A Sister Learns the Real Meaning of Love

If you know me, and I think you do, you know that family is the most important aspect of my life. Thus, when one family member experiences a traumatic event, much like a ripple effect, I, too, am, affected. Kinda like the 'they hurt therefore I hurt' syndrome.

I think I underestimated such a phenomenon until 4 months ago. For it was then that my sister's husband woke up, decided he'd had enough of being a husband, father and provider and promptly exited stage right. And exit he did, Within days of purging the cliche', 'I've been unhappy for years and it's your fault' he was out and living elsewhere. Might I add that Father of the Year's new abode was over an hour away. Now tacky as it may be, setting up a new life sans wife on a moments notice isn't good enough. No. Not for this Cretan. He's set up a new life sans 7 year old autistic son. Yeah.

Now I'm not naive enough to believe that this evolved out of a vacuum and that people don't get divorced every day for a myriad of reasons, but just trust me when I say the execution of his departure spoke volumes about his character and I just had a nagging suspicion that this was only the tip of the iceberg.

Fast forward 4 months. Any attempt at reconciliation is moot as finalization of divorce has been left to the tasks of the attorneys. Attempts at mediation were hopeless as Cretan showed his true colors and threatened my sister when it came to finances and property. Kinda funny as he, himself, has only the equity of half the home and is now waiting on bated breath to be bought out. What about custody, you may ask? That, too, was moot as he never even wanted more than the requisite visits which came to two weekends a month. Even though he had never been Father of the Year, even I was surprised at his lack of initiative when it came to spending time with his son. But let me say for the record I am grateful beyond measure as he clearly needs stability, love, understanding, support and empathy, things Father of the year is incapable of supplying. Being with my sister is the best environment for him as she rocks as a mother and has always cherished that child. Yes, I'm biased but a truths a truth and it's just the way it is.

Now I could dwell in the minutia and explain every little aspect of what has turned into an acrimonious divorce, but I'll spare you the diatribe and instead tell you that I have developed a new found respect, love and admiration for my sister. She has come to really know in her heart that she is far better off without him and not only is she surviving she is thriving and getting copious levels of support from her endless supply of family and friends. It's kinda telling that not one of their mutual friends sided with the Cretan yet all of them came out in spades for my sister. And while there definitely have been nights of tears, fears and worries for what lie ahead I am proud and grateful to say she is well on her way to a full recovery.

In these four months I have come to know unbearable pain and loss through someone else's suffering. I have shed tears not of my own plight but of hers as to watch her endure and hurt over this has been almost unbearable. But I have also discovered a new depth of understanding and compassion for a sister I knew I had always loved, but never really understood the meaning of that love until now.

I'm so over insomnia....

You know you have insomnia when:
  • You're jealous of the woman in the ambien commercials and would give anything just to be her.
  • You actually consider purchasing Space Bags in every size, shape and color.
  • Commercials become entertainment.
  • Jimmy Fallon becomes the early show.
  • You consider finding a friend in France so you can talk in the middle of the night.
  • You no longer need night vision goggles to make your way throughout the house while it's pitch black.
  • You get more done between 12 am and 6 am then you do all day.
  • Blogging takes place only when it's dark.
  • Online shopping takes on a whole new meaning...and so does your credit card.

Any additions for any of your fellow insomniacs?

Back In the Throes

Almost two weeks away from my blog is an eternity or so it seems as so much has transpired yet I've been away and unable to update. I hope you are all doing your personal best and that Mother's Day found you healthy, happy and able to honor your Mother, yourself or both.

I returned Friday the 8th from a much needed respite spent in Palm Springs where the most difficult endeavors proved to be weather to shop, spend lazy days by the pool or simply indulge in spa treatments. Deciding to partake on varying days in all of the above I indulged in an epicurean week of total rest, relaxation, retail heaven and revitalization. So pleasurable was my experience that I'm headed back for part deaux in either June or July!

Needless to say I was grateful for the opportunity to unwind following so much emotional and physical upheaval regarding my Grandmother. While she continues to beat the odds and pull through each day she is unable to do the majority of simple, yet imperative, tasks such as feed herself, swallow whole foods, walk without assistance, carry a conversation and recognize familiar faces or surroundings with regularity. While I worry about her and her future my primary concern still lies with my Mother who is still coming to terms with the myriad of changes that have occurred over such a short period of time. In short, I don't know how well I'd cope if my own Mother went from vibrant to unrecognizable overnight. Nonetheless we are all grateful for each day she is with us as each of us has a new appreciation for life and those in it.

On another front I have happy news to report; my girlfriend who was in the process to adopt a newborn spent her first Mother's day the proud Mother of Gabriel Christian. My heart is overjoyed for both she and her husband as they are over the moon and settling in quite nicely to being new parents. While I admit I still have feelings of sadness around my own inability to experience such a situation, those feelings are far and few between and have not eclipsed my complete joy and excitement for her.

On that note I will bid adieu...it's nice to be back in the throes of blog land and I look forward to catching up on all of your endeavors!

Tears and Fears

Thank you to everyone for your well wishes, thoughts and prayers. I flew home yesterday afternoon after spending a week in the hospital with my Grandmother.

While her vitals improved enough to transfer her to convalesce at the facility where she once held an independent apartment, her mental state deteriorates more and more as days go on. It seems impossible that it was only three weeks ago that we shared laughs over memories we'd frequently revisit as when I left her she was unable to recall who I was. She vacillates in and out of lucidity once telling me that my Grandfather ( who passed away 9 years ago) was standing behind me. Not missing a beat I asked her where she was and she answered. "Heaven", and when I asked who she saw there she replied,"All my loved ones." I truly believe she saw my Grandfather as well as those that have passed before as she was near death post surgery and disoriented since. She was barely recognizable when I first saw her as she went from a vital, robust 97 year old to a shadow of her former self. I'm well aware that most at 97 are indeed frail and fragile, however, she was truly an anomaly so it's been difficult to for the medical staff who didn't know her beforehand to decipher what her baseline is.

