Just when I thought this blistering, humid, and sweaty summer would never end, cooler weather finally managed to find its way to these parts.  Last night was the first shivering, need-a-coat, cold night of the fall, and Gary lit the first fire of the season in our fireplace.

I love our fireplace.  I love listening to the satisfying crackle, watching the dancing of the flames.  I love curling up in the corner of the couch closest to the fireplace, feeling the fire’s soothing warmth.  Just thinking about it makes me sleepy, cozy.

But the best part, to me, is when the fire hasn’t quite died down yet, and we head to bed.  Laying in bed, all the lights out, the house is dark, and we can still distantly see the glow of the fireplace from our pillows.  There is something so unbelievably peaceful and lulling about snuggling under the covers and just quietly watching the gentle sway of the fire, gradually getting smaller and smaller, dimmer and dimmer, until it’s completely dark.

Tonight is supposed to be pretty chilly, too.  Fire, anyone?


Not our fireplace, but still pretty!

Posted in fire, fireplace, love, night, peaceful | Leave a comment

Never Forget


Nothing I write here could even touch on what I am feeling and remembering about that day, or properly honor the heroes of that day.  I just pray we honestly never forget.

Posted in honor, sad, September 11, 2001, United States of America | Leave a comment

Scarecrows and Straw Bales

You know those people who swoon over sun, live for the summer, can’t get enough of sand and heat, and get high on a mere whiff of coconut-scented sunscreen?  Well, I’m not one of them.

I have never cared for the summer.  Hot, sweaty, humid, sticky…what the hell is there to like?  I remember trying futilely as a kid to fall asleep when the temperatures soared, no air conditioning (my parents were obviously sadistic trolls for that), some useless oscillating fan doing nothing but blowing hot air around the room.  Know what else I remember? Solemnly and quite seriously vowing to never, ever live without air conditioning.

I love the fall.  I love the first hint of coolness in the air, leaves bursting into color, sweatshirt weather, football, hockey (of course), sipping hot tea, snuggling under a blanket on the couch with Gary, wrapping up cozily in the covers.

There are a few things about fall that I don’t like, though.  For starters, these fellows:

scare crows

Ugh, where to even begin?  These fake scarecrow people appear to be required yard decor starting roughly in September, and I think they are the ugliest, tackiest trash.  I get they are supposed to be fall-ish, farm-ish, cute-ish.  They fail miserably on all counts.  I picture rooster decor in this person’s kitchen, and text decals like “Live Love Laugh” on the living room wall. *shudder*

Inevitably, the ugly fake scarecrow people are paired with something else I don’t like about fall:


Fake mini straw bales!  Because what is more festive than essentially grass clippings compressed into manufactured rectangles?  Make sure you sprawl a few fake scarecrow people across them, though.  It’s a federal law or something.

If you want to take the cake on annoying fall decor, though, rush out and snag yourself a “happy fall, y’all” sign!


Extra points for multiple, clashing fonts and tacky backgrounds like chevron stripes that make the damn thing hard to read, and if you really want to go for broke, make sure your sign has burlap on it somewhere.

There you go, pretty much the only things I don’t like about fall!  Summer, you have overstayed your welcome, as far as I’m concerned.  I will be glad to see you go, even if it means the scarecrows and straw bales are on their way.

Posted in annoying people, decorating, fall, ugly things | 2 Comments

What Not to Be

xOjw8598The older and wiser (and grumpier and stiffer) I get, the more I realize that this quote is true: some people are terrific examples of how to act, what to do, how to be…and the only reason some other people exist is to serve as a living example of what not to be.

I look around at people in my life, in the kids’ lives, and I see countless things I don’t ever want to be.   I don’t want my daddy paying my bills in my 50’s.  I don’t want to be hopelessly obsessed with a long-dead relationship.  I don’t want to just completely give up on my appearance and my ambitions.  I don’t want to be weak, worthless, petty.  I don’t want to slam the kids around to get my way, or make myself happy by making others miserable.

