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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not sweating the small things...

I was told that in order to properly enjoy life that I shouldn't sweat the small things...

Not an easy task for an anal retentive Virgo who likes everything to be orderly and in it's proper place.

Having children in my house - all the time, I've accepted the fact that my house will never be truly clean.  There will be toys, there will be stray socks & shoes & yes - you may rest your arm in something sticky.  Sorry about that...

I've been trying to weigh what's really important.  Is it important to let the kids have fun, or have a spotless house?  I'd much prefer the spotless house - but a happy child is good for the sanity as well.

So what's important?

When I posted the phrase of not sweating the small stuff on Facebook a while back, I got a reply that when all the small things add up, they become a big thing.  I guess that can be true, and incredibly overwhelming.

My ex-sister in law helped me put this into perspective a while back.  When fretting over some things that I had no control over she said, "Jenn, will any of this matter to you in 10  years?  In 5 years?  How about even 1 year?  If not, who cares."  I guess sometimes it's good to have an outside perspective.


When life's little troubles start piling up and getting to you - think about it...  Will any of this matter in 10 years?  Then take it from there.

I wish you all a stress free day & the ability to not break a sweat...

Thank you for reading my blog!

Big Hugs!


When your first little birdie leaves the nest...

Admittedly, I did not handle my son leaving the nest well.

He joined the military.  Something, of which, I am incredibly proud of.

My son, though the light of my life, is the child that really earned me my mommy stripes.  He was my tough kid, the one who gave me a run for my money.
If there was trouble, he'd find it.  He was much like my brother Eric was as a kid, not necessarily the ring leader, but certainly a willing participant.

Despite all of that - he was my "little buddy" growing up - Momma's baby boy.  When he left, it was very difficult for me.

The day he was scheduled to leave for boot camp, I helped to pack up the very few things he was able to bring.  I drove him to the rendezvous point, where he was sworn in & swooped off to boot camp.

I cried the entire 2 hour drive home.

When I got home, I shut his bedroom door.  I'd go in a few times & clean his room, keeping everything as he'd left it - but ya know, clean.  No one was allowed in, but me.  It was my shrine.

Every night, I go to my kids' rooms.  I watch them sleep for a few seconds, kiss them on the forehead, pull up their covers & let them sleep.  It was / is a ritual.  There was no one to kiss good night in his empty room.  So I just looked at the empty bed & sobbed.  My heart felt hollow.

The first weeks after he left seemed endless, and then I finally got a phone call.  An honest to goodness phone call.  I was over the moon.  I was finally able to book a flight & go see my "baby boy" or, in reality - the man he'd become.

My mind reflected back to the beautiful infant boy that was placed into my arms, to the cut up little boy who decided to ride his bike down that REALLY BIG hill, to the troubled days that now made me giggle a little bit - and I realized, I blinked.

My baby boy was now a man.

The day I never thought would come quickly enough during those troubled days, was slapping me hard in my face as I now beam at my young man with pride.  No longer a baby - now a man.

True, parenthood is full of trials.  It's full of days you wish would just end - but when they do, you realize how much you miss those days.  Well, some of them...

Thank you for reading my blog!!

Happy and Safe Labor Day weekend, kiddies...

I'm outta here!!



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Garage Sale(ing) HATE IT!

I've come to the conclusion that I am NOT a good little "Garage-saler"...

Every year, our neighborhood has an annual garage sale / block party.  Since it always falls on the weekend of my daughter's birthday - we usually don't participate, but this year - we decided to give it a go.  Clean the basement, clean the garage - get rid of the crap and see if we could make a few extra bucks.

What the heck, right?
The kids were all in and incredibly excited!
Since we will be headed down the shore for a few days, they want some extra boardwalk cash.  They diligently rummaged through their old toys and old books.  We worked together to price up their items fairly and display them nicely. They were incredibly excited.

Knowing the mentality of the garage sale population, I put out a very specific sign for the kid's table:
"All children's items are priced fairly.  The children are saving for the boardwalk, please don't haggle with the kids - if you think something is priced too high - please speak with an adult."

Pretty cut and dry - right?  No mistaking the intent- right??

So you'd think.

