Monday, January 19, 2015

Quickie Books

by Cathy

Since my sixteenth birthday, I've always held jobs where I've worked for "the man"; retail chains, department stores, large ad agencies, local magazines. And now? Now I work with the man. My man, that is.

Yes, that's right.

I'm going outside my comfort zone by dipping my toe in the proverbial entrepreneurial career pool. Even more frightening, I'm electing to spend almost every waking hour with my spouse....working mostly out of our home office.

I bet you're thinking what my friend Patti is thinking. I can practically hear her skepticism sing-song-ing off the computer screen during our Gmail chats. Here are just a few of her comments:

"So...when you're home "helping joe" what do you do? Are you his hot, hot secretary?" This is Patti being subtle. So I play along.

"The boss just got back home and cracking the whip but not in the way I'd hope," I play into the fantasy.

"Perhaps if you would work in your birthday suit you could leverage some of the perks," she shoots back without missing a beat. "Drop a pencil and bend over to pick it up, if you know what i mean ;)"

Yes. This is how I dress to work at home. Duh.

I tell her that I wish it were like that, but in reality, it's a lot of payables, receivables, purchase orders and invoices. Frankly, I'm on Quickbooks more than I'm on him.

"Okay," she continues unconvinced. "I'll let you go so you can "work". WORK IT GIRL."

I can see why she would think that I'm always "working it" instead of literally working. Ideally, it would seem that a husband and wife working from home, while the kids are at school all day would provide plentiful opportunity to luxuriate in lengthy, decadent afternoon delights; massaging, feeding each other grapes and gazing deep into each others' eyes as we twirl ourselves up in silk sheets. Right. That's not us. That's the soap opera not playing on the television because it's tuned to ESPN or CNN or the 24-hour French news channel as background noise.

Sadly, this concept is something better "romanticized" in theory but not reality. Don't get me wrong; every now and then we do snap out of work mode and have a moment of clarity where we realize that the house is completely empty of kids and the distractions that follow them. There will be no knocking on doors or requests to fetch a snack or something off the top shelf, to find iPhones, iPads or chargers, to fix the television cable channel mix-up, or find a particular tank top. There will be no audible distractions either like the sound of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody reruns blaring from YouTube, or FaceTime conversations had by Ari and her friends while simultaneously playing Club Penguin online.

So do we take advantage of these rare moments at times? We are, after all, smart, grab-an-opportunity-when-you-can, humans who happen to be parents (and we know what that means when it comes to having time alone) after all. So, yeah.


- Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
- Yeah, this Quickbooks thing is a pain in the ass.

However, lest you think that you can quit your job and start a home-office business with your significant other for the anytime "perks" and "benefits" and general "woo hoo party time!!!" euphoria this will provide, think again. You might be able to randomly book a quickie, but in the end, you'll always get screwed by Quickbooks.





Friday, January 16, 2015

Sitting Shivers

by Cathy & Patti


Charlotte: Where are we going to go?
Ray: I'm thinking Alaska.
Charlotte: Alaska?
Ray: Yeah, it's cold and Mexicans don't like the cold. I say we act like white people and disappear and let our lawyer do the talking.
~ From the television series The Bridge, 
which in part, has to do with Mexican drug trafficking
--------------------------------------
Cathy
As our parallel universe lives would have it, we both married Latino men. Mine, J, is part Mexican. Patti's, M, is Argentinian. Latino men, apparently judging from the warm climates their ancestors hailed from, don't fare well in cold weather, as further proved by the quote above. They enter a darkness where no Happy Light can reach. In fact, they become winter beasts of sorts, that transforms them into bitter, miserable, grouchy, whiny, complaining little mean girls who consistently ask why we the hell we live here and not in Miami.

I'm not thrilled about the arctic plunges Chicago weather takes us on a consistent basis now either. I'm not enjoying my parched skin and the literal crackling of my facial wrinkles forming overnight, or the dryness of my cotton mouth which wakes me up in coughing fits, or the fireworks show that ensues via static electricity every time I move. But I deal with it. I power through it. Hell, my ancestors hail from Greece, the land of abundant islands, sea and sun and Patti is Argentinian and Italian, so same pretty much goes for her. And WE quietly deal with it. However, men being men, they can't handle it. It falls into the same category as being sick.

