Friday, May 31, 2013

Intro Into A Bigger Topic

THE HEAT IS HERE! Just a little announcement in case you forgot or don't go outdoors. Call it public service if you like. It's my pleasure to pass on this information to you as I stand outside in the blazing heat with my 8000 SPF sunscreen on, wearing my dorky sun visor to try to protect my face from more freckles, and an ice pack jammed in my cleavage.

Yup, you read that right. Chilly cleavage.  It's a little trick I learned when I was doing this same thing while eight months pregnant. If you stick an ice pack between (or under) your boobs, you feel a bit better. It cools your stuff right off. You learn something every day, dontcha? (Wink!)

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the responses to my last post, in that Im not alone with this whole bubble/worry/protection thing Ive got going on with Allie. Im not happy to hear that other people worry too, just that Im in good company. Some of you responded via Facebook directly to the link, thru Facebook Message, or in conversation. It inspired me to take a direction for the next few entries that is a little uncomfortable for me, but I get a good feeling about it.

The purpose of this blog is not to pontificate (that's my four star word usage for the week....I have to throw them in just to feel better about the FAT college loan that looms over us) (I'll link to the definition if you don't know it. Don't be shy. I didnt know what it meant at one time either.  Click on the word.) This purpose was two-fold:

1- To exercise my love of writing, silliness and sharing

2- A project to see how people connect via social media and the internet.  Social media is taking people down; but it's also bringing people together.  We share so many common ideas, interests and experiences; I want to see how those commonalities can bring us together in a positive way.

So, I'm taking a step toward a subject that I feel needs to be talked about amongst us regular peeps.  Celebrities have discussed it, but it still has a stigma.  I invite you to please respond directly in the comments field if you have something to say.

You don't have to give your real name. However, if you read along and something makes you go, "I KNOW what she's saying! This is what happened to me (or my relative).....this is what I did to get thru it......this is what I'm still suffering with" you have something valuable to share. Very valuable. In fact, two years ago I was begging to hear what people had to say. And I found silence.

This will be spread out over a few entries. If you make it through them all, I thank you for joining me on my journey. If you just peek out of curiosity, I'm thrilled that you stopped by.  I'll begin by giving you a little back history first.

Hey.  I think I'm quite nervous ......

I've suffered with anxiety and panic attacks since I was about 26. My first one occurred in a CVS. I walked thru the door and dropped. It's rather amusing because at the time I had a serious addiction to shopping for products as CVS. It's almost like I was coming home to the Mothership to die.

I thought I was having a heart attack and I wound up in the hospital getting Valium shot into my booter by a big fat needle. I cried for almost three days. Non-stop. I am not exaggerating. I have a witness.

I know why I was suddenly "blessed" with this disorder, but that's a story that can be saved for another should anyone gives a rat's ass.  I've had many more of those experiences since that day, but the last few years I have had a grip on it.  I've been on medication for anxiety and panic attacks ever since that first time.  Less people find me sprawled out on the floor because now I see it coming and have the skills to work through it and keep it low key.

When I found out I was pregnant with Allie I immediately stopped taking every bit of medication I had. It wasnt about me anymore. It was about her. For the next 9.5 months I would just have to deal with my own bullshit because my little girl was not going to have one stitch of medication in her body before she was even born.

This was MY choice. Other people have made different choices and I think neither is wrong and I see benefits to both.  For whatever reason I decided that I couldn't handle putting anything that wasn't natural or clean in my body during that time.

I had some WICKED withdrawals. And in true Vicki Form, they started in a courthouse while I was dealing with a traffic ticket. This couldn't begin at home while I was watching Survivor on the couch? Nooooo. In court with a hundred of my closest strangers.

This unpleasant event lasted about a week and a half (the withdrawals, not court). All I could think of was, 'This is nothing compared to what real drug addicts go through. How in the hell do they do it??' I had a person in my life who suffered with serious addiction and God allowed me to see a tiny bit of what he went through for so many years through different eyes. I guess that was a blessing that came out of it.

After Allie was born, I thought that I would just continue on my medication-free lifestyle. I was feeling good and I was learning to deal with my anxiety attacks quite well. Plus, I wanted to breastfeed (I didnt carry these damn things around all of these years without utilizing their purpose!). I told my family, "No more drugs. I'm done with medication!" and they supported my decision despite the fact that they weren't sure it was the right one.

It wasn't. That decision opened a door to what I tell people was the most dreadful experience of my life thus far. For two and a half months I lived in bliss with my new baby and my husband, and when alone I lived in terror. No exaggeration. Terror. And I felt alone.  Very, very alone.

