Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Goals: January Recap

My goal for January was to use my camera every single day.
I did not.
But before you judge me too harshly, I want to point out that my life consists almost entirely of work and kids, so having something to take a picture of every day is so hard. I mean I can only take so many pictures of my kids sleeping before I start to look like a creeper, and when we're home at the end of the day, I'm cooking, they're bouncing off the walls, and I just don't often think to bust out my camera and snap away.
I did, however, learn to use my camera in Manual, I learned all the different color options, like Natural, Faithful, Portrait, etc. and I used the camera at least once in every different setting. Automatic is my least favorite, P is my first favorite, followed my AV and Manual.
In unrelated news, I am still a ginormous nerd.

I feel good about the goal, even if I didn't take a picture every day, I still learned a lot about my camera, and got much more comfortable with it, and that was the whole point of the goal anyway.

Here are the pictures from the month:

There are more, but they're test pictures I took when I was trying out the different settings, and I didn't think you all want to see a picture of my chair or lainie's hand in 6 different light settings and shutter speeds.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Passing Of Time

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January went by insanely fast this year. I feel like all I remember of it is celebrating New Year’s Eve, and then today, with just a massive blur in between, punctuated here and there with moments that stand out more clearly. Moments like Lucia and I’s first Kid Free Girls night in what I can only estimate has been years, the officially official end of me and Bill, standing in the cold crying over not being understood, the freeze that killed every plant in my back yard, 3 straight days of rain, adopting a cat, and always feeling guilty about how badly I needed to go grocery shopping. Maybe it happens as you get older, maybe it’s all in my head, but I am genuinely becoming concerned that one day I won’t remember any of the little things about my life, because its all happening too fast. That all of the days will have rolled up on me into one big, shapeless mass of time.
The small moments of peace, the fleeting seconds of joy, the bloom of unbearable sadness, the swells of pride and the warmth of absolute love, that feel at the time like they’ll be with us forever seem to fade far more quickly into the background than I ever thought they would.
Suddenly you look back and they’ve been covered up by the white blank knowledge of passing time, like you’re two steps ahead of a heavily falling snow, which covers up your tracks as soon as you lay them.
A few nights ago I found a journal of mine from Spring of 2009, and while I remembered everything I wrote about happening once I read it written there on the page, I still found myself surprised. It seemed that I only recalled those small moments or random nights once I was reminded of them by my own clumsy penmanship.
I can’t help but feel like I have just started another new year, one that even with all its sham hope and optimistic goals, will still fly past me so quickly I can barely grab it, and at this time next year if I look back on what was cataloged during 2013 there will be so much I’ve already forgotten.
I wish you could choose what memories would stand out to you down the road. Like as something is happening that you never want to forget, you can freeze it and pin it to your board of memories that don't fade out or disappear into the blur. That one will stay clear and prominent forever.
I wish I could know for sure in 20 years that the exact sound of Jackson's 4 year old voice, or the specific feel of Lainie's 9 year old hand would stand out perfectly clear in my mind's eye, instead of every line to The Notebook or how to calculate a client's yearly sales pace.
I wish I could know for sure which memories would stay with me forever, and which ones I had better take better care of, because they're going by as quickly as time, already making their exit as soon as they arrive.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top 20 Reasons Why Being Single Is The Best.


1. You get to pick which movie to see every time you go the theater. Ryan Gosling, here I come.

2. You save so much money on makeup.

3. You really have a chance to work on expanding your flannel pajama collection.

4. You finally get some good use out of that old library card. 122 books later, and you're definitely a more attractive option to potential suitors.

5. You can get back to your roots by skipping things like shaving your legs or plucking your eyebrows.

6. You have more than enough time to catch up on all your favorite every other show or movie available to watch instantly on Netflix.

7. You get the best spot on the couch when you're watching TV, everytime. Hell, you can take up the WHOLE Goddamn couch, because you're definitely not expecting company any time soon.

8. Getting in touch with your inner Taylor Swift.
9. On Valentine's Day, you're totally off the hook for coming up with something cute or romantic to do for the one you love. Because you have no one to love. At all.

10. Getting reacquainted with white wine and Cosmo.

11. Rediscovering your love of cats. Especially large quantities of cats. The more the better.

12. Eating ice cream for dinner. Go ahead and eat it straight out of the carton too. Fuck bowls. Aint nobody got time for that!

13. Really making the most of your unlimited cell phone minutes by calling all of your girlfriends. Every day. Twice.

14. Discover new music by Googling "Best songs to cry to"

15. Heartfelt conversations with the grocery store check out girl, the pizza delivery guy, and the automated teller at your bank's 24 hour customer service line.