The other day, I walk into my living room to find this:

The Hobbit? Obe Wan Kenobi? Nomadic tribal elder?
Now clearly, the sheer over-dramatization of J's reaction to the cold is laughable. I stifled my chuckle and as it seemed fitting, I simply greeted him with a "Shabbat Shalom".  Minutes later, Patti and I were LOLing and commiserating via text at how alike our enrobed bundles of misery really are in terms of the literal mourning they go through each winter: the death of summer.

And the texts went on:

PATTI: "By the way, I don't think M and I will still be married after this winter. He is worse than ever with this weather. I cannot take his crankiness."
ME: I get the same from Rabbi Elder over here on a daily basis too, don't worry.
PATTI: They should sit shiva together!

As if luck would have it, they planned a coffee date a few days later without us girls knowing a thing until I happened to call J for something completely unrelated and lo and behold, he was commiserating and shiva-ing with M at a local coffeehouse. I promptly texted Patti to see, did she know about this?

PATTI: Of course not. I'm sure they will just sit there and kvetch about the weather.

I had no doubts about that and I'm certain they kvetched about us as well.

Patti
..as if they had any good reason whatsoever to kvetch.

I'm not quite sure how I could possibly illustrate to the fullest the life I lead from November to April. It is one in which my normally quite "macho" husband is grouchily tucked into corners of the couch and the bed and other cushion-y surfaces, blankets wrapped to the point of swaddling 'round his shivering body, and I pretty much wave a mental goodbye to the man I love and, with heavy heart, say hello to the Winter Monster. There is no light, only darkness and snow and lots and lots of f-bombs.

Here's the thing: As superficial as it may seem, I love tights and turtlenecks and cute leather boots. I love seasons with their breezy, blue-sky summers and silvery, snowy Christmases. And most importantly? I'm pale. Unlike my perpetually tanned husband, I am perpetually transparent and, rather than become golden in the sun, lean toward purple scorch. Therefore, no matter how monster-y the Winter Monster gets, I can't find it in my seasons-lovin', pale heart to up and move to 365 days of OMG I'M SWELTERING and MELANOMA-ING.

The result? I have to deal with Grandpa Bitches-a-Lot.  When Cathy sent me that picture of her own Grandpa Bitches-a-Lot, wrapped up like a Hobbit/Obe Wan Kenobi/Nomadic tribal elder, my heart swelled with kinship for my friend. She knew. She knows. She lives it just as I do. She has her own Winter Monster, one whose moans of discontent rise from within the swaddled walls of his misery for 7 months out of every year.

At first, when I heard the two Winter Monsters had gotten together, I worried. I pictured them both sitting there, scarfed and hatted and multi-coated and shivering, and I knew their shared kvetch-ing would only lead to one-way tickets to Miami - with or without their MUCH better halves. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the Winter Monsters are also Summer Mourners and, as grieving brothers, they need one another. They are their own support group, of sorts. So let them kvetch. I'll just sit here and sip on my cozy winter tea, turn up the heat, and cuddle up under the fuzzy blanket I never get to use.








Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Orientation

by Patti

Today we received in the mail a document that caused S to squeal and jump 6 feet in the air. I wondered if the Lottery Department had written me a letter informing me that, even though I hadn't purchased a ticket, I had somehow magically hit the jackpot of the century and would I please come down to headquarters and pick up my winnings?

I soon found out that equivalent to this in a 13-year girl's mind is her High School Orientation letter. She immediately ran to the refrigerator and slapped the letter under a magnet, singing joyfully to herself. "I can't believe it! DON'T FORGET!" she eyed me sternly.

But oh, how I want to forget.

How is this possible? Certainly the sudden lines that have appeared on my face - lines that no longer disappear by noon - have been trying to tell me about this passage of time, but I've been ignoring them. Because the passage of time is not something I'm handling very gracefully.

