Category Archives: new memories

Focus 52: "Frame"

Frame.

I had a bunch of ideas for this word of the week but nothing really came to fruition.  With midterms going on, I was sort of pressed for time.  The way I wanted to use “frame” wasn’t in the cards…but then, my husband, my biggest source of inspiration said “Why not a door frame?”

And I thought, why not, indeed?

So, welcome to the front door of my home.  If you had any clue or have been reading my blog for some time, you would know why this particular door frame means so much to me and my family.  A year ago, we were being thrown out of our original home due to foreclosure.  Nothing we did, mind you, just victims of circumstance.

You can read the story surrounding it here at “This Old House”, a post I made a year ago. 

This picture, taken one night when we first moved into our new home, means a lot to me.  It was the symbol of a new beginning.  This front door has seen the entry of my grandchildren.  It has been the gateway to many parties, a lot of laughs and of course, a few tears.  But, this new home has also been the source of safety…a place where I now know I will never be asked to leave ever again.  I will never have to come home to see chains on the front door.  I will never have a process server come up to me and say “Sorry, Ma’am, but this house is being seized by the bank.”  I will never have to call my husband in California ever again and say, “baby, they lost the house on us.  We’re homeless as of next week.  What are we going to do?”

It will never, ever, happen again.

So, while this might not be the home where my first granddaughter came home to, or learned to walk in.  While this may not be the house that my husband and I dreamed of buying once upon a time, it is better than what we had, because it is safe.  It’s in a fantastic neighborhood, surrounded by a cop, an ex-marine and a private detective.  It has a much bigger backyard where my grandbabies can run around in.  It is a stones throw from my sons school bus stop.  It is beautiful, spacious with vaulted ceilings and a large, bright and welcoming kitchen.  There is a step down living room with cherry wood floors with an amazing warmth to it.  The bedrooms are large and expansive.  There are windows everywhere, not like our past home which was dark and dreary.  But most of all, it is inviting.  It envelopes all who pass through it like a secure hug.  Surely, it is not the house itself that make a home, but rather, the love contained within.  But this home that we have made fits us like a glove.

Coming home one night, I noticed how it glowed, like a beacon in the dark…welcoming us in and assuring us that we will never go back to where we were a year ago ever again.  It is where new memories are being made, where happiness and love abound and where all who enter through that front door frame are friends.  People I trust.  People I love.  People who embrace me and whom I embrace in return.

It is our home.  And, should you ever be in the neighborhood, it is your home as well.

Drop in.  Any time.  The door is wide open.

Barely out of Tuesday…

 

Sometimes, I find a song that touches me in a pretty profound way.  There are days that I listen to it and think “this is a great song” and then, the same song on another day takes on a completely different meaning. Today on Facebook, Adam Duritz of Counting Crows posted up his song “Barely Out of Tuesday”.  This particular song is not new to diehard Crows fans.  It’s a song that never made it onto any of their albums which is a damn shame.  Yesterday, I was under an enormous amount of stress and seeing as it is about 4am right now…and I am barely out of tuesday myself, I thought I would share it. 

Relative to nothing I have said thus far, I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew this semester.  I am taking an algebra course, an intermediate algebra course.  I have managed to get through many years of college and test out of having to take math courses.  This time, I was not so lucky.  As a pre-requisite to getting into the Bachelor’s program I am looking to get into this fall, statistics is required.  I’m not concerned about that because statistics really have very little to do with actual numbers.  However, this algebra course is required to be able to get into the stats class.  So, my suave manipulations of the system will not get me out of this one this time.  I suppose the luck had to run out eventually.  I probably did myself a grave disservice by not taking the intermediate course directly after taking the “pre” and “elementary” courses that preceded it.  Now it is eight years post degree and I have very little recollection of the “order of operations” or “distributive properties”, “associative properties” or “inverse/reciprocal properties”.   I did a lot of research on “Rate My Professor” type websites before settling on this particular teacher.  I knew I was going to need my hand held on this one and by all accounts, she is just that type of professor.  She allows scientific calculators in class.  She allows you to do your homework over and over again online until you max out your score with a perfect grade.  She even allows you to bring a “crib sheet” with notes into her exams.  One page only, handwritten notes.  “You write small enough, you can probably fit everything I teach you onto your study guide,” as she calls it.  “Write too big though and too bad.  You lose.”  Okay.  Fair enough.  Actually, well beyond fair and with a six point font type of handwriting, I can really make this work in my favor. 