16. Honing those unrequited love poem skills you thought you'd forgotten after middle school.

17. A new found appreciation for the subtle art of stalking.

18. Weight gain makes your boobs bigger. Just sayin'

19. Having time for all the DIY projects on Pinterest. Toilet paper roll art? No problem. Wine cork Christmas wreath? Absolutely. Painting every single wall in your house with chalkboard paint? Bring. It. On.

20. Two words: yoga pants.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How I Do It, Pt. 2: A Day In The Life

6:00 am - Alarm goes off. Struggle for the snooze button. Five more minutes, please.

6:05 am - Ok, now we really need to get up. Get up Jack, get up Lainie. Come on guys, its time to get up and get dressed. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE MAKE COFFEE.

6:30 - Lainie, you wore that yesterday, go change. Jack are you wearing clean socks? Do you want the dinosaur shirt or the trucks shirt? No, the Star Wars shirt is dirty, dinosaur or trucks? I'M SORRY I WILL WASH THE STAR WARS SHIRT TONIGHT, NOW PLEASE PICK BETWEEN DINOSAUR OR TRUCKS!

6:45 - Does everyone have their shoes on? Lainie, where are your shoes? Jackson those are on the wrong feet. Ok I will help you, let me finish throwing my hair up into a messy ass bun and I'll help you. Yes, Mommy has to get dressed too, I cannot go to work in my bathrobe.

7:00 - OK guys, time to go! Wait, why do you still not have shoes on? Where is your jacket? I told you to put it in the closet! Where's your backpack? Do you have your homework? What about lunchmoney? Shit, has anyone seen MY shoes?!

7:10 - And we're off. Shit I need gas. I always need gas. Rushhour traffic, fight the freeway, change the radio station, kids fight over which song to listen to, Lainie looks half asleep still.

7:30 - At the daycare, hustle the kids to class, force them to hug me goodbye, run back to the car.

8:00 - Work time.

5:00 pm - Time to go, so many things didn't get done, not enough time in the day. Hop in the car, race to the daycare, fight rushhour, avoid the freeway.

5:40 pm - Hi kids, how was your day? Jack put your coat on. Lainie where's your backpack? What'd you eat for lunch? Do you have homework? No we're not ordering pizza for dinner. Why are you crying? Oh my God, just get in the car.

6:00 pm - Finally home. Lainie start your homework, Jackson, no movies until after dinner. Who wants to help me cook?

7:00 - Sit down to eat, Jackson eat your food. Lainie I know you don't like spinach but its good for you. Jackson, eat your food! No, no more milk until you eat. Sorry we're out of juice. If you don't finish dinner you don't get popcorn with your movie. No you cannot just have a Lunchable. Lainie, come on, eat your spinach. I'll give you a dollar if you eat your damn spinach.

7:30 - 8:30 - Playtime.

8:30 - Bathtime, storytime, brush your teeth and get in your jammies.

9:00 - Finally, the kids are in bed.

9 - 10:30 - Me time. Grey's Anatomy, write a blog post, do some laundry, clean the kitchen, episode of Parenthood, cry like a baby because Parenthood is ruining my emotions, check my email, be incredibly witty on social media, then time for bed.

10:30 pm - If I'm lucky, pass the fuck out.

There you have it.
A day in the life.
This is not including things like sick kids, fighting kids, trips to the grocery store, nights when there are errands or mornings where we wake up late.
This is a day where everything, for the most part, goes as well as we could've hoped.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Friday Diary: Let's Make Brownies and Watch Steel Magnolias





Dear 17 Year Old Check Out Clerk at Fry's, you asked me the other day how the goatee you're growing makes you look. I think the answer is in the question.
Dear PMS, this week you were responsible for me eating two cheeseburgers {both doubles}, a whole pan of brownies, crying through 6 episodes of Parenthood, crying in a Filiberto's parking lot, and probably upwards of three temper tantrums. We are not friends.
Dear Weather, you're so schizophrenic lately. You're 80 degrees one minute, 50 the next. I just don't know how to feel about you anymore.



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I finished Empire Falls this week. It was good. Long, but good. It is one of those books that when someone asks what its about, you don't have any idea how to answer them, because its not about a specific identifiable event. Its more just a snapshot in time of the life of a man who runs a diner, is getting divorced, and raising a teenage girl. There are a lot of characters, each one more complicated and interesting than the last, and even though the story really is about the one guy, you hear it from the perspectives of several of the people in his life.
I love that.
Its a good book to read when you're feeling lazy about reading, because you can pick it up, read a few pages, put it down for weeks, pick it back up and be so hooked you have to finish it right. now.
If you haven't read it, go get it.