Aside from the "aging" part of it, what has gripped me most is the permanence of this passage of time. No. Matter. What. We can never get it back. And the last 13 years with my daughter, since the first earthly cries of my one and only child, are suddenly a dream-like patchwork of moments and memories, the only tangible evidence they ever happened the coltish, beautiful teenager standing in my kitchen, singing about high school.

It's strange, because I'm okay with her growing up. I love the "she" she has become; I love that we are friends and that she tells me most everything; I love that she is a hilarious companion and a quirky sidekick. I love her and all that she is. Yet, I find myself mourning the "she" she will never again be. Not because I don't adore who she is becoming, but because I will never get back who she was.

As I mark my calendar lest I DARE FORGET, I am cautiously looking forward to experiencing the energy I will no doubt absorb from all the other vibrating 13-year olds on High School Orientation Night. I will sense the jittery anticipation of all things new; I will take in the shine of young eyes as they dream about what will be. And I will look at my daughter and do my best to be present because, yes, even THIS moment, the one in which I am lamenting how she has grown up so fast, will one day be part of that dream-like patchwork of moments and memories. And I will never get it back.




Friday, January 2, 2015

2015

by Cathy



2015...

This is the year that I turn 45, celebrate my 18th wedding anniversary and see my first-born enter high school.

It sounds like someone else's life; someone much older than me. Those are some serious double-digit milestones, the kind reserved for "old" people I used to hear about when I was in the prime of my youth and all of this seemed light years away. Nonetheless, this is where I am in my life right now, crazy numbers and all, so I am here to face it and yes, embrace it.

It still doesn't make sense to me that we are in the year 2015. It still sounds ridiculously futuristic, as if we are living in another dimension. It was, after all, the year Marty traveled to in Back to the Future Part II.

Back to the Future is now


Back in the day, the decades had real sounding names with now marked events and characteristics that defined them for each of us, from the 1920s through to the 1990s. Each decade felt like it meant something, like each had its own representation and weight.

Then it all started sounding strange. How do we refer to the decades after the 90s? The zeroes? The two-thousands? What about the decade we're in now? Are we in the 10s? The 2010s? You don't hear people referring to decades like they once did because there's no non-awkward sounding, all encompassing way to refer to them. They all sound futuristic, even though we've been "in the future" for now, fifteen years. And if you ask me to define the marked characteristics of the last two decades since 2000, I'd venture to say that it's one big reality television show whirred into a technologically frenzied blur. Maybe I just don't care enough to distinguish these decades and acknowledge their own weight because they don't have a cool sounding name that warrants it. That's just me.

There is something, however, about the number and year, 2015, that compelled me to write about it. It's not an even-numbered year, yet it stands out because of the milestone simplicity it represents. It falls directly in the center of this decade, neatly separating the polar (and literal) opposites of what decades start/end, bring/take for people facing, dare I say, middle age.

Writing that statement was very sobering, as were writing the statements that follow...

This year, I am at equal distance from age 30 as I am from age 60. That stark calculation was made by me after an eye-opening statement made by Bella as we sat at home on this past blistery cold New Year's Eve 2014.
"Did you know that right now, at 2015, we are at equal distance from the year 2030 as we are from the year 2000?"
She wasn't even alive in 2000. So, again, those damned numbers. Why do they represent so much?

Well, they do and it's up to us to make these number mean something. God willing, this year like always, we intend to do so. Therefore, in addition to the wedding anniversary, high school milestone and 45th birthdays my husband and I will celebrate in 2015, we've also set goals. Goals put less pressure on results as they are plans to strive towards, not non-resolute resolutions.

We have goals to grow our business, to move into a single family home if plans take us in that direction, (and then maybe get a puppy to round out that American dream altogether), to buy a second car, and to travel to a place we haven't been before. Our personal goal, besides the ever-present "aim-to-salvage-what's-left-of-our-quasi-youthful-physique" goal, is to learn a new language and constantly strive to learn more and network more (Joe's) and for me, to finally embark on my lifelong dream.

