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Reason To Live Friday #24

This annoying dang holiday season. Are you wondering if I’m giving you whiplash? Do I spin a 180 turn each and every post? First complain, then gush? I know. I know. Try living with me.

Last year I wrote about how the holidays suck for some of you if you’ve lost a loved one. Holidays are like a trigger of emotions. They make you ponder on Christmases past and when life has changed permanently, it can be hard.

But then I thought of something. Maybe those little reminders are like the loved ones past speaking to us. Bear with me.

When my friend Reshma lost her daughter to Siona from Leukemia, she woke up one morning with a pressure point on her chest over her heart in the shape of a butterfly. You know when you sleep hard and the pillow case leaves an imprint on your face? Like that. I know, weird. But butterflies were a favorite of 6 year old Siona and this silhoutte of one was perfectly formed. It lasted several hours before it just faded. Reshma cherished her little butterfly form she had over her heart for the few hours it was there. Like Siona had given her a kiss.

Now don’t get all weird on me. I’m not saying that there’s messages from beyond. I’m not going into paranormal stuff here. You can think that or not. I’m cool with it.

I’m saying that the holidays hold so much hope and joy. That I’m going to hold on to the parts that are dear to me. I’m thinking about my dear, dear old friends who are living through their first holiday without their mom, sister and daughter after she took her own life in May. Their grief is palpable. Their grief is ripped open anew with each box of ornaments.

So here’s my list of what to do to get through:

Ready? Take a deep breath and go into downward dog yoga pose. Just kidding.

But breathe deeply anyway.

Hug the ones that are with you. Yep, just do it. Even if they piss you off. Stephen Stills was right with his song, “Love the one you’re with”.

When you see a reminder of a loved one gone- smile at it. Close your eyes and hold it to your heart. Say, “I miss you and I love you and I know you’re still here with me.”

Take last year’s coat or boots that don’t fit anymore or are hardly used and bring them to a charity. Someone needs those more than you.

Write down your feelings. If you blog or not, write that stuff down. You don’t ever have to read it again, but getting it on paper is helpful.

And one more time, love the ones you’re with. Dang it. Hug them, smush them and tell them you are happy they are with you.

Well, I’m not Dr. Phil. I’m not a trained professional. I’m just trying to lend a hug, and let you know I’m here for you. We can do this together.

Wife Confession: I enjoy the hubs away on business trips. Short ones, of course.

I think the further into marriage and kids you delve, the more you realize how much you like to be alone. Or is that just me?

I love my kids, I love my husband. Blah blah blah. You know this to be true. But come on. I love being alone. I’m the Greta Garbo of my peers. Leave me alone to bask in the glow of the reality TV show from my flat screen. Let me nap with the dog on the couch. Let me go poop by myself and change my maxi pad without interruption.

So when McSweetie had a business trip this week, I felt more sense of me time than just when he’s at work. Why? Maybe because after the kids go to bed, I rule the family room and the remote. Okay, I rule the remote most nights anyway. BUT. I got to sit around, pass gas, drink wine and watch all the Lifetime movies a girl could want. And they were holiday Lifetime movies. Even better.

So hubs comes home in the evening from the airport, kids are happy to see him, yada yada, and I’m moaning on the couch  before it’s time to tuck in the boy. I’ve heated up the hot pad twice and stuffed it in my pajama pants. This my friends, is a clear signal that Aunt Flo has come to town and she’s brought her suitcase. Did McSweetie notice this? Not so much. He asks what’s wrong. I mouth ‘cramps’ and give that all knowing look like, ‘poor me, I has armageddon uterus.’ What does he do? He gives me the exasperated look like, ‘didn’t you just have your period’, and says to me “that’s not what I was expecting.”

I stayed quiet, popped some Aleve and reheated my heat pad. I waited for him to fall asleep on the couch while I concocted this entire speech in my head.

Here goes:

“THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU WERE EXPECTING? REALLY? Yeah, well, newsflash bucko, it’s been 25 days since the last one. I’m sorry I wasn’t greeting you at the door wearing nothing but a trench coat and had the kiddos already tucked in bed sleeping soundly so we could have wild monkey sex on the dining room table. Which if you hadn’t noticed already was cleared off of its crap from the last several months.