We got a kitty on Sunday. Her name is Wednesday and she is the best thing since Banana Nut Bread and coffee. I love her to pieces, and to be honest I was expecting to just be OK with her at best. She's just too adorable.
This also completes my November goal, which means I need a new one...suggestions?



Free Printable ~ 40 High Resolution Old Maps - I have been looking for these.

40 free, downloadable vintage map printables. You can find all 40 here. 



I may or may not still have my Christmas tree up. The good news is its fake and probably won't burn the house down. The bad news is its never coming down.


Funny Shit I Saw

Looks like you have a lot on your mind. Wanna drink about it?


If you ever need a slightly distracted, unsympathetic friend, I'm here for you.

In conclusion, I'm off today and will be spending my time taking Wednesday for her check up and not changing out of my pajamas.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Staying Friends With Your Ex

For most of my life I've been known as the girl who stayed friends with all her ex-boyfriends. How's that one guy you dated for six months your senior year of high school? He's great, just got married. We're Facebook friends.
I never completely understood why there was so much stigma attached to staying friends with your ex. In my mind, you just spent months, or even years, sharing saliva and a mutual love for 80's movies. How do you just walk away from that? How do you break up and just be like "Thanks for all the old t-shirts and new found commitment issues, you sack of shit. See you later."
I never had it in me.
Well, I guess I should say rarely had it in me.
There were a couple of ex-boyfriends that even my sentimental self knew you shouldn't stay friends with.
Like the guy you lost your virginity to.
I mean, what could you possible ever have to say to each other again? "Hey I heard the song 'I just died in your arms tonight' on the radio and then had a bologna sandwich. Takes me back to that sweet two and a half minutes we shared on your parents couch 10 years ago! Hope you're well :)"
No. Just no.
Also, its probably uncommon to remain friends with the person who impregnated you and then left the state, like you were a liquor store he knocked over and the cops had his picture.
Still, the relationships that didn't end of paternal abandonment or you texting all your besties to let them know you'd finally surrendered the old V card, it seemed to me had a good chance of turning into friendships.
I'm learning though, as I get older, that its not as easy as it used to be.
Maybe because feelings in relationships are more intense, or because breakups are typically more ugly, or maybe because as adults we've become more jaded and withdrawn and don't want to continue feeling vulnerable over lunch with someone who's seen you naked, but then decided they'd prefer to see other people naked instead of you, but are still down with having a burger together and talking about the movie they saw last weekend.
Probably with the girl they're now seeing naked all the time.
It really is unfortunate that staying friends with your old lovers is so hard, because some of those old lovers started out as your best friend, and over the course of your relationship, however rocky and regardless of how often you may have lost sight of it, they still were your best friend, you just loved them in an extra way that made you hope to be with them forever. 
When that second, bonus love dies out and you have to move on, wouldn't it be lovely to revert back to the friendship you once shared, and be able to go on as if nothing else had ever happened?
Maybe not as if your relationship never happened at all, but maybe more as if your relationship happened but with someone else instead. Someone else hurt you, lied to you, stopped loving you, not this person. Not your best friend who, when not saddled with the responsibility of being your boyfriend, is actually an awesome friend and person.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could, just for a moment, go back to a time when being just friends seemed possible, and everything wasn't "lovers or bust"?

Who knows. Maybe sometimes staying friends is possible.
Maybe it depends on the person, the relationship you had together and how well you're able to adjust to not being in that relationship anymore.

What about you? Do you stay friends with your ex's? Have you? How did you do it, how did it work, and are you still really friends with any of them now?
Leave your experience in the comments.