We will continue to pray for our good health and those of our friends and family, to take in every minute of the crazy rate at which our girls are blossoming, maturing, molding their personalities, smoothing their rough edges and keeping sharp the ones that should stay that way, and to spend as much time with our parents as possible. The most challenging though for me, will be to make it through Bella's grammar school graduation and high school entrance without becoming a complete blubbering, broken down mess. Kids are, after all, the barometer against which the speediness of passing years is measured.

So please, 2015, seeing as you're right smack in the middle of this unnamed decade, do us a solid and slow down to let us take it all in.

---------------------------



Happy, healthy, prosperous New Year to our dedicated readers, followers, believers, supporters, fans and visitors from around the world. 




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Do You Live Here?!

by Cathy

I had the luxury of having a girls night out recently. It's funny but although our kids are getting older and need us less, we have somehow become less available to our friends. So this night? This was rare and much needed and we were all enjoying each other's company until....

RING RING (K's cell phone goes off)

Below is her side of the convo as heard by us:
"Hi sweetie, you okay?...OK what is it....a what?...honey you know I'm not home, why are you calling me? Ask your father...he's the one who's there!...Goodbye!"

Exasperated, she hung up the phone. "WHY is she calling me about going to a sleepover when I'm not even home?"

We all nodded in agreement and proceeded to share our stories about when something similar had happened to us. We laughed, we commiserated, we vented. And then, this happened:

RING RING (K's cell phone goes off, again.)
"Hey babe, what's up?...What do you mean, what time?...Why don't you ask her?...Just talk to her and ask her what time...I don't know, you're there...I'm not...figure it out!" She clicked her husband off the line.

"Oh. My. GOD! He's calling me about what the plan is for Katie's playdate tonight. Why doesn't he just talk to his daughter and straighten out the plans for the night instead of calling me to ask me what the plans are?!"

Then it was as if the floodgates were ripped wide open because that convo morphed into these convos:

J: "Men are totally clueless. You want to know what happens at my house? I was in the middle of cooking four things at once and asked my husband to get me the cheese grater from the cabinet.
He: "Where's the cheese grater?"
J: "In the cabinet next to the colander."
He: "What the hell is a colander? And what cabinet is that in?"
J: "What?!"

Now granted, eight out of 10 guys would not know what a colander is. Hell, I didn't know myself up until a few years ago. I just called it a strainer. J picked up momentum and continued her rant.

"Then, one other time, we were getting ready to go out and he was looking for his dress shirt."
We all rolled our eyes because we knew what was coming.
He: "Hun, uh, where's my dress shirt?"
J: "In the closet where it always is."
He: "Is it ironed?"
J: "Why don't you check it?"
He: "What about the collar tabs?"
J: "What? In your sock drawer where they always are. DO YOU LIVE HERE?!"

As we screamed with laughter, K blurted out: "I once had twelve texts and four phone calls from my husband about picking up our son from after school care as he sat in carpool line! Um, hello! Do You Live Here?!"

Steven Wright knew what he was talkin' about

As we held our sides, now stitched with laughter, and wiped tears of hilarity from our eyes, we grappled with catching our breath and realized...that was it, in a nutshell. We all live with our significant others but do they truly live in the same house as us? Some are highly involved in house happenings, storage, organization and cleanliness and others are well, are just passing through each day, it seems. I think my husband's cousin, a 19-year old guy who came to stay with us for six months last year, knows our house better than my husband does.

We wondered....our husbands have run their own businesses, managed teams of people, wheeled and dealed client contracts, run national accounts, are well traveled, well-spoken and quite capable of holding down titles akin to chief operating officers. How can they not manage a school pick-up, a playdate, scheduling kids' appointments and most frustratingly, can't find their own things in their own house, specifically, collar tabs that go only into their shirts?

As it seems, on and on the gender gap wheel will spin, in the same universe that holds both Mars and Venus. We may be from two different planets but we're stuck in the same solar system, and most importantly, in the same house. Let's remember where we live.




Friday, November 14, 2014

Netflix Running Time: 90(0) minutes

by Cathy

Our kids have pretty much grown up.