(continued in next post)

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rapid-fire Tragedy

It feels like there is no recovery time in global tragedy occurrences anymore. Im not sure whether that is an accurate observation or not. It feels that way to me. Maybe the media and technology have really created the lack of lull. Im not totally convinced of that though either.  It could be me.  Maybe Im too sensitive.  Current Events Sensitive?  Newsly Challenged?  Every little quirk has a title these days so we feel less nutty and more like we have a problem so real that it had to be named.

Looking back a to 9/11, it felt like that horrible moment happened and then we were allowed time to heal, or at least try to. As I've mentioned before,  there was no shortage of media coverage after the United States was attacked. If they ran out of things to cover here, they went abroad to investigate what other countries thought about our situation, or what the terrorists were all about and what fed their hatred of us. But it still felt like we had time to process what had happened.

Over a decade later we have non stop tragedy, complete with "filler". There was the Sandy Hook School shootings, followed by the Boston Marathon bombing, and then the mass destruction of the tornado in Moore Oklahoma. In between, we had Jody Arias' sick and twisted love affair/murder trial, the rescue of the three girls who were kidnapped ten years ago in Cleveland, random women being raped on mass transit in India, our President receiving mail with hazardous chemicals, banks crashing in Cyprus, the ongoing battle about gun control and, most recently, the train wreck called Amanda Bynes, which is sad for her and pathetically desperate of the media. (That last one was added just to see if you were paying attention.....there will be a quiz on this later which will account for 25% of your grade)

When do we get a break?

My mother, husband and I don't watch the news. I catch up on the news that I can handle by reading it on line. I know that this is the right thing for me. It was confirmed months ago when I sat down with my step father and the news was on tv. After watching for literally fifteen seconds, I was haunted for weeks by the visual of how Syrian children were being used as weapons during the country's current conflict.

I know we all need to be aware of whats going on around us. We all have the right to however much information we want or dont want. But when is it considered too much? Do we risk desensitizing ourselves? Are we making ourselves more anxious and neurotic by having all of this information? Is this awareness instilling more fears?

Fear can be paralyzing. I know because deep down, after hearing all of this, I want to live in my own little bubble with my family. I want Allie to be with us all of the time so I can protect her. My greatest fear is for something to happen to her where our precious life with her will be forever changed. Im afraid that she will be hurt, or get sick or worse. Some things, like certain illnesses, you can't protect anyone from. But there are those other things that you always hear "if only I had ___________, he'd still be alive." Preventative measures that went undiscovered until it was too late. I just want to hold her and hug her and keep her near me always. I want to keep the hatred, destruction and death out.  The media seems to keep all of it on our doorstep.

But I know that bubble is not possible. Well, actually it IS possible but completely unhealthy. And a bit weird. Everyone has had neighbors at some point in their life where they said, "We never see those people. Never. I don't think they ever leave the house." I seriously can't imagine that being us with my big mouth, Justin's propensity to talk to everyone who speaks English that comes in earshot, and Allie's constant inviting of people to "Come over. Hi. Come over, please. Hello?"

With that being said, I want to end this post on a light and barely relevant topic. I feel obligated to go light and airy for some reason.

Just a little visual to give you a giggle. When we went on our honeymoon, I was sick. Like very flu-ish. There was some virus going around called "the swine flu" (f*#king fantastic name for a chubby sick girl, right?) and I guess I had it. When we landed in Aruba, my ears were clogged for about 36hours. It was probably the only time Justin has ever heard me speak in a calm, quiet tone for many consecutive hours. Why? Because I was so damn loud inside my head! I heard myself as if I was screaming everything.

Anyway, we decided to rent a car the second day and a local picked us up and gave us a crash course on what the signs meant and where things were. The minute I saw this guy jabbering away to Justin in the front seat, I panicked. Why, you ask? Justin only speaks American English (see, here's how I made this story "barely relevant" to the topic above), and when he hears an accent he hears every third word.

I, however, worked at a limo company where if you met someone who didnt have an accent, it was considered odd. I struggled A LOT but I did eventually learn how to understand people with accents. BUT, in this story, Im hearing impaired, remember? I was trying to read the driver's lips in the rear view mirror but he was throwing us around with his crazy driving.

We got out of the car, smiling, and when we finished the rental paper work and got back in to drive, I asked, "How do we get back? Which way did he say to go?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know? How could you not ask? He was rambling the entire time. He didnt mention anything??"

"Yes. Maybe. Probably.........He had an accent."

Enough said. What a pair we were. He couldn't understand because of the accent and I couldn't hear squat because of the swine flu. By the last day, we were finally able to find our way around. We got trapped in many traffic circles for way too long. And we still have no idea what this means:

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Pain....and Forgetting A Witty Title

I had a completely different entry ready to go, but I need to put it on the back burner to address my current situation.  And this should be fun because I'm all boogered up on Percoset right now so who knows what this will look like tomorrow.