Yeah, and another thing. You probably thought, ‘oh bummer, looks like the wifey isn’t up for some lovin’ tonight. Whoa is me, I won’t get some.’ But did you ever think- ‘Awww, poor thing. Look at her. She’s done all the chores and even scrubbed the base boards (I did actually, can you believe it?!) and she has an achy uterus and feels poorly.’

But did you think that? Hmm, did you?? NO. Of course you didn’t.

You don’t care that the pain I feel in my baby box slightly resembles that of the first few hours of labor. Where my endometrial lining is screaming at me and I have pain spasms all the way down my butt. Yeah. So there.

Don’t mind me. I just dropped off your dry cleaning, kept the children alive, washed the sheets, scrubbed the base boards (Did I mention I scrubbed the baseboards?) and cleaned up some crap from forever ago, and am sitting here being miserable in my female-ness that I have NO CONTROL over!

So yeah. Go fall asleep on the couch. No nookie for you.

Men.

Guest Post- A brave friend

Today’s post was not written by me. This is a true account of a friend of mine and her fight to keep her friend alive. You see, I know of suicide. I know children of parents that have committed suicide. It’s an ugly bitch. It leaves the people behind confused, angry and grieved. When my friend asked if she could use my blog as a space to share her story, I didn’t hesitate. I want her story to be shared without any worry of identities being discovered.
If this story speaks to you, then message me or her and we can get you help.

**************

First, I want to take the opportunity to thank Frugalista for allowing me to post anonymously on her blog.
You see, I am a blogger, however, given the nature of this situation, I could not post this on my blog, but I
had to get it out. I needed to get it out. For my own personal mental health and so maybe, just maybe
if you are having thoughts of ending your own life you will read my words and know you are loved and
that you are not alone. If you think you know who I am, please do not post anything about my identity
publicly. Instead, email me at youarelovedalways2012@gmail.com.
My best friend, Mary left her abusive, sociopath of a  husband earlier this year and her already precarious
mental health started to spiral downwards rather quickly after she left. She has always suffered from
depression. So this summer, when I received the first call for help, I was expecting it.
What I wasn’t expecting was to see someone so sad and so hysterical that no amount of words could get
through to her. She was convinced that her daughter would be better off without her. She convinced
herself that she was a burden to everyone and that she was worthless. She couldn’t work; she couldn’t
get out of bed. She was in a completely irrational state of mind. I tried everything I could to make her
see the devastation and destruction her daughter would face if she killed herself. It didn’t work.
Nothing worked. I have never in my life experienced someone in this state of mind, with so much raw
pain that it seemed to just emanate from her soul. It was heart-wrenching to experience and we didn’t
know what to do.
We got her to bed that night and in the morning after the pills and the booze wore off she seemed to be
okay. In her sober, rational state of mind, she knew she couldn’t kill herself, she knew it would destroy
people. She knew the pain would go away. We tried over and over to get her to seek counseling. But,
no matter what we said, she repeatedly stated that therapy wouldn’t work.
After that incident, we considered an intervention to force her to get help. It didn’t sit right. I can’t
really explain it, except to say, I knew it wasn’t the right time.
Over the next several months, we tried to brainstorm with her to figure out ways for her to make an
income, because her asshole husband refused to provide any support. We got her an attorney. Her
parents provided for her financially. She cashed in a 401K to support herself. We had a plan for her to
take some classes. Most days she felt good and positive. But it was just a mask.
Then, just a few weeks ago, she stopped returning my calls and texts.
Friday night our other friend, Carrie, called; she was the one I was with during the above episode. Mary
had called her wanting her jewelry out of the safety deposit box. Carrie was concerned and so I called
Mary and thankfully, she answered.
I asked her why she wanted her jewelry. She wanted to sell it so her daughter would be provided for.
She said she had found a place for her beloved dog and was giving up custody of her daughter to her
daughter’s father. She also stated that she was meeting with her attorney to make sure her will was
updated so that her soon to be ex-husband would not receive any of her assets, “in case something
happens.”
“What do you mean, in case something happens?” I asked, already knowing what she meant.
“Well, I’m not going to kill myself. But I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to burden anybody
anymore. My daughter will be fine. She doesn’t need me.”
The most terrifying and disturbing part about that conversation was the nonchalant manner in which
she was saying these things. She had a plan. She wasn’t the hysterical crying mess that she had been
previously. She was sober and serious. I knew that night that no words I could possibly say would make
a difference. I told her I loved her and I would talk to her tomorrow.
Saturday morning we got on the phone with her parents and conferenced in the suicide prevention
hotline. After repeating the conversation from the night before, he was understandably concerned and
advised us to dispatch a crisis van. He also informed us that if she didn’t go voluntarily then we could go
to the courthouse, file a petition and have her involuntarily placed in a treatment facility. We were
prepared to do that.
We met the crisis van at her house and she was pissed, angry and betrayed. It took nearly 2 hours to
convince her to go with them. We did have to threaten to file the petition, but she went.
I spoke to her that night and she said the place was miserable. She didn’t get a bed and she had to sit in
a room with 25 people, mostly men. She did not sleep.
She met with the nurse practitioner the following morning to be evaluated. She refused to say that she
was a danger to herself and they had no choice but to discharge her.
After learning this, I immediately starting searching for hospitals. I got on the phone to make payment
arrangements, as she does not have health insurance and cannot qualify for state or federal aid due to
the fact that her divorce is not final. I found one and I met our friend Carrie at the facility Mary was at
awaiting discharge. We sat down with her and a counselor and, again, tried to talk her into staying. She
refused. We then told her we found a hospital with a women’s unit. She refused. She didn’t care what
we did, she wasn’t going. She didn’t need counseling or therapy. She just needed to be left alone. She
slammed out of the room.
The counselor followed. And I have no idea what he said, but within 2 minutes she agreed to go with us.
I can only say that our prayers were answer.
We got in the car, chain smoked cigarettes, all of us nervously awaiting the next chapter. We arrived at
the hospital and began the 4 hour intake process. We stayed with her the entire time. She almost left.
She almost left again. But she didn’t.
At this point, she had been awake for nearly 30 hours. She was so tired. She agreed to stay. That’s
what matters. She is right where she needs to be to get better. To learn how to cope with what
happened to her. To deal with the ugly and the nasty. To learn how to prepare for the future.
I visited on Tuesday. It was difficult and a little awkward. But she seemed better.
I have no regrets about what I did. Nor am I concerned with the state of our friendship. I’m not sure
that she will forgive me. I’ve made peace with that.
I would rather her be angry with me than be dead.

