Friday, April 29, 2011

Princesses

I said I wasn't going to write about the royal wedding this morning because that's all everyone is talking about and I hate when a. I can't add anything new to a conversation and b. when people talk the living shit out of something. I found that I just can't be cynical about this. Something about watching the spectacle made me happy. It was sweet and pretty and they seem like genuine people. I was much happier about this royal wedding than than I was at the first one.

I still remember Charles and Diana's wedding, though I think I was only about seven. It absolutely enraged me. It was the stupidest wedding I'd ever seen. Everything about it was infuriatingly wrong.

The only reason I saw it at all was because it took place on the same morning as the Chincoteague Pony Swim. I'd been going through a horse phase where all I wanted to do was read books about horses and then fill drawing pads with marker sketches of disproportionate equines. Most of my pictures looked the same: horses running, horses grazing, horses standing around. The only thing that differentiated them was the colors and patterns of the horses' coats, which was something I took very seriously. I'd just read Misty of Chincoteague, which remains one of my favorite children's books to this day, and I'd become enamored with the idea of seeing the wild ponies of Assateague swim across the channel when my plastic Breyer Misty splashing around in the bathtub got old. My grandparents decided that we lived close enough that they may as well take me to the real Pony Swim and I about lost my mind with excitement. They told me far too soon in advance that we were going, so I did nothing but think about it and wish the day would finally arrive. That was the longest damned summer. It was like July would never end and all I wanted to do was see those wild, spotted ponies paddling away from their island home to civilization.

While I counted the days until the Pony Swim, the rest of the world counted the days until the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, which I felt was idiotic. I mean, how could that compare to wild ponies in the water? My grandmother got together with a small group of friends one night a week. They called it "Club" though they did no sorts of club-like activities. They'd make me go to bed while they sat in our living room gossiping, bitching and drinking black coffee and eating pistachio Dream Whip cake. I liked to pretend like I was sleeping while eavesdropping because usually I'd hear some interesting tidbits, but that summer all those bitties talked about was that stupid wedding and I was so sick of hearing about that Lady Di. 


To arrive in Chincoteague on time, because the ponies swam early, we had to get up at four 'o' clock in the morning. That was the earliest I'd ever gotten up, except for the time I had a stomach virus. Those things always seem to hit you pre-dawn for some reason. Even when we went crabbing in the first pink lights of morning, we didn't have to get up at four am. Waking in the middle of the night gave the whole trip a greater sense of adventure for me. I remember my grandfather frying sausage links in the kitchen and filling a huge Army thermos with steaming coffee for the road, while my grandmother had the television on. After she'd gotten me in shorts and a tee shirt and saw to it that my Keds were tied, she sat me down in front of the TV set.


"Look," she said, "This is the wedding of a prince and a princess, just like in the fairytale stories you love."

I did love fairytales very much. When I wasn't reading books about horses, I had my head in a thick volume of Grimms and what I think grown-ups don't realize is that those stories' appeal lies in their violence. I liked the gory parts, because, as all children are to some extent, I was a savage. Savage though I was, I still liked a good princess every now and then, especially if she'd gone through some hardship and been made to clean or go on an epic quest to rescue someone. The princesses I remember didn't sit around in their castles much. I liked to play princesses with my friend K and sure, we'd don old silky nightgowns and top ourselves with tiaras, but after we were appropriately dressed, we had dragons to slay, jealous witches to outsmart and kingdoms to save and this type of girl is what I had in mind when I heard the word princess. Naturally then, I was suddenly a little more interested in this wedding than I previously had been. Maybe there was also the possibility of an evil faerie swooping in and wreaking havoc on the celebration or maybe I'd get lucky and someone would start cutting off chunks of her feet to fit into teeny shoes and all of it would be captured on the CBS morning news. Even I would have to admit that that beat a pony swim.


Did not happen. That wedding was immensely disappointing. The best part of it was the horse drawn carriages.


First of all Princess Diana looked nothing like a princess, save her lovely diamond tiara. Her dress was a big, round, biscuit shaped poof that she could barely walk in, much less kill a dragon and break a spell in. She looked meek and pitiful too, but worst of all was her haircut. It was short and feathered. Everyone knows that princesses do not, under any circumstances (except for Rapunzel and that was an emergency) cut their hair off. Princesses have long hair and they wear it in braids or loosely flowing and entwined with wildflowers. Period. No other hairstyles are permitted.


I couldn't even believe how ugly Prince Charles was and don't even get me started on the Queen. That woman looked nothing like a Queen. She was an old lady in a hat. Ridiculous. The only redeeming thing about this royal wedding nonsense was that there were lots and lots of horses in all different colors. 


The funniest thing is that when I look back I can remember my wild excitement for the pony swim, but I barely remember it. The image I have in my head of the ponies is faded, full of blurred hooves, overcast, humid and wet, yet I remember in stark detail the royal wedding.


Throughout my childhood I continued to be irritated by Princess Diana's hair and outfits. It really bugged me that she looked like all the teachers at my school and ladies who worked at the bank in town and gave me lollipops. I went through a phase of writing letters to famous people, some of which I actually sent, and I wrote to Princess Diana telling her that she needed to grow out her hair and get rid of the ugly suits. She needed to wear her crown all the time and get herself some pretty dresses preferably with velvet and corseted bodices. I'm hoping that this is one of the letters that never got sent. It's no wonder the poor woman had an eating disorder and I really hope I didn't have a hand in that.


When I was about nine, I got to go to a Renaissance faire. Yes, I went wearing an old silky nightgown as a dress and several strands of beads that my grandmother had worn in the sixties. My tiara was firmly bobby pinned atop my head and I believed that my period attire was quite accurate and appropriate. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The Renaissance faire was way better than the pony swim and I remember it far more distinctly. Now, this was how it was done. There was even a wedding of a prince and princess, neither of whom were ugly and the princess did not wear suits or have short, feathered hair. I promptly went home and wrote Princess Diana another letter suggesting that she visit the Renaissance faire for an example of how she should be presenting herself. I hope that I sent this one and that she read it and howled with laughter.


From what I hear about Princess Diana's life, she probably didn't howl with laughter as often as she ought to have. I was just a little kid who didn't understand the world when I tried to impose my ideas of what a princess should be upon her. I had no idea that the rest of the world had done the same thing, only on a greater and more insidious scale and that it had hurt a sweet and innocent girl who only wanted to be loved. I grew up to admire Princess Diana's humanitarian work and I came to understand, especially after her death that she was one of the princesses in the fairytales I loved so much who had undergone hardships and who had fought dragons, though hers were more figurative. She would have been very happy today. 