I'm annoyed by my stupidity.  I'm more annoyed by my ankle weakness.....or as the medical peeps call it "chronic ankle instability".  I've got two things on this body that are thin..... my wrists and my ankles. It seems as though my ankles will go to extremes to try to join the club that the chubby body parts are in.  They have a direct link to the part of my brain that is responsible for stupid decisions, which is how they manage to make it to the "chubby side" from time to time.

On Wednesday evening I was playing Hide and Go Seek with Miss Alliepants.  I was the hider and she was the seeker.  The problem is that she's an extremely fast counter.  She went into the bathroom to count and it sounded like this "One....two.....tree......fourfivesixsebeneightnineTEN!  Ready not here I come!"  As soon as the counting commenced, I started hauling ass to find a hiding spot.

Somewhere around "seben", I leaped into the air and everything went south.

Sadie was laying in my path.  She was sprawled out on her side and I would've sworn she was asleep.  Rather than run around her, I thought I'd hurdle over the dog.  Right after my launch, Sadie's Spidey-Senses kicked in and she jumped up.  My left foot hooked onto her back and I landed on my right ankle.  And just to confirm the decision that I should've picked another route, I went flying head first into the front door.  There should've been a Vicki-shaped hole there.

I rolled around on the floor holding my ankle with one hand and my head with another.  Allie came running over yelling, "I find you!  I find you!"  After assessing my actions, she asked, "Why Mommy laughing so hard?" 

Somehow I spit out, "Mommy isn't laughing.  I hurt myself."  It was like someone flipped a switch and suddenly she was standing over me crying, too.

I'll save the rest of the drama and summarize it by saying that when Justin got home I was sitting on the couch with an ice pack, trying to entertain Allie from the couch, and my ankle looked like it was replaced by a tennis ball.

I am a self professed spazz.  When I fall or crash into things, I do it in a big way.  About 8 years ago I spent two summer months with a cast on my ankle from twisting it three times.  Three times.  To make matters worse, I also had a shitload of worn out left shoes and matching brand new right shoes.... and you KNOW how I feel about shoes!  True to form, I have accomplished ultimate spazzdom once again, trying to hurdle my dog while playing with a two year old.

Later that night, I took a Percoset on Justin's urging.  Between the crying and bitchiness ("How will I do my job!?  Don't tell me not to worry!  You think you have this all figured out, don't you?!") I think he was pretty desperate to "lighten my mood".  It lightened my mood alright.  My mom had to drive me to my late night appointment because operating a vehicle sounded a bit too complicated.  I spent an inordinate amount of time imitating my daughter's speech patterns.  Asking my husband what he was doing every three minutes seemed entertaining, especially when I incorporated the previously mentioned bit of silliness every sixty seconds by saying, "Allie....what Daddy have?"

Silliness gave way to nausea, dizziness and itchiness.  I started to feel like a junkie.  At 3am I was scratching things that never itched before, like my eye lids and underneath my fingernails.  And I really couldn't believe that I had skin left the next morning.  I expected to wake up looking like I had a serious case of road rash all over my body.  Nope!  I was fine.

Well, tonight things are worse.  I have oodles of pain and no silliness.  Even the little dog feels bad for me..... and she can't stand me.  I'm on my second Percoset in two hours and I'm going to wrap this up because I keep forgetting my point and the scratching is interfering with my typing.  My palms are even itchy.  My apologies for this aimless rant.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel better.....or at least have a doctor's opinion as to why I don't.  I'm aiming for the first one. Wish me luck.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Older And Wiser

Until recently I felt like a 20 year old. Then along came 40. Now I feel like I'm sliding into "growing up", which I honestly thought was never going to come. Actually, 39 was a pretty good warm up period for this big transition.

There are a lot of benefits to this milestone, so I don't want to scare anyone who isn't there yet. It's not like you wake up, almost forty, and things start falling off or breaking. It's more like a trade. And it's pretty even. This isn't an all-star quarterback for three nearly-shitty ones. Terry Bradshaw caliber benefits traded for Joe Montana caliber benefits. Both have pluses but they aren't the same.

For instance, my eyes started crapping out on me around 38. I was already blind as a bat without contacts, but suddenly this "dry eye" thing starting attacking my eyes and I had to get glasses with a stronger prescription. Dry eye? I blink! Wtf??? No explanation. It just happened and I'm not pleased.