*******
If you or anyone in your life needs help- please contact these organizations-

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs

I’m thankful for vaginas. My kids are too.

So last year when we gathered around the table for Thanksgiving at my parent’s house, Owen did a tear-filled thankful sharing that made my heart burst with gladness. I wrote about it here. It’s pretty damn special.

Well, this year, I got choked up at the dinner table again, but it was my mom talking about my dad and how very grateful we are that all went well last week with his procedure. You can read about THAT here.

I was really hoping for another zinger from my Boy. You know one that REALLY pulled on the heart strings. I mean, I had already had 2 glasses of wine, so I was pretty well greased for some sappy stuff to bring me to tears.

His turn comes. He’s sitting next to me. I’m waiting in anticipation. This is going to be good, I’m thinking in my head, I’m putting this in my journal.
He says, “I’m thankful for my mom.” He touches me on the shoulder…. wait for it….. here it comes….”I’m thankful that she pooped me out.”

Hmmm. That’s not what I was expecting. What? I pooped you out? That’s the best you got?  Well?

So then Emma chimes in, “It wasn’t her butt, it was her VAGINA.”

To this, I think I groan. Loudly. And lay my head in my plate of mashed potatoes. Thank goodness, my father, who is sitting right next to Emma, is pretty much deaf. So he doesn’t hear any of this. And he’s chewing his food, so that probably drowns out some of what we are saying.

My mother let’s out a howl of laughter. James rolls his eyes, like, “who are these people?”

My father chimes in, “what’s so funny?”

To which my mother responds, “Oh nothing, we’re just having some gyno conversation.”
We continue on.

There were no more references to either bodily functions or gyno occurrences. So I had some more wine.

I’m so grateful for pooping you out Owen, and you too Emma! And more grateful you came out of my vagina like you were supposed to.

The Frugalista Holiday Survival Guide 101 or 1.0 or 411 or whatever…

You know you want these outfits for yourselves.

I originally published this post last Thanksgiving. But only about 40 people read it. So maybe posting it this year, a whopping 80 of you will read it. It is full of sound advice. My meds must have been working really well that day because it sounds so legitimate.