As I watched the wedding myself, I tried to see it through my seven year old eyes. I think the seven year old me would have approved very much of Princess Catherine, and not just for her long, dark hair. This is a princess, I think, who could break a spell and save a kingdom.


There were horses too. Lots of them, black with white blazed faces, prancing, heads tossed magnificently and pulling at their reins.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting Baked

As I write this, I am utterly exhausted. I would do anything for a good, long nap right now, but bedtime is only a couple hours away and we've got Thai delivery coming. That's worth staying up for.

Passover ends tonight and I'm really glad for it to be over. During the holiday, my home became a refuge of ham and bread for my mom, sister and brother-in-law who don't follow the holiday. Every time I turned around somebody was over here looking for some tref and chametz. The Jewish relatives will be gone on Thursday anyway. I've got a friend of ours staying here until tomorrow morning and then Thursday morning my father-in-law arrives. Someone else is coming after he leaves, but I've actually lost track of who's coming and when.

The one thing I noticed that all these guests have in common is a pathological need to blister their skin within seconds of spontaneous combustion. I don't know why they do it, but every time someone comes here from another state the first thing they do is rip off their clothes and sprawl themselves across the backyard to bake. You can practically hear the sizzling flesh. I swear I've seen blisters raise with my naked eye.

I thought people knew better than to lay out in the sun. I guess I also thought people knew smoking would kill you, but plenty of people do that too. I have an aunt who actually does both. She smokes while she lays out. Watch her outlive us all.

Sunburn is inevitable. There's also a strange denial of sunburn that happens, wherein guests red as a freshly steamed Dungeness will say things about getting a base, or how by the morning it will be tan because they don't burn of course. Sometimes they'll poke at their drawn, broiled epidermis in wonderment, watching their fingerprints fade to white and then back to scarlet. Even after all that, they'll remark at how they're getting good "color." Yeah and that color is RED.

I try to tell them it's not healthy to burn. I practically toss tubes of sunscreen at them like beads from a Mardi Gras float, but it does no good. Later, they'll meekly ask me for the aloe gel, but by the next noon, they're out there again. Towards the end of their vacation, everyone'll be peeling; skin just falling off in sheets. The house looks like a damned leper colony.


No one listens to me. Instead, and it never fails, someone will ask me how I can live here and be so pale. Yes, I'm pale. I admit it. I inherited the milky Irish complexion of my ancestors and I'm frighteningly prone to freckles, so ever since high school I've obsessively stayed out of the sun. I think I can thank Robert Smith of The Cure, at least in part, for starting my aversion to strong daylight. Back in high school I lucked out because the pale skin, dark haired look was in amongst my clique and I just happened to look like that naturally. I tried to preserve my color (or lack thereof) and I guess staying out of the sun kind of became a habit.


Obviously that's not the only reason I shun the sun. When you live here, life's generally not one big vacation, not unless you're a stripper or a call girl and have your days free. People have to work and most people work when the sun's out. Tourists have a hard time not thinking of Florida as one big vacation for everyone, I guess.


Laying out bores me. It's uncomfortable and hot and sticky. I can't stand feeling my skin prickle. Tan lines look ugly on me, as I prefer to be one solid color. I guess I could tan naked, but I think the neighbors would be uncomfortable and honestly, I think the cellulite on my ass looks better white. You know, more like cottage cheese. Ok, my cellulite's not at cottage cheese levels. I'm exaggerating. It's more ricotta.


Perhaps the main reason I stay out of the sun though is because I was deeply traumatized at an impressionable age by seeing my grandmother naked. It was an accident. I should never have seen her out of her tasteful pleated slacks and cream colored mock turtleneck, but she was staying at our house and had left the bathroom unlocked. I didn't know she was in there and well, now the image has forever been imprinted on my brain, where it causes me great pain.


My grandmother was what was known back in the day as a bathing beauty. She'd turn her kids loose in the neighborhood in the summers to go beat one another with chains, get glass stuck in their barefeet and fling fishhooks into one another's lips. People didn't care about stuff like that back then and a few trips to the emergency room or a few extra bottles of Absorbine Junior were worth having a few hours to yourself. My grandmother used her alone time to scorch. She was the prettiest woman in town and after five children she could still flaunt a bikini in her front yard. With a folding, metallic reflector, she'd lay on a chaise lounge greased with baby oil. She'd get so dark people'd think she was from some exotic foreign country.


"She's french Canadian," someone would explain.


"Ohhh, that's why," everyone would say in understanding.


My grandmother might have had an enviable tan when she was in her twenties and thirties, but in her seventies and eighties all that sun exposure has resulted in an unfortunate case of sun spots and weird tags. She looks like she's growing pencil erasers on her back and is as speckled as a leopard. My mother compared my grandmother's skin in both texture and appearance to a chocolate chip cookie and I don't think I need to tell you that that is not a compliment. No one wants to look like a chocolate chip cookie. I hope. Seeing my grandmother just out of the shower wasn't pretty, but that's what happens to people who roast themselves. It is by the grace of God alone that my grandmother has not turned into one, big, bleeding, black melanoma. I should also mention that she has smoked cigarettes since she was twelve, so by all rights she should be a walking tumor by now and has just gotten very lucky.


I'm not taking any chances. Yes, I live here. I could have a tan if I wanted one. I'm white and I like it that way. I don't care that when my husband saw my new passport photo that he asked me if that was my head shot for my audition for the next Twilight film. Bring on the SPF 50.


**PS - We caught the feral cat and put it outside!!***
Monday, April 25, 2011

It's So Easy to Hate

"It's so easy to laugh. It's so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind."   

My mother would have beat my ass if I ever said it. There were words I could have gotten away with, but not that one, not a cuss word directed at a person, a whole group of people. I played a game with myself as I pedaled my bike. I'd whisper words that rhymed with cuss words under my breath because it felt good, like I was cussing without cussing and like I was getting away with something. Pit bread. Sock Trucker. Grass Bowl. I never tried it with that word though it lent itself so well to rhyme: bigger, chigger, jigger, rigger, snigger, trigger.

I heard it plenty growing up, though never from my parents. My grandparents said it. Often. But I knew it was wrong and even when I was little, I'd cringe whenever I heard them say it. As I got older, I grew bold and prided myself on speaking out against injustice. Each time my grandparents complained that they were taking over, having too many babies, sucking off of welfare, ruining another neighborhood or giving them bad service in some low paying job, I'd stand up and tell them that word was evil and that they couldn't hate a whole group of people. I wouldn't put up with it. As a little kid, I played with everyone. In high school I never segregated my friends. I grew up desperately wanting to be a Huxtable and praying for Nelson Mandela while he sat in prison, sacrificing his life for justice and freedom. I wanted to fight for justice and freedom too. 