My gums started receding. WHAAAATTT?? Bad, bad, bad. My mom spent a fortune for these teeth to be aligned so perfectly that every dentist I've been to exclaims, "Wow. Your teeth are gorgeous. Did you have braces??? Who did this?" Ive had dentists call other people in to oogle my chompers. Suddenly, I'm being told "You brush too much. You need an electric toothbrush to keep you from being so vigorous." I brush too much??? And too vigorously??? Years and years of "you need to brush and floss!!" and suddenly I hit a point where I needed to cut back. No one saw it coming? Forty hit and my gums decided they were going to rebel.

My boobs....well, I'm not going to go there. If you have them, you know what happens, especially after having kids. It's not nice. I wore bras to bed as a young person to try and maintain their youthfulness. Suddenly, they betray me. The back pain for 24 years wasn't enough abuse, breasteses?

My knees crack when I walk up the stairs. My skin has age spots. My hair is blah. Etc. etc. etc. etc. UGH.

What did I gain, you ask?
(Little ole me.... when life was good and worry-free)
I learned that drama is bad and now I work on avoiding it and the people who create it. All of that stress thru my teens and 20's could've been avoided if I was able to determine what as drama and what was a real problem. Now I see younger people wrapped up in it and I smile and shake my head just like people did to me. 'Youre wasting time, you poor fool,' I think.

Speaking of wasting time, I appreciate it so much more now. I get more done in an hour now than I did in ten hours in my 20s. I know that a lot of that awareness was brought on by parenthood, but I see young mothers who are almost at a geezer level of efficiency, but not quite as good at budgeting their time. When you're young you think you have forever to get things done. When you're 40 you hear about people just a few years older than you dying from unexpected stuff, and then you think 'treat every day like its your last!' Time is cherished stuff.

Sensible shoes. The first time a podiatrist told me I needed to wear sensible shoes, I wanted to die. I love shoes. I have a shoe wall that my husband built to accommodate my shoes and display them so I can appreciate them all at once. Sensible ones were the kiss of fashion death when I was younger. Now I look like everyone else my age and we all don't give a shit what's on each others' feet unless they are super pretty shoes. Now we appreciate the foot apparel of our peers rather than critique it.

Money smarts come with age. Some people only get so far, but I think we all improve to a point. The crap I wasted money on twenty, fifteen or ten years ago makes me so angry. My parents taught us financial responsibility, yet I still had moments of stupidity. For instance......people don't need enough shoes to fill a wall when they are struggling to pay bills (yes, I self criticized there). Hence, why I haven't bought unnecessary shoes in years. (sob! tissue please!) Also, if you don't have the same amount of money saved In the bank that you just spent on your vacation YOU SHOULDN'T BE GOING ON THAT VACATION. And if that car payment seems stressful, you're buying the wrong car. It goes on and on.  Confucius say 'Live within your means and find serenity.'

(Side note: your parents aren't a bank or a hotel. You should only be living with them or borrowing money from them if you are down on your luck or saving for something like a house or education. And if you have a fancy car, expensive wardrobe and money to go out more than once a week, consider yourself a drain on your parents!!!  And p.s., your friends and family ARE talking about you behind your back.)

Therapy is smart.  If you aren't happy and don't know how to get there, you need therapy. We thought we knew everything before 30. Turns out we actually know nothing and its all guess work. If you've been guessing poorly about how to find happiness, you're probably miserable. Howard Stern is worth hundreds of millions and he sees a therapist multiple times a week for guidance. Therapy isn't "only for life losers". You're only a loser if you need help and still don't ask.

Last, but not least, and definitely not the end, is REALITY. This is my favorite learning lesson. As a child and teenager some things happened.  It's called life.  Some of it was surely good and maybe some of it was horrible. However, as we enter our twenties, we try to make sense of the things that happened and why we are the person we are becoming.

Here's the exciting part!

It's totally skewed. Along the way, most of us made unhappy things seem worse to explain or excuse our behavior. EVERYONE did it!!  It happens partially because you're trying to cope with your mental shit, and partially a result of ...... don't get mad...... I did it too.....immaturity and self-aggrandizing (click on that last word if you don't know it and you'll get the definition). I wish someone had told me I was doing this back then. I kept diaries and and they helped me remember what REALLY happened. Even if what I wrote wasn't an accurate account of what happened, it helped me SEE the truth later. I will encourage Allie to do keep journals for this reason alone. The benefits are huge between encouraging creativity and providing yourself with a reference of life events. You can be honest with yourself later if you can't quite do it then.

By the way, I owe the Vicki History Reference Materials (a/k/a the piles of journals) and my love of writing about stuff to my Mom. Even when I think I stink at it, she always finds some way to make me feel confident about what I've done and what I might be able to do. I can dig a hole, life can shove me in it, and everything will feel hopeless.....but my mom is always hanging over the edge with a rope yelling, "Grab on, my beloved child! I love you, I believe in you and you're valuable!..... And seeing you in this predicament, I'm quite sure now that it was the whole pie I ate one night when I was pregnant with you that has made you the crazy nut that you are!"