******

This is more than me telling you to have the eggnog and Xanax ready. Although, those might help.  I’m hoping to provide meaningful advice rather than just tell you to escape and climb under the covers of denial. Yes the holidays are here. No we don’t have Santa’s elves for ourselves, and most of us don’t have second wives, (I’m right about this aren’t I?) so we are gonna have to muddle through.

Think of this as your mom/Oprah’s favorite things/Dr. Oz/best girlfriend advice blog:

I read a lot of magazines, editorials, blogs, online beauty/shopping sites…whatever. I know. So just follow me.

Who am I kidding? Not that I really know what I’m doing. I’m just surviving like the rest of you.  If I don’t have a mental breakdown by the time McSweetie and I are  driving with the kids to his parent’s on Christmas Eve, then I know we have survived. Of course, none of us will know this until practically the holidays are over- so if it comes to blows that day, I’m sorry now.

To start, and this is most important, do not, I repeat DO NOT go to a mall the weekend of Thanksgiving. Fine. Feel free to not listen to this advice. You will be sorry. Is there really something so wonderful at midnight at Walmart?? I will say a big fat, I TOLD YOU SO. These shopping experiences are vial, smelly, sweaty, loud and exhausting. Instead, shop online for anything you can. It will save you YOUR MIND.

Don’t hesitate to use online sites like Amazon Fresh and Soap.com. Soap.com is a new site I found that is like Target online, they deliver to your door the next day for free. Holy pajama jeans Batman! It’s the lazy, homebody’s dream come true!

You are probably not going to like this next bit of advice either- exercise as much as you can. I know. Yuck. It doesn’t have to be 60 minutes of Tae Bo or Jillian Michaels shred. It can be walking the dog, 10 minutes of yoga, shopping briskly at Nordstrom Rack, vacuuming rigorously; whatever to keep your endorphins in check. It’s absolutely necessary to manage the holiday pressures and stress with working out all that anxiety over how to freakin’ afford the million dollar Harry Potter Lego set your child wants that he thinks Santa will bring and it doesn’t matter how much it costs because Santa’s buying it. Oy.

Next, I love Christmas cookies, but I don’t always have time to bake. This is why you make friends with those people that do. I can always rely on a few friends to give me trays of Christmas cookies. Yay me. I get to enjoy and not slave in the kitchen. So tip #4- find a friend that is crazy enough to bake.

My next piece of advice is a little like my first about going to the malls. This item is, don’t go to Whole Foods on Christmas Eve day. The parking lot is a nightmare and the lines are frightening. It’s not worth it. I would rather go to the AM/PM and get a Entenman’s cherry pie and put it on a pretty paper plate than fight for the last Frangiapani tart and peppered brie at Whole Foods.

Do something good for someone else. Here’s the Oprah part- if you do for others, it makes you feel good too. We always sponsor a family through our church. We contribute to their Christmas dinner and buy presents for the kids. It’s anonymous so it’s not awkward. There’s lots of ways to find needy families through Childhaven. I’m also planning on sponsoring an endangered animal in my niece and nephews’ names. We try to keep the gift exchange to a minimum. I’m sure a lot of you already do this. We keep it to the kids only, and when the kids start to get older- we give them cash or donations in their name. Everyone likes cash. Make sure you clear this with the kiddos first if you’re only doing donations. Nothing sucks like getting a donation when you were hoping for cash. OR a knit clown doll when you wanted Space Invaders for your Atari. That sucks too. Right McSweetie?

Think about gifting a membership somewhere, an experience to something. There’s so much stuff all the time, it’s nice to get things to DO and not just HAVE. I know it’s neat to get cute and cheap stuff from dollar stores, and Target and Michaels, but seriously consider avoiding all this. You will end up spending lots of money on crap. There’s only so many notepads, pencils and cute chapsticks a person needs. It’s all Made in China stuff. Probably full of lead or arsenic or something.

I’m trying to buy local too. Another reason to avoid the big retailers on the weekends. Don’t get me wrong- I go to Target like 4 times a week! But I’m going to buy through friends’ businesses, boutiques and companies that have good intentions like Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee, or Glassybaby or Tom’s shoes, etc…

My other piece of advice- don’t buy things just to save money. Doorbusters and buy one get one, aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Remember, buy one, get one half off- is just another way of saying 25% off for your purchase. If you’re buying the stuff anyway, it’s worth it. Otherwise, stick to what you planned to get only.