I lived in Atlanta for almost a decade and once I went to see Maya Angelou speak. She agreed with my mother it turned out. No one should ever use that terrible word. I had never said it and I never would, I thought.

I didn't know why my fiance locked me out of the house, leaving me homeless and stranded in my parents' guest room. I didn't understand why he'd been distant and cold for months before, but when my neighbor called and told me that as soon as I was gone, another girl had moved right in, I wasn't surprised. It all made sense when I finally sat down and added it up.


"What does she look like?" I asked.


Was she prettier than me? Skinnier? Glamorous? Who was she?


"She's a black girl," my former neighbor said, "Tall, thin, dark-skinned, cropped hair."


A black girl.


No answer wouldn't have made me angry. Had she been blonde, short, Hawaiian, full figured or plain, I would have hated this girl who took over where I was forced to leave off. I would have hated her no matter what, but I focused on the easiest target when I called my ex-fiance to tell him I knew.


"I can't believe you left me for a low down, dirty, whore -"


I said that word I had spent my whole life hating and standing up against.


The word was a water moccasin waiting in the swamp of my lungs until my rage and jealousy let it out and the water moccasin hissed from between my teeth, set free in the world to pierce and poison. I couldn't capture it and force it back down my throat.


Hate is easy. I had no idea how easy. In your best moments you can love anyone. Only a monster wouldn't well up at "I Have a Dream" and our most reviled villains are those few who aren't moved by the history of the Middle Passage, the Underground Railroad and later Jim Crow. We all know right and wrong in theory. The true test of who we are comes at our worst times, when we're hurt, angry and in pain. What choices do we make in those moments when kindness and compassion require an effort? The decision to be good is always the more arduous. I made the easier choice and I did it with stunning facility.


I never knew who I really was; never knew my mouth was a sinkhole leading to a cavernous heart, inside lightless, jagged and slippery.


This piece was my response to this week's Indie Ink Writing Challenge, where Kat challenged me to write about one of the easiest decisions I've ever made. I challenged Jen O. to write about a color. For the full list of challenge responses visit Indieink.org on Friday. The epigraph at the beginning of this piece is lyrics from the Smith's song, "I Know It's Over."

Florida is Definitely America's Weirdest State

A friend of mine posted this article on facebook this morning and I had to share. According to AOL News, Florida is America's weirdest state and has been for quite a while. I'm going to have to agree. Check out the article; it's pretty interesting.
Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates today! May your baskets always overflow with treats.

To readers who don't celebrate Easter, I'd like to wish you a magnificent spring day.

On a side note, I love vintage holiday cards and you'll notice I often post them on special occasions. I get them from this site.

(Umm, also, I meant to post this ON Easter, not a few hours before, but I accidentally published it early, so whatever. May as well start the holiday early, right? Anyone watching The Ten Commandments?)
Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Feral Cat is Loose in My Parents' House or Why My Sister Needs Ice Cream Cake

My husband just told me that from this week alone we've got at least four good episodes of reality TV. Why a camera crew hasn't shown up on my doorstep is beyond me because we'd be a hit.

Staying at my parents' house right now we've got my sister and her family because their house isn't ready and their lease was up. Then we have my aunt, uncle, three cousins and my one cousin's boyfriend who is very cute I must add. My grandparents, WHO LIVE HERE, decided they'd come and stay for a week too, in spite of having their own home nearby, because they wanted to be close to everyone else for Passover. Then my mom's brother, who is in every way the complete and total opposite of my father's orthodox Jewish, Israeli family, came down with his wife to sit in beachy bars, go fishing and complain about the government.

Mayhem people. Mayhem.

On top of it all, there is a feral cat loose in my parents' house.

Yes, you heard me. A feral cat is loose in the house as if fifteen guests is not enough to deal with. We're going to need to take up a collection to send my mother to a fancy spa far far away when Passover ends.


The feral cat is my sister's fault. At her old job some of her regulars told her they had a cat that needed a home and for some reason she committed to taking the cat sight unseen. Once she saw the cat, she realized it was feral and completely unable to be tamed, but she felt uncomfortable changing her mind and telling the people who had trapped the cat in their yard that it would not make a good pet. So she took a feral cat home with her where it has hid under her bed for a year. This is an important lesson in why it's ok to say no to people sometimes.


I came up with a decent solution based on a secret, covert activity we used to engage in when I worked at the country club. Back there, in the fancy country club we had a terrible rat infestation. This is natural. It's Florida. The place was built on swampland. Rats abounded. The best solution for getting rid of rats is cats because poison isn't healthy, especially with all the kids around, and when we tried poison it never seemed to work and we were scared a child or a pet might be injured. Along with the rats, we also had a pretty healthy wild cat population, so we decided that instead of trapping the cats, taking them away, euthanizing them or whatever, that we would keep the cats, fix them and notch their ears so we'd know which ones we'd done already. We had to do this under the cover of darkness so none of the residents would know that we had both wild cats and enormous rats living around their gazillion dollar mansions because that would have sent them into paroxysms of horror that would have split the skin of their Botoxed faces. The whole thing worked magnificently. The cats hid, they didn't breed and they ate all the rats and the residents glided by in their Jaguars on their way to tennis lessons never knowing that this was happening right under their rhinoplasty.


I thought that my sister's feral cat would be much happier if when my sister moved to her house that we just let it outside. It could live outside around our yards and eat rats of which there are an astonishing number, as we live on an island and rats love water.


We didn't anticipate my sister having to live with my mom and the feral cat having to live in my parents' house with two dogs and fifteen terrifying human beings all eating matzoh and singing in Hebrew. It was too much for the cat, who my sister tried to keep in her bedroom. The cat escaped.


Escaped feral cat + dogs + fifteen people + loud music at all hours + crying babies + God only knows what else goes on in that gigantic house = missing cat.


No one has seen the cat in a week. I suggested they wait for a smell. This suggestion was not well received.


My sister set out food. They found some poop on a chair upstairs but only once. They searched high and low and no cat. Finally, they decided to get a humane trap, put food in it because the cat has got to get hungry at some point and maybe late at night it will feel safe coming out to get something to eat.


The trap has been baited for several days now and no cat.


Last night I went over there and took my sister an ice cream cake. Don't even ask. I just felt that having to live over there in the midst of all that, with a baby, that she probably really needed an ice cream cake at 11 at night. Don't you wish I was your sister? So I drop the cake off and leave and figure she's in bed and I didn't want to wake her baby up and cause another ruckus. That house is like one big ruckus anyway. It didn't need another one.