She has become aware, and now I am too, that I'm a complete wackadoodle because of her pie portion problem when I was a mere fetus. The learning lessons and moments of self realization never end, do they?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Off the Rails on a Crazy Train! (Ay Ay Ay Ay...)

On the stress meter, I'm maxed out as of 830pm tonight.  Its all "real life" drama, but I think I'm teetering on the edge of "more than the normal person can handle and stay cheerful" drama.  I'm at a high level of steatosis, apparently, according to this chart.

I would like to know how death ended up on this meter.  At the point of death, I'm thinking you aren't stressed at all.  Unless you were very, very bad during your stay on Earth.....then you've got new stuff going on, like flames at your ass and your worst nightmare on a continuous loop.  Otherwise, I would say that death would be in the green because everything is all relaxed.  Everything.  Hence why people poop and stuff when they die, right?  Full relaxation.  Opposite of stressed.

This seems like a more accurate chart.  I'm right at Anxiety and my body is not happy.  This is a real conversation that happened quite recently while getting ready for bed.

I'm laying in bed staring at the ceiling while Justin is in the bathroom brushing his teeth.

Me: "I feel sick."

J: "Do you want something?"

Me: "Yes, a Tums."  

Side Note for Reader: I have to mention that me asking for antacids in this house is super big doins.  When I was pregnant, Justin literally TOLD ON ME for eating "more than the recommended dosage" of Tums and Rolaids.  Ratted me out to my gynecologist right in the middle of my doctor examining my cervix.  "She's out of control.  Who knows how many she eats each day!"   "Vicki, exactly how many ARE you eating??"   It was the cervical examination that reminded me that we weren't ten year olds in fifth grade accusing each other of stealing answers on a test at that exact moment.  They didn't have that kind of exam at my school. 

Me: "But I think we are almost out."

J: "Hey, you relax out there!!"  (I don't know what he thought I had said)

Me: "I SAID WE ARE ALMOST OUT!  LIKE AS IN WE HAVE NO MORE!  And don't you tell me to relax with all of this crazy drama that's going on surrounding our lives and shit!"

J: "Oh jeez....." 

He rustles in the medicine cabinet and I stare at the ceiling in a more dramatic fashion, with sighing, arm flailing and head rolling.

Me: "What do you call those people who get rid of bad spirits and juju?"

J: "For an exorcism?"

Me: "Yeah.  That's it.  We need an exorcism of bad energy in our house. It's reached that level.  We have a desperate situation."

He tosses the entire bottle of Tums at me as he walks past me and mumbles,  "Sweet Jesus....."

He thought I was just being dramatic.  The thing is that I was totally serious.  Every day it was something new and after two weeks, I was getting a little freaked out and a lot exasperated.  I know that everyone goes through this from time to time, but when you're in it, you feel like it's never going to end.  God only gives you what he knows you can handle.  That's what I've been telling myself multiple times every day since this chaos started.

This chart confirms my belief that mental stress triggers physical problems. My mom has always said it and there is scientific proof that's she's right.  I can't confirm the Pancreas' current state, but I know that every other category has a big fat "CHECK" next to it right now, so Mom would probably stamp my Stress Chart with a big, fat CONFIRMED

While I'm busting out charts and stuff, I had to add this one.  I came across it when I Googled "Stress Meters and or Charts".  Being a parrot owner, I was impressed by how it rang true.

How freaking ironic is this?  Parrots and humans are quite similar in the "causes of stress" department. Everything besides "New Objects" would be on my list too. I never thought our Cleo Louise was being bitchy for the same reasons that I was!  Perhaps she's referring to me as "Bitchface" now too.  I have a newfound level of tolerance for our bird's pissy behavior.

I'm going to wrap it up for now.  You know things are getting weird when you start comparing entire species of creatures.  Let's hope for a peaceful, event-free tomorrow.  24 hours.  That's all I'm asking for.  24 hours of no drama and/or trauma.  Starting now.  Ready.....steady......GO!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Freeze Frame

Ive been sitting on these photos for a month because I didn't want our mothers to see them before Mother's Day. You can imagine that the proud mother in me was freeeeeeaking the hell out. I was stifling the urge to post them on Facebook for friends and distant family members to see. After all, I'm like every other mother who thinks you want to see pictures of my kid, regardless of whether you give a shit or not.

BUT considering that my recent quest for info about getting a Kindle for Mom's birthday resulted in her being informed that she would be getting one, I figured there were many on Facebook who were not to be trusted with the Mother's Day gift photos. Facebook was not my friend at that time.