Monday, January 21, 2013

How I do it: Pt 1. - My Village

When I reached out to my readers and asked what you all wanted to see more of on the blog, one of my readers emailed me to say he wanted to know how I do it. How I raise two kids and work full time and juggle everything, and not kill anyone.
I tried to put it all into one post, but it ended up just being a jumbled mess of confusion and cuss words. Much like My life.
For a little while, Monday Momisms will be taken over by a series on how I do it.
This is part one.
If I've learned anything since I had kids, it's that the old saying "It takes a village to raise a baby" is not only annoying, it is true.
As much as I am a single mother, and I do the majority of the day to day survival and life stuff by myself, I don't do this all by myself. I have a village. Over the years, my group of supporters has changed. It's grown and shrank, morphed and adapted. It once included primarily blood related family members, and it has since become mostly friends, or more appropriately, my chosen family.
A special group of amazing people who have held my hand, calmed my fears, opened my wine and told me when I most needed to hear it, that I was doing a good job. That I was a good mom.
Those words can be a life raft on dark days, in the middle of struggle filled months, and on nights when you're tear stained and exhausted and honestly don't think you can make it one more minute, like you're failing every time you turn around.
My village has been there. Through illnesses and hospital trips and first days of daycare, which later became first days of school. On evenings when selfish bosses demanded I work longer hours, on mornings when coffee was so dearly needed. 
Sometimes just by sending a text that has nothing at all to do with parenting and reminding me I'm not just a mom, I'm also a person, they've lifted me up.
You need a village, you need a crew.
You need a devoted selection of ride or die homies that would do for you and your children like they were their own, and you have to remember to return the favor.
The fact of the matter is, there is no doing this shit alone.
We can all be strong and we can all be tough, and you can be the most tireless, hardcore bitch out there, but at some point you are going to feel like you're out of your league. Like the question is so impossibly hard, and everyone has the answer but you.
At some point, you're going to feel incapable.
And that's when your village is there.
To answer the phone, to come to your door, to wipe your tears and do for you the little things that you just cannot do yourself right now, so that you can focus on the bigger job at hand.
Sometimes that bigger job is simply surviving.
Remember that when your best friend has their first baby.
Or when one of your friends becomes a single parent.
Something as simple as bringing them a gallon of milk when they're out and just too tired to go to the store, can change their whole day.
And just in case no one has said it to you today, you're doing a good job.
You're a good parent.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Friday Diary: Let's Just Be Glad Its Not Monday




Mondays in my house are hard, but the last two Mondays have been especially wicked. Both times we woke up late, Jack needed a breathing treatment, Lainie got a brush stuck in her hair, cereal spilled all over the floor, somebody {me} started crying, clean clothes were no where to be found, the car didn't want to start because it was literally below freezing outside, and the day went down hill from there.
Next Monday, we're doin it right. Wake up a 15 minutes before I need to, make some coffee, and get this show on the damn road, y'all.





A reader emailed me recently and asked why or how my blog URL {radiowaltz} came to be. The answer I'm afraid is not that interesting. I wanted to name the blog Dancing in the Dark after the Bruce Springsteen song, and also because the phrase dancing in the dark has always spoke to me. I think it means to be confused, lost, maybe even have no idea what you're doing, but you're doing your best to dance the dance and make the most of it, even if you can't see where you're going or what exactly you're doing. Radiowaltz was the username I used for various online things for a long time, because it was also beautiful to me. Slow dancing to the radio in the living room, you feel me? It fit well with Dancing in the Dark and seemed to make sort of a theme of romance, love, life, and making the most of things, which is kind of what this blog-and my whole life-is all about.
So, there you have it, Greg. Hopefully that wasn't too anticlimactic for you :)



Potato Barn

I discovered this furniture store through one of my friends at work, and I think its the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I could blow every paycheck I earn at this store, and still not have all the beautiful things they have here.



Steak Fajita lettuce wraps

These are so easy, you don't even need a recipe, but I'll give you one anyway. You just need red, yellow and green bell pepper, mushrooms {I would normally include fresh tomatoes, but at the risk of sounding cheap, tomatoes are expensive as balls in the winter. Don't believe me? Clearly you've never tried to purchase balls at the grocery store. Outrageously priced.}, flank steak and butter lettuce, plus your favorite fajita or taco seasoning, and whatever you like to put on your fajitas, like sour cream, cheese and salsa. You saute the peppers and shrooms until they're the consistency you like them in a big frying pan with olive oil and minced garlic, add the steak and cook just until the steak turns brown. No longer or it gets too tough. Turn the heat way down, add 1/4 cup of water and your fajita seasoning, and simmer until its all coated and flavorful. Use the lettuce the same way you would use a tortilla, and BAM. Carb free fajitas.


Girls Night

On Friday Lucia and I had ourselves a little impromptu girls night. We drank shots, talked shit and laughed our asses off before doing a little Elton John karaoke.
It was amazing, and so much needed.




NBC's Parenthood.
Have you watched this show? If not, you have to, and if you have then you know how much it just ruins your emotions. Its so sad and funny and true and awesome and heartbreaking and everything good about a show that you rarely get anymore in this world filled with Honey Boo Boo Child and all other manners of "reality" TV nightmares.
My favorite character is the mom of the whole family.



Stephen Fry giving us all good advice.

Oh, Stephen Fry.



"Freewrite: On Home"
By Kate, over at MotleyMama.

If you haven't stopped over there to check her out yet, do it. She's like me but she cusses less and possesses a much larger vocabulary. Plus her son's middle name is Tiger, and I'm pretty sure you pronounce her last name "Bear". I could be wrong, but if I am, I don't want to know for sure.