I'm in bed and my sister starts texting me that as soon as I left a ruckus happened anyway in spite of my valiant efforts to prevent one. This ruckus had nothing to do with me.


Something got caught in the trap.


The something was Bombaclaat, my parents' thirteen year old, half blind mini-pin and one of the most disgusting animals to ever grace this planet. He stinks, humps stuffed animals, bites, can't see or hear and is an all around idiot, but we love him. The dog lives for nothing but food. Seeing the cat food in the trap, he went right in. The trap closed and he didn't realized anything was amiss until he had eaten a whole can of cat food and tried to turn around and found himself unable. Then he began to scream and yell until everyone came running. When they opened the trap, he was too stupid to figure out how to get out of it, so they had to take the whole thing apart because he couldn't understand that he needed to back up to get free.


The trap is set again. Bombaclaat, we hope, won't be able to get near it. We figure that trap is going to catch everything BUT the cat. Big Joe'll probably get his head stuck in it next. We might even trap my grandmother, who has been driving everyone in the house nuts about wasting food and has been living in the kitchen overseeing everything that comes in and out in order to prevent an accidental breach of Passover food laws. My sister informed me that yesterday she spent six solid hours in there trying to make a cake without flour, wheat or leavening and that the resulting product looked vaguely cake-ish because it was baked in a cake pan, but that it was so tough, yellow and tasteless that it resembled a kitchen sponge. My sister didn't want to eat it so I told her to tear a piece of it off and use it to wipe down the counters instead. My grandmother would probably mistake cat food for chopped liver and fear that it was going to waste so she'd end up caught in the trap trying to get it out to smear on matzoh along with some solidified chicken fat.


Who knows what else is living in that house that no one knows about and that could make its way into the trap. We just know, that with our luck, it's not going to be the missing cat. That cat might end up lost in my parents' house forever.
Thursday, April 21, 2011

The One Thing I Can Never Forgive My Husband For

We all have those certain things for which we resent our spouses, right? Mine is big and I've decided to share it with you all today. I can forgive my husband for many things: his Costco obsession, stacking a bunch of crap in our doorway so no one can get in or out without potential neck and ankle breaking, never wearing sunscreen and refusing to go to the doctor, thus harboring an easily curable sinus infection since 2007. But there's one thing I can't get over.

My husband destroyed my friendship with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Let me explain.  For years now, I've entertained a delusion that if only we could meet that Gwyneth Paltrow and I would be best friends. I'm not sure where this came from but I think it started when she was dating Ben Affleck. Her style, her choice in film, the names she picked for her kids (I am the ONLY person who loves the name Apple), her icy perfection and all the things she tells other people to write for her on her website - all of those things just scream that we would so be best friends. I have often imagined the two of us eating a bland, macrobiotic lunch of fermented mung beans before going to a cupping session which would be followed up by a chat about Qabbalah over a cup of kombucha.


I love Gwyneth Paltrow. I love how she is so tasteful and understated in the way that only the extraordinarily wealthy, beautiful and perfect can be. I love how I can get the exact same haircut as her, which I have done twice now dammit, and while on me it looks flat, frumpy and Amish, on her it looks cutting edge, flattering and enviable. I couldn't figure out why this was happening. I mean, I have stick straight, parted down the middle hair too! I realized though that I was in denial. The reason it doesn't look the same on me is because I do not have Gwyneth Paltrow's bone structure, stylist, make up artist, lighting or Photoshop editor. If I had all those things my hair would look that good too. Also I am not lit from within and without like a deity. Because movie stars aren't human. Gwyneth Paltrow's hair looks good because she doesn't poop. Or eat (except fermented mung beans or things made by Mario Batali and then only on film and only in exotic destinations). Or drive. Or run over her own trash cans every time she tries to back out of her driveway. 


But alas, after all this I still believe we'd be friends.


One day I mentioned this to my husband.


"I know if she and I met that we'd be best friends," I said.


And as nonchalantly as if I had asked if he took out he recycling yet, my husband said:


"Oh yeah she was nice I think. You'd probably like her."


"What do you mean she was nice you think? How would you know?"


"I knew the Paltrows," he said, still nonchalantly.


"WHATOHMYGODYOUDIDNOTWHYDIDNTYOUEVERTELLME????"


Then I calmed down, breathed into a paper bag and when I had regained composure I asked how.


"I was friends with Jake, Gwyneth's brother. We went to tennis camp. Blythe used to drive us."


MY HUSBAND WAS ON A FIRST NAME BASIS WITH BLYTHE??? WHAT THE HELL?


Yes, my husband played tennis with Jake Paltrow. They were friends. "Blythe" used to drive them places. Can you imagine and he withheld this vital information from me for years because he didn't think anything of it. He and Jake, as young teens, used to go pick up girls together and make out with them.


"I had some vague idea that the parents were famous but they weren't involved in anything interesting to kids, so I didn't think anything of it," he says.


Then he had the nerve to say that they were normal people, just like everyone else. Please. I know better than that. 


"I must know everything about Gwyneth!!"


And my husband had nothing at all to report because she was Jake's older sister and not at all famous or interesting or married to Chris Martin yet and thus not memorable at all. She was just like anyone else's older sister apparently. Except I don't believe that either because as I stated before Gwyneth Paltrow is not human.


My husband lost touch with Jake. I asked him to look for him on facebook, but no such luck and it would seem sycophantic to try to contact him now obviously, no matter how much I wanted Baby Lawns to play with Moses and by play I mean grow up and marry him.


But if my husband had kept in touch with Jake Paltrow, I know with utter certainty that he would have introduced me to his sister and that we would be best friends right now, so how can I forgive that? I would also like to add that if Gwyneth and I were best friends that I would have calmly taken her aside and explained to her that it was very important that she stop singing immediately and go back to making films in which she can showcase her excellent British accent.

Additionally, Gwyneth is not a natural blonde. She is actually a freckled redhead. Gwyneth Paltrow is a closeted ginger. But I would still be her best friend because I love red hair. That is all.


Tomorrow's post - why my husband can't forgive me from keeping him away from Malcolm Gladwell.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pass(is it Over yet?)