Here’s something else you will want to do. Make all your appointments NOW. Hair, nails, waxing, facials, book your sitters, house cleaners, bartenders. You want to maximize your cute party style and not show up with roots showing and ghetto nails. Don’t feel you need to buy a new cocktail dress. If money’s tight, get a cute necklace at Ann Taylor Loft, or the Rack. There’s so much cute stuff out there that’s really quite affordable. You can take last year’s dress and jazz it up with patterned tights or a cute piece of jewelry. No one will remember what you wore last year, except of course, for the Facebook pictures. That’s why you can mix it up with accessories to distract in case anyone does go through last year’s Facebook album. And thank heavens Kate Middleton has made recycling dresses fashionable. It’s frugal (ha!) to reuse an outfit.

Keep on hand plenty of Pellegrino and coconut water for hangovers. With all the parties and drinking, you will be glad you did. Pellegrino while you’re drinking cocktails, and coconut water for the morning after. Trust me on this one.

Most importantly, do what works for you and your family. And don’t try to be perfect. We all think we want to be Martha Stewart. But really, nobody wants to feel outdone and lame. So lower your expectations. It will make everything that much more impressive.

b POSITIVE PROJECT

Not as in B+ a blood type sillies! But BE POSITIVE. As in, your life. Don’t be a negative.

It takes work to always be happy. And actually, it’s impossible to always be happy. I allow myself some sad days too. But I try to keep those few and far between. You can feel sad, down in the dumps or melancholy, but still be positive.

Let me explain.

The kind folks at the b Positive Project  reached out to me. They are an apparel company that encourages the glass half full mantra. A guy quit his full time job to start this organization. They sell t-shirts and products and then send a portion of those profits to charity. But mostly, the employees and company of this gig are all about keeping on the bright side of things and spreading that message to the world.

They said I was their kind of gal who could help spread their message. Well, yeah! Don’t you love nice people who recognize nice people? I do. They sent me a t-shirt and now I wear it with pride and a smile.

Won’t you b Positive too?

I’ve said before that on the outside I must look like I live a charmed life. I brag about my kids on Facebook, I do my charity and volunteer work, I have fabulous meals at great restaurants. Heck, I’ve even been to the Grammys. I have an adorable husband. Parents who are close and dear to me, both physically and emotionally. I swoon over Daniel Craig and my husband doesn’t even flinch. I have a bathroom cabinet full of high-end beauty products, that regardless if they are doing their job, I am somewhat obsessed just by the mere having them.

So yeah- that sounds pretty dang good huh?

Well, here’s what you might not see. The husband and I have accumulated quite a bit of debt. I won’t go into this. It’s personal. What? You talk about your sex life, how can this be personal? I know. But it is. Times were tough, and they are better now. We plug on and keep swimming, doing our part and live within our means as often as we can. Minus a few treats now and then. Yeah, I know- Hawaii. Duh.  But that’s just the truth. We whittle away at the debt as we go. Sometimes life hands you some curve balls. We feel we’re still better off than most, so we just keep on, keepin’ on.

My sister is a disabled adult living with my already aging, and sometimes struggling parents. They struggle financially too. My mom lives with cancer and my dad has rheumatoid arthritis (and has recently overcome his heart episode!) and is also a cancer survivor. But hey- they are strong, fit and amazing, wonderful people. Yes, they get tired. But I remind them that old people are supposed to get tired!

The burden of my sister and her constant medical visits, pharmaceutical needs, paperwork, insurance claims, disability bureaucratic red tape, is a large anvil that weighs on my parents.  Especially my mom who is her appointed guardian. Like an ox’s yoke it can be heavy and restricting.

But our faith, our love and our spirit within, get us through. I’m there for my mom. She’s here for me. She has bailed me out of constant dilemmas. Why, we couldn’t have survived my restricted bed rest while I was on the last trimester pregnant with Emma if it wasn’t for her! My dad has fixed a flat tire on the side of the freeway for me. They are without a doubt, the definition of selfless people.

I know God gave me two healthy children because I’m already destined to be my sister’s guardian when that time comes. I don’t want to think about that time. You understand I’m sure.

So that is where positive thinking comes in my life. If we stack up each and every woe we have, it becomes a staircase of brambles and a giant hurdle no one could fathom.

