.  Yes, someone is actually jealous of you, my dears.  She sees how you've overcome some pretty debilitating awfulness, and she sees how people are drawn to you and want to be a part of your life...your new, awesomely normal life.  You have a light about you, a light that a turd of an ex-husband couldn't put out, a light that wasn't dimmed by sadness or stress or fear.  And some people hate that about you.  Pity the Backstabber, my friends.  Pity her, but do it from afar.  She's damaged goods and she wants you to be damaged, too.  You are better than that.  Your light is something you've earned, it's something you deserve and something you should cherish.  Nobody can take that away from you.

And there you have it, people.  The Frenemies.  Luckily for me, I've only come across a few of them in my stint as Divorced Mommy, but the few I've dealt with have taught me invaluable lessons.  They've shown me what kind of friend I need to be, what I can do (and what I should never do) to be a good friend.  They've rubbed some of the shine off of my naivete, which kind of sucks but in the long run will be a benefit.

The good news is, these Frenemies are fairly easy to pick out of the crowd.  And your hens, the good, kick ass hens who really have your back, will help you with the pickin'.  

Thank YOU for being a friend.


The Divorced Mommy's Guide to Friends

I worry.  I worry about a lot of things.  I worry about my kids, I worry about my dog (yet another ear infection?  Was he not breastfed??), I worry about my car, I worry about the future and the presidential race and endangered species.

I worry a lot about what I feel.  I worry that I will never be in love again, that whatever little lobe or mass of nerve endings in my brain that controls love has been irreparably damaged by Tropical Storm Divorce.  I think about how nice it would be to fall in love, how nice it would be to share my life with someone I really and truly cannot live without, and then I think about the fact that despite dating and trying to find some semblance of love over the past 5 years, it has yet to happen.

One thing I don't worry about, though...my friends.  It's taken some time, but I have come to realize that I am surrounded by an awesome group of hens who have my back no matter what.  When I get emails or messages or comments from women who are now facing life solo, one of the first things I always tell them is "gather your friends around you".  Without my friends, I would not have made it through my darkest hours.  Without them, my brightest moments wouldn't have been so bright.

Variety is the spice of life, or so they say.  I think that same thought applies to friends, as well.  Here is my little opinionated guide to the friends you may come across on your journey through DivorceVille.  And here's my disclaimer:  This doesn't describe any of my friends individually.  It's kind of an amalgamation of the hens you may stumble across, and hopefully keep as friends, as you recover and get on with life.  Truth is, I've probably been all of these friends myself, at one time or another.  Except for the one with boyfriends.  That's not me.  

1.  The Marriage Friends

These are the friends you used to double-date with, back in the day.  They might have been part of the group you and your ex hung out with before and after you got married.  She might have even introduced you two.  When you got divorced, these friends chose you over your ex, even though her husband may still be friends with him.  She's a valuable friend because she knows what your life used to be like.  She was there when it all went down, and she's stuck by you in the aftermath.  She'll defend you if the need arises, and she'll sing your praises in mixed company.  This one is a keeper.

2.  The Kindred Spirits

These are your Divorce Sisters.  They've been through their own hell and lived to talk about it.  This is the friend who knows EXACTLY what you're talking about when you bring up concerns about your kids and your finances and your future.  She's the one you call when you get a chilling email from your attorney, she's the one you call when one of your kids asks you why you don't have big diamond earrings like Daddy's new wife.  She'll snort with you, cry with you, empathize with you.  She gets you.  You get her.

3.  The Blast from The Past

You two used to be friends.  Maybe as far back as elementary school, but most likely in high school and college.  She may have been one of your work friends at your first real job.  You guys parted ways before the whole marriage and kids scene, but thanks to the facebook, your paths have crossed again.  These friends are awesome because they knew you before everything happened, they knew you when you were young and single and partied without care.  When you think about it, you're kind of back in that same boat, except now you're not so young, you're divorced and you're way too tired to party.  But she always has horrifying/funny pictures of you wearing your best 80's attire and she is the one who remembers EVERYTHING  you did at Sexy Steve's kegger after the homecoming game.  This one is gold.

4.  The In-Betweener

This is the friend who is in a similar situation to yours:  she may be divorced, or separated, or somehow single like you.  She's out there wookin' pa nub, and finds it with alarming success.  She is the one you will hang out with while she's in-between boyfriends (hence the name).  I'm not saying this in a bitter or jealous or snarky way, believe me.  Sometimes this is just the kind of friendship you need.  When this friend needs consoling or commiseration after her latest endeavor goes south, be there for her.  She'll be the first to slap your back when you finally find your Prince Charming.

5.  The Cheerleader

This one is kind of a catch-all...she can be many of your friends all rolled up into one ball of fabulous.  She can be a he, even.  These are the friends who would carry you on their shoulders into the coliseum if they could.  They know just what to say, and exactly when to say it.  They'll surprise you with a big hug out of the blue, or a sweet card in the mail, or an impromptu invite out for happy hour.  They won't always be so obvious about it, though, sometimes these are silent cheerleaders.  The Cheerleader somehow always knows when you need a little pom-pom waving and is always willing to do it.

