Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Smiles All Around

Today I had the worst headache in very long time. It felt like my daughter was stomping on the entire front of my head with her cleats. The gorgeous sunny day made my eyes scream in pain. I felt sick to my stomach. I finally gave up on it passing on its own and took some Excedrin (the only medicine that works for me and Catalina who has suffered from migraines since she was 5 -- headaches that make what I had today look like a walk in the park) and took a little nap. Sleep is the only other thing that helps. I woke up feeling a bit hungover but in significantly less pain. I was able to get some of the things done as I had planned and watch an absolutely dreadful Rangers game. Now my headache is back. I want to get to sleep so I will finally be rid of it today but I couldn't let the day end without sharing the out-of-this-world great feeling I got from what two old friends said to me today.

When I write, I write for myself. For the inner joy I get from expressing myself in the written word. But I have to say, I get an incredible boost in my confidence when I know that there is someone other than me who is reading these words on a regular basis. There's no way of my knowing who is reading it or even if it's being read at all except for when I get feedback. And today, I got some. And it was so good.

A friend who I met during that terrible 7th grade experience and I recently found each other on Facebook. Our friendship was one of the few bright spots of that year. She was among my first friends after the "big move" and I have always been incredibly grateful that she reached out to me, even amidst all the taunting led by Bart Todd. She told me today that she enjoys reading my blog. She said that she remembered me on the first day of 7th grade, in my red top and polka dot skirt. But she said that what she remembered most of all was our friendship and those memories made her smile during the decades that passed. She also remembered my writing, right down to the name of one of the poems I wrote back then and is glad to be able to read my writing again. Even with my head splitting, it felt incredibly wonderful to know this today.

And there is Susan. Her opinion always mattered so much to me back in the day. It still does now. She told me that she LOVES my blog, pulled out a quote from one of my posts and asked if it would be okay if she used it. That was the greatest gift I could have ever asked for.

Ladies, thank you so much for the smiles on a day that I was/am feeling so miserable. I'd like to return the favor. I will share my favorite joke of all-time. I didn't write it, but I cleaned it up ever so slightly:

A bear and a rabbit are in the woods. The bear turns to the rabbit and asks him, "Hey, do you every have trouble with poop sticking to your fur?"

The rabbit replied, "No, I don't."

So the bear wiped his butt with the rabbit.

That joke makes me laugh so hard every time. Hope it did the same for you.

Good night and Namaste.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lost and lovin' it

I am obsessed with Lost. I admit it. I have every season on DVD. Every issue of Lost Magazine (except #1 -- if you know where I can get a copy, please let me know). I have all the action figures they made (they were supposed to make several more series but I guess I am one of the only people that bought them so they stopped -- why they made a Shannon and no Sayid, I'll never know). Next week it returns from its final season and I cannot contain my excitement!

There have been a lot of TV shows that I enjoyed but nothing on the level of this show for so many reasons. First, there is the obvious; this is no ordinary TV show. Every episode is like a short film. The way it's shot. The writing. The acting.

For me, I think that it's the underlying themes that really does it. Science or faith? For so much of my life, if I couldn't see it, hear it, feel it, it did not exist. Period. I was not dealt a good hand growing up. Most of my young life, I felt that I was unwanted. That nothing I did was good enough. That I was a mistake. It's difficult to believe in a benevolent higher power when you are living in that sort of misery. It's difficult to believe in anything. But there came a time in my life when I decided to grow up. If I was unwanted, so what? I am here. I have a right to be here. If the things I did were not enough to please certain people, so what? If I was satisfied with my own efforts, then that's all that matters. And if not, that just means I need to raise the bar for myself. If I was a mistake, so what? The greatest and most powerful lessons I've learned in life started out as mistakes and ended up as gifts. It becomes easy to believe in a benevolent higher power when you allow yourself to be human like the rest of the world. It's funny. You think that believing in "people" that you can't see, hear of feel as something childish, like Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. As you get older, you let go of these ideas. But I've never felt more grown up as when I believe in that intangible thing that binds us all together. But old ideals die hard. I still have this internal debate over which is the real truth; science or faith? Lost externalizes the debate.