(I will allow myself this statement only for the purpose of this post.)

One is officially a teenager at 13 and the other just turned eight this past summer. They are pretty self-sufficient, play/hang independently and goof around together for the most part and might even be able to whip up some food for themselves when necessary.

Grasping and leaning on this concept more each year, we've slowly, cautiously ventured to begin to watch television and movies when the rest of the kid-free world watches them (i.e. not in the wee hours while the kiddos sleep while struggling to keep one eye open and not in the matinee senior hours of scorching daylight, but rather in "prime time" on weekends and the occasional weeknight.) At this stage in our kids' lives, we should be in the clear for an uninterrupted two hours of movie watching, right? Riiiight?

Apparently, we had no idea what can go wrong in the two specific hours we nestle in to watch our program or much anticipated new release. Without fail, first and foremost, no matter if all hell is breaking loose in the house with televisions and radios blaring, YouTube videos screaming from the computer, the microwave going off and what else have you, they will know the second the DVR clicks on or the DVD Play button is pressed. They will hear our bare feet prop up on the living room coffee table. They will hear us wrap ourselves up with a blanket and plop onto our bed. They can sense it. They can hear it. They can smell it. I don't know how, but they know. I can time my watch to it; they will burst in no more than three minutes into what we are watching with a slew of happenings or questions such as but not limited to:

- Whatcha watchin'?
- Have you seen my [enter a random possession of theirs here]
- How do you turn on the stove?
- Do we have any more Nutella To Go snacks?
- Oooooh a movie! Can I watch?
- We're out of chocolate milk?!?!
- Can I hang out at Katherine's house tonight?
- Can Katherine come over to hang out here?
- Why isn't this letting me watch this video on YouTube?
- Um, hi. You should be eating some popcorn. Do we have any? Want me to make you some?
- Where are all the phone chargers?
- Do you have the iPad? I can't find it.
- I need new socks and none of my underwear is in my drawer!
- Can you remember to wash Pillow and Cuddles tonight?
- [screaming from the shower] We're out of conditioner!
- [screaming from the bathroom] Can someone bring me a roll of toilet paper?
- [screaming in general] There's a bug!!! [harmonized screaming, now]
- Bella called me a brat!
- Can we rent a movie On Demand?
- We're out of waffles!!!
- Can I sit in here and draw with you? Bella won't play with me.
- I need to you reach a blanket on the top shelf of my closet.
- How long IS this movie??

Yes, that last one is a very good question. Just how long IS this movie, exactly? Turns out that what the rest of the world can watch in 90 minutes, takes us 900 minutes. More than once, we've resorted to giving up either due to relentless, unnecessary, unimportant kid chaos or just sheer frustration.


On Demand? Netflix? Fuggedaboutit

I guess that our kids aren't as grown up or independent as we'd hoped they'd be by now. And aside from the purpose of this post, in some sick, twisted parental way, we don't want it any other way just yet. After all, we'll have all the time in the world to watch movies once they truly grow up.




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

You're No Fun Anymore

by Cathy

Maybe you don't remember the breakdown that talk show host Wendy Williams had on national television early this year.  But I do.

She looked into the camera as if she was talking to her longtime girlfriend on her living room couch, and poured her heart out about the struggle she is having regarding her 13-year old son. All of this coming about while discussing how Rocco, Madonna's son, fully supports his mother. In case you missed it, here are some highlights of what she confessed:

"First of all, I want you to know, Rocco is 13 years old and Rocco is a real fan of his mother. What I discovered this weekend is that my son doesn't like me anymore."

"I discovered this a while ago, but the ball just got smacked home this weekend."

"He's all into his father — you know how 13-year-olds are. I was the same way when I was 13, but it is breaking my heart. He says things to me like, ''Why are you so pissed?!' Like I'm pissed all the time. Like I'm the one with the problem."


"He's the one that's 13, and I get it, and I know that this phase only lasts four years or something like that, but it is breaking my heart. He doesn't care about Wendy on TV — he doesn't care about any of that. She's lucky that he likes her," she said, referencing Madonna's relationship with Rocco again.