Along comes this woman and her adolescent boys...  Well dressed, for a garage sale.  One of the boys picks up the (almost new) Spaulding basketball - priced at an incredibly low $3...  Then heads over to the girls... What's your best price on the basketball?

My poor daughter - totally intimidated.

Really lady?  Can't you read?

Of course, Momma Bear steps in...
pissed that my 10 year old is being harassed by an adult.

Me:                 "The basketball is $3, as it is marked."

PITA Lady:     "Well is that your best price?"

Me:                 "MY BEST PRICE IS $3 - JUST AS IT IS MARKED."

PITA Lady:     "So you won't go lower on the ball?"

Back OFF my kids!
Really?  I hear the words coming out of my mouth.  Can't she?  I know I've put up signs.  Perhaps she doesn't read?  Doesn't understand the language?  Nope, she was an English first language speaking woman.

Now, I'm trying to contain my anger...
Me:            "The ball is $3 - take it or leave it."

 I was behaved, I didn't offer to help her carry the ball out in a completely different area of her body than is required to carry a ball....  I wanted to....

Seriously, what the heck is wrong with people?

Are you so intent to get that "great deal" at a garage sale that you'll pounce on a kid - when there are 3 adults standing by?

For $3?

That doesn't scream thrifty, that screams A'Hole...

So basketball lady....  Hear this...
If $3 is such a hardship for you that you need to bully a ten year old for a cheaper price, than you shouldn't be buying basketballs at garage sales - you should be buying food.  Now move along and leave my kids alone!
Never again!

Reason 999 why I hate having garage sales.

See... I could have spent my time more wisely... Like blogging :)

Have a great day!


Monday, August 27, 2012

We, The Broken... A guest post by the beautiful Cassandra at Fire & Rabbits

Today is the 5th Anniversary of my brother's suicide.
Since that time, it has been very important to me to help prevent suicide.  To be someone who will help, a resource. 

For this year's anniversary, I've asked my amazing & wonderful "bloggie friend" Cassandra at Fire and Rabbits to guest post for me.

If this post helps even one person, I am eternally grateful.

And now, I give you the lovely Cassandra...

we, the broken

Jenn has given me the humbling and honored task of writing a guest post about something that is close to both our hearts on this important anniversary for her.  I wish that neither of us had anything to say on this subject, but sometimes life chooses your strengths for you and God puts you exactly where you need to be, even in times of abject weakness.  I’ve struggled with bi-polar, mania, and depression since I was a small child, and never has it felt like a blessing until now.  The dirty secret about being suicidal is that once you reach a certain point, you don’t care about anything anymore.  Well, except for dying.  You care about that a great deal.  You don’t believe what anyone says to you.  The words of comfort roll off and hit the floor.  The platitudes of PSA’s swarm and retreat, meaningless.  Making the decision is freeing and empowering.  And selfish. And cowardly. 

That’s what no one explains: to seek help is brave.  It’s scary.  It feels unnatural.  When you reach a point where your survival instincts are turned off it’s a terrifying journey to ask for help.  To admit brokenness.  To admit defeat.  I can say all this with absolute certainty because I’ve been there.  I am there.  I live everyday as a person who has to ask for help. 

A year ago this September was my sixth attempt to end my life.  In the hospital, after the cobwebs began to clear, I wrote in my journal:

October 3, 2011

I think one of the biggest things I have to do to get well is let myself remember what I did.  I have to confess to what I willfully and intentionally did to my family and to my body.  I have to put all the ugliness on paper.

Then I have to forgive myself for it.

I remember spending time with my grandmother and mother that day, all of us wondering what to do as my depression worsened.  My lights were barely flickering and any signs of life were becoming harder and harder for my family to see.  I’d been lying to them for years about my condition, pretending to be well and functioning when inside I was slowly unplugging.  They thought I was at the beginning of another cycle of depression that we could cut off at the knees, and secretly I was trying to organize my life enough for my death.

I stayed with a friend because everyone was worried I was too depressed to be alone. I went along with this because I knew they could take care of my dog when I was gone.  I also did not want to die in my mother’s home, or in mine where my dog might be alone for days.  I zombied through an afternoon with my mother and grandmother feeling like a petulant child mumbling automatic answers to empty questions.