It's that time of year again. This happens to me every Passover and this year it's even harder because of the baby. I am totally Jewed out. Officially, 100 percent over it all. I have eaten enough matzoh and chicken fat based, Eastern European crap to last me at least another year and I'm ready to pack up the Seder plate possibly for good. Not that I don't love my family, because I do and not that I don't like Passover. Ok, I don't really like Passover, but I love my family and I love the traditions. I especially love the music and it was an indescribable feeling watching Baby Lawns' total delight in listening to the whole family sing. That was one of those moments when you're like, ok, sleeplessness aside, this is why people have kids. I get it.

Writing is going to be sparse this week because we just have so many people here visiting and I want to spend time with them all, plus I'm beat from the never ending activity. On top of that it was also my husband and sister's birthday yesterday and now my mom's brother and his wife have decided to come down today. It should be interesting to see these two worlds collide. My dad's orthodox Jewish relatives and my mom's redneck, BBQing brother, who in every way is like one of those Blue Collar Comedian guys. Things could get amusing.

I'm getting geared up for Easter. While I observe the Jewish holidays out of respect and love for that part of my family, I can't sincerely get with the beliefs of Judaism enough to call myself Jewish and plus, I didn't marry a Jewish guy and you know what? Christian holidays are more fun to me than Jewish ones, or perhaps the Christians just have better marketing. It's almost unfair. I mean, the Christians get a giant talking bunny who comes to their house in the middle of the night to hand deliver a basket of pastel wrapped candy and what do the Jews get? Horseradish, crackers and a shank bone. How can you even compete?

Now that I have a house I went all out with the Easter decorations. I have so many rabbits it looks like Watership Down in here, plus I got a big Easter basket from Sees Candy, which I think is my favorite because we don't have Sees in Florida. I had to order it. I wish Baby Lawns was big enough to color eggs. I can't wait for that. One day I also want to make those sugar eggs with a little scene inside. Do you know what I'm talking about? I remember that I wanted one of those so badly when I was little that I practically ached with longing every Spring and I never got one. I once plotted my cousin Tara's death because she had a blue sugar egg with a little plastic Bambi sleeping inside it next to some little plastic trees. I wanted that damned egg so bad I thought maybe if something awful happened to her that in the midst of the tragedy someone might look at that sugar egg and realize that it shouldn't go without an owner and since poor Tara would be dead then the egg should go to me. Never happened. Tara lives on to this day and I bet she doesn't even remember that stupid egg. I certainly do. I think I vaguely recall people molding them out of those plastic eggs that pantyhose came in and staining them with food coloring, but I don't know for sure. Do people still make things like that?

I'm going to get back to my family stuff. I just wanted to pop in and say hi and let you all know I'm here, just fulfilling my yearly genetic obligation. Hopefully I'll get a few minutes of peace tomorrow and I can write you all a story.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I've Got Chills! They're Multiplyin'!

The makeover is complete and I present to you my new look! I feel like it's the end of Grease when Sandy gets rid of those little curled under bangs and gets a perm and suddenly she's not in the 50s anymore, but the late 70s wearing spandex pants. What do you think? How 'bout that yard art?

With such a fancy new look, I'm going to have to proofread better.
Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Random Nonsense

How is it Thursday already? My goodness, the week has flown. I'm just going to warn you up front that this post is going to be all over the place.


First off, there were no pictures at Sears. After strapping two screaming babies into car seats and hauling them across town, we were told at 2 'o' clock that the photo lady was ON BREAK until three, although they close at three. I can not grasp the logic of this at all because if she's leaving at two, why not say they close at two? Makes no sense to me at all. Plus, the woman was rude and kept saying she was ON BREAK and had clocked out already which enraged me to the point where I almost had a fit and said if she didn't take these damn babies' pictures that I was ON BREAK her neck. Seriously, I think we would have received the same degree of service had we taken the infants to the DMV. Actually, we would have had better service at the DMV because we probably would have gotten a picture. All we got yesterday was taking two unwilling little ones for an hour long round trip drive in car seats that they hate and Easter dresses that were uncomfortable and scratchy. Total freaking waste of time. I'm sticking with my iPhone apps.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Picture's Worth What?

My sister and I are taking the babies to get their pictures taken at Sears this morning. I'm sure this will not end well.
As a good parent, you're supposed to take your kids to get their picture made by a professional several times a year. Thus far I have not been a good parent and my child has been photographed by little more than several iPhone apps. Hey those apps are cool though. I can make her look like she was born in the 60s. Maybe when she gets older I'll mess with her and tell her she was born in a lab in 1967 and frozen. I can tell her I found her in a time capsule and thawed her out. Look, here's the proof. See how the photo has a white border and looks all yellow and washed out? It was the late 60s. I swear.

Ehn the professional pictures. Because we're white trash, we're going to Sears. Our only other option was Babies R Us which in our area is totally ghetto and Baby Lawns' Rocawear hoodie is dirty so... If I took her to our local Babies R Us for pictures she'd need to wear some sweatpants with words on the butt. They make those for babies you know. Juicy and Babyphat and whatever other brand thinks your child needs Princess scrawled across her diapered bottom. I was thinking I could make a fortune with my own line of baby sweat pants. Mine would say "Poopy" across the rear. Maybe "Wet" or "Stinky" would also work. You know people'd buy that. I'd die before I'd dress my daughter in something like that, but there are those out there with no shame.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Like Cats and Dogs

I have officially given in and decided to let Canela go outside. A combination of guilt and exhaustion led to this decision. I was guilty over the baby making my cat feel left out and guilty about keeping a cat jailed indoors when she has so desperately wanted out for years. She's really old now, so I figured what the hell. For the past few weeks she'd been escaping every time someone opened the door anyway. One time I didn't realize she'd gotten out, walked past the front door and saw her looking inside. I understood then that she knew to come home and I figured we could try it. She's had her shots and she wants to hunt. I watched her the first few times and she has never left our yard as if she magically knows exactly where our property lines are drawn. Everyone is much happier now and as a show of appreciation, kitty has brought us dead lizards, one of which was regurgitated on the door mat.
Saturday, April 09, 2011

New Link, Should Work

Looks like some of the links I posted for DNTO were broken.


Try this one and see if this helps.
Friday, April 08, 2011

A History of Wet and Ugly Shoes

I'm not wearing any right now, but I guess I have a long history of ugly shoes, specifically with ugly shoes and water, just like with the Prada shoe story (see below).


I love my grandmother dearly. I love her so much that Baby Lawns' middle name is after her, but jeez is the woman crotchety. I called my grandmother yesterday to tell her about my radio appearance and I barely got the words out of my mouth, actually I didn't get the words out of my mouth, before she was warning me that the story had better not be about me wearing ugly shoes while I was living with her. The one thing you have to constantly be aware of as a memoirist is your relatives' paranoia that you're going to write things that will make them look bad, and my grandmother is convinced that I'm going to tell the world that she was mean and dressed me funny. Then, before I could tell her what the story was even about and how it didn't even mention her, she told me a story that I didn't know.