And now for a little something to make you laugh...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On Staying Vulnerable

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I find it funny that as kids and teenagers, we live for so long with our emotions so close to the surface that the slightest brush can be all it takes to bring them bubbling over.
As adults, it seems like one of the biggest parts of growing up is learning how to bury all of it a little further down, so we can pretend to be OK when we aren't, say we're not hurt or angry when we are, and do what we have to in order to keep the peace.
I understand that this is essential to a certain extent, and I understand that time can not always be afforded to drag every feeling and every issue out into the light and take care of it.
But sometimes I wonder where the line should be.
Lately I'm seeing posts on almost every blog I read about staying vulnerable in blogging. The authors all seem to struggle in one way or another with knowing how much to share. If you only share the good stuff, you seem like you're trying to portray the perfect life, and then no one can relate to you. If you share all the bad stuff, you are a compulsive Debby Downer who no one can stand.
Even outside of blogging, what is the right balance?
And even outside of sharing what moves you or hurts you, after you've been moved or hurt or betrayed too many times in your adult life, how do you keep from burrying that soft, sensitive part of yourself so deep down, that there is almost no vulnerability left in you anymore at all?
Isn't sensitivity and the capacity for emotion essential, even if that means you have to accept a certain amount of heartbreak and disappointment too?
I am a highly emotional person.
I typically err on the side of letting my emotions show pretty freely, because trying to know what to keep in and what to supress, and what to let effect me and what to block out can get overwhelming, and downright exhausting.
All my life I've heard opinions about this from both ends of the spectrum. For instance, I had a "friend" once who said that people find it hard to like me because I don't hold back enough. I'm too honest about my feelings and emotions and opinions, and its off-putting. I've also had friends that went on and on about how they envied the "purity" of my emotions, saying they wish they could be more expressive.

In the end I don't think there's an absolute answer one way or another.
I think there are times and places when 100% transparency about your life and feelings and whatever else, is appropriate, and times when you should be a little more private.
But I think we all deserve some grace in both areas, and understanding that in the end we're still the same emotional beings we've always been, and keeping up the standard of adulthood by not oversharing isn't always possible.
And when it comes to how much we let move us, I vote that we make no apologies.
Don't apologize for being sensitive, or soft, even if some people think that makes you needy or clingy or too much to handle. Those people most likely aren't for you.
Feeling things is one of the surest signs you are alive, and at the end of the day, I think most of us would choose the sensitive over-feeler over the cold and emotionless robot, 9 times out of 10.

We all want to relate, and feel connected and understood and like there is some common thread that ties us all together, so that this big mess we call life can seem to have some kind of purpose.
How can any of us share that kind of essential intimacy if we're always shoving our feelings to the side and pretending to be fine?
Not too excited, not too upset, just middle of the road.
I don't know about you, but a middle of the road life just isn't worth living in my opinion.
Save mediocrity for things like reality TV and tapioca pudding.
When it comes to life and relationships, I want the good stuff.
Pain and all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This is how, this is how, this is how we sleep.

{bonus points if you sang the title of this post to the tune of 'this is why I'm hot'}

Sleeping in this house must be either hilarious, or super weird to people who don't know us, or parents who had their babes in their beautiful nurseries and thousand dollar cribs from the day they were born. As many of you know, I'm a co-sleeper. My kids slept in my bed with me from the time they were babies, and Jackson still hasn't given it up.
Often times Lainie comes in to sleep with us too, and since I moved Jackson's bed into my room between my bed and the wall, there's plenty of room, so why not.
Plus her and I read after Jackson falls asleep, and I just love glancing over at her in between chapters, us looking at each other over the tops of our respective books and sharing a late night readers smile.
It's a sweet moment.
Co-Sleeping is not all cuddles and books and giggles in the dark though.
Some of it is downright unglamorous, and if you don't do a sweep of the bed for small trucks and Lego pieces before hopping in, it can get pretty ugly.
Co-Sleeping is probably more accurately described as a hot tangled mess of knees, elbows, and heavy, solid as a rock toddler heads that they throw around the pillow space like confetti.
Have you ever taken a four year old cranium to the nose at 2 in the morning? 
The other night while the kids were sleeping amid a pile of twisted sheets and blankets and cuddlies and stuffed animals and God knows what else, I snapped a few shots with my camera because I was practicing using it in Manual.
The next day, the bed was made and the room was clean and I couldn't get over the stark contrast of everything when there weren't three people crammed together, snoring away.

This is the bed in the daylight hours when it's made and the room is clean and no kids have set foot near it yet:

Yes, that is a pile of kid laundry on Jackson's bed. That's not the point. Observe the calm serenity of my bed, with it's organized pillows and smooth comforter, everything clean and inviting you to lie down.