I went back to my friend’s house and showered and put on makeup, trying not to consider my fat, pale form repulsing the people who would have to get my body.

I took eight beers from the fridge and hid them in the guest room, feigning tiredness and excusing myself for the night.  I started with the Klonapin first, 27 pills washed down with cowboy cold Lone Star beer.  Then the Atenolol for good measure, also 27 pills.  Then I fell asleep with my dog curled up on my feet.  I woke up about three and realized I hadn’t done enough so I went to my friend’s medicine cabinet and took 24 Walgreen’s brand 12 cold and sinus pills then 18 Aleve 12 hour cold and sinus pills, then 8 more Aleve.  I remember they spilled on the floor.

Then I slept.

The rest is a blur—my friend found me around four the next afternoon and wondered why I was still in bed.  She called poison control and we went straight to the ER.  I know my mother and grandmother were there.

No one could understand how I had lived.  Even my liver enzymes were fine.

I was sent to a mental hospital, again, numb and lethargic and angry.   The first five days were spent detoxing out what I took and trying to get my bearings.  My nephew was born a few days later.  I looked at his little face in the pictures my mother sent and wanted desperately to re-join the living:

October 3, 2011

Today I laughed with my fellow patients.  I mourned their losses in a group, and I began to see how lovely We, The Broken, can really be.  We reflect and expand and contract.  We tell the truth about our own shame and guilt, and we admit the courage it takes to heal from deep wounds.  We accept that sometimes the only answer is “it is what it is” and that has to be enough.

I have victimized myself and my family for too long.  I have used my illness as a tool to manipulate and be an observer in my own life.  If I had only understood that being well doesn’t mean that problems go away and the waves of life stop crashing.

I no longer have to put on a brave face.  I can be brave, courageous, fearful or scared and know that I am loved so completely that people are willing to fight for me.  Everyone, including me, is a person who is loved deeply.  We have mothers or fathers, brothers or sisters and friends who care for us when we do not care for ourselves.  There is an army of love out there, people who are fighting their own battles to understand what brought us here.

The most obvious thing I see in my journals from the hospital as a person now struggling to live and be well is that I was never, at any time, alone.  I had people holding me up—in prayer, in support, in tears, in compassion; I was surrounded by love.  It was seeping into all the hollow places I had allowed my depression to eat away over the years. 

I guess that I’m the tough love version of suicide prevention.  I’ve earned my stripes in a terrible way so I can use tough love.  If you are struggling, ask for help.  It’s scary.  I get it.  But the consequences of staying the way you are is more far reaching than you can understand right now.  I know what it’s like for your brain to be clouded in depression—nothing anyone says makes sense—but listen to them anyway.  They love you.  They love you more than you love yourself, most likely, and they are your advocates right now.  Let them be until you are well.  Let your army fight for you.  There isn’t a big secret to life somewhere that you missed but everyone else knows.  Life is for living, even if it sucks sometimes.

I live with the damage I’ve done to my family and friends every day; the trust that’s been broken, the wounds I’ve administered with select intent, and the shadows of things that I can’t undo.  I’m okay with that, because I’m living.  I get to wake up every day.  I get to write, I get to paint, I get to listen to music and eat good food and hold my nephew and see bluebonnets and have my heart broken. I got to turn 33.  I didn’t think I’d do that.

Who cares if I’m in a million pieces most of the time?  I’m beautiful.  My life is beautiful. 

Even shattered things can reflect light.

I’m determined to be very open about my struggles and victories, and if you have any questions or comments please visit my blog Fire and Rabbits or e-mail me at  You’re not the only one who feels lost.  I can say with all honestly I know exactly what you’re going through.  Let someone help you.

Thank you again, Cassandra.  Your story touches my heart in such a way I can't even clearly state.
Be well, young friend - your heart and spirit are amazing - as are you.  I am in awe of your strength.

Smoochies to you all!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Good Stuff...

As I sit here plopped on my couch with my coffee, I'm watching my beautiful daughter play her Wii game.

Maybe that doesn't sound like much to you all, but to me - it's a little bit of everything.

Let's face it, the past few weeks have been a culmination of crap that just exploded in more directions than I could clean up at once.