(Note to self: Never expect people to understand that "its a gift" means they shouldn't mention it to the recipient. Serves me right for using Social Media to get some guidance from my peers. Very naive, Vicki. tsk! tsk!)

Looking back, the whole picture-taking session was a great experience, but I should probably be banned from actively participating in things like this. I should be forced to sit in the sidelines with wine and xanax and just the hell shut up. I was barely one step up from those anxious, crazed moms on those dreadful beauty pageant shows. I most likely annoyed everyone involved, although they were all kind enough to smile reassuringly and say, "It's going to be fine. Don't get yourself so stressed out."

Justin and I are taking classes from this wonderful photographer who is a customer of mine (Diane Bollen from Dragonfly Studios... Click HERE to see Diane and Joe's incredible photography) . Every time I go into their home, I spend extra time staring at their work. Amazing stuff. So, when she heard I was interested in photography, she offered to barter. I jumped right at that.

One day she called to tell me that there was a photography workshop near the city and an international photographer, Judy Host, was looking for a child Allie's age to participate. Of course I said SURE right away! I was flattered that she thought of Allie and it was a new experience that sounded exciting. We will be there! And then I hung up.....

Enter Anxiety Mom.

Here's how my brain started messing with me. 'Allie is shy. What if she attaches herself to my leg and wont let go? What if she starts crying and they can't get any pictures? Allie is shy. How will she do around a LOT of strangers? What if she freaks out? What if they cant get her to stand alone? Shit! Allie is SHY!'

Then the obsessive worrying began the minute I heard that Judy had this one outfit that she really wanted to use for the shoot and that's why she needed Allie. 'OMG this lady is counting on getting a photo of this dress! How disappointed will she be if it just doesnt happen? She's a somebody in this photography world. Will she be upset? Are we going to disappoint a Somebody?? Breathe, Vicki, breathe! How many people are going to be there? THIRTY?! We might disappoint 30 people with cameras??? OMG. This is bad. ALLIE IS SHY!!!"

Diane reassured me it was going to be just fine numerous times. Judy met us the night before and she reassured me Allie would be fine (although I think she was worried about whether I would be ok) (I promised to self medicate and chill). Justin reassured me that everything would work out perfectly.

Those three are typically very calm people so I went to a fellow worrier....The Ninja mother. And SHE reassured me. "They all know she's shy, Vicki. What's the worst thing that could happen? What are you so worried about?" If my mother was all easy-breezy and thought I should chill out, then I was going to try really hard to do just that. After all, by this point my face was broken out, I had more alcohol that week than the entire previous year, and I wasn't sleeping from the stress. I needed to stop being a freak.

I worried right up until the minute allllllll of those professional photographers walked in wielding cameras to photograph my peanut. And there sat Allie, off to the side, in that adorable outfit, eating pretzels and ignoring the people filtering in.....until we walked her to the staging area.

Something changed in the atmosphere and BAM! She was ON. Who was this child?? She thought she was the sixth Kardashian sister or something!

Looking at the photos you would never guess that there was this large crowd around her. It's like she knew she should ignore them all and be as cute as possible. She was very focused on Judy, who I think has something magical going on with humans. Judy wasn't looking for a smiling child, and our little princess never busted out the cheesy smile she gives me when I point a camera at her. Just a little sly grin here and there.

And here is the end result......

Photo by Judy Host
Photo by Judy Host
Photo by Judy Host
Photo by Patti Hale

Photo by Patti Hale
Guess what? It was all fine.

I left there with a complete adrenaline rush for some weird reason, and thought, 'Oh, I'd like to do that again!' I scooped her up and walked out of that place, so relieved that she performed exactly as she was needed to. She went right back to being my shy little girl once that dress was peeled off of her (she didn't want to take it off.) I suppose it really was a magical dress!

(Note: There are also photos credited to Patti Hale from Chosen Moments studio. Click HERE for her website. She was at the workshop and she reached out to us a few days later thru Facebook. (Oh, look at Facebook trying to be all helpful again! I forgive you FB) Patti was kind enough to send the photos she took. She was a lovely, talented person and her work is a reflection of that.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Worst (Non-Violent) Date Ever

The title pretty much sums it up. I had to add the non-violent part, because (putting on my serious hat now) no matter how badly things go wrong, it's nothing compared to physical assault or abuse. That's no joking matter and I don't want to make light of it. Today's ramblings will not come close to comparing to a violent experience.

(Ok...hat off now.) I was looking at photos of my beautiful teenage niece on Facebook and started thinking about how scary it will be when Allie starts going to dances and on dates. Will she take my advice or listen to my opinion about the boys she likes? Hopefully, she will NOT be like me and she WILL be smart enough to listen to her mother. What time and grief that would've saved me!

arMy Younger Days before the Disaster Date..... back when I thought I was fat and hated my hair color.....if I could smack THAT me now, I would.  Hind sight really is 20/20.  Sigh.