6.  The Kid's Friends Mom Friend

Once again, excuse my slaughtering of the apostrophe placement. Im' working on it.  This friend is one you wouldn't have met if it wasn't for your kids.  She's the mom on the baseball team, the other room parent, the chick you get stuck with when you volunteer to help with picture day at the junior high.  She isn't going to be as close to you as some of the other hens, but she'll be the kind face in the crowd on Open House night, or the one who will chat with you when you're standing there all alone at the 6th grade concert.  She'll be the one who offers up rides to games, or day-long playdates when you really need them.  She'll be the one who drops off a plate of yummies when she drops off your kid, or the one who takes your angel out to eat when your checkbook is emaciated.  Sometimes, if all of the planets align just right?  She ends up being a close friend.

7.  The Best Friend

If you're lucky, and I mean really, really lucky...you will have at least one of these.  This is the friend who may or may not know exactly what you're going through.  Chances are, she's happily married and has never taken a dip in Divorce Pond.  But somehow, she knows how to relate.  She will invite you up to her cabin, she'll join Weight Watchers with you, she'll invite you to movies or concerts and offer to drive.  She'll let you borrow just about everything besides her vibrator and not disown you when you return it a little late or showing a little wear.  She'll be upfront with you about your wardrobe choices (like, "How many days in a row are you going to wear those yoga pants, bitch?") or your choice in men, and she'll let you be when you are in one of your hermit phases (and maybe even more importantly, she'll know when to drag your sorry ass out).  She'll come to your parties, she'll befriend your kids, she'll either give your ex dirty looks or else be the grown up and be all polite with him when she has to be.  She will make sure your kids don't starve, and she'll also make sure they treat you well.  She'll toast your victories and she'll wipe your tears when you fail.  This is the woman who will pull you aside and tell you that you missed a mustache hair, and the woman who will overlook the fact that your house resembles New Orleans after Katrina.  I am so very fortunate to have more than one of these babes in my stable.  It's my wish that every single one of you has at least one of these friends.

Friends are like haircuts:  sometimes we get one and it seems perfect, only to disappoint us after the first shower.  Sometimes you get one that seems awful but turns out to be fabulous once it grows out a little bit.

Just like haircuts, friends are something everyone needs.   And if you're lucky, you get a few great ones here and there.

Are you barfing over the haircut analogy?  Me too, a little bit.  But I'm on Day 2 of a stress migraine, so cut me a little slack.  That's what friends are for, right?

Your friend,



A Clear Conscience In just 10 easy payments...

I'll give him something to be concerned about.

So you know that I am very fortunate to have a law firm working on my behalf, pro bono.  That means they are doing all of my legal maneuverings free of charge.  I owe a huge debt to my former BFF and her awesome husband for making this happen.  I quite literally shudder to think of where the kids and I would be without this help.

Anyways.  Big Daddy has hired his own counsel (is it safe to say that?  I sure hope so.).  Hey, I'm thrilled to the gills that he can afford a lawyer.  That tells me he has some discretionary income.  The pool, the new car, the 50" flat screen, the zoo memberships, the new windows, the Jetson-esque washer and dryer all tell me that too, but the lawyer is really telling.  (funny story about the washer and dryer, remind me to gab about that one later)

Here's what his lawyer is telling my lawyer:  Big Daddy is thinking about paying child support.  He's mulling it over in that head of his.  He's also considering paying me some back support, since he hasn't paid a dime in just about four years now.  My attorney told me, "He wants to pay the back support in installments."

Don't get me wrong:  I will take it.  I will take it in pennies and nickels and dimes if it means being able to stretch my income farther in order to provide more for my children.  I know some people never see a cent, and that is always at the forefront of my mind:  at least it's something.  But then I think, "Gee...when I was in the middle of losing my house, it sure would have been nice if the mortgage company had offered to let me pay them in installments."  And I also think, "Gosh...I bet if all of those companies who were after me for debt that I inherited from my dead marriage said they would take installment payments, I wouldn't have had to declare bankruptcy!"  So yeah, I will take it no matter how it's paid.  I'm just a wee bit bitter that child support is seen as something less serious, less SCARY than "regular" debt.

I'm willing to bet that the total amount he's being asked to pay is less than what he and the Missus are paying for a few months of daycare.

Daycare for one child, vs. four years of support for four children.  I would cry if I had any tears left. 

He wants to pay in installments, eh?  Here's what I said to my lawyer:

"Ask his attorney if she accepts installments."

I have spent the last two weeks getting three kids ready for school, and me ready for a new job.  I've written so many checks that my left hand is now frozen in a permanent, pen-clutching claw.  I've purchased new shoes, been to Great Clips twice, missed one picture day already (really, Senior High?  Pictures on the first day?), arranged binders, sharpened pencils and helped with homework.  I've stressed about money, apologized to the kids for yet another spaghetti dinner, run to the junior high and then to the high school to get a kid signed up for track (we can't play hockey this year, so if the boy wants to run I'm going to make it happen.).  Rented a French Horn, met teachers, put some money in lunch accounts, and oh yes, made sure three lovely children are up, clean and fed early enough to catch a 7:00 a.m. bus. 