And now, this is the bed with the two of them in it:

That big lump in Jackson's bed is actually Lainie, covered up to the top of her head in his blanket. Jackson is next to her on my bed, and that space beside him is where I'm supposed to sleep.
Right next to his big, 100 pound melon that will no doubt come flying back into my face, somewhere around 3 in the morning.
Notice the third pillow kicked down by the foot of the bed, the bright blue bathrobe that Jackson likes to hold at night because it's soft, and the general disarray of the bedding.
I guarantee you there are at least 4 Hot Wheels cars somewhere under that fluffy white blanket.

This is the life we choose, the life we lead.
This is how we sleep.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Say Goodbye


Have you ever had to say goodbye to someone you loved?
Not because of death, or a move across the country, or even because they betrayed you or broke your trust past the point of no return, but because you could no longer continue down the same path together, and saying goodbye seemed to be the only way to move forward?
Maybe it was a friend
Or a family member.
Maybe it was a lover.
Whoever it was, at some point you realized that loving someone doesn't mean you can have them in your life, and loving them doesn't mean you can make it work, and loving them doesn't mean you can be together.
You realize that maybe in this case, loving them meant letting them go.
So you did.
You said your goodbyes, and you cried, and then you tried to force a smile, hold your chin up high and walked away.
But you kept looking back.
A glance over your shoulder for every step you took, watching them wave, getting smaller in the rear view, and your heart ached, so heavy and full of longing that it's making your steps harder and harder, like you're trudging through knee deep snow.

The hardest goodbyes are the ones we say to the people we still love. 
The people we want to lock ourselves up in a room with forever, so the real world never has to intervene and reality never has to set in, and we can just stay there with them forever.
The hardest goodbyes are the ones we say to the people who made us whole, who reflected back at us the things we always thought no one would understand, the people who spoke the language that we believed existed only in our own minds, our own hearts.

We say goodbye, and we hope against hope, hope against logic, hope against rationality and right or wrong, that the Universe brings them back.
Someday, somehow, they come sailing back into our lives and light up everything they touch, like they always did.
Light up the small and unseen parts of ourselves, that only they were special enough to truly touch.
We hope, and we wait, and we keep them in our hearts, just in case that's the only place we can ever find them after that.
After goodbye.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Phoenix Eats


I wanted to post a recipe here today, but I honestly haven't made it to the store in so long, meals are getting down right pathetic around here. Last night we had corn muffins and black bean salad, because all my veggies were about to go bad. 
I know. For shame.
I decided instead to share some of my favorite places to eat in Chandler and Phoenix. 
I love food, and I love trying new restaurants, and the longer I live here, the more I tend to veer away from chain restaurants when I can. More often than not, the food is bland, uncreative, and over priced.
And don't even get me started on the portion sizes, y'all.
Overtime I've come up with a good list of the best places to eat that are not chain restaurants.
Unfortunately that means that if you don't live in the Phoenix Metro area, you won't get to enjoy any of these little gems. 
But if you do, or you happen to be visiting, you know where to go.

This is one of my favorite Greek/Mediterranean places to eat. It's small and intimate, and at night the patio is so pretty, with little white twinkling lights all over.
The food is good, well priced, an the wait staff is all friendly.
I've never had a bad dinner here, and it wouldn't be a terrible place to take a date, either.

Two words: cheese fries. This place has the BEST cheese fries in the world. So cheesy and so flavorful, and you get a huge boat thing of them which you can then smother in celery salt and cajun spice, like I do. They're so cheesy in fact, you have to eat them with a fork.
Their shakes are amazing too, especially the peanut butter and the banana ones.
They're closed on Sundays, and it's pretty small inside so it can get kind of crowded, but none the less worth it for a good junk food blow out on a Saturday afternoon.

I'm not sure if this technically qualifies as a chain or not, since there are 3 locations in Arizona, but either way, it's awesome. One of the few Mexican restaurants that haven't started charging 10 bucks for a burrito, and their food is amazing. I go here for lunch during the week all the time because I can get in and out in a half hour, and for under 10 dollars for a huge plate of food an a drink and the chips and salsa are free. Holler!

I almost hesitate to even put this one on here, because it's still sort of a secret and therefore one of the few places in the valley where you can go for breakfast on a weekend without waiting for 30 minutes or more for a table. I've never had dinner here, only breakfast, but goddamn. Their breakfast is so good. Jackson cleans his plate every damn time. The skillets and the french toast are the best, FYI. I went here for breakfast last weekend with both the kids and my dad, and for all four of us, drinks, coffee and an extra side of hash browns, we got out of there for 30 bucks. For breakfast these days, that's pretty good. 

Well, I hope if you live around these parts you'll hit one of these fine establishments up, or if you're traveling out here anytime soon, now you know where to eat.
Stay the hell out of Applebee's if you can help it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Friday Diary: All Things Ryan Gosling

This Friday, I am quite glad the week is over. It was long, and toward the middle it got extremely hard, very busy, and overly stressful.
I am more than ready for a brick of dark chocolate and a bottle of white wine the size of a baby alligator.
Until then though, let's wrap it up.