It's also been difficult on my Mom. I am so grateful I have been able to provide support and strength for her as she has done the same for me all of my life. Never did I think she would sob in my arms like a child but I am honored she was able to trust me with such raw displays of emotion. She has borne witness to things one would never want to see their Mother endure and I am so proud of the loving and gentle manner in which she treats my Grandmother. While it may be my Grandmother it is her Mom and I know nothing of what it's like to see your own Mother suffering, infused with tubes and foreign objects and near death.

She is slated to be in her one on one skilled care facility for the foreseeable future as she needs assistance feeding herself, using the restroom and doing just about any other basic function. I am ashamed to admit that I don't know what to pray for at the moment as, as much as I want her to live I know she will retain very little quality of life if she remains as is. Being that she has been given very little odds at improvement I wonder if it would be better if she quietly slipped away in her sleep with what little dignity she has left. I am crying as I write this and feel such sadness at the prospect of losing her but as I see it so much of her is already gone. My grief is as much around my own Mother's loss as it is my own as I hate to see her so sad. I suppose the best I can do is ask God to do what He deems best and let go.

But it hurts.

Thanks again to all of you who expressed concern and are saying prayers. I may not know all of you personally but I think you're pretty amazing.

Somewhat Somber

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. I had a somewhat somber holiday as I found out day before last that my 97 year old Grandmother fell and broke her femur. What's more, she underwent emergency surgery immediately afterward and has yet to fully emerge out of recovery mode. She's been put in cardiac intensive care as her heart is having irregularities and she needs to be closely monitored.

Due to the recent developments I am going to fly out and be with both my Grandmother and my Mother (who is already there). While I want to see my Grandmother and be there in case anything happens, I am also going to support my Mother as she's having a really difficult time absorbing both what happened and what's to come. I've said before that my Mother is my best friend and has seen me through the myriad of trials and tribulations I've faced throughout my life so I think it only appropriate that I be there for her.

I would like nothing more then for my Grandmother to make a full and speedy recovery but, at 97, she will more then likely convalesce for a lengthily period of time. She is such an independent woman who prided herself on living on her own up until her 97th birthday at which point she entered assisted living. Although she moved from a house to a three room apartment she made the transition with grace and ease. It is because of this I get sad at the prospect of her living the rest of her days in a single, hospital-esque room. I worry about her spirits, her demeanor and her state of mind as so many changes along with her ailing body may prove to be too much. While I should take solace her her longevity I find myself feeling so sad for both the prospect of her death and my Mother's subsequent grief. I want to shield her from all the pain and help her through whatever happens. I know I'm getting ahead of myself but I'm only being realistic.

Anyway I will let you all know what transpires. Thanks in advance for keeping my family in your thoughts and , if you're so inclined, your prayers.

Blatant Neglect

I truly think justice can, at times, be not only blind but moronic.

Last week a 25 year old woman came forward alleging she was brutally raped in a New York subway in 2005. When two men began making lewd advances toward her and became overtly aggressive she tried, to no avail, to alert two attendants working in the station. She says they blatantly ignored her pleas for help and neglected to call for back up until it was too late. By the time officers arrived at the scene she had been raped twice and left for dead.

What really irks me is that a judge, after hearing her argument, decided to throw out the case as opposed to let the two men stand trial for failing to act. While I understand they were not directly responsible for her rape I have to ask what could have been done had officers been called as soon as she alerted the men on duty. They clearly saw she was in dire need of help and failed to act on her behalf. Doesn't that make them somewhat responsible? Even if it's not clear cut shouldn't it be left to a jury to come to that conclusion and not be shafted by a judge before the case can even be heard?

I hear she and her attorneys are going to appeal and I hope she gets her day in court.

I Wanna Talk To You...But I Don't

My sister just revealed to me either the most idiotic or ingenious concept ever - the jury's still out on this one. Pacific Bell has a calling system that allows you to call someone and go right to their voice mail without fear of them picking up the phone. You, like me, may ask why such a system is necessary. After all, you call someone to talk , right? Wrong. Apparently (and I am guilty of this...) many people return calls out of obligation and have no desire to talk to anyone but would rather leave a message. So much is this a normalcy that this system came to fruition. But trust me when I say that a panacea it is not.

Case in point...

My sister needed to return several phone calls but really didn't want to talk to anyone so, knowing about this calling feature, she decided to utilize it. Thing is, she OVER used it with regard to one woman who, also knowing about this calling feature, put two and two together and was ultimately offended. Truth is I'd be offended too is someone blatantly went out of their way to avoid me. Hence, I can't decide if this is really conducive to what people need or not. Deceit isn't excactly a characteristic we need to proliferate.

What say you?

Soliciting City

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that in the last week I've had roughly five people solicit my house for various services. While that may not be extraordinary in another neighborhood it is unheard of here where my *No Soliciting* sign and adjacent gate generally let people know ahead of time that I'm not interested. Not that I'm being bitchy...I just usually know that I wont be interested in the Vacuum that doubles as a jump rope or the gajillion magazine subscriptions I'll never read. But if you're selling Girl Scout cookies......

Seriously, there's been a marked increase in the number of house calls I've received. As well, the cast of characters are not the usual door-to-door salesman meets Harry Krishna type. Several days ago I answered the door only to come face to face with an impeccably dressed gentleman in his early 50's who, after getting over the initial shock of finding me in my pajamas at 2PM, proceeded to launch into a diatribe about various investment options. Before I could let the poor man know about my illicit affair with Charles Schwabb he flashed his card, handed me a pamphlet and scurried off to the next house. Glancing at his card I took note of his name and it was a good thing that I did as two days later I received a thank you note from said gentleman thanking me for my time. This wasn't your random proselytizing freak but clearly a man who believes that, in this dire economy, desperate times call for desperate measures.