However, she did stress that you, the student, will only get out of the class what you put into it.  “Don’t bother to open a book until test day and your grade will reflect that,” she said. “Study for at least one hour every day and you will do just fine.”

By nature, I am a procrastinator.  I am also one of those really cocky students that truly believes she works best under pressure and at the last minute.  Math, I think, will be the end to this notion and probably the end to my perfect GPA as well.  On Thursday, after class, I told the Hotband that I am going to just “relax” for the night and give myself Friday off as well.  Since it’s a long weekend, I will have Saturday, Sunday and Monday to do homework. 

Best. Laid. Plans. 

I do nothing on Friday.  Nothing. Don’t even crack open a book to do some reading in Applied Ethics or my humanities course.  Why bother? I have this nice long three day weekend.  I have all the time in the world.  I have more than an ample window in which to get all my work done.  I have…

food poisoning. 

Friday night, my hubs ordered in from our favorite italian place.  Normally, I just have some pasta and meatballs.  This time I thought it would be nice to try their eggplant.  As I was eating it, I thought it tasted peculiar to me.  My husband tasted it.  He said it didn’t taste strange to him, so I just assumed it was me and continued to eat it.  Halfway through the dish, I decided that I really was not enjoying this meal at all.  It still tasted odd and a bit sour even.  About five hours later…I was vomiting my guts up.  At one point, I vomited so hard that the content of my bladder erupted.  Seeing as my face was occupying the bowl, I could barely swing my fat ass around in time to find the hole on which to set it upon.  My husband walks in to find me covered in puke from trying to twist around in time to pee in the bowl…and sitting in a puddle of my own urine.  I was shivering, felt like my body was ice cold while simultaneously sweating from every pore.  My husband helped me get up, clean myself up, change into fresh pajamas and sent me to bed.  Bed…where I proceeded to stay for the next 32 hours, completely obliterating Saturday as an option for homework and studying. 

I finally awoke on Sunday around 2pm, feeling like utter shit…like I had been hit by a bus.  I had a throbbing headache.  So, the hubs being the angel baby that he is, set me up in style.  A bunch of pillows, fresh t shirt and undies and some warm socks.  A nice cold glass of water on the nightstand.  Remote in my right hand, cellphone in my left.  My laptop plugged in so I could blog, facebook and tweet during the Jets game, the Golden Globes and of course, The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  I was in social networking heaven.  He also bought me a slew of gorgeous gourmet cupcakes for me to devour once I was feeling better.

Hello, lovers…nom nom nom.
 
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  All gone.  No studying done.  Monday arrives.  I feel like ass, but able to get out of bed finally.  When I do, I am greeted by my son who apparently arrived at my house at some point over the weekend.  I was so sick, I scarcely knew he was there.  He was all like “Hey Mom, how are you feeling?  Good?  Great.  Remember you said you would dye my hair for me this weekend?  Remember?  Remember that?  Well, it’s Monday already and…and…and…”
 
“And you would like me to color your hair now.”
 
“Yeah.  Can you?”
 
“Yes.  What do you want done?”
 
“I want my hair blue.”
 
“Blue hair,” I reply.  “All of it blue or just certain spot blue or a blue streak?  What are we talking about here?”
 
“All of it.  Blue!”  
 
I sigh.  But, it is his hair. He is fifteen. If he wants to look like a smurf, who am I to stop that?  I schlep myself out of the house to do some errands I had thought could be done at any time over the weekend, you know, because it was a LONG weekend after all and I had all the time in the world, right?  So, I go to where my daughter works and buy some boobie car covers (also known as bras).  Hey, buy two get two free?  Bras in my size run about $40 a pop, so buying two to get two free is a deal that I would get out of bed for.  Then, of course, since Ross is right next door and they do their shoe/purse restocking on Mondays…well, I can’t let a perfectly good “get out of bed when you’re sick” errand run go to waste right?  Cute Jessica Simpson pumps.  Adorable Guess slingbacks.  Mine.  Productive.  Next.  Over to Office Depot because I need graph paper, a scientific calculator, some pencils and some folders.  All of this for my math class which equates to, in my mind, doing something productive in math for the weekend. There we go.  Guilt of doing nothing, alleviated with one quick trip to Office Depot.  Salvation in the form of a Texas Instrument calculator…oh, and the purchase of a really cute pink stapler.  Because, every princess should have a pink stapler on her desk, right?
 