I also love the theme of second chances. All the main characters on Lost have taken a wrong turn somewhere (no pun intended). They all feel that the choices they made determine the road they must always travel for their lives. But what if you were not condemned to the consequences of the choices you made? Not even the terrible ones? Can you find redemption? Would you chose to walk the path to it even though it is completely unfamiliar? If you were given the opportunity to return to the familiar, would you go back to your old ways?

I can go on and on for days writing about Lost. Maybe I will. But for tonight, I think I will just get lost and watch the back catalog.

It's amazing that a tropical island with healing powers and polar bears could be so much like our mundane lives. February 2nd can't come soon enough for me.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


I write a lot about how proud I am of my daughter. I have good reason to do that. She is the most wonderful child a parent could ask for. Today I want to share with you how proud I am of the man I married.

Salvatore has been so patient, supportive and understanding with all the things that have gone on in my life of late. Although we have had many rocky times in our relationship, we are married. We are partners. We promised each other that we would weather the storms that came into our lives and we both have delivered on that.

We also promised each other that we would celebrate each other's achievements. Salvatore often jokes with Catalina that he used to be a rock star. He was in a few glam bands -- long hair, make-up, spandex, the whole 9-yards -- in the '80's and played some of the hot local clubs. A minor local celebrety, maybe. A world sensation, no. Which is fine by me. Hell, if he had been a world-famous rock star back in the day, it is highly unlikely that he and I ever would have met, fallen in love and married. He has often said that the life we created together is worth more than his 15 minutes of fame as a rock star would have ever given him.

Music has always been a big part of each of our lives. Our love of the Ramones is one of the big things that brought us together. However, the only musical instrument that I can play is the radio -- but I know great music when I hear it. Salvatore on the other hand, is a talented guitarist (i.e. his ticket in the '80's to his Rock Stardom). Instead of a dream, it is one of his hobbies. I truly admire him for holding true to what he is passionate about. He still plays out about once a month with a band he and my brother-in-law are in called The Skeevotz. I can't accurately describe the feeling I get when I see him on stage. The venues they play aren't huge. The house isn't always packed. But seeing him on stage whaling out on his guitar with confidence and reckless abandon and the sheer joy he exudes, he is larger than life...and he is all mine.

Recently, The Skeevotz went into the recording studio. After what seemed like an endless time mixing, their songs are ready for the world. You can listen to their tracks on Listeners have an opportunity there to give their reviews. They reinforced what I keep telling Salvatore...they have a great sound. There are people in Scandanavia that are digging their tunes. Who knew that once you have let go and moved on from being a worldwide rock star, you open the door to people around the world listening to you play?

Hopefully I did it right.

And if you are in the Long Island area this Saturday, January 30th, check out The Skeevotz live at O'Brien's Ale House Grill, 3720 Route 112 in Coram. My brother-in-law's other band, The Beauty School Dropouts, is opening for them at 9:30 p.m. Come down and check them out.

I love you, Salvatore. I will always be your #1 groupie!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Take 2

Focus. Discipline. Honesty.

I let two days go by without blogging, two days after my resolve to blog daily. In the past, I have permitted myself to use that as an excuse to abandon my resolve. "See," my internal nay-sayer would tell me, "I told you that you couldn't stick to it." And then I'd quit whatever it was I had hoped to accomplish. Not this time. I realize that I am human. While my goal is perfection, I can be proud of progress. When I falter, I can start over. So here I am.

Focus. Discipline. Honesty. Take 2.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Teen Angst: The Next Generation

Catalina and I got into a heated discussion tonight. Voices were raised. Tears were shed. Thankfully there wasn't too much either of us said that we wish we could take back. After it was over, we were not happy about the fight (oh let's just call it what it actually is) but we were happy to have cleared the air.