And you know what? I respect that.

But that's besides the point.

Fact is I'm finding more and more individuals going back to basics and soliciting themselves and their services door-to-door as waiting for the phone to ring isn't cutting it any longer. Just in the last few days I've had investment man, a representative from the American Lung Cancer Association, Merry Maids, Various Handymen and two arborists stop by and either ask for donations or offer services. While I don't like the blatant disregard for my *No Soliciting* sign I empathize with their plight of needing to make ends meet. Hence, I don't chew off their head and ask if English is their first language when I answer the door and realize there's no Girl Scout cookies in sight.

It's definitely a sign of the times. Maybe I should change my sign to *Good Luck*

Dog Wanted

The warm body next to you while you sleep. The feeling of 24/7 protection. Complete and utter unconditional love. Sound good? Yeah. Me too.....which is why I'm actually considering breaking down and getting a boyfriend dog.

I've always been a dog person and had them throughout my life. It's only been the last 15 years or so that I've been without one. So in love with my last dog was I that I named both my e-mail and company after his nickname; Bucalu. His real name was Sambuca; given because he was a black and white Dalmation of Italian (me, that is) dissent. Me. Loveth. Him.

So do I go for it and complicate my simple life with hair balls, slobber, piddle and kibble? Or do I sit in fastidious, yet lonely, complacency and marvel at how clean the house smells? Okay, so I know having a dog doesn't equate a stinky house but to those of you who actually have an animal I beg you to share with me the biggest pitfalls that lie in owning a pet. As much as I know them it's been a long time since I've had one and I'm overcome with all the cute, theoretical aspects of being a doggy mommy. But I'm in serous need of some semblance of balance here.

Lay it on.

Random Princess Facts

In an effort to blog when I've got nothing much to say I am posting several random facts about me that you may or may not know. Here goes:

  • On April 17th I'll have 13 years sobriety
  • I have two step daughters whom I adore but no biological children
  • I graduated from UC Irvine in 1992 with a degree in Clinical Psychology
  • I used to teach Kindergarten
  • When I was little I wanted to grow up to be a babysitter
  • I am claustrophobic
  • 8 is my favorite number
  • I am a shoe addict with WAY too many pairs
  • I fear losing those I love
  • Fall is my favorite time of year
  • My eyes are hazel but turn green when I'm really tan
  • I have an addictive personality
  • I am overly sensitive
  • I hate seafood
  • I believe in God

What's something random about you that I should know?

The End Begins Here

Sometimes it's hard to know where one thing ends and another begins. I've come to realize that life is not just a singular entity with one goal but a compilation of a myriad of achievements and accomplishments. Sometimes, however, it's hard to know when to let go of one to begin another.

Case in point.

Aside from being that pinker then pink fun -loving forty something who loves to blog I am also a published author on women's health issues; specifically Endometriosis. I've always loved to write and in 1997 first became published with my book entitled Endometriosis, One Woman's Journey. In conjuction I also started an interactive website to help women suffering from the disease. I hosted chats on WebMD, wrote articles in various periodicals, did book signings and immersed myself in the topic. I ran this course for several years until I began to burn out. I stopped chatting, neglected my website and message board (which by now had been corrupted by SPAM), no longer did appearances and essentially hit burnout. I was taxed. The inspiration that had been paramount to my success seemed to evaporate.

What I didn't realize is that nature was running it's course and that try as I may to revive it, my tenure as author extraordinaire had flat lined. I was scared to let go choosing instead to grasp at straws even amidst the barely audible death rattle. Only now, almost 12 years after it's fruition, can I peacefully and readily accept things both for what they were and are. Beginning this blog was almost a segway into a new beginning and has provided me the ability to do what I love to do most; write. Granted, I'm not about to win any accolades for my simplistic commentary but I'm happy here and that counts for a lot.

I've come to realize that everything has a season, a beginning and an end a start and a finish and it's up to us to honor each as they signify growth. To turn our backs due to fear of change is to deny ourselves the inherent right to evolve. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes so it is on this note I'll end.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Nelson Mandela

* I am in no way ending this blog!!

You Know It

You know you're getting old when:

  • You really DO need to read the instructions when messing with your new iTouch/iPhone
  • The oldies station consists of music from your days in high school
  • You refer to your 26 year old personal trainer as a"kid"
  • Glasses are your new best accessory
  • Bedtime hits before American Idol is over
  • You get your hair done every other month to avoid showing stray grays
  • You find yourself humming Seals and Croft tunes in the shower
  • Your on a first name basis with your cosmetic dermatologist

You know you've still got it when:

  • You look and feel better at 40 then you did at 30
  • Batting your eyes and smiling still works
  • Beach season doesn't scare you
  • You truly do look better with no make up
  • "But you don't look 40" is a now frequent catch phrase
  • Workouts invigorate, not intimidate, you
  • 12 years later your wedding dress is too big

What would YOU add?

Grace In Small Things

I'm grateful for:

  • Turning 40 and feeling 30
  • The love of a friend
  • Mom's who love to mother - even when you're all grown up
  • Good books to lose yourself in
  • Birthdays - they remind you of how far you've come

What are you grateful for today?

It's All Downhill From Here...

Another birthday gone done in infamy - 40's officially hit and I'm feeling more alive and vital then I did at 30. Funny how that happens....

Cliche' as it sounds this birthday was particularly moving as those who love me made an effort to make me feel special. It seemed I celebrated all weekend begining with a birthday lunch at Javier's in Newport Beach. I'd been here before and loved it so coming back was a treat. Afterwards we enjoyed the beautiful weather while doing some shopping and ended the day with a relaxing dinner and movie.