Final stop? CVS.  After mulling over all the possibilities… we decided on a nice electric blue which, best case scenario, will look like deep blue highlights over his black/brown hair.  Worst case scenario?  The boy will look like Cookie Monster.  
 I know you have some cupcakes too, bitch! I saw them. Now where are they???
 
Well, long story made real short (I’ll make the long story longer in a separate blog post that includes pictures), I ended up stripping my sons hair of its natural color, leaving him with bright. orange. streaks.  all over his pretty, mop top of curls.  Yeah.  There’s a reason I never became a professional hair dresser.  He takes a look at it. He stares at it.  I assure him that when I add the blue, it will cover up all that bright, light orange and…
 
“I LOVE IT!  IT LOOKS SO AWESOME!!!!”
 
“Seriously,” I ask incredulously.
 
“Holy crap, it’s AWESOME,” he exclaims again.  “Forget the blue stuff.  I’m keeping it like this.”
 
“Nick, honey,” I say, “It looks like I dropped a bucket of Clorox on your head from a really high place or something.  It’s just a big…splat…all over your head.”
 
“Dude, it is SO cool.  Thank you, Mommy!”  He gives me a big hug and dashes out of the bathroom, presumably to jump right on Facebook and let the world know that he know looks like a damn tiger.
 
So, how does this all relate to my earlier complaint about not getting to do any of my math homework this entire weekend?  Well, simply…it doesn’t.  While I didn’t enjoy being sick and definitely did not enjoy the uncomfortable feeling that accompanied not being fully prepared for my algebra class this evening, the full out, painful belly laughs that I shared with my son and husband Monday night were entirely worth it.  
 
Here I now sit, a mere 4 hours and 40 minutes into Wednesday or, as the song says, barely out of tuesday.  And I think I am willing to forgive myself this for the lack of drive or effort in completing my schoolwork.  If nothing else, this past Monday night showed me what most of us have known all along.  Family first and foremost, always.  If it means getting one little goose egg for a grade due to lack of homework preparation, so be it.  The moments that I spend with the kid and the hubs made that zero worth while…
 
and if you do the math, Happy Family – Algebra Homework + Digital Camera = Lifetime Memories.
 
I think I made the grade.   
 
 

Overcome…

This week has been incredibly overwhelming for me.  Personally, professionally and emotionally.  I am drained.  I am tired.  I am exasperated.  And more than anything…

I am overcome.

After many years, a friendship was ended…mutually, after nearly 40 years.  We didn’t decide to just release one another but rather, it ended in an incredibly ugly fashion with sarcasm, bitter words, name calling and scathing accusations.  She wasn’t listening to me.  I wasn’t listening to her.  We both struggled to be heard, but the louder the words became,  the more they fell on deaf ears.  This person was gone to me for a very long time.  From the time I was 14 years old actually.  We reunited back in 2002.  For six years, it was wonderful.  We shared each others homes, hearts and secrets.  She entered my life during a very volatile time with my husband (yes, once upon a time, things were not all hearts and flowers between the Princess and the Hotband.)  She got me through a lot of rough years.  I will always be appreciative of that.  Then, Facebook comes along.  Old friends enter the picture.  Worse yet, new friends enter the picture and slowly the chasm grows.  We start realizing how different we are.  Subtle changes at first give way to more blatant, outward changes.  Statements that would once be taken in jest were no longer amusing.  The differences become more noticeable, not only to us, but to our mutual friends.  Bickering begins.  Nit-picky small things at first slowly give way to all out lunges at each others throats.  Diplomacy is suddenly lost on both of us.  She is asking me to change who I am.  I am telling her accept me as I am.  She calls me a liar.  I call her varying degrees of the word “bitch”.  She tells me she is blocking me from her feed.  I eventually block her from my “friends list”.  Sarcastic nasty notes are exchanged and suddenly, it is 1980.  We are two teenage girls, snarling at one another in the school yard, throwing down our books as the crowd forms a circle around us.  Sides are chosen.  Friendships are irretrievably broken. Alliances are formed.

Only this time, there is no teacher to step in, to intervene.  We are left to our own devices, both of us too afraid to have this discussion by phone…so we are relegated to nasty Facebook messages saying things that we more than likely wouldn’t dare to say to each other if we were face to face.

It was exhausting.  And now, it is over.