Some stuff being realities I never wanted to see, now coming to light and other stuff - well, just bigger.  The creeping ick began to settle in & thought that I'd allow it to stay!  

Not in this lifetime.

I'm not one of those Debbie Downer types.  If I see someone sad, I try to be all Suzy Sunshine & happiness.  Sometimes it's welcome, sometimes its not.  No matter.  I try to find the good in the crap and I'll just keep looking until I find something.  Anything.

Weirdly, I really AM just fine with everything that's been going on.  Some of the stuff I'm used to and it just rolls right off my back.  The bite may sting a little, but I can still brush it right off, shrug my shoulders and continue forward.  Some bites sting a little more, because I wasn't expecting them.  Those may will take a little longer to heal.

I'm tough - I'm persistent - nothing will keep me down, trust me!

Back to my daughter - My reason to smile, to be happy in the right now.  She was one of the things I REALLY wanted after my son was born.

Don't think for a moment that my son wasn't enough - because he is my shining star.  My love and light, my first born, who has grown into an amazing human being that allows me to beam with pride.

You see, when my darling dearest son was a little boy, he wanted a baby sister. Every day from the time he was 4 years old, he asked me for a baby sister - as if it were this easy feat.  My son was my special buddy and I wanted him to have everything he wanted.

His father and I were headed sprinting down divorce row.  Thing were not at all pleasant, and a baby wasn't something I could consider, let alone promise at the time - even though, like him - I longed for a baby girl.

Life, course moved on.
I met and married my amazing husband and to help Kyle along with his wish - we "worked" toward expanding our family.

The pregnancy journey was unkind to me.

When we finally got pregnant with baby girl AND I made it all the way through my first and second trimester - it was like the party already started!! We were all thrilled.

When she finally arrived - he WAS an incredibly proud big brother.

In preparation, I'd gotten him the "Big Brother" hat and a special shirt custom made with a big brother & a baby sister & their names.  He wore both until he could no longer fit in them.

Yes, they bickered - of course they bickered - they're siblings.  BUT let someone else pick on HIS baby sister, his pride and joy - NOT happening!

It's these things that make me get through the ick...
The 5 minute Facetime call that I didn't expect to receive from my son, who is currently serving our country or just sitting here on my couch, with my coffee and my kitty cat watching my baby girl play on her Wii - and then Chickadee joining in.  It's hearing the laughter and the love and knowing that THIS is really what it's all about.  The good stuff.

The ick may try to settle in to other areas of my life, and it is trying - but I'm a tough little Jersey Girl.  I have no intention of letting it get me down.

Where a door slams shut...A window is opened.

Look out for that open window!

And have a fabulous day!



Happy Birthday to my baby girl!!
I love you to the moon & back, to infinity & beyond!  xxoo

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Church of the Holy Throne... revisited

Growing up, both I and now my children learned quickly that no one ever needs to know what goes on behind the closed bathroom door.

If the door is shut, there is nothing so important that can't wait until the door opens back up.

Now that chickadee is in our home - she's a little slow to learn this and will knock on the door for any reason at all.

This is my aspiration
Now my kids know... When I head to go into the shower - leave me alone.  For the love of monkeys, I'm only in there for 7 minutes or less.  All want or need to care about is that there's hot water, shampoo, conditioner, soap - a towel and QUIET.  Leave me alone.  That's where I have my morning conference call with the Big Guy upstairs, or just have my deep thinking moments.

I don't care what happens on the other side of the bathroom door.  I don't even want to know that anything outside the shower door exists!

It's seven minutes - deal with it!

This is my reality
This morning... not once, not twice - but three time.  Knock, knock, knock..."Miss Jennnnnn."  OMG, what does this child want??  My husband is out there - what can I possibly do for her naked, with soap in my eyes that he can't deal with? Nicely (the first time) I ask what she wants.... 
"I finished my breakfast." Great...and I need to know NOW why?  Whatever - I'm kinda busy trying to enjoy the hot water cascading off my body at the moment.  Less than two friggin' minutes later.... "Miss Jennnnnn, CeCe won't let me play with her Barbies."  Um...I'm not the only parent in the household. Seek other advice.  Another minute later.. "Miss Jennnnnnnnnn, I need to pee."  OMG, OMG, OMG - then GO IN THE OTHER BATHROOM.