My Mom flew in the following day making my actual birthday all the more special. I picked her up at the airport and as we made our way home, unbeknownst tome, some birthday elves were making themselves very busy. Walking in the door I was met with pink balloons, pink roses, pink stramers and signs and impeccably wrapped pink presents with a tiara atop the largest. In case I wasn't feeling particularly loved this happened to kickstart my heart into overdrive! I relished every moment of opening my amazing presents (think this, this & this to name just a few!) and just when I thought I had finished in comes a very pink cake with a flickering 40th birthday candle! As I made my wish I thought how very blessed I am to be surrounded by people who so obviously love and truly cherish me.

Since my Mom had just flown in that afternoon we decided to stay in that night opting instead to dine out the following evening. So after a day of mani's, pedi's and hair we went out and thoroughly enjoyed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Newport Beach. We had an esquitie dinner and enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was a perfect end to a trio of celbratory days and I can't recall the last time I felt so indulgent.

If this is turning 40 I look forward to 50!

You Know Who You Are....

To whomever used the elliptical before me:

That clearly marked spray bottle with the blue stuff in it that sits adjacent to the machine? Yeah. That's called sanitizer and it's there for sweat-noxious individuals such as yourself who drop their beads of germ infested ICK everywhere. Cuz me? I'm really not into using my fingers as human windshield wipers whilst attempting to input my data or placing my hands in vats of your bodily fluids while holding on, K?

Girl who just got over third round of flu/cold.

To woman who does my bikini wax:

I totally hear that you're mad at your husband for fooling around. And I'm way empathetic that you're in desperate need of sex but your anger and frustration do not bode well in the presence of hot wax and my delicate bikini area. I think you took off my top layer of skin that last time. Call me after you've seen your therapist, K?

Girl soaked in Aloe Vera.

To UPS man,

No, I'm not interested. Can I just please have my packages or do I need to keep hiding?

Girl who's seriously considering buying less online.

To my long time manicurist,

I get it. You don't want me to understand what you're saying. But every time you abruptly stop our conversation in English and begin hurriedly chatting away in Vietnamese I get paranoid. I know you know this and you're probably talking about my dry feet. Cut it out.

Girl with foot complex.

So you said....

The best thing I heard today?

"But you don't look 40...."

The worst thing I heard today?

"You owe capital gains taxes on all the money you lost in the stock market..."

What's the best/worst thing you heard today?

Just Breathe

"Life is not measured by the
number of breaths we take,
but by the moments
that take our breath away."

Baby Got Back....

In a world where thin is chic it's taken me a little time to make peace with my body. I will even go a step further to say I am learning to embrace the curves I once cursed as no matter how much I workout, slim down and watch what I eat one fact remains; I gots de junk in de trunk.

Yes, tis true that I've got a booty Sir Mix-A-Lot would be proud to bring home to Mama and while that actuality would have once made me insecure it now makes me proud. Now let me preface this by saying I am still very much a work in progress as I work with a trainer twice a week and watch what I eat, however, I know enough to know that regardless of my weight I will always be blessed with an ample ass.

But trust me when I tell you that enlightenment didn't come easy....

I've mentioned before that my glory days were not in my youth. I was always going to battle over my weight as while I wasn't ever inordinately overweight I was just heavy enough to warrant concern from my parents and chastising from my peers. I suppose the years of self analysis by way of appearance took their toll as I was hospitalized with anorexia at age 19 and it wasn't until I made a cognizant effort to learn love myself that I began to heal both physically and emotionally. Funny thing was that even at my lowest weight I always possessed a rather feminine figure. Honing in on the heroin chic look was not to be realized.

Suffice to say Kate Moss's job was safe...

So here I am all these years later still rather myopic on the topic of weight BUT with an edge of reason as opposed to insanity. I am more focused on being healthy then waify and I like the fact that in these past few months with a trainer I've become not only more toned but a lot stronger.

It's serendipitous that this epiphany of self acceptance comes just a few days shy of my fortieth birthday. After all, what better time to embrace who I am then on the precipice of reaching such a huge milestone? Now this is not to say I don't have my normal everyday insecurities. Oh no. I'm still chalk full of neurosis. I just deal with them differently and have made a cognizant effort to leave certain ones behind. I really don't have the desire to spend my next forty obsessing over things I can't change. Been there. Done that.

So if you'll excuse me I'm off to see if J.Lo needs a butt double....

Germ Warfare

It seems simplistic to ask people to wash their hands both after using the restroom and when they have a cold, but you'd be surprised at the percentage who don't. Eerie huh?

It makes me wonder how I got this nasty chest cold......but do I really want to know? I've been traveling this past week and I'm sure I picked this up somewhere along the way. As I sit here about to hack up a lung I ask you, do you wash your hands when you're sick? Honestly, I don't remember to as much as I should so I'm guilty as charged...but I definitely wash them after using the restroom.

How about you?

Be honest...

No, Really, I'm Happy

Is it possible to feel genuinely happy for someone's fulfillment of a particular dream you once had? I ask as a friend of mine is on the precipice of embarking on a journey I once made, excpet I never made the destination. Truth be told I very much hope she does so she can realize her dream. The dream of becoming a mother.

I had a hysterectomy at 26 due to complications from Endometriosis. I was never able to have kids. Did I want them? Absolutely. It was a cruel paradox that I, lover of all kids, kindergarten teacher, child psychology major and Aunt extraordinaire could not. After several years of marriage my husband I made the decision to adopt, and after diligently completing everything from home studies to birth letters we found a potential birth mother. It was a partially open/legal adoption in that the birth mother would chose us, meet us and exchange photographs of her child to be until a certain age at which point it would become closed. I was excited at the possibility of fulfilling a lifelong dream and as the months progressed I broke cardinal rule number one; I became emotionally involved. I ignored pleas from those around who suggested I stay guarded as the excitement of becoming a mother became all encompassing. By this time we were subsidizing her medical costs and anything pre-natal related. The rose colored glasses were firmly affixed as the months progressed and it was at the end of her 8th month that I broke cardinal rule number two; I had a baby shower. I received precious gifts from well meaning friends and family who, while sharing in my obvious elation, remained cautiously aware that things could go awry. And they did.