If we take our problems like pebbles, putting them one by one on a garden path to cross each day as they come- it becomes a foundation, a gateway to walk on and see things laid out before us. Flat and less daunting. Not measured by what we haven’t done, but by how far we’ve come.

I think of my friends who have lost children to cancer. Children I know who have lost their mothers to suicide.

So with each warm cup of tea and dog snuggle I get each day, with each phone call from my mom and lunch out with her, and with each warm smile from the McSweetie when he comes home after an exhausting day of work; I remind myself that I am more positive than negative. I remind my children how blessed and fortunate we are. Not for the earthly comforts we have around us, but for the support and love we give to each other.

I will wear my shirt with the hopes of sharing b Positive’s message to anyone who needs it.

If you would like to order anything from their website for yourself or gifts, go on over and put in “FRUGALISTA” in the promo code box and get 20% off your order! For a limited time, so do it right away!

And also, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter, so you can see all the positive they are accomplishing.

https://www.facebook.com/thebpositiveproject

https://twitter.com/bpositiveprojec

http://www.bpositiveproject.com/

Namaste my friends.

Comfort in the Mundane

Who would have thought I would want a day doing laundry, dishes and PTA activities?

Well, when life throws a curve ball at you, the ordinary and dull become comforting.

My dad had an emergency heart procedure on Friday and it freaked the hell out of me. Sitting in the uncomfortable, unfashionable hospital, made me homesick for the cat box.

You probably know already that my parents mean the world to me. They are my favorite people. Other than my spouse and offspring, they are my rock. As Emma said to my mom, “Oma, you are the cup to my tea.” Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

My father is 81 years old and healthy as a horse. Well, he’s even healthier now that two of his arteries are cleared and working properly! He never complained of pain. We don’t have a history of heart disease. All of a sudden he felt fatigue sooner in the day than normal. Trips to the mail box winded him. The man never sits still and still climbs a ladder to the roof, despite my mother’s protests. But lately, he just didn’t have his zip.

Thank goodness he went to the doctor. My parents are very proactive about their health. They know these things after going through a lot with my sister, who is disabled and in their care. And they know from experience having their own health glitches along the way of life.

Last week I even blogged how thankful I was things were looking well for my folks and their ‘old people’ tests they had. At first, all seemed well with my dad.

Then Thursday, after a battery of tests, my mom called me at 4 in the afternoon as I’m driving Owen to soccer practice. I knew something was wrong. You know these things by your loved one’s voice. Her voice quavered as she told me dad needed to go first thing in the morning to the hospital for a stent procedure and because of the severity, possible bypass.

Whoa.

Hold. the. phone. I did not expect this.

So that night I made arrangements to change my PTA volunteer duties. Delegating is a beautiful thing people. I sent emails and kind souls offered to pitch in for our Book Fair to cover the cash register and supervise the kids.

Friends came to my call for help with Owen after school.

McSweetie had interviews and meetings or I know he would’ve worked from home. Emma came along with me because she wears her heart on her sleeve and couldn’t manage being in school not knowing what was going on. Being near to her Oma was what she needed. And my mom was grateful to have our company.

Hospitals are weird, horrible, wonderful places. Miracles happen in them. Doctors perform acts of God in them. But then, they can be awful, pain-filled places of death and sadness.

When I got off the elevator with Emma and we walked around the corner, I saw my dad and his shiny bald head sitting in one of the waiting room chairs. He was cool as a cucumber. Takes a lot to rattle this guy. Those English have a way of staying calm. We got some good hugs, and then the nurse came in to get him ready.

They moved the procedure back a couple hours to the afternoon. I hate that. You’ve already fasted for a procedure at a certain time, then you have to wait even longer? That is always so messed up.

The doctor came around and talked to us. We went to lunch and then waited.

Several hours later, the doctor returned after he was done and said the words, “everything went well.”

I love those words in a hospital. He explained the severity of the situation, that there were two blockages instead of one and that the angioplasty worked in the first one, and a stent was put in place in the second. Blood flow was back to normal and everything looked fine.

AHHHHH.

Serious sighs of relief and hugs and praises to God between my mom and I.

We started making our Thanksgiving plans and being so happy for the status quo to return.

And that’s when I thought how much I love the ordinary. I don’t like events that rattle my world. That shake up my routine. Routine is good. Creatures of habit we are.

We saw my dad soon after. He was awake and sipping juice. He looked pink and healthy. He was tired, but pleased.