Catalina said something that will stay with me for a least I hope it will so I can make sure that I never make her feel that way again. She said that she knew that I love her because I have to; I'm her mother. But she didn't think that I like her very much because I always seem to find something that she is not doing right. My heart sank.

I told her that I love her because she is lovable, not because I have to. I know all too well that biological order does not create love. I told her that I like her because she is compassionate, funny and smart. That if I was 12, I would want her to be my friend. I told her that I admire her because of her incredible sense of self, courage to face her fears and need for justice. These are all things that I have trouble with and now when I am faced with them, I think of her and she gives me strength and inspiration. I also told her that this is why I get so frustrated with her at times. Because I know how much she is capable of and as her mother, it is my duty to her to guide her on the path to achieving all she can. Sometimes that means identifying where she falls short.

Catalina will be 13 in a few weeks. We will have many more "heated discussions" as we enter this new stage of her life and our relationship. Boundaries will be tested, as well as our patience. I never want to have this particular discussion with her again. I want her to know that I love, like and admire her not because of what I said tonight. I want her to just know it. To just feel it. I need to be "that" kind of mom for her...and for myself.

I have no trouble telling everyone what I great fan of my daughter I am. I just need to let her know more often and more effectively.


Thursday, January 14, 2010


We are at the halfway point of the first month of the New Year. Over these past two weeks I have felt hope and despair in equal measure. It can all be so difficult at times yet beautiful at the same time.

2009. For the second year in a row my life had a major upheaval midway through. While they were tragic events, they were also gateways to new and better things. And very exhausting. I've had a lot of time to feel hurt, regroup and be introspective. Important things but you can get lost in them if you allow yourself to. I need FOCUS. I need DISCIPLINE. I need absolute HONESTY with myself.

2010. For two weeks I've been thinking about what the perfect resolutions would be. My personality type finds it so important to do the right thing that doing nothing is preferable to doing the wrong thing. This trait has helped me to be driven and strive for perfection but it has also made me impossible to live with at times (ask Salvatore and Catalina how it is to live with a person who will do anything not to be wrong) and has allowed me to be paralyzed with fear. Fear has never been my friend. It has ruined relationships. It made me miss out on so many things. It made me a victim in more ways than I can ever admit in this blog. I will be 40 in 2010 (even though I look not a day older than 25...LOL). After 40 years I think it is time to say goodbye to fear. Well, not entirely. Some fear is a good thing. It keeps us from running across the railroad tracks when a train is coming. But I don't want it to keep me from running out into the middle of my life and proclaim who I am, proudly. Not any more.

In my years of teen angst, which seems like a lifetime ago, I wrote. I used to write well, in fact. I was very dark and depressed (and full of fear, although I didn't know it then...hindsight is 20/20 after all). Writing was an outlet. There wasn't a day that went by when I didn't write a poem, story or essay of some sort. It was therapeutic. In high school a lot of my writing was appeared in school publications and some were even contributed to city- and statewide contests. I never won any of them but out of thousands of entries, I always received an honorable mention. I thought that it was the misery that people were drawn to in my writing. I was only half right. It was misery that I was feeling then and I wrote of it honestly. Honesty on the part of the writer is what sets interesting writing apart from flat writing. It was the honest expression that was my therapy. It was my focus on my pen and paper that made it possible. It was the discipline of writing daily that fed my passion. And for some reason I stopped.

2010. I need to get my life and my head back on track. Instead of coming up with a long list of perfect resolutions like losing weight (which I seriously need to do) or making $100K this year (which I also seriously need to do...don't we all though), I am keeping the list short for now. A single entry: I resolve to write every day. Here. On my blog. This is a challenge to myself to get back to being disciplined, focused and honest. I am ratting myself out to you. If you like what I have to say, let me know. I can use the encouragement. If I miss a day, let me have it. I need to be held accountable. And if you think that I am copping out, call me on it. Help keep me honest.

I hope the New Year is treating you well so far. Mine is off to a late start. But you know what they say...better late than never.