I got the phone call in the newly transformed nursery. She changed her mind. She was keeping the baby. And as I sank to the floor, hugged my knees to my chest, rocked back and forth and sobbed I felt a pain of loss unlike any other I have ever experienced. I'm not sure how you can mourn something that was never yours to own but trust me when I say you can.

Fast forward 8 years. My friend (who also can't have children) got a call that may very well change her life. And you know what? In my heart of hearts as I sit here and cry I truly hope it does.

Who Do You Write For?

Writing a blog is a very interesting endeavor. Everything from the subject matter to the descriptive writing comes from within and you can usually get to know any given individual after reading his or her blog for a while. It's intriguing how certain blogs cater towards specific audiences as, collectively, we write not only for ourselves but for you, the reader. Bloggers share varying degrees of their persona; some choosing to hide behind the mask of anonymity while others divulge even the most intimate of details. Still others fall in between the two sometimes showcasing great amounts of personal flair while safely hiding behind a moniker not their own.

This had me wondering...where do you fall and who do you write for? Do you write your blog for your own catharsis or are you blatantly marketing yourself to the general public? I suppose some of you are neither and elicit curiosity with tales of your own reality called life. Wherever you fall do you ever long to be on the other side of the spectrum? I have sometimes wondered how much freer I'd write if not so many knew of my identity, however, I'm happy straddling the thin line between selfless expression and cautious candor.

How about you?

I Give You Take Until I Break

I've come to the conclusion that some people are just born takers. No matter how much you love, care about, tolerate or humor them they never seem to find the motivation to change. Of course, true change has to come from within so suffice to say that all of my efforts to coax this friend out of their narcissistic ways was in vain. But try I did. I gave away my heart for mere scraps that consisted of fragmented affection given on, at best, an erratic basis. Where I was freely demonstrative they were haphazardly cautious, reciprocating my abundance of love with limited allocation. I reached the highest highs and the lowest lows as a direct result of this person's egocentric nature, for when they withheld emotion I tried that much harder to attain it and when they dared expose themselves I begged for more. It was as if I craved the drama that surrounded our relationship only feeling truly valued when it played out.

But all that changed.

Ironically, my awakening came on the heels of being forgotton on perhaps the most notable holiday to express one's love. But let me quantify love. Its not always love insofar as incurable passion or sexuality rather love expressed by platonic yet palpable friendship, compassion and kindness; qualities both missed and missing in this individual. Where I was looking for a simple phone call, card, or gesture of appreciation for my expressions I was met with perhaps the harshest of all afflictions. Indifference. What I finally realized is that this was nothing more then an interpretation of our dynamic as a whole. I didn't matter. I never did.

And that hurt.

So I set into motion a series of events and initiated closure in a situation I never deemed myself capable. I don't know what will come of this but I do know that I've not felt this much clarity with regard to this relationship in far too long. Yet sometimes clarity does nothing more then remove the facade leaving the heart vulnerable. But wounds heal.

And then maybe it won't hurt so much.


In honor of Valentine's Day I made some delicious heart shaped brownies and colorful chocolate chip cookies. To make them look extra special I enclosed them in a pink heart shaped box filled with pink tissue paper.
Here's some of the goodies used


Look they are heart shaped brownies!!

The first layer is the cookies.......

In go the brownies...Tada!

I used a fudge brownie recipe that is delish! I also used a baking pan with little heart shapes instead of round..but you can use silicone hearts like the ones above. Here it is in case you get the urge.....

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2 tablespoons water
4 packets (1 oz. each) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® CHOCO BAKE® Pre-Melted Unsweetened Chocolate Flavor
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Microwave sugar, butter and water in a large, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles, stirring once. Add Choco Bake; stir. STIR in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture; stir well. Stir in nuts. Pour into prepared baking pan. BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

The Greatest Love of All

There is no greater love then to love oneself. It is perhaps the hardest quest yet by far the most rewarding. Without loving who and what we are it is virtually impossible to love another. So even if you have that special someone to share wet sloppy kisses and candy hearts with please join me in recognizing the greatest love of all; self love. Snackie began this tradition three years ago and I am following her lead.
In keeping with this annual shin-dig, I'd like to share a few things I love about ME!

  • I'm compassionate beyond measure
  • I have a huge heart
  • I always try to see the best in people
  • When I say I love you I mean it
  • I love with abandon
  • I'm generous to a fault

Now it's your turn. What do you love about yourself? Don't be shy!

Feel Your Boobs!

This post is dedicated to all of YOU who sent me well wishes these last few days. Your comments and e-mails lifted my spirits and helped me endure so many hours of uncertainty. In the aftermath of such enormous emotional upheaval I am left in a constant state of gratitude. You hear how heath scares alter one's outlook on life.....well I am proof that this phenomenon prevails.

If there's one thing I am left with it is the absolute certainty that I am one of the lucky ones. I am blessed beyond measure as the minutia of all the negativity I was carrying around pales in comparison to being told I am healthy. I realize I am still reeling and that my behavior is very much a product of my elation, however, I hope to always posses some semblance of graciousness for all that I have. Likewise, it is imperative that I bring to all of you the early warning signs of potential breast cancer. I found my lump doing a self exam so I urge you to examine yourself monthly so you can become familiar with your own breasts. Alternatively, you could entrust a certain someone with the responsibility of marking potential change. Go ahead, ask! I don't know much but I'm certain your significant others won't refuse this request! Trust me when I say you will be able to determine idiosyncrasies in breast tissue if you are accustomed to having/giving yourself monthly exams. Admittedly, I didn't give this much credence as I never knew what an abnormality felt like, but once I became familiar with my own body I was immediately able to notice a change.