"I can't understand men who disappear from their kids' lives. Thank God he has his buddy and father, you know? He's a father, he's a buddy, they talk sneakers, they go for haircuts, they speed off in the cars," she said of husband Kevin Hunter. I'm just left there feeling like, 'Why are you so pissed?' I'm not pissed! I'm a mom!" the emotional host concluded.


And here's what it looked like:
Wendy Williams' breakdown: a mother's ugly cry never more justified

I mention this because I've had several Wendy Williams moments of my own. My 13-year old teenager, my emotional hormonally chaotic daughter, actually turned to me once and said:
"You're no fun anymore.
You're always yelling about something."

Smack! 

I barely heard that second sentence as "you're no fun anymore" ricocheted off the walls of my brain, having difficulty settling down and sinking in. Oh, she's said worse before, like "I hate you!" which also really hurt, but for some reason, this hurt more. I hate you seems like a generic response, but You're no fun anymore seems more felt and thought out.

I remember telling my own mother flat out, "I hate you!," and believe me, that was the first and last time I said that out loud. I mumbled it under my breath, I sobbed it out in my room or wrote it in my diary. Luckily, "my mom is a bitch" never made it onto those pages, but it could very well probably could have.

What I don't remember as well is probably how awful I was to my mother with my moody, rebellious, privacy-bent ways. Being "smacked" or pissed or angry is always a two-way street. There has to be a cause for the effect. What teens don't get is that their actions determine our reactions, and both sides end up the bad people in each others' eyes.

So the other day, after a heated discussion with my teen,  I unintentionally and wholeheartedly blurted out: "You're not fun to be around anymore."  I couldn't believe I actually said it to her.  Equally shocked, she gave no quick-witted response; just silence. (Which kinda scared me, truthfully.) And I just left the room. (Or slinked out, truthfully.) When it was brought up later by me, she commented on how awful that made her feel, which opened the door to another equally needed conversation.

Growing up isn't easy on any parent or child. We each do our jobs to raise the best person possible to send out into this unfair, cruel, difficult, joyous, wide world and love them throughout everything with no conditions. I can only take assurance that one day, my words will resonate with them the way my mother's words do with me now.

Until then, I must implore you to tread carefully. Shiny, happy people, we are not.





Thursday, November 21, 2013

Now, I'm a Boobleiver

by Cathy

Oprah told me to do it. Katie told me to do it. Countless magazine articles told me to do it. But did I listen? I wanted to. Really. I just never made it a priority - until I had to.

One of the perks of my job is to check out new places, products and things before others do, so that I can write about them in the hopes that those others either buy them or at least, check them out. So when the opportunity came along to get a professional bra fitting (with a complimentary bra in my properly fitted size, valued at $65) my "girls" bounced at the chance. They've been left hangin' there far too long.

Wacoal wowza! This bra is my new breast friend!

The results? Like 80% of women out there, I was definitely wearing the wrong bra size. In fact, like 80% of women out there, my current size wasn't even close to what I should be wearing. No wonder  the bra's backside was riding high and my boobage was riding low and why I tugged and pulled and lifted and adjusted all day. And overall? I just looked and felt hunched and schlumpy.

For the sake of science, womanhood and perky silhouettes everywhere, I will reveal my "numbers" to the world:

Current size: 36 B/36 C
Actual size: 34 DDD

Triple, freaking, D.

"Why are you so surprised?" exclaimed my husband along with a few of my friends. "Your boobs are huge!"

Okay my boobs aren't small but they aren't as ample as some cleavages sported by other au natural and faux boobers combined. But never in a million years did I think I was a TRIPLE D.
DDD
D. D. D.

After countless "Are you sure(s)???" from me to the fitter, she patiently explained it all to me -  the full, yet sexy coverage, the lack of side-boob spillage, the point at the exact spot on my back where the bra line is meant to hit, the fact that even though the bra felt tight, I still had plenty of give on the band and had me take a step back to examine my overall lifted, youthful silhouette. "See?" she marveled, pointing at my breasts. "This is where things should be," she said, eyes crinkling with delight.