Dear Coffee, I will never be able to live without you. Please don't ever leave.
Dear Jackson, You ask me every day when you are going to turn 5. Slow down, please. You will never be 4 again and it hurts my heart to say that.
Dear 2013, There is so much I want to do with you. You are already going by too fast.




Me: Let's drink wine in my closet. We can pretend we're organizing things when really we're just hiding from the kids.




The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

If you read my post Wednesday night, asking y'all to tell me what you wish there was more of on the blog, then you know I recently read a book that made me angry.
That book was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. The jist of the story is it's about a girl who can taste people's feelings and emotions {mainly the ones they are repressing} in the food that they make. Jelly tastes like acidic resentment, her mother's lemon cake tastes like longing, her brothers toast taste like black rage, etc.
It started out so well written; beautiful, moving and poetic. I was in love at first, and I stayed up way past my bedtime, two nights in a row to get through it, only for the whole thing to come crashing down at the end. The warm and intricately woven story becomes a frayed and tangled mess in the last 10 pages, so much so that I felt like the ending belonged to some other story, and was mistakenly slapped on to the end of this book by a rushed editor.
I just hate that feeling of loving a book right up until the end, when the author clearly just doesn't know how to close the story.
Aside from accidentally writing about my "sexual awakening", not knowing how to close a story is my biggest fear when it comes to writing a book.




Circa January 10th, 2012.
Apparently that was a month of discovering Ryan Adams and that Philosophist is not a word.
Sometimes I'm embarrassed of me.





If I were a dog, this would be me.




The 69 Most Mouthwatering Ryan Gosling Moments of the Year
{It's actually much funnier than it is sexy or mouthwatering}

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Read it.



In Other Ryan Gosling News....
Movie Poster Inspiration: Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad comes out this weekend. I'm seeing it Saturday.
Lady parts, prepare thyselves.
That...was weird and I apologize.


Happy Friday everyone. Go have a kick ass weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

If I Had A Boat

If I had a boat, I would leave this place.
I would pack a few things, mostly pictures and letters, soft and tearing at the creases from being read so many times, and I would leave in the night.
I'd light a lantern on the beach and make my way. Staying close to the shore, at least at first, watching all the lights twinkle and pop like a row of sparklers waving at me from the edge of the darkness.
In the morning I'd wave goodbye, as the sun came up and each light died out one by one, moving further and further into the arms of the ocean.
If I had a boat, I would go everywhere. Down the coast of California, through the gulf of Mexico, stopping when I wanted and sending postcards back to my old home.
I'd wake up to the smell of Jasmine blooming on a warm Spring day, buy gauzy white dresses in cobble stone street markets and let the water rock to sleep beneath the blaze of a million stars, swirling upwards the way the sea swirls downward, and contemplate the weight of the moon.
If I had a boat, you would come with me and things would be simple. There would be words for feelings and answers for questions and names for every star in the sky. You would ask me if I wanted to go west or south and when the water was warm and clear we'd drop anchor and jump off the sides of our boat. Gulping salt water into our open laughing mouths and holding each other in the wonder of a weightless love.
At night we'd light candles and eat dinner on the deck, still in our swimsuits, salt in our hair. I would say that life is good and you would agree.
If I had a boat, we'd stop at ports to buy more Tequila. You would dance with me on the beach and I'd make friends with all the locals. When we stumbled back to the harbor, your arm slung around my shoulders like an anchor, you'd say you like this place and I would agree it was the best.
If I had a boat, you'd tell me stories when the ocean was rough with us to calm my nerves. I would be a princess and you would be a hero, animals would talk and your voice would drown out any thunder. You'd hold my head to your chest in the dark, extinguishing the red flame of my worry with your lips, and as we drifted off to sleep you would whisper that I make you happy, and I would agree.
You would make me happy too. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

You know you were raised in the 90's if you sang the title of this post in your head and remembered which Spice Girl you always pretended to be.
This is not a real post.
This is more just a post where I write a bunch of pointless shit, all leading up to the one thing I actually came here to say, and then leave you all unsatisfied and let down, like Diet Coke and salads do to me every. single. time. 
I'm in a weird mood.
Maybe I'm just upset because I stayed up late the last two nights trying to finish this book I was reading, that started out so beautiful and well written, and then last night ended in a flaming pile of non-sensical shit. I feel betrayed. That was not an ending, I said at the back cover of the book, mean mugging the picture of the author as she sat in a shaft of light, probably in some Manhattan apartment on a Monday afternoon. She didn't respond to my rage, so I threw her and her book across the room and had some popcorn. 
It helped a little, I'm OK. Not fine, but OK.
Maybe I'm upset because I hate cleaning, and my landlord is coming over this weekend, so I like....have to.
I don't know. 