There still exists the possibility of having to remove my tumor as it could pose problems in the future, however, I am keenly aware that I face none of the struggles I was bracing myself for. Thanks, again for your support and please, please, please be adamant about checking your own breasts - the life you save could be your own.

The Lump

There are no words to describe the myriad of emotions experienced after finding a lump in your breast. You hold your breath, hope it was your imagination and when reality finally sinks in you do one thing. Panic. When your breathing resumes a cold shiver runs down your spine as you feel tears begin to swell in the corners of your eyes. You think about life; how you've spent it and who with and as the sobs unfurl you talk to God and begin to bargain for your life.

You go to doctors who palpitate your entire body looking for clues to the etiology of The Lump and answer carefully the seemingly endless array of questions. You begin to wonder what you ate, drank or did to create this and immediately vow to eradicate all of the above if only everything would be okay. They mark The Lump with a miniature road map so radiology knows where to look. Once at radiology you desperately look for answers in the eyes of the technician doing the mammography. You interpret every word she says as a sign that some thing's terribly wrong and when she says you need to stay you're certain. You go through more tests. You know you're being spoken to but the words, like air, seem to fall around around you; falling on deaf ears and broken hearts. You go through motions you only fully contemplate the enormity of once you're in the safe confines of your own home.

The radiologist comes in and begins to speak and even through you can hear you search his expression for any clues of what's to come. He tells you you have a NON - malignant tumor. You ask him to repeat himself and when he does you weep. You think about life, how you've spent it and who with and as the sobs unfurl you talk to God and thank him for the rest of your life.

You Never Know....

Wednesday I felt something odd.

Thursday I wasn't sure.

Friday the doctor felt a lump.

So I have another doctor's appointment Monday afternoon to get both a manual check and a mammogram.

I'm trying so hard to be grateful.

I'll let you guys know...

Grace In Small Things

At the risk of sounding cliche' gratitude is paramount to maintaining perspective. Even now, as I'm feeling a bit down, I struggle to find objectivity in everyday life - but I'm going to try. Taking a cue from this site I am attempting to single out a few things I can be grateful for today. Here goes:

  • Southern California winters are tres' mild - it was 78 yesterday
  • Maxi dresses are in style - perfect for *fat* days
  • My nephew thinks I am amazing
  • An entire bag of Pop chips has only 350 calories
  • My trainer is cute
  • 31 days until my birthday - I'm still here
  • My DVR is full
  • Diet coke with lime
What are you grateful for today?

Miss Manners is M.I.A.

People scare me. No...seriously, the things they do never cease to amaze me. This is where I tell you that these people are so vile that I would never associate let alone befriend them, right? Wrong. This is where I sheepishly admit that I'm calling out my own peeps. Before you start in on what a savage bitch I am let me tell you that what I say to you here is no revelation to said friend as I've relished all these lovely details on her already, k?

So we're sitting outside yesterday afternoon as it's nearly 82 degrees in January and hello? who sits inside on a day like that? Well, I was in the midst of a long diatribe about my recent blood screen as some levels came back perilously close to unhealthy so, as you can imagine, I was having my own private pity party. I mean first the recession and then my blood levels? But I digress...ah yes, we were sitting there enjoying the sound of my voice scenery, my story just about to reach pivotal proportions and bam she whips out her phone and begins to dial...as in talk to the hand but instead of the hand there's a pretty pink razor in my face. I just sat there, my mouth agape with that are-you-fucking-kidding-me-I-can't-even-believe-you-just-did-that
look upon my face. SO. Freaking. Uncool. I just sat there and stared at her while she finished dialing until she looked up with that look of wide eyed innocence and asked if I was okay. Ummm...hi...you did not just ask me that did you? I told her how rude she was and she apologized, put the phone back and asked me to continue. Nah. Moment ruined. I just said no worries (I lied) and moved on.

Am I the only one who sees this as a merely symptom of what's wrong with the human race? Are we all so self-important that we need our cell phones at our disposal in the midst of interpersonal conversation? Evidently so. I mean, I use my cell just like the rest of us but never have I blatantly interrupted face to face dialogue to make a call. Call me old fashioned but I think doing that is sign language for F-off.

I mean really, next time just tell me I'm boring.

V Day or D Day?

I have a conditioned response to Valentine's Day. Even two weeks out I am beginning to feel the inevitable let down that transpires every February 14th. While I know much of my perception isn't reality based they say perception is everything so where does that leave me?

I think my cupid phobia began somewhere around grade school. I recall liking a particular boy and, being that it was around Valentine's Day, wanting a coveted Valentine from him. I already knew that I was going to create a fabulous card of my own and my plan was to present it to him before school. The day came and somehow the opportunity never arose to approach him before class so I waited until recess. Breath held, I marched up and bestowed upon him my pretty pink treasure. It is around this time that Valentine's Day, as I knew it, would forever be changed. For instead of reciprocating with one of his own, he proceeded to show his buddies, share an evil laugh and walk away. My little 8 year old heart would never be the same.

And so it began that Valentine's Day was evil.

High school only perpetuated this awareness. It came in the form of a flower exchange where students could send roses to other students. Anticipation of this cruel and unusual annual V-Day tradition nearly killed me as I knew no matter how much I wished none would come bearing my name. And as others around me giggled at the number of boys who sent them flowers I pretended not to care that my predictions had, as expected, come to fruition. What's really tragic is that I actually considered sending myself something so I wouldn't look so pathetic. Sigh. My 13 year old heart would never be the same.