She also matter-of-factly told me that I was putting on my bra incorrectly (we must bend over and spill into the cups naturally) and washing incorrectly (we must hand wash and air dry, but ain't nobody really got time for dat). And those hooks, by the way? They are meant to expand with your bra. You are to start with the outermost set of hooks first and once you get to the third and last set of hooks and you're ridin' and saggin', it's time to say ta-tas to that bra!

As if all of this information wasn't shocking enough, the reaction I got from my unassuming (or so I thought) family, really surprised me. I told no one about my new secret weapon - my dirty little secret. One day, I just put it on and went with it.

Scene 1:
That same day, I was meeting my husband for a quick afternoon coffee before picking up the kids from school. I parked in the Starbucks lot and walked in to find my husband sitting by the window, working.
"Hey!" I said as I hung my purse on the chair.
"Oh my God I didn't even recognize you," he said.
"Really? Why?"
"There's something, I don't know...you look different."

Really?

"I'm wearing a new bra," I said flatly.
"Wow, you can really see the difference! Even your posture has improved!"


Scene 2:
I had my new bra on, engaged in closet eyelock when my oldest, Isabella, came barging into my room. (Knocking? What's that?)
"Hey mom, where's....OH! Hey! That's a nice bra!"
"It doesn't really look all that different from the other ones I have," I replied dryly.
"Yes it does! This one is cute. And chic! I didn't know you had bras like that!"

Scene 3:
We were, of course, elbow deep into our entrees at a Mexican restaurant with the family when my youngest decides she has to go kaka. Of course, I took her. She tends to get super chatty when she's going kaka and starts blabbing about random this, that and the others. As I was standing there, waiting patiently and salivating over finishing my enchiladas mole, she looks at me quizzically,  cocking her head to the side as she sized me up - literally.
"Mom, you look taller," she finally said.

Oh, for the love of the Lord - not her too. If a seven-year old notices...

"You think so?" I played along. "Why do you think that?"
"I don't know you just look taller, like you're standing up straighter or something. You look nice."

Apparently, a properly fitted bra can improve my posture, make me look taller, perkier, younger and more stylish! My big boobs have said ta-ta to my saggy bras and now I'm ridin' perky.

I am officially a bra-fittin' boobliever!







Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Running Scared


by Cathy

Last week, I had lined up a workday downtown with various store visits and meetings. Before entering one of these meetings, I had about 25 minutes of reprieve, which allowed me to sneak in a quick lunch in the form of a McDonald's Premium McWrap. I entered the waiting room/lobby of my next meeting early and as I was helping myself to a cup of water, with my lunch sprawled out across the counter and bags half-falling off my shoulder, I noticed a woman behind me waiting patiently for me and my exploded belongings to make way.



"Oh, I'm sorry," I replied, hurriedly scooping up my unraveling McWrap, careful not to spill my teetering cup of water. "I'll be out of your way in a second."

"Don't worry about it," she said with a flick of her wrist. "I know how it is. Always going, going,
going,"she laughed knowingly. "I'll tell you, you know, we're always running, things to do, places to go,
but to be honest?" She stopped what she was doing and looked me square in the eyes.

"I'm scared of slowing down."

That made me stop in my tracks. I chuckled at her and blurted out a commiserating "I hear you!" before turning away to find a seat.

Her words played over and over in my head. "I'm scared of slowing down." She verbalized what a lot of us do on a subconscious level. Enough to make me slow down and take it in.

We all bitch about how tired we are, how much we have to do, how little time we have for this or that. But really...really...if someone were to take these responsibilities, jobs and obligations away from you tomorrow, what would you be left with? What would you do??