He will, I’m sure, be glad to be home tomorrow to get back in his routine. To do what he does every day. The little things, how grateful we are to just get up in the morning, make the tea and oatmeal and go about our day.

When Emma and I were on our way home, it had been just over 24 hours my mom had called me with the news. How grateful I was for the turn of events.

And then I went home to do what I do. Make tea, dinner and put the load of clothes from the washer to the dryer. And scoop the blessed cat box.

It’s a Punch in the Throat book giveaway!!

Is it Christmas time already? Are you disgusted with those sappy commercials and Black Friday store hours before you’ve even put your blasted Butter Ball in the oven for Thanksgiving?

Well, have I got a treat for you and your commiserating self.

Nineteen of your favorite mom humor bloggers had a meeting and we all agreed. There’s a brand new book that we think you NEED to read this holiday season. The title says it all.

Spending The Holidays With People I Want To Punch In The Throat is a heartwarming (yes, really!) collection of hilarious holiday-themed personal stories and observations written by none other than Jen of the well-known blog People I Want To Punch in the Throat

If the holidays have you stressing about gift giving, cookie decorating, or where in the world to put your Elf on the Shelf, then you need to take a mommy time out and read a chapter or two.

And now you can have a chance to peruse the pages for free. Consider it our holiday gift to you. We are teaming up to give away 19 copies of the book. All you have to do is enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form over to the right for your chance to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy!

We promise that it is both endearing and hilarious, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Here is where I read the part about what it would be like to write the perfect Christmas letter if you happen to be an Over Achieving Mom. Notice my fancy Christmas shirt and turtleneck I wore special for the occasion.

See? Told you. Now you want your own copy right? Well, Jen generously donated an autographed copy to every blogger participating in this giveaway so that we could increase your chances to win. You can enter using Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

“But wait, that’s not all!” we say in our best Price is Right announcer voice. We couldn’t get a bunch of tech-savvy moms together for a book giveaway and not bring you an eReader, right? So we are also giving away a Kindle Fire!

Click the photo of the Kindle to take you to the Rafflecopter entry.

NINETEEN winners will receive a copy of Spending The Holidays With People I Want To Punch In The Throat and ONE lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle Fire! What are you waiting for? Get clicking!  Contest ends at midnight on November 20th. Enter today and every day until then! Don’t just take my word for here. Click here and read the reviews!

 

Self love. Yes, THAT kind.

Please be advised this is no pervy, whack-off post. Any of you who found this by Google or other key words, just go elsewhere. This is about parenting. If you’re looking for anything otherwise, move along.

Masturbation.

Yep. That word. It’s a doozy. What comes to mind when I hear that? That character on Family Guy, was it Master Bates from the Morning Wood Academy?  Ha ha. Insert frat humor here.

Okay. Have you had THAT talk with your kids? I’ve had that talk with my kids. But I’m talking about this talk. The other talk. You know, where you tell them that if they touch themselves they will go blind. Or their hand will shrivel up and fall off. I’m kidding! I just said that small puppies will die. Okay, seriously.

I have NOT had this talk with my kids. We’ve talked about sex and how a baby is made. Emma is pretty clear on most things between a man and a woman. I mean, you know, the basics. She’s had family life in school, she knows about STDs and drugs and alcohol. She’s got it covered.

Okay, well maybe I did have THIS talk about Master Bates with Emma. But it was not on purpose.

My children have always been, uhm, you know, precocious. They are big farters and announcers about their farts. They talk about their privates. ALL. THE. TIME. We’re pretty comfortable talking about pretty much anything.

And then, the other day, Owen asks me if it’s true that when you rub your nuts your penis gets hard. Well, I said, I don’t have that equipment so I can’t say from experience. (Yeah, I know, easy way out.) But that if at any time you want to touch your privates, it’s totally fine to do as long as you are by yourself and privately at home. And then I asked him where he heard this bit of information. And he said a kid at school said that rubbing your junk makes it hard. Lovely.
AWKWARD. So I just casually said that if he had any questions he should probably ask his father. And that if he ever feels like touching himself, it’s totally not a big deal and again, reiterate that it is to be done in seclusion. And to please not talk about it with anyone outside our family, like at school or the playground.  It’s best to just come to me or dad with questions.

I think I handled that pretty well.