And so it remained that Valentine's Day was evil.

After graduating college I became serious with a guy. I was completely enamoured by him and just as they say, love is blind, so was I. He ran a restaurant so I chalked up his nightly drinking to socializing and schmoozing. It wasn't until Valentine's Day when he proceeded to get falling down drunk, voice all of his misgivings about me and our relationship and throw up on his dinner plate that I saw there might be a problem. Instead of hearts and flowers I got tears and insults. My 23 year old heart would never be the same.

And so it is that Valentines Day is evil.

You may wonder why, at 39, I still find Valentine's Day so unappealing. After all there have been positive experiences, but scars of yesteryear prevail over the roses and romance I later came to know. I've learned along the way that expectations surrounding Valentine's Day accrue nothing more then disappointment.

While I may be the Valentine equivalent of Scrooge I still love a good romance.....I'll just celebrate it the other 364 days of the year.

Let Your Freak Flag Fly (Just Not By Me....)

I am all for equality of expression (interpret that however you see fit) but when you're around me can you act normal? Case in point: I was warming up on the elliptical this morning in usual egocentric fashion (ie checking myself out in the gajillion-way mirrors that seem to taunt "Hey Fatass") when this guy walks up and proceeds to stand and stare at me. I was about to ask where he was hiding his freak flag when he blurted out, "You're hot." Je-sus are you kidding me? You walk up to a woman, IPOD in ears, covered in sweat obviously into herself her workout and all you can come up with is a line of that caliber? And before you go thinking that I'm being a self centered bitch let me warrant that thought by adding that he pissed me off further by blocking my view. So in true bitch-tastic fashion I look straight through him and pretend Kanye West is singing a little too loud for me to comprehend, or worse yet respond to, that unfortunate statement. So I give him my best I'm-smiling-in-hopes-that-you'll-take-the hint-and-walk-away-from-me smile but much to my dismay he confirms that he has the IQ of a pencil and repeats himself. I'm not going to ignore him twice so, sufficiently embarrassed, I removed my headset and in an attempt to be self effacing said, "Yeah, sweat will do that to you." I mean, what on earth was I supposed to do? Stop panting, grab my cell and ask for digits? So. Not. Interested. Well, he took the hint and proceeded to chat up the girl on the bike to my right.

Okay so I'm not so special (and probably not hot either) but I need to ask what the protocol is when a strange individual makes an even stranger statement and awaits your response. The thing is, I'm never good when put on the spot and where I may seem to come off aloof it is only because I am painfully shy. I'd rather avoid a situation like that at all costs then try and create conversation. Besides, do guys really think a line like that is going to make me jump up and down and beg for more? Nah. I know I'm oblivious to a lot of things but what am I missing here?

Pray tell.

Friends For All Seasons

In thinking about my ensuing 40th birthday I began to reminisce about birthdays past and who I've spent them with; specifically friends who've seen me through, if not the majority of them, the most meaningful of them. I have found my birthdays to be more then just milestones indicative of age, but rather barometers suggestive of life's accomplishments. I suppose one could quantify accomplishments a myriad of ways, but I am most impacted by those personal triumphs. In a word; friendships.

Most of my life has been characterized not by destination but the journey itself. Those precious few who've chosen to sojourn alongside me have left indelible imprints on my heart. Some remain while some have moved on while still others flicker in and out of my life like a candle that burns brightest and elicits the most heat when you need it most. I can count on one hand the number of friends I'd calibrate as life long as, much like most things in life, quality will always reign over quantity. Interestingly enough I find it harder to make lasting friendships now that I'm older, however, this could definitely be attributed to the fact that I keep mostly to myself, and, contrary to most people's first assessment of me, I am pretty shy.

In co mingling memories of both birthdays and friends I find none so poignant as that which is pictured above. If there was ever a time I felt celebrated by those who love me my 36th birthday was it. I recall sitting amongst them at the table, each of them taking turns reciting what they loved most about me while I dissolved in a copious amount of tears. It was perhaps one of the most touching displays of true friendship I have ever experienced. While I remain sisterly-close to two of these women the rest are still within reach. I have perhaps just reminded myself that it is I who am responsible for nurturing and cultivating past (and future) relationships just as much as others are, and that reaching out to these amazing women is long overdue.

My life has been, and will continue to be, definined in many ways but no rendition ever compared to those of the friendships I've shared.

Charitable Snub

You can always tell my state of mind by the condition of my house. Needless to say I'm anxious. I can't tell if I'm anxious because my house is chaotic or if my house is chaotic because I'm anxious.....but we'll save psycho-analysis for another day.

I've been attempting to purge the enclave I call my closet while at the same time trying to rid the entire house of some of it's more tired accessories and artifacts. In the last week I've filled four ginormous garbage bags with shoes and clothes.....and I'm not talking ew-I-wouldn't-wear-that-if-you-paid-me clothes, but nice, fashionable ensembles, some still adorning tags. I have ADD when it comes to clothes as my attention span is synonymous to that of a gnat. Yes, there are some things I hang onto forever but the majority of things get cycled through and expunged as my mood dictates. The good thing is I give it all to charity. The bad thing is that charities are getting picky. Just last month I called a charity to come pick up several bags of clothes and shoes and, much to my dismay, the driver refused several pairs as they were *worn*. Ummm...hello?? These ARE used...and it's not like I would even try to pawn off a completely gross looking pair of shoes to a needy individual. As if. The only reason they were leaving the premises is because the were a little snug and I couldn't justify another blister in the name of fashion any longer. Shocker, I know.