I do this with love, and no resentment.  I do this because I am a mother, a parent, and these are my children.  I do this because they have no one else on this planet who will do this for them.  I do this not expecting thanks, but because it's what I signed on to do when I made each one of these babies all those years ago.  I do this without help, not because I'm a martyr or because I'm all kinds of Wonder Woman, but because the person who should be helping me either doesn't give a shit or else has no clue that I could use help.  I'm guessing the former.

Last night, I sat down for the first time all day at about 9:00 p.m.  I had bags under my eyes, my feet hurt and all I could think of was how freaking awesome it was going to feel to slip under the covers and go to bed.  William was finishing up his homework, and Henry was going through his binder.

"Hey mom!" said Henry.  "Hey what?" I replied.

"In my English class the teacher told us to think about who our heroes are.  And then we're supposed to write about them.  Guess who I'm writing about?".

I thought about it for a minute.  "I have no idea, honey.  Who is it?"

Henry pointed at me.  "You, mom.  You're my hero."

That right there.  THAT is why I do this.

Install that, mother-effer.


Adios, Summer 2012.

This is it.  The official last day of Summer 2012.  The last quiet, unscheduled Monday I'll see for quite some time.

And here I sit.  I'm currently sitting out on the Golden Girls porch, iced coffee and Walter by my side.  Three of my four angels are snoozing away, the fourth is (hopefully) doing the same at our neighbor's house after squeezing that last sleepover out of both the summer and the neighbor boy's parents.

There are a million and ten things I should be, could be doing right now. Maybe a million and fifteen.  There's laundry to be done, pencils to be rounded up and sharpened, a house that positively reeks of summer and should be aired out and febreezed and straightened up.  There are vestiges of a graduation party, still, out in the backyard and scattered around the house (I have all of these picture collages, people, it seems almost sacrilegious to dismantle them).  I haven't even begun my "what am I going to wear to work" panic yet.  Don't get me started about the looks Walter is giving me...his chocolate brown eyes wavering between me and his leash that's hanging on the garage door knob. 

And still...here I sit.  It almost seems like one of those wistful, melancholy moments, where you know something is about to change forever.  Like the night before you have a baby, and you spend those last few hours with hands pressed against the sides of your belly, feeling for little heels to slide by under your fingertips, for a tiny tush to bump up, just one last time.

This was a good summer.  We didn't do much of anything, we didn't even get up to my BFF's cabin this year.

This summer, my dad took all three boys to "work" with him a few days a week.  And he worked them hard.  They helped him maintain some of his rental properties.  Two boys who don't like to work, and one who loves it would come home with paint and tar splattered clothes, green shoes from mowing lawns, sweaty heads and a check from Papa clutched in their hot little hands.

This summer, Molly got her first job.  She and her own BFF worked 30-40 hours a week schlepping gyros and tzatziki sauce at an Egyptian restaurant in our local mall's food court.  My daughter smells like onions and garlic but the confidence she's gained (not to mention her fat bank account) are amazing.

And me?  This summer I did a lot.  I took control of my destiny and my diet.  Lost some weight, got a new job.  Met a few fabulous new friends, hung out with a bunch of the fabulous old ones.  Began what will hopefully become a book, if not a book then a really great family memoir that is sure to mortify my kids and someday, their kids as well.  Had a couple rolls in the hay, and met my new hair stylist. Those last two, by the way, didn't happen simultaneously.  Separate events. 

This summer, the shadow of that snarly, paunchy ex-husband of mine didn't block out too much of the sun.  Oh sure, we are still exchanging blows in the child support battle- at this point we look like two boxers at the end of a bloody, exhausting match, torn between holding each other up and trying to get one last swing in before the bell dings.  But I have learned to be patient, I have discovered that what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger (and funnier). I have learned that money, and the things it buys, can't hold a candle to love (although I have yet to discover how to get love into the gas tank of a car).  

This summer I had the good fortune of seeing my eldest child finish high school, and watched as his family and friends gathered to celebrate that with him.  That kid has been to hell and back, and for the first time in I don't know how long, I am not dreading the upcoming school year with him. 

This summer was brutally hot, and I discovered that the air conditioning in my sweet little car didn't work...but I also discovered that kids don't ask you to drive them as many places if it means going there in a tiny silver microwave. 

This summer I ate so many pounds of pulled pork BBQ that I'm now convinced I used to be a fat Southern man in a past life.  My apologies to both the pig I ate and any fat Southern men who may be reading this.  Who knew I liked pork so much?

Summer of 2012, thank you.  There wasn't anything wildly unusual about you, nor did you dazzle me with any new tricks or jazz hands, but you were a good and a kind summer.  You didn't knock me over with any bad news, you didn't bowl me over with any spectacularly great news.  You were even keeled, you were gentle.

You were a good summer. 
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