Moving on to a different day and Emma makes a joke about rubbing the cats balls while she was petting his belly. Technically he doesn’t have any balls, since he is neutered, which is also more fodder for discussion and jokes in this house. We like to talk in funny cat voices and talk about his missing balls. It’s a whole ‘nother story.  I said to please not molest the cat, it invades his privacy. One should only rub their own privates not anyone else’s or any animal’s for that matter. (Seriously, I need to have these conversations? WTF?) So she says, “Why on earth would anyone ever want to rub their privates?!”

Uhm. Well. Uhm. No reason.

Is what I should have said.

But instead, I start to pontificate on the benefits of self pleasure. Well, not exactly. But I said that masturbation is totally normal and nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. It is perfectly common for when you start to reach adulthood and sexual maturity to want to touch yourself only with the means of making it ‘feel good’.

Insert big shocked face from Emma here.

“Oh my gosh!! There is NO WAY that I’m just going to stick my hand down to my vagina because I WANT to! Do I just start flapping around my labias and clitoris for fun? NO!” (okay, this girl knows her parts and it kinda freaks me out every time she uses them in context!)

Me- “Well, your brother was discussing that boys at school talked about rubbing their privates and it felt good, so I was just making sure you were clear on the whole parameters on that kind of thing.”

Her- “DISGUSTING! So dad rubbed his junk when he was a teenager? Like I want to think about that!! EWWW!!! No thank you!”

Me- (Totally not trying to crack up and make her think I think this is a joke. She makes Taylor Lautner pectoral jokes all the time, now she goes all prude on me?) “Hey, that’s fine sweetie, whatever you are comfortable with. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask.” (please, please, please, don’t have any questions.)

Her- “Okay, well thank you for that mom. I’ll just go to bed now and try not to have nightmares about this sort of thing.”

Drama queen much?

So there you go. If you ever need any advice on how to talk to your kids about anything sexual, feel free to ask me. No, actually, I’m kidding. You’re on your own.

But I have said this- as much as we parents squirm and dance around this stuff- if your kids can come to YOU about it, Elle Woods finger snaps to you.

Because parenting is about being there. And then blogging about it after they walk away.

RTLF #23 – So many things!

This week is chock full of things to be grateful for. Remember, this is my list. If it doesn’t coincide with yours, just kindly move along. I’m grateful we can agree to disagree. There.

Big election week. Duh. So I’m grateful for some outcomes. But most in particular is the Washington State referendum that allows same sex couples to marry. It doesn’t redefine marriage. It allows all people to have the same civil rights when it comes to marriage.

Anyway, we need to get over the definition of marriage. Over the centuries it has meant many different things. Such as:

In the Old Testament men had many wives. Women were property. Even in the 1800s women couldn’t own property, yet they were married off like it. In the south, first cousins married each other in arranged marriages.

Inter racial marriages were illegal up until the 1960s. Slavery had been outlawed for a hundred years but folks couldn’t marry outside their race. And it’s pretty obvious, you couldn’t marry a slave either, it says so in the Bible.

Let’s include all the non religious people have weddings all the time. Nobody makes a stink about that. So to say it’s a religious, biblical sacrament, just isn’t cutting it for me.

I have many gay friends. Some don’t want to get married. Hey, I get that. But those that do, now can. I think it’s wonderful. They aren’t clamoring for rights to kill puppies people. They are fighting for rights to love openly. How can that be bad?

I’m grateful for my mommy and daddy being well. They are getting old. We all are. But this week they had more Old People tests than normal. Mom had to have a second mammogram to check things out. Dad had some heart tests to confirm a few things.

But the news at the end of the week was good and all their tests came back clear. So I can breathe a little easier. And they can too. Which makes me happy knowing they are happy.

I love that my husband works his butt off for this family. We both do. But his working butt gets a paycheck. You could say my butt spends it. Okay, that was weird. But yeah, I’m so very grateful for the two checks a month we get to pay the bills, buy the food and maybe even a little extra for some treats. Not much extra. But that’s okay.

With the holidays coming it’s always stressful stretching the paycheck out over extra extra stuff. I love the festivity, I love feeling generous and grabbing as many giving tree tags as I can. But then I need to remember to budget myself. I’m grateful for the ability to take some of those giving tree tags to help other people in what little way I can.

So there you go. My list, my gratitude. My cup runneth over not just with tea, but with so much warm fuzzy love. I know, it’s disgusting.

Namaste.