What I really came here for, was to ask you, all of you lovely readers, whoever you are, to tell me what you want. 
What do you want to see more of, here in my crazy little corner of the internets?
What kind of posts do you find here that make you go "Yes! I love when she posts about this!"
You can tell me which kind of posts I do that make you want to punch babies or never come back to the blog ever, but I'd appreciate it if you said it nicely, maybe whilst also offering me a baked good of some kind.
I'm a sensitive soul.

Anyhow, hit me up, tell me what you want, and I'll do my best to make it happen.
This blog is still mine, of course, and I'm still writing more or less for me, but I also have these weird spurts of massive creativity block, and a little inspiration is much, much appreciated.

Leave your requests in the comments, or send that shit here:
I know, I have a fucking weird ass email address. I used to be a doula, remember?!

While you're thinking about it, here are some pictures of cute animals to help you think:





Letters to the Universe: Where am I, What am I doing, and Why am I here?

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you can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
even if we're just dancing in the dark
-Bruce Springsteen

My sister and I like to have long talks about girly things.
When she comes over we sit on my bed like high school kids, while our little ones tear the house apart, and talk for hours about boys, love, intimacy, jobs, kids, fears, dreams and fate.
It always comes back to fate.
Neither of us are religious, and I don't know if I would call myself spiritual, but I-we, believe in the Universe.
We believe that things {most things} happen for a reason, and that there is such a thing as destiny.
You see though, I believe in many destinies. {This may be the post where I lose all my readers. I'm sorry in advance} I believe that our lives are like a series of highways and roads, all connecting at different points, and some choices that we make, not all but some, turn our fate from one road to another. So in a sense, your destiny is ever changing, every evolving, constantly moving toward one of your possible destinies, like a ball rolling one way or another based on what it comes up against.
Like a choose your own adventure novel.
Some fates will be good, some amazing, but I believe there is one that will make you happier than any other.
Maybe this is all confusing, new age BS, but hey, I also believe in unicorns and that wishes made on fallen eyelashes always come true.
So now you know.

Anyway, I believe that we can ask the Universe for things. Like praying, sort of, but less "giving up all control to someone else and letting them deal with it" and more like "Hey, I could totally deal with this shit you gave me to deal with if XYZ would happen."
Maybe that's all a bunch of crap too, but hey, it makes me feel better.

So here goes.

Dear Universe,
I need a sign. Not like a bullshit, hidden in the clovers, millions of possible interpretations kind of psychological fuck-wit sign, but like a big, bold, possible neon {if so please make it pink} sign.
Something that tells me what I'm doing here, why I'm still struggling with this, and what the right move to make is.
I'm starting to feel like I'm living in some one hit wonder 80's song, always asking "should I stay or should I go" {don't even act like you didn't sing that in your head}, and I just need something to happen one way or another.
Something to make this, or something to break this, but whatever it is it has to be the right thing.
I can't just break it and walk away, because I'll always wonder if it was the ONE destiny that would've made me the most happy, but I gave up right before the good part.
And I can't make it on my own.
I need answers, I need clarity, I need to feel secure on the ground beneath me.
I need to know where I am, what I'm doing and why I'm here.

Well, maybe you don't have to spell it out that clearly, but a sign would be good.
Just tell me which way to turn.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Our Weekend: Tucson, John Dillinger and Bears

This weekend Bill took me to Tucson, where we stayed in the Hotel Congress, which you history buffs know is where John Dillinger and his crew stayed briefly in 1934, where a fire in the hotel lead to his arrest and brief capture. 
In honor of John Dillinger, we drank only Old Fashioneds and almost all pictures were taken in black and white.
We drove out Saturday night, listening to my iPod shuffle us around the entire spectrum of human emotion, and singing/rapping our little hearts out. 
The hotel was very very cool, and the rooms were still decorated as if it were the 30's. I love that. 
We did a little bar hopping, almost explored the third floor of the hotel, which is chained off, and had a super hipster breakfast in the morning of red velvet pancakes, and something called baked eggs {I don't recommend it} at Maynard's Kitchen. 
Sunday afternoon we took a little drive to a wildlife museum, which is like a zoo but more spread out and natural feeling, and there was a bear. 
Pretty much the highlight of my year, and it's only January.
The remainder of 2013 will only pale in comparison.

All in all, a fabulous weekend, and a wonderful surprise, and I couldn't have had a better time.
Gotta love Bill for always coming up with the most interesting and original places to go.