I have opted not to discuss this with our mutual friends.  She, however, has been talking about this non-stop.  The chitter chatter of the spies still running back and forth between us, like little electrical synapses firing off, one after the other.  I just want to be free of it already.  I wanted this year to start differently rather than more of the same.

And while there is a part of me that is always going to mourn the loss of that friendship, I am trying to remember that there was a reason she walked into my life when she did after a 25 year separation.  I am grateful for the little girl I grew up with as much as I am grateful for the woman who held me in her arms as I sobbed over the pain my husband had caused me.  I would have loved to have shared another 40 years with her…but we grew up differently, our lives shaped by different events.  I am not who she remembers, nor who she wants me to be.  She is not who I remembered, nor who I wanted her to be.

But, for a short moment in time, we were everything to each other.  She held my hand in kindergarten sometimes.  She was always the braver and bolder one.  She had a silly laugh that carried over into her adult years, a giggle that would make you look into the eyes of this 40 year old woman and see the 6 year old within.  We couldn’t stop talking to one another and were placed on opposite sides of a classroom more times than I can count.  We crushed on the same boys.  She always won their hearts and I suppose I always envied that about her.  It always came so naturally for her.  I had to work so much harder to impress people.  Thus begun my extremely extroverted personality.  The outrageous things I would say and do.  She would always shake her curly head and laugh at me.  And I would smile, knowing my best friend approved of who I was, accepted me and loved me…even when I wasn’t in performance mode.  To everyone else, I was that crazy girl…but to her, I was just “CP”.  Or, as she put it, even in our 40’s, she would refer to me as…”my CP”.

And I was hers.  Unconditionally…and probably would have been for life had we not allowed the little things to pyramid to grandiose proportions and spin violently out of control.

In my heart, in my mind and in my soul…I will always remember the moment when we were 14 years old and hugging goodbye as my parents moved me out of the city and into the suburbs.  I never saw her again after that.  I will always remember her big brown eyes, her long curly hair and her lips, quivering from trying to hold back the tears of seeing a best friend disappear from her life.  That vision will help me handle what has happened between us, remove the ugliness that transpired on both our behalves and allow me to move forward into the new year without regrets or pain.

She will always be my very first best friend.  No amount of ugly will ever change that.

I’m willing to keep her there, in my heart, exactly that way.

Focus 52: "Begin"

Yes. I already wrote my post for the New Year.  It was fabulous. Did you miss it?  Well, go the hell back and read it.  It was all about love with nice stories, sexy music and of course, the joy that is my life.

Now, I am involving myself in the “Focus 52” project, where we creative types will be taking photos, blogging, showing off our goods (no, not like that…perverts) in a collective effort to post our stuff at least once a week, every week, for a year.

I am a commitment phobe.  Don’t believe this?  Ask my three husbands.  Yeah.  It’s like that. 

However, I truly feel I can devote myself to this project.  I watched my girl Janice do her 365 day project, where every. single. day. she took another photograph and uploaded it, blogged about it and she really moved me with her work.  It inspired me and now that she is sponsoring the less taxing Focus 52 project, well, this is something that I feel I can do…especially with her at the helm. 

I recently started taking pictures.  Not great pictures, but pictures of moments that make me say…wow, I would love to write about that moment.  So, with camera in hand…I grab the moment.  I’m not a professional photographer by any means.  My experience goes as far as in the mirror pics of myself for Facebook or boobie shots on my phone that I text to my husband.  But, for the purpose of just grabbing the moment, my skills of point and click are good enough.  I just want to capture enough of the moment for me to take it home and write about it.  My focus will now be on exactly that…capturing moments in photos and then, talking about that particular moment in time.  What it meant.  What I was feeling.  The circumstances surrounding it.

This project will not only give me the opportunity to commit to my writing once again, but allow me to branch out just the tiniest bit into another creative outlet.  You don’t have to be good at something to love what you do.  (See: President George Bush). 

Here is my first photo (click to enlarge):

This photo was taken New Years Eve, 2010.  It was taken from the balcony of our hotel room overlooking the Gulf Beaches in Treasure Island, Florida.  A better photographer would  have known to center this bitch, as the sun usually doesn’t lay lazily to the right.  At this particular moment, I was thinking…this is the last sunset of the year.  When the sun sets…it will give way to a new year, a new start.

A new beginning. 

I think I am going to like being a part of this project.