I want to be the opposite: I want to be honest with the kids, someone they can confide in and know it won’t be used against them, someone they can trust and know that my affection is genuine, not something I strategically dish out and then maliciously withdraw based on whether they are meeting my selfish demands.  I want to be a healthy role model, strong, fit, independent, taking care of myself and them.  I want to teach them to take care of themselves and hopefully, ultimately rise above the dismal example that has been set for them by people who should know better.

I don’t have any control over how others choose to behave.  I don’t have any control over the example they decide to set for the kids.  But I have total control over my own.

I have no idea if anything I say or do actually makes any difference in their lives.  The kids spend a few short days with us, then go back to Hickville and an endless supply of toxins.  Hopefully some glimmer, some spark, stays alive in them, so they can transcend all the bullshit.

I know they have what it takes to do better than many of those around them.  I know they have the capability to do and to be so much more.  I know they can fight and claw to a higher place than where they are being forced to start.  I just can’t fathom why they should have to, or why someone who claims to love them deliberately hurls so many needless and hateful obstacles in their way.  I hope I can be at least a small part of helping them take that leap to a higher, happier, better place.

Rolemodels2         role-model-1

Posted in kids deserve better, life, my kids, Role model | Leave a comment

Old Time’s Sake

When I was invited out for pizza with several co-workers years and years ago, who knew where it would lead?  I noticed, as soon as I arrived (late), that an empty seat had been left strategically across from Gary, who was simply a loud and funny (and attractive) co-worker at that time.  I sat down across from him, nervously said “Hi,” and…the rest is history.

I still have the small Post-It he used to scribble down his phone number.  When he wrote it so many years ago, we had no idea we would end up where we are now.  We had no idea we would move in together, buy a house, get married.  When he wrote down that phone number, we just knew we wanted to know each other a little bit better.

In the twelve years since then, we have been through a lot together.  We have had each other’s backs through everything.  I trust him more than I trust anybody.

I won’t bother lying and saying we never fight.  Of course we do.  We are both headstrong, stubborn, opinionated.   Both of us have also been in past relationships with a lot of yelling, arguing, and drama, and we decided long ago that we have no place for that with each other.  We also refuse to force the kids to listen to us bicker.  It’s never fun to hear your parents fight, and knowing what they endure at their other home, we are especially adamant that they have peace here.

Even after all this time together, today I am at work, missing Gary.  I just want to be together, talking to him, hearing him laugh, holding his hand, seeing that smart-ass smirk on his face when he says something he finds particularly witty and amusing.

Soon, we will be celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary.  It seems funny to start back over at one after we have been together so long, but you know what I mean.

I am not a sentimental person, and I don’t believe in fate.  But I do believe that something seemed to lead us to each other, like we needed each other.  At the very least, we stumbled across each other at just the right time.

I remember Gary telling me that I came around and picked up the pieces for him and the kids, and I helped to put them back together.  I hope he still feels that way.

Maybe we should go out for pizza, and sit down shyly across from each other, and make sure we have a Post-It for him to write down his phone number.  For old time’s sake.


Posted in anniversary, Gary, in love, love, my husband, our kids, sentimental | 3 Comments

I Hate Cold Shoulder Tops

I have never followed fashion trends.  When I was a kid, I leaned toward Wonder Woman t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, and here we are, over 40 years later, and absolutely nothing has changed!  I am a consistent wily rascal.

Sometimes, however, it is impossible to not notice fashion trends, like it or not, because lemming-like zombie women snatch them up and cling to them like life preservers in a vise-like death grip.  The most recent one rubbing me the wrong way and giving me an uncontrollable twitch when I see it?

The goddamn, blasted, stupid-ass “cold shoulder tops.”  Who came up with that idiotic name for them, anyway?  I am sure you know what I am talking about, but just in case you are fortunate enough to have never witnessed this atrocity, here are some examples:

Different colors, different materials, different patterns, but what do they all have in common?  That’s right, boys and girls: the woman wearing it looks like a total, mindless ass.