Wide Lawns on Definitely Not the Opera!

Here are the details of my radio appearance this weekend in case you'd like to listen. I'm just going to copy and paste the letter the show sent me with all the pertinent details and links:


"The show will air on Saturday afternoon at 2pm on CBC Radio One and on Sirius 137 Saturdays at 11am & 10pm ET.

DNTO is heard in Canada on CBC Radio One, in North America on the Sirius Satellite 137, in the United States on 2 NPR stations: KUOW Seattle and WRKF Baton Rouge as well as through online steaming and via podcast.


If you're in Seattle we're on KXOT Saturdays mornings from 9-11. If you're in Baton Rouge you can hear the first hour of the show on WRKF at 2pm.

If you're not near a radio or want to time-shift the program it live streams in each time zone here.
Thursday, April 07, 2011

Vote for Me!

Click here to vote for my blog on BOB - South Florida's Best of Blogs


I've been nominated by the Sun Sentinel for a Best of Blogs Award in the humor section! How exciting is that? Please click on the link and scroll down to the humor nominees to vote for me. You'll have to register, but the registration is quick and easy. Please! I really want to win!!!
Wednesday, April 06, 2011

South Florida Home Design - A Wide Lawns Primer

With the recent purchase and renovation of my new home I've come to the conclusion that just like with everything else down here that Florida houses are weird. Florida architecture is unique and I'm convinced that nothing else like it exists elsewhere in the country. On account of simply our geography, it seems we can get away with certain oddities of design and structure that wouldn't fly in Iowa. Or Delaware. Or Vermont, Utah or wherever you are that is not South Florida.

Roofs
Our roofs are definitely weird. For many years we've had two basic roof styles, but a third has recently come into the mix so now we have three, but the third is still fairly rare. My house has the most common - the ubiquitous terra-cotta barrel tiled roof designed to make every house evoke some kind of Spanish mission. Used to be that terra cotta was all this roof, which reminds me of rippled pie crust or rows of ziti noodles glued on construction paper like a kindergarten art project, came in. Lately people have been painting their barrel tile, trying to slap some color on it. For a while back in the early 90s, having a cobalt blue barrel tiled roof was the height of fashion, but now the only place left with that is Benihana.  You can also have a flat white roof. Why we have such flat roofs in a place with so much rain is absolutely beyond my comprehension. Flat roofs are also prone to growth because dirt and seeds don't just roll off they way they do with normal roofs, so if you don't get the pressure washer out periodically, you'll end up with two yards - one in front of your house and another on top. I can't tell you how many houses I see like that. Someone should start a roof gardening trend. The third kind of roof is a Key West style tin roof. It looks cute on certain houses and is isolated to homes owned by gay men or the very highest class Yuppies.

Jalousie Windows
Out of all the South Florida architectural anomalies I'd say that jalousie windows are my most hated. These are the old style windows that are made of horizontal panes of glass that open outward with a hand crank. Jalousie windows suck. Plain and simple. Whoever invented them (Mr. Jalousie?) should be ashamed. They never open right or close all the way and the hand cranks always get corroded or painted shut so you practically snap a wrist bone just trying to get a stupid window open. First thing I got rid of in my house - jalousie windows. And then I kicked them while they sat in the trash pile, because I hate them that much.



Terrazzo Floors
Terrazzo floors were de rigeur in Florida 50 years ago when most of these houses were built. I've never seen terrazzo anywhere else except Florida, so for those of you in other, more normal places, terrazzo is a kind of speckled stone floor that looks like the floor of your elementary school or a mental institution. It usually has a white background with different colored speckles and it comes in many different color combinations, most of which look exactly like a field of lunch meat. There's just something about terrazzo that reminds me of salami or head cheese. I've even seen terrazzo that looks a bit like olive loaf and once I saw a floor that appeared to have bacon bits embedded in it. For most of my life terrazzo has been hopelessly out of fashion and homeowners groaned when they saw it and covered it with the clearly far more tasteful, aqua or pink wall to wall carpet. Now suddenly, terrazzo is back and everyone is ripping up that beautiful carpet (I have no idea why) and having their terrazzo restored. My sister is doing this in her house with fine results. Her floor resembles not deli slices but Breyers vanilla ice cream.


Garish Pastels
The basic rule here is that you can paint your house whatever color you want as long as you don't live in one of those gated communities with strict HOAs and Design Disapproval Boards headed by residents who like to make arbitrary rules. In that case, you can paint your house almost any color you like. Outside of the gates, anything goes. If you want your house as garish as a drag queen's face, have at it. You live in Florida. Guava pink, mango, turquoise, whatever. I live across from an indigo blue eyesore and in front of a home trimmed in Pepto-Bismol. Hell, I even got in on the action and added an aqua front door and shutters to my own house. You only live once and you're doing it in South Florida. Go for that lavender, papaya or marigold. Of course you want your house to be so bright that it's visible from the International Space Station.


Screened in Pools
In 1989 when we first moved to Florida I had never seen nor even conceived of something like a screened in pool, but down here, pretty much every home has one. I never quite understood. Is it to protect you from the sun? It certainly doesn't keep out the rain. Maybe it guards against these crop duster sized mosquitoes or perhaps the screen helps keep leaves out of the pool (and instead all collected in a mucky pile on top of the screen) thus reducing time that your pool man spends skimming (because I've never seen a south Floridian skimming his own pool). Who knows?

Stones for a Yard
I blame old people. They come down from New York after a lifetime of mowing expansive lawns in their Long Island subdivisions and they've had it. No more yard work. They're retired and they're not cutting any more damned grass, so they rip up the St. Augustine and replace it with piles of rocks and there you go. Stones for a yard. No cutting required. For some reason they always choose white rocks. The glacially white rocks have an odd Arctic look that just doesn't fit in the tropics and their yards end up looking like the polar bear exhibit at a bad zoo.  


Marble Windowsills


I am including this solely for my mother in law. Apparently they don't have marble window sills in other parts of the country except in like Donald Trump's houses. Here, they're in all but the most recently built homes. When my mother in law visited she asked about my marble window sills. My fancy and clearly extraordinarily expensive marble window sills, I'm sure she was thinking. Truthfully, I don't think about windowsills and I don't care about windowsills. My marble windowsills are here because the house is old and was built with them, just like all the houses in Florida and not because I'm some spoiled, marble windowsill having brat. Seriously, I mean if I were going to spend big money on something house related it would likely go into my kitchen or maybe I'd get one of those fancy cat boxes that cleans itself. It sure as hell wouldn't be windowsills. And why are the windowsills in Florida marble? I have no idea. 