In similar snubbing fashion said charity wouldn't take my archaic, albeit functional, fax/phone machine. I just don't understand why they refuse perfectly good things when people could actually use them. It truly baffles me. I wonder if there's hard and fast rules or if it's up to the driver's discretion. If it's the latter I'd have to say my driver is a moron. And what's with not taking computers? I have an operational Dell that is a bit, ummm, how shall I say, prehistoric, but it works and can do the job. They flat out refused that over the phone even before seeing it. Why not take it and give it to someone who would rather have any computer then none at all? I recognize they don't want junk, but one man's trash is another man's treasure. Or somthing like that. Sigh. Some things I'll never understand.

No Looking Back

I keep getting these absurd e-mails from my high school thanking me for my participation at my 20th reunion last month. Why Absurd? I wasn't there. Yeah......makes me really grateful I'm donating X amount every year to support such a stellar administrative team.
Speaking of absurdity, it is definitely such to think I would ever willingly attend anything to do with my high school let alone a reunion. Needless to say I didn't have the most illustrious high school career. The same architect that built San Quentin prison built my high school and much like a prisoner I spent most of my four year tenure planning my escape. On many days you could find me not in my 6th period English class but on the sandy beaches that called to me once the mercury hit 80. The funny thing was I did well in school. I suppose my ability to bullshit started early.

It didn't help that I started 9th grade in what my parents lovingly refer to as my *awkward phase.* Puh-lease......that's juts a kind synonym made to make dorks like me feel better about themselves. I had the whole 80's thing going for me and it didn't help that I idolized Madonna. I mean, I wasn't completely unfortunate but to look back at that freshman photo is just plain painful. (see photo: me circa 1985) Evolution proved to be kind as sophomore the braces came off as did those few extra pounds and I, dare I say, was fairly hot. My improvement in the looks department did nothing for my still sputtering self esteem and I, other then joining the cheerleading squad, still remained quiet and kept mostly to myself. The last two years I dated someone in college and nixed all things high school related all together so I lost what little affinity I had. All in all I stayed on the periphery, always on the outside looking in, and although I made a few close friends I never cultivated those keep-them-forever-till-you-die BFF's so many talk about when reminiscing about their four years of glory.

I don't miss my youth and I have no interest in revisiting it by way of a reunion with people even day-glow name tags couldn't help me recognize. I have little desire to bond with the myriad of cliques that, back in the day, did nothing except amplify my inferiority complex. I never gravitated toward any particular social group preferring instead to float amongst them pretending not to care that I just didn't fit in. They were the circles to my square and yeah....it hurt. Am I bitter? No, not really. It sometimes makes me sad that I didn't have those memorable experiences some did, then again my idea of success isn't aligned with those who peaked in the 10th grade. I digress......

I am happy the majority of my best years came both later in life and are yet to come - but you'd never have been able to convince my 15 year old self that were the case. Yes, it would have been amazing to win that most coveted popularity contest or be sent the most roses on Valentine's Day but it just didn't happen that way. I am so grateful for the life I've created for myself and feel even more gratification for overcoming the once seemingly insurmountable hurdles high school posed. In keeping with my theme of *Living Forty Fabulously* I am keeping my eyes on the future and have no urge to deviate.

Have you been to your high school reunion and if so how did it go? If not are you planning on going or choosing to rebel like yours truly?

Open To Suggestion.....

In my infinite spare time I caught part of yesterday's episode of Ellen and Dr. Wayne Dyer was on touting the importance of NOT making New Years Reslutions. Sigh. If only I had watched that episode the week BEFORE New years as after my pronouncement of *Living Forty Fabulously* as my one and only resolution I am now faced with the daunting task of living up to my royal request. Yes, I suppose I can listen to Dr. Dyer and quantify this now infamous blunder however I choose, but I am not one to shirk away from any form of self imposed challenge.

So here's where I start my diatribe on how bettering myself will change the world as I know it.......so not into it lemme tell you....but I will say I am going to try and I need your help.

I need you, dear freaders, to help me figure out what *Living Forty Fabulously* should encompass. Yes, I have my own list of cliche's that include every synonym of well being I could find in this little princess brain of mine but I am looking for something a little outside the box; something that will push me to live my fortieth year to the fullest. Perhaps it is here that I need insert that I am not open to sky-dying...yes you read that right...call it paranoia but princess enjoys circumventing the globe in planes not jumping out of them. As if......

So bring it on. I am open to all suggestions and will list my personal fav's next time. I also promise to chose a few that I aspire to attain and will keep you abreast of my progress.

* Big day is March 8th....

Resolute in 2009

SO it's 2009 and I hope all of you had a great onset to the New Year. Myself? I spent it in my pajamas and fell asleep perilously close to the midnight hour, however, I woke up in time to celebrate with Dick Clark then fell asleep for good. Jealous? Yeah...I thought so.

So what's your New years resolution(s)? I usually cop out on the old tried and true but I have actually thought of one worthy of......well...my time. Le sigh. It's good to be so important....No seriously, I think it will keep me inspired throughout the year as it's general enough to encompass many different disciplines but specific enough to have the focal point be on...well.....moi. My New Years resolution is to Live Forty Fabulously! Yes, tis true that princess has a tres' ginormous b-day on the horizon and she intends to live her next 40 better then her first. I've gotten a good head start as I am still working with my trainer twice a week, going to pilates regularly and doing my best to keep healthy. I need to keep myself in the mindset of continually being motivated and inspired by life itself and try my best not to sweat the small stuff. Easier said then done but dare I say I am ready for the challenge.

After all of the drama last year held I am keeping the hope alive that this year brings about stability and inspiration for us all by way of economic, political, domestic and foreign change. I admit I didn't vote for Obama but I am a gajillion percent behind our new president-elect and wish him every success imaginable. I am among the masses who lost quite a bit due to the capitulation of the stock market but I am ever so grateful that I have a home, loving family and amazing friends.

So once again tell me your resolution so I can hold you accountable.....I will be haunting all of your blogs to make sure you're on the path of enlightenment. Ahhh....It's good to be me.