She may be friendlier...
So much for my nice relaxing shower.  Now I'm just annoyed and everyone's on the chopping block. The short one for interrupting me three times in 5 minutes - yes, I even shortened the time.  My daughter for not sharing the stupid Barbies & Hubby for not feeling so horrified that Ogre wife would appear that he didn't immediately steer short one far, far away from the bathroom door.

I called a general announcement...."Here ye, here ye... Unless there is Danger, Severe Injury, Mass Destruction or Fire - I am NOT to be disturbed in the shower... ARE WE CLEAR?"

Sheesh, we knew better growing up.

We were born and bred with knowledge that the closed bathroom door was like church - NO TALKING.

So now the cross is hung high on the bathroom door - and I will once again christen the water closet as that of "The House of the Holy Throne".  No Talking, No Knocking, No Kidding.

Violators are subject to a swirly :)

OK maybe not really, but it ought to keep 'em at bay so I can at least enjoy my own version of  "7 minutes in heaven" - a hot shower!

Have a nice day all!!



Friday, August 17, 2012

Are you wearing that on purpose?

I am not the judgmental type.

I generally roll along with the given life theory of que sera sera...whatever will be, will be.  This was all my dad's doing - the peace, love and tie dye pappa that raised me to believe that we're all individuals - unique and special (just like everyone else).

This, in my mind, is why when I see the outlandish outfits some kids put on, I just view it as their expression of individuality.  Hair grows back, ear holes close (just not those really friggin' big ones - so don't do it) not a big deal.

To some degree it's fine... Then you really have to say -- come on now... Don't you have a friggin' mirror?

I can often BE that fashion faux pas, so who am I to say?  I wear what I like, what I think looks good & expresses my unique personality and what's comfortable without looking trashy or ready for bed. While I am a mama, I don't own yoga pants (no one hit me please) and I never leave the house without a shower, my face on and dressed appropriately.

Driving through an area I don't usually frequent - I noted some of the outfits on the people around me. Now don't for a second think that I'm going to get stereotypical here - because not all of the "holy crap what is she wearing?" was specific to race or gender.  It was across the board horrific!

Put it away
Yes, it's hot out.  It's summer, sweetie cakes.  That doesn't mean all your what nots needs to be hanging out everywhere!

I'm no longer a skinny mini and I'm not a total "big girl" but let's face it - I KNOW that I no longer possess that hot 20/30 something body I was once so proud of and ya know what... I cover that crap UP.  I know that spandex and I are not friends, unless it's UNDER my clothing trying to help me fit into that smaller size & keep things in check.

It's an undergarment... NOT the outfit.  No one needs to see that!

I get that not everyone is meant to go through life as a size 5.  I am one of those not size 5 people - but these young girls/women should not aspire to be size 16-20 - nor should they be wearing a size 8 at a size 18.  Sheesh...

Uh, and skinny girls - you're not off the hook either.  Just because you CAN wear a tiny little top where everything up to your what nots show - but just not all of your what nots, doesn't mean anyone wants to see it.  Well, maybe they do - but don't get all mad that they're looking.  You're showing!  What do you expect?

Not Sexy Either
This isn't about body image - and I don't think that every young girl or woman should be a size zero.  I was a size zero once upon a time and I was not healthy.  I fell into the skinny's in bull crap - that was not my body.  I don't feel girls should be waifs .  I believe they should pay attention to what they put into their bodies to be healthy..and then what they wear to either tone down or accentuate their bodies - to be comfortable with themselves.

It's about self respect and respect for others.  Feeling good for the right reasons.

Pull UP your friggin' pants!
While we're talking about things hanging out, I'm not just picking on the girls.  This is an across the board rant.  Guys... I do NOT want to see your ass!  Do you know what's worse than your pants hanging down past your ass crack?  Skinny jeans pulled down past your ass crack.  Um... Why?

Pull up your pants.  Have some respect for yourself & respect for others.