Yard Art


People in South Florida love yard art. Down the street from me a family has a full sized gyspy cart in their front yard for no apparent reason and of course South Florida is where the original pink plastic flamingo originated. Life sized manatee mailboxes, toilets as planters, plastic flowers stuck in the ground as if they were real flowers and all assortment of tacky little statues are all a requirement if you live here. Just yesterday, I kid you not, I passed a house that had a giant, meaning bigger than me, stuffed gorilla sitting in a chair on the front porch. Yard art, might I add, looks particularly nice when you have stones for a yard.


Decorative Barred Windows 


Ahh, the decorative, wrought iron window bars, because South Florida is so dangerous, yet pretty, just like its women. Need I say more? Keep robbers out with curlicues and metal silhouettes of palms.



Neglected Fruit Trees


Every transplanted northerner has imagined a life in Florida where he or she could pick fruit from lush trees in the yard, so the first thing he or she will do upon moving is attempt to start an orchard. Growing fruit trees down here is much harder than one might imagine. Because of citrus canker and citrus greening disease we don't have the loaded orange and grapefruit trees in our yards like we once did. The citrus trees we have left are usually spindly, yellowing things that require a ton of work to produce anything edible. Still, many of us hold out hope and keep ratty looking trees in our yards. The one tree that will grow well unattended is a mango tree. There are tons of mango trees down here. I once heard a Cuban saying that if you have to buy mangoes at the store then you have no friends. That's, I'm sure, a terrible translation and I can't remember the original quote (help me out here Cuban friends) but the gist of it is that there are so many mango trees here that unless you're a hermit or a horrible person there will be someone to give you some of the fruit from these prolific trees.


Southwestern Decor


Southwestern decor refuses to die. After it's 80s heyday, Southwest style retired down here and is going strong. You may remember the fringed ponchos on the walls, howling coyotes either in statue or airbrushed print. Cow skulls ring a bell? What about dream catchers? Fake plastic cacti. Aqua and peach are a popular color combo, especially with Mexican tile floors. I've never understood the popularity of this style. Every time I see it I want to shout, NO you've got your directions mixed up. This is the South EAST! 



Coral Springs Decor


I have no other name for this style. Coral Springs is a western suburb and very average middle class. Most of the residents hail from New Jersey. We lived in Coral Springs when we first moved down here and this style of decorating was all over, which is why I call it Coral Springs style. Picture a lot of pink and a lot of aqua. Metallics rule. It's a kind of Art Deco meets old folks home meets the Sopranos. It's furnish your house at TJ Maxx at its best. There is sponge paint and fleckstone, usually pink fleckstone. Try not to have nightmares imagining what it looks like.


Kitschy Tropical Themes 



My house is your tiki bar. If your home looks like you're living in the Tonga Room or if the Luau from the Polynesian Village at Disney World could easily take place in your back yard then you have overdone it with the tropical themes. Lay off the Tommy Bahama. You live in Florida, not the set of South Pacific.


So concludes my primer on South Florida design elements. Yes, we have no taste and yes, our houses generally look like something out of a tropical version of a  John Waters movie, but would we have it any other way? I know I'm not giving up my aqua trim any time soon.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tuesday Books

Guess what I'm doing today? You're never going to believe this, but I'm recording a story for public radio. I'm going to be on Definitely Not the Opera which broadcasts in Canada, on a couple of NPR stations in America and on Sirius channel 137. I'll give you all the details of when it airs and if you don't live in an area where you can listen or don't have satellite radio, there's also a podcast you can listen to. I'll provide the details closer to air time. I've never been on the radio before, so I'm a little nervous. Wish me luck. I hope I won't do something stupid. I'll be telling my story rather than reading it, which I think I'll do ok with because most of my stories start out as conversations I have with people anyway.


In the meantime, we'll talk about some books because I need to talk about books. Being an out of work English teacher, I really miss blabbing endlessly about books, so I have to do it here lest I lose my mind. Plus, I'm a bit fanatical about literacy and reading and promoting deserving authors. 


Just Read 


Last week I finished Jessie Sholl's Dirty Secret. It was fantastically well written, compelling and uniquely suspenseful for a memoir about being the daughter of a hoarder. Parts I felt were a little over-dramatized, but Sholl has a talent for pacing the story. Her strength as a memoirist is knowing when to back off the story and step out of it when the events she's narrating become too intensely emotional. When a writer deals with very harrowing, heavy material, it can become too painful for the reader, who periodically needs relief. Stories need small breaks and Sholl provides these nicely throughout her story by inserting a few paragraphs here and there which give the clinical facts about hoarders and how their minds operate. These facts also teach the reader and help him or her have compassion for people who suffer with hoarding. Excellent book and very well done. If you are riveted by TV shows about hoarding or are related to a hoarder, this is the book for you.

Continuing on with disturbing memoirs, I just finished Margaux Fragoso's Tiger Tiger: A Memoir. This book is not for the faint of heart, which I am. It's hard, painful and extremely graphic in telling about how the author was abused by a pedophile for nearly fifteen years, while her parents and other adults who could have protected her, essentially ignored the obvious. In many ways this book reminds me of Dorothy Allison's novel Bastard Out of Carolina, which is a fantastic piece of writing, but Bastard Out of Carolina is fiction and fiction is allowed a happy ending. Fragoso writes about the terrible facts of her own life and I didn't get the happy ending I needed here. Life doesn't always have a happy ending as we all know. I'm not sure that Fragoso has or will ever have that distance from the events I'm always talking about. Sholl has it in her memoir, but in reading Fragoso, I felt like the material was still too raw and too new, though with something so traumatic one wonders if it's ever possible to gain perspective. Fragoso's writing is evocative and provocative. Her descriptions and metaphors are poetic and lovely to read, but I felt like the book would have worked better for me had she concentrated more on how she overcame the abuse and if maybe she expanded a little more the few pages at the end where she discusses how pedophiles operate. I believe that when a writer takes on a difficult topic like this that there is some responsibility to at least try to create something positive out of the horrific, to provide some hope for others who have suffered similarly or to help prevent these things from happening to someone else. Fragoso doesn't exactly do that enough for me to feel ok about her subject matter. In terms of craft, Fragoso is fantastic. She is a master at showing not telling and at trusting her reader enough to let him or her make conclusions. There is very little exposition in this memoir and almost everything is in scene. Fragoso does a beautiful job at showing us each of her characters through what the other characters say about them and honestly, it's excellent writing.