We will have to give her all of the lectures about what's appropriate (which Im sure she wont listen to) and we will have to say things like "We don't advertise what's not for sale! Change your skirt!" like my father did when I tried to wear inappropriate things out of the house. And then we will probably bore her with our own personal experiences. All of those dates that went well....or went very wrong.

And that's when I remembered it. The Disaster Date. UGH!!!

I'm wondering if anyone else has horror stories like this. If so, Id love to hear them. I'd like to know that I'm not alone in the Disaster category. A Bad Date is one thing but DISASTER is just cringe worthy even 21 years later. When people tell me about their "bad dates" I always listen, hoping that we will bond over a story of comparable drama.....only to be disappointed. But THEY seem to feel a lot better after I share mine. Nice.

Let me set it up for you: I was 19 and going to cosmetology school in Hackensack, NJ. I met this extremely handsome guy there named Victor (who my mother instinctually, and correctly, disliked). He was very charming and quite hot. Did I mention that he was good looking? Every girl in that school, myself included, oogled him pathetically. One day, the stars were aligned in my favor and he asked me out on a date. We decided to double date with the only other straight guy there, Curtis, and my friend, Shannon.

Shannon and I drove to Victor's apartment to pick him up. We decided to take my car to get dinner, which was a 2 door Toyota Tercel. Victor and Curtis were both really tall, so Shannon and I volunteered to sit in the back. Things were going fabulously at this point. I was having a good hair day, I was dressed in my cutest ensemble and I was particularly witty that evening. All things which worked in my favor. Conversation was great. I felt like Cinderella. My confidence level was skyrocketing.

We got food and decided to go back to Victor's place to eat. We pulled into the parking lot and that's when things went wrong.

Victor got out of the car, moved his seat up and held out his hand to help me out of the back. I was so busy swooning and thinking how dreamy things were that I failed to notice that the front seat belt had wrapped around my foot. I took his hand, went to launch myself out all gracefully and then....


Face plant into the pavement. Face. Plant. Into. Pavement.

I kinda remember everyone running to me and the "Oh my God"s and, as most people do when they see someone wipeout, laughter. When someone untangled my foot and I realized that embarrassment had not killed me as I wished it had, I rolled over. The laughter stopped immediately and I saw three horror filled faces staring at me.

Groggily, I asked, "Is it bad? What's wrong?" No one answered. Just mouths hanging open and eyes bulging.

My ankle hurt, my jeans were ripped, my palms were sliced up from trying to catch myself on pavement and there was a lot of blood coming from somewhere. Old Prince Charming himself picked me up and carried me into his house. He sat me down on the counter in the bathroom and that's when I got to see the carnage firsthand.

I had fallen face first, as I already mentioned, with the spot between my eyebrows (just above the bridge of my nose) being the first thing to hit. All that force on that one little spot. My forehead was all cut up, and my nose was bloody and turning black and blue. By the time they finished cleaning me up and feeding me alcoholic beverages, both of my eyes were starting to turn black and blue. And I had a headache that felt like I had gone a round with Mike Tyson.

The rest of the evening was uneventful and irrelevant. Every time they looked at me, someone would laugh or try really hard to stifle the giggles. I remember being kissed but being mortified really overshadowed that. I couldn't wait until we left and Shannon drove me to my father's house.

When I walked thru the door, my father was digging around in the fridge for food. He called out cheerfully from the other side of the refrigerator door, "How was your date?"

"Okay. I think. I'm not sure. There was a problem." I sounded calm. It could've been the liquor.

Until the day I die, I will not forget the look on my father's face when he closed that door and saw me. It was terror and rage mixed together. "J*sus F*cking C*rist, Vic!! A PROBLEM???? What the f*ck happened on this date?!! Did HE do this to you??!!"

Looking back, I can see how it would've been wise to ease him into the situation. But I was 19 and dramatic and, like most teenagers, completely oblivious to how parents think in regards to their children. Being a parent now, I can imagine how upset he must have been. Earlier, I had skipped out the door looking like a million bucks on my way to a date with Don Juan... and I came home looking like I got my ass kicked by a street gang. Two black eyes, nose and forehead cut up, blood on my shirt, pants ripped and my hands wrapped in bandages.

Disaster date.

Victor and I went out a few more times. And then he got a job as an ad model for a cigarette company. His ego became inflated. I was disgusted by his attitude and he felt he could do better in the girlfriend department, so we broke up.