You can't let it all hang out & then get pissed off when people stare or say something.  Sure - go be different.  Letting your ass hang out is not different - everyone's doing it.  Letting all your what nots show for the world to see isn't different.

Put that crap away!


Now go check yourself in the mirror and get outta here!

Take a smoochie before you go :)

Happy weekend & Thank you for reading my blog!!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

When I was yourrrrrrr age....

Like every generation before me, I'm going to say it..."things were different when I was a kid."

Yes, I've seen that Jersey Shore show.  I'm not going to knock it, because that's the entertainment industry's idea of reality TV to portray to the rest of the television viewing planet.

I know that's not what the Jersey Shore is all about - because I AM A REAL JERSEY GIRL!  Born and raised.

New Jersey is also not a a state only full of oil refineries, swamps, mostly cities like Newark or Camden oh and the mafia - but beautiful the Garden State.

I still live in Jersey.  Once upon a time I had an "escape from New Jersey" plan.  I even moved out of state once, but I came back.

The truth is - I've got all I want or need right here.

Currently, I live in the woods.  Yes the woods, in the mountains in Jersey.  I've got bear and deer and bobcat that roam free, along with other critters that don't need to be called out.

(I'm getting to my point soon, promise.)

I moved "way up here" to get away from the more urban area where I'd lived & to get away from the crime that was creeping over to my nice little town.  While there may be crime everywhere, I wasn't interested in the little shoot outs that begun to happen not too far from my home.

Yeah, I know - not a great selling point for Jersey, but let's face it - even in the nice Midwestern states there are shootings and crime.

I grew up in the "city".  Starting off in the Paterson area then to Clifton for most of my adolescent life.

When I was younger things weren't as bad as they are now, but - let's just say - my environment taught me to be tough. You needed to be tough, or at least appear tough.  That tough, definitely gets me through the difficult times & the times where I need to have my skin be just a bit thicker.

We didn't portray the New Jersey youth that's shown currently shown through the screen of the television.  We were a real group of kids who looked out for each other.

...and on weekends in the summer - we went down the shore.

Picture a scene from an 80's movie...

A bunch of high school kids piled into a friend's car.  The music is cranked loudly, arms & legs hanging out of car windows, each taking turns throwing quarters over the car into the toll basket while traveling the hour to two and a half hour drive to our beach of choice.

Then when you finally got there, all you would smell was the delicious sea air, Hawaiian Tropics suntan oil and sausage & peppers from the Midway.

In my high school years, Seaside Heights was the place to be.  Yes, just like on TV.

The group of us used to stay at this place called "Jean's Rooms".  The place was just like it sounded - a big ol' house - where this woman named Jean rented rooms.  Two beds to a room - showers and bathrooms were common to the house and down the hall.  Rooms were $30 a night.  Now you know a group of teenagers will cram 4 to a room, two to a bed for a $15 weekend.  Pffft, we needed money for food, beer and boardwalk.  Hello, job or no job, none of us were rolling in the dough!

Too bad, you're late!
This was a really great place to go for us - because this lady Jean really did care about her guests.  She kept an eye on us kids and made sure no one got out of hand or wrecked her place.  She kept it respectable & if there was trouble - it was gone in a flash.  She was like grandma and the boss all in one.

Also - if you came back to the house after 1 am - you were bummin' doors locked.  Rules are rules!

When I got a little older and had my own car - I had the standard overnight bag and many rolls of toilet paper packed in the trunk of my car, ready to go.  I know that you weekend shore people get the toilet paper thing... Toilet paper was a HOT commodity.  You seriously HID your toilet paper to be sure you always had it.  Remember, we were kids.  Open door policy applied at almost every shore house. Got beer?  Sure, come on in.... Did you bring your toilet paper?

We didn't get drunk and fall over people to throw up, or pee in public or start random fights... There were "guidos" and "guidettes" and what my group of friends called "hair monsters" at the club, but no one was fighting or being disrespectful to the family people.  We just had a good time and did what we were supposed to do.

But life rolls on...

Perceptions change.  The world will change.  Things will either be better or worse - I hope for better.

One day my kid's kids will be out on their own adventures, and I'm quite sure my kids will one day say...

"when I was your age........"

Thank you for reading my blog!!

Smoochies :)