Reading Now

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel.  A reader recommended this to me and as usual with reader recommendations, I'm loving it. I haven't gotten too far but this is hilarious and after two memoirs of mental illness and utter depravity, I needed something funny again. So far, I adore this book.


Waiting in the Kindle


Oh my God Tina Fey has a memoir!!!!!!! I can't wait to get done with Zippy so I can read Bossypants. Tina Fey is my idol. I love her and want to be her, except at my height and without glasses because I always lose my glasses. An excerpt of this just appeared in the New Yorker a couple weeks ago and it was hysterically funny. I can't wait to read this book. Yay yay yay!! Tina Fey wrote a book!!


You all reading anything good this week?
Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's Not Flipper!!

If you're from Florida you don't even need to read this post or look at the accompanying picture to know exactly what I'm talking about. Every Floridian, at some point, has had to say to an out of town guest:


"It's not Flipper!!!"


Then they still don't believe you and endless discussions, some involving tears, will ensue for the duration of the guest's stay.


Happens every time. It happened last month when we had visitors here from New Jersey. It's going to happen again in a couple weeks when the next round of Northerners camps out with us for Easter and Passover. It's getting so bad that I'm thinking maybe I won't take my guests out to dinner anymore or if I do, I'll make sure we go to a steakhouse or a BBQ joint where there's no danger of seafood being on the menu to distract them.


South Florida, with our clear, warm seas, has some of the finest seafood in the country. It's fresh, abundant, local and delicious, so naturally as soon as visitors unpack the Hawaiian shirts, slather on their first layer of sunscreen and swig a couple pina coladas, they're hungry for fish.


"Hey where can we get some seafood around here? You know, somewhere not too touristy where the fish is fresh," they'll want to know and I'll oblige.


Once at the restaurant, the guests'll peruse the menu and that's when it hits the fan. Usually they'll blanch, or gasp or both.


"Oh my God," they'll whisper in horror.


I've got the routine down by now. I don't even have to look up.


"It's not Flipper," I'll say.


Once the tears are over and the guest sufficiently calmed, they'll usually go with the salmon just to be safe, even though I tell them the salmon's not local. Sorry, but we don't have sockeyes swimming upstream in the Intracoastal Waterways to spawn down here.


The guests will go home, possibly scarred for life. I imagine their friends asking them how their South Florida vacation went.


"I'm never going back," they'll say.


"Why not?" friends will inquire.


"THEY EAT DOLPHINS!!!"


Ok, so yes, it's true. In South Florida, we eat dolphin. Not dolphinS with an S, but dolphin. We eat it blackened, grilled and fried. Jerked dolphin is my favorite, but I'm sure our visiting Canadians, New Yorkers, Midwesterners, etc. think jerked dolphin refers to some unspeakable breeding ritual that goes on behind closed doors (or tanks) at Sea World.


Once again, it's not Flipper.


Dolphin is a fish. A big, flat headed blue and yellow fish that looks a bit like a tuna. Oh you've probably eaten it tons of times and never known it, because the rest of the world calls it by its nonthreatening, made up, wussy Hawaiian name - Mahi Mahi. If you're cool you just go with the one Mahi. It's like Cher or Madonna. But we true South Floridians would never disgrace ourselves by calling our favorite fish by such a ridiculous name. To us, it will always be dolphin.


Lately though, I've noticed fewer and fewer restaurants willing to take the risk and put dolphin on their menus. Mahi Mahi is safer. It saves a lot of time and explanation and probably saves business what with diners walking out in hysterics, sobbing that they wanted to swim with the dolphins when they came to Florida, not francese them.  It makes me sad. When we give in to nonsense like Mahi Mahi, we're losing our unique, cultural identity. Dolphin sandwiches are part of what makes South Florida special and different from the rest of the country.


Plus, when restaurateurs give in to the anti-dolphin pressure, we locals lose the chance to mess with our guests and have a little fun at their expense. Yeah, most of the time we tell them it's not Flipper, but that gets boring.

"You never ate dolphin? It's delicious! Bottlenose meat is the best. What do you think they do when the dolphins get too old to perform at the Seaquarium? They're not letting all that good food just go to waste? Come on, try it."


I'm mean like that.

You'd think the tourists would have enough sense to know that if we were really eating porpoises down here that there would be international outrage. You think "The Cove" was bad. Can you imagine what people would do if we were actually slaughtering their beloved, hoop jumping mammals? Shoot, if that were the case, I'd be out there picketing with PETA to stop it too.

I don't know why we call it dolphin here. It's just one of those things. You know South Florida is a strange place. Once I went to Mexico and went fishing. We caught a dolphin and turned it into ceviche before we even got off the boat. Down there they call it Dorado, because when the fish gets mad, like when it's caught on a line, it turns golden. I like that name. It sure beats Mahi Mahi, and no matter how much it scares tourists, I'll always have the dolphin.
Saturday, April 02, 2011

Thank You

Thank you for all your comments and messages, both public and private. I don't know what to say. Writing things like that is hard for me, but I feel so much better having gotten it out.

I received so many emails that I don't know if I'll have time to be able to answer them all, but please know that I read every single one of them and that they were all encouraging and kind and appreciated. I love hearing from you and please know that you are all free to email me whenever you want about anything.

Many of you asked if my husband is supportive of me through this illness. Yes! Yes he is and his help has made it so much easier. Like I said, we're talking to someone and she has helped us tremendously through our individual difficulties and our struggles as a couple, which thankfully are really not that bad. She helps us with parenting too. My husband is an amazing father and Baby Lawns loves him so much that she shakes and squeals when he comes home from work. He takes her on long walks and plays with her so that I can get some time alone, which we determined was necessary for my well being and helps me face my separation anxiety and control issues. I hated it at first, but now I welcome the time by myself. I'm having it right now!

My family is immensely helpful too. Having them on the same block is a true godsend. Yes, they think I'm crazy, but they help me, especially my father. You wouldn't believe how wild this man is about his grandbabies. My mom too. Nothing those babies does aggravates or inconveniences her at all.

So, it's hard dealing with an honest to goodness mental illness, and I hate calling it that. There's such a stigma attached. It sounds so gross. Every time I hear the word mental illness I remember these school trips we had to take to Rockland Psychiatric Center (yes the one from Howl!) in middle school to play with the patients. It was like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in there. I hated going and I don't want to be like those people. Not that I am, but the word "mental illness" conjures up that connotation for me and is scary.

But you know what? It's going to be ok.

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