However, what sealed the deal was when I walked into a hair color seminar and he was telling the story about our first date to a group of friends while waiting for the seminar to begin. It was far more humiliating and embarrassing hearing it from his perspective, which had recently been infused with major assholeness. It's that version that I hear in my head now.

My mother was right. He was a total jerk. And now he's a nobody.

Flash forward 15 years and I went on the best first date of my life. My mom really liked him, so I married that guy. Mom knows best. I wonder if Allie will agree. Maybe she'll at least listen to her Nana.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Welcome to TV Land . . . Smiles, Everyone! Smiles!

There's a really weird bond that can be created by television.  Have you ever met someone new and discovered that they watch the same shows you do and immediately you feel this kinship with them?  Like, just because they watch Dexter or The Good Wife, they're cool with you and you can become potential besties.

I remember getting my nails done years ago and all of the women who worked there were speaking to each other in Korean and the customers were just kind of looking around, smiling at each other if they happened to glance at each other at the same time.  There was a TV over my manicurist's head and I saw a Sopranos commercial come on.  There was a preview for the episode when Adrienne "goes missing" and we all kind of gasped.  

BAM!  Instant kinship.  

"Oh my gawd, did you see that?" "I bet they killed her." "No, Tony would never do that to Christopher!"  "She was such an idiot.  Why would she become a rat?" And then suddenly East met West and all of the Korean girls were talking to all of us on the other side of the tables.  It was like the UN!  It was the day that we all bonded at Fancy Nail.  Over kidnapping, murder and Mafia family values.  

The welcome wagon from The United Nations of Sopranos.  Not quite warm and fuzzy but they got the job done.
Flash forward a bunch of years and I'm posting on Facebook about how the Bubble Guppies songs are stuck in my head and I can't decide if its time for lunch or if everyone should line up and go outside.  Right away my phone starts alerting me to responses.  All of these other moms/grandmothers are hitting me with lyrics and hilarious sympathy.  I felt really connected to that group of people right then.  Over cartoon fish people who sing.

Click here to hear and see the highly addictive Outside Song....Warning : It sticks with ya
Then, there is the super weird bond over which we morph TV interests and start liking crap we never thought we would even KNOW the titles of because of who we live with.  I find myself alerting Justin that Gas Monkey is on in a half hour and "dont forget to tape Devil's Ride so I can see what happens later".  And Storage Wars has no mercy with picking a scheduled time for new episodes, so if its on we stop surfing and watch it.

One day (please forgive me, my VERY masculine husband) I come home to find that while he was sick, he watched the whole last season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and he couldn't believe "those crazy bitches kept me from changing the channel for six hours!"  Suddenly, Im in luring him in with housewife insanity from four other cities and he's asking if I want him to set up Andy Cohen's WWHL on the DVR...cuz you KNOW he's got the 411, so you have to add that too.

The Bill Gates of Bitchy, Narcissistic, Campy Reality Television: Andy Cohen
(Note: I do feel bad about the Housewives thing.  I knew full well that he wouldn't be able to help himself once it was in on and in his face.  It was wrong, I know.)

Amongst the Duck Dynasty reruns are fifty thousand Peppa Pigs we save for Allie on the DVR.  We know all of the episodes ("this is the one where Daddy Pig forgets his blueprints at home and they make paper airplanes out of them") and we quickly learned the Mickey Mouse Club Hot Dog dance after seeing every episode on the Disney Channel and YouTube.  Now we are dragging a third person into our web of television insanity.

There was one particular day that this theory about television connecting people became very clear.  Justin came home and Allie had fallen asleep earlier with her head on my lap while we sat on the couch watching The Fresh Beat Band.  It was an hour long special where they remade the Wizard of Oz.  The show started at 4pm and he came home at 450pm (yes, its important to know the time).  He asks when she fell asleep and i tell him 415pm.  Then he starts talking to me about some medication situation at the the pharmacy (you know....Important stuff!) and I yell, "SHHUSHH! We are watching this!  We already invested fifty minutes and its almost over.  Can you just hang on??"  

Are you right there with him on this one?  You can take sides, its ok.

He looks at me deadpan and asks, "WHAT TIME did she fall asleep?"

"415.  I just told you that! " I had the audacity to start getting annoyed.

His eyebrows go up and he hits me with, "so WHO is watching this??"

Busted.  And a bit embarrassed.  My excuse for watching Nick Jr shows is asleep and yet I've been dragged into the BABY a two year old who conked out, and four overly peppy adults pretending they are quirky teenagers while singing catchy songs.  

Personally, I think I've been set up.  I think he used Allie to get even with me for the Housewives franchise  invasion.  And I was caught in the act without an alibi,  nonetheless.

Well played, husband.  Well played......