Most (hell, all) fashion trends for women are stupid as hell.  But sometimes, something will bubble to the top, like a fashion fart, as especially imbecilic, like sky-high heels, blue lipstick, and then these ridiculous excuses for shirts.

I flat-out, completely, 100% don’t get it at all.  Not one bit.  These tops look like someone’s errant toddler was left unsupervised with a pair of scissors and snipped random gashes in the sleeves.  The shirts look like mistakes.  I want to grab them and repair them.  They lend an awkward, unflattering shape to the body, and look sloppy, silly, and just scream “I am a mindless fashion whore!  Tell me what to think…and especially what to wear!”

I hate shopping for clothes, and I blame all of the senseless, asinine women who scoop up doltish fashion trends like this.  Am I really the only female who prefers my damn sleeves intact?  Seriously.  And while we’re at it, I like shorts that actually cover my ass and pants that have real, functional pockets, too.  And shoes without 6-inch suicide heels that I can actually walk in, move in, live in, work in. You know, like what men get to enjoy every single day.

If you just can’t live without preposterous, useless, and ugly holes in your sleeves, then go ahead.  Look as silly as you like.  What I resent is that women like me, who don’t kowtow to witless fashion trends, are left with little to no options.  Hey, jackass fashion designers, here’s a startling heads-up for you: some of us ladies like things simple, classic, functional, comfortable.  Yeah, I realize that appears to be damn few of us, but we’re still here, and unless we run around stark naked, we kinda need clothes, too.

May I suggest more Wonder Woman t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers?  Oh, and leave the damn sleeves alone!

Posted in clothes, fashion slaves, grrrrrr, things I hate | 5 Comments

Love Their Mother

While searching for good Father’s Day quotes and images, I repeatedly came across this one:


It invariably made me roll my eyes with the unquestioned assumption that the children’s mother is actually lovable to start with, and the unspoken but clearly implied attitude that the kids don’t in turn need to see their mother loving their father.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the quote actually does apply to Gary and his ex-wife and the children.  Despite all the accusations, hateful name-calling, lies, and filth hurled at him and force-fed to the kids, Gary has never responded in-kind.  Despite an arsenal full of truth that he could easily unleash, he never has.  Maybe their situation has deteriorated, through no fault of his, far too much for him to show the kids that he loves their mother; but he is a good father who does not show them any hate for her, and it is horrifying how rare that is after a divorce.   It is, lamentably, not a favor that is returned to him.

If the kids repeat something that is a straight-up lie, Gary will patiently explain to them that it is not true.  But I have yet to hear him, out of the blue, bring up Crow, or put her down, or start ranting to the kids, filling their heads with feculence they absolutely do not need to hear.

We could tell the kids all kinds of things and not even have to lie.  But why?  We are pretty sure the kids are aware of much more than they let on.  We are their escape from that insanity and upheaval.  We keep it that way, for them.

If they want to talk about something, we are there.  But most of the time, they want to laugh, play, smile, be free at our home…while they can, and before it’s time to go back.

The quote really should say, “The best thing a parent can do for his or her children is respect their relationship with the other parent”.  Maybe tack on “…and shut the hell up with your jealous crap, and worry about yourself and your own endless problems and faults before bitching about the other person”, but I suppose that would make an exceptionally long quote that wouldn’t fit onto flowery and artist-y backgrounds.

I am proud of Gary and the way he keeps the kids at the top of his mind, top of his heart, always.  It would be easy to retaliate, fire back after all the shit that has been said about him, but he knows that would do nothing but hurt the kids, so he doesn’t.  The kids’ feelings and well-being are more important to him than a cheap shot at their expense.

It’s that simple. So why is it so rare?


Posted in alienating parents suck, divorce, Father's Day, fathers, immature people, lies, love, our kids | 1 Comment