For some, slowing down is the beginning of that end. What would it mean if we slowed down? Would it mean we might just stop altogether? Give up on life, goals, dreams and plans? Would we no longer be deemed worthy to our loved ones or to ourselves? Or would it mean that we were forced to face the stillness of life, that moment when we hear nothing but our own voice, see nothing but our own true self (which was lost long ago amidst life's plans and paths), and realize that we haven't done what we wanted to do for ourselves? Fittingly, I saw the following posted on Arianna Huffington's Facebook page today as I sat down to write this post:

Silence is not just about not talking. It's a void...a place where all things come from...all voices, all creation...when you're standing on the edge of silence, you hear things you've never heard before...and in ways you've never heard them before.  -- John Francis

For many, this type of self-reflection can be very traumatizing - especially when we don't like what we see staring back at us; when we don't want to hear the voices that come from that silence. And so we run from it. We create static to break the deafening silence that threatens to disrupt life as we know it. We keep running...scared.









Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hives and Lows

by Cathy

NOTE: This post was dangerously close to being called The Farts and the Pimps. You have S, Patti's daughter, to thank for the much more refined title above. :-) 
I also thought this to be scary enough to merit a Halloween day post. 

Happy Halloween!!

One of the many Sour Grapes listed on our homepage is "The Collapse of the Universe When a Man Gets Sick". I'd like to clarify: this refers to the collapse of the universe inside said man's head. The actual, entire universe literally collapsing? That is what happens when a woman (the wife, mom, homemaker and CEO of any household) gets sick.

But what happens when both parents get sick? At the same time? That my dear readers, is fodder worthy of a blog post.

A scary situation (and sight)

Several weeks ago, I contracted what was some form of the stomach flu by way of having my seven-year old vomit all over everything in our king-size bed. (This in itself? A post for another time.) I say "some form" because this virus was unlike any other stomach flu virus I've had, which usually lasts 24 hours and done. My kid had a fever after her initial vomit attack and was out for a day or two with occasional diarrhea.

Me? No vomiting, and aggressive nausea and pains in my stomach that led to nowhere except one horrific episode of diarrhea whereby my extremities stiffened and froze up rigor-mortis style, my guess, due to dehydration. As frightening as that was, what came next was even worse and completely unexpected: a rash of tiny red bumps that exploded all over my arms and legs with a spattering on my torso and back, that itched like a mother and lasted four days.

After several frantic Google searches and calls to family, I discovered that apparently it's completely normal for a virus to expel itself from your system via a rash. Since I had no vomiting and very little diarrhea, the rash is what my body went to. And me? I went crazy.

My husband had to step-up and basically take over all of my household tasks. He washed dishes (he wasn't sure how to load the dishwasher), he packed lunches (and included a hand-written note in each bag, and "Moooom...how come you never do that??"), he packed snacks (he plopped an entire peanut-encrusted taffy apple, still in the packaging, into my second grader's snack bag to be brought into a classroom with nut allergies galore), he cooked frozen foods for the kids and did the best he could....considering...that the flu virus was creeping its way into his system.

"I'm fading," he moaned as he came into the bedroom where I was breathing heavy with stomach pains. I was half munching on Saltines and looked like death warmed over. He fell onto the bed in shivers and began trying to psyche himself out. "It's all in your head," he murmured between gasps. "You're fine." But he wasn't, God bless his delusional soul. He was being hit by yet another version of this chameleon-like virus/monster that entered our home. And we both knew it was taking over.
 
For two days, we shuffled around the house burping, expelling gas, sipping Coke or some other carbonated drink. We looked (and felt) like zombies: me, pimply-rashed and hunched over in nausea, shivering from the urge to resist scratching my skin off, and he, holding himself through fits of chills and fever. We bumped mindlessly into one another, taking turns quasi-tackling the necessary everyday tasks, tossing coins for who was going to chauffeur the kids to and fro school or pack lunches (I'm really not sure what the kids ate those couple of days), overextending our very necessary bathroom visits as a form of exhausted escapism and crawling under the bed covers in hopes the other wouldn't notice. It was a nightmare to say the least and brought to mind the dreadful conundrum of parenthood: How do you take care of your kids when you cannot take care of yourself?

Somehow, as all parents do, we literally muddled through it and came out on the other side. No physical scars remain yet the emotional scars we all endured as a family will be with us always - and that is more frightening than All Hallows Eve.

Mwuah ha ha ha ha!!!






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