Stuff that Jeanne says

There is no rhyme or reason…

C’est la vie!

I haven’t been much in the mood for writing these days. Haven’t really felt passionate about anything. Maybe I am going through something, and I am hoping to dig deep and pull myself out of it.

In the past couple of months I have not been dealt a good hand.  I’ve had to face some emotionally difficult situations, and relive some painful memories. I have also been trying to get myself on a career path that seems to be taking forever, but also  financially it seems almost impossible. The company I work for is struggling financially and it’s affecting all of it’s employees. I see my co-workers unhappy and that pains me, since work has usually been a place for me to escape but it’s been hard because as they say “misery loves company”. And since I am an emotional eater, I have completely disregarded my health by cramming whatever I can down my throat on a daily basis and not exercising.

I know things could be worse, I understand that, but this is my reality for the moment and I would never minimize any one else’s situation. I am not looking for sympathy, merely just venting. I guess you could call this a therapy session! I have endured many emotionally crippling  things already in my life thus far. A near fatal car accident, loss of a child, death of a parent, and a substance abuse problem of a close family member..and I am sure that this is just another bump in the road,  but how many more bumps can my vehicle handle before it falls apart?

The answer to that is maintenance. Just like a car needs maintenance to prevent it from falling apart, I also need to maintain myself. Take care of my health, continue with my goals even if they do have to be put on hold for a while, and do my very best that I can at the job I have now despite the situation and low morale.

So, if you too are struggling, remember that this is life! We are going to go on a roller coaster ride, even if you do not like roller coasters.

English: The Kraken roller coaster ride at Sea...

Image via Wikipedia

Set goals but make sure they are reachable. Take care of your health because above  all that is the most important. Without a sound mind, body and soul one cannot perform and function at their very best without cracking. Be grateful for the things that you do have, because somewhere, someone out there doesn’t have anything at all.

And  when life beats you down….lend a hand or share a story, helping others is a good way to boost your mood..if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it you must accept it. Stay positive. I am positive that things will get better. If not all things, at least some. 🙂

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Quick PSA

So, I am new to this blog world and I am sure that there are certain “rules” or things that I should know, but I don’t. One thing I do know now is, do not put up a post with the words “naked” and “children” in it. I am going to be deleting a post I previously wrote about what age it is appropriate to stop dressing in front of your children. Here is why. This wordpress site is very good at giving me statistics. It will tell me how many people have viewed each post. It also tells me how they found my posts. Well, since posting the one referenced I have found two alarming search inquiries. After the first one I changed the name of my post because someone found me on a canadian Yahoo search buy typing in “naked for mommy”. That was not the title of my post, but those words were in it in a much less disgusting way! I was completely appalled, disgusted and mortified.  And just today, another person found the same post by searching on an Australian google page “naked young kids”. Completely appalled, disgusted, and mortified again x20!! So now it is being deleted forever.

I could make this page private, but what I am going to do instead is keep those words in this post so if someone does come across it while searching for  something else, I can tell them  “You make me sick, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself”. There are worse things that I could say, but I would like to keep my composure and let them stay in my head. I would like to tell them that they need help, but unfortunately there is no help for them.

The government cannot protect us from these bottom feeders of the Earth. We are responsible for protecting our own children. Yes, I could seem paranoid about the whole thing, but I’d rather be paranoid than naive. Don’t “trust” people because it’s more convenient for you. Get to know the people that your children are going to be around.  Talk to your kids  about their  private parts and how to protect themselves, especially at a young age.  As they get older, monitor what they do on the internet.

I have worked in human services for 8 years, and I can’t tell you how many people I have worked with who have been sexually abused by, (and I hate to say this), a family member. It happens more than you know. I have also worked with registered sex offenders who have also abused their own family members, or children that they have been “trusted” with. There are two types of predators out there. The one who plans out what they are going to do, and the one who acts impulsively. Both are equally dangerous and just as sick. So please, protect your children. It’s hard to know who is a pedophile and who isn’t just by looking at them (my husband would argue on that), but all I can say is trust your gut, it’s usually right.

 

Feed the Children

No, this is not some Sally Struthers commercial from back in the day, even though I miss those commercials. Is it bad that I would laugh when i saw them? Not at the children of course, because it is heartbreaking. And I’m not laughing at the parody’s that were made to poke fun at her weight (because honestly I’m not far from her at her biggest). I guess it’s just her name, Sally Struthers. Whatever the case, I am at wit’s end as to what to feed my 5-year-old son!

English: Sally Struthers at the Filmex Tribute...

He is the pickiest eater….Just today I came home from the grocery store, and as he is helping,  peeking at the food that I brought home, he starts scolding me saying I didn’t buy him anything for dinner, all I bought him was junk. “Mom, do you really want me to eat junk for dinner?!” He yells. Really kid? Because last time I checked, that’s all that you eat! Here is what he eats, and will not stray from the menu. Now please don’t judge me for what he eats, he is eating and that is what matters, otherwise he would be one of those children in the Sally Struthers commercials!

Lunchables- Nastiest thing on the planet. Bologna, turkey, ham in circle shapes with some crackers and a ridiculously sized chunk of cheese.

Hot Dogs- I don’t mind he eat these, but I have to pay almost 5 dollars a package for all beef.

Macaroni and Cheese- The most processed thing on the shelf. Makes you wonder how they get that orange color. If I try to stray from the Kraft and make him organic, he won’t eat it. Sometimes I will throw a hot dog in there. Barf

Kids Cuisine- Nothing says yumminess like a microwaved meal. Really, he hardly ever eats them and only wants them for the puzzles on the back, the chance to win prizes, and the gummy snacks that come with them. Waste of money!

Kids Meals and Happy Meals from our local fast food chains-I don’t think I even need to get into why these are not a good choice.

That about sums it up. Nutritious eh? I have done research on how to get him to try new things. Sometimes he is willing, but most times he is not. Luckily he has the metabolism of my husband (who is 6 feet and 140 pounds) otherwise I am sure I will be having to think of a way to get him to exercise without screwing him up and giving him a body image issue and low self-esteem.

He does like some healthy things. Blueberries, carrots, and grapes. But that’s about it. So I go broke buying these things just so I can make sure he is getting something nutritious into his body.

I am hoping that this is a phase, as with everything else he tortures me with, and that eventually he will try healthier things. I was the same way as a child, just a little different. I would eat the same thing every night until I got sick of it. My mom and dad would argue because even though she would cook a five course meal for the rest of the family she would have to make me french toast every night for a week!

So it makes me wonder, am I just like my mother?? Am I an enabler? Could I try harder? Sometimes we do things out of convenience, so is it just that it’s more convenient for me? I do try, but I feel like I don’t try hard enough. What things do you do to try to get your picky eater to try new things?

Sincerely,

One frustrated mom!

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European Vacation-Part IV Wrapping it up!

Okay, I am going to attempt to finish what I started. I decided to wrap it up in this post, so I can move on to some other nonsense. I think I left off somewhere at Red Light District Amsterdam, or maybe that’s where my mind is, in the gutter as usual. So here is the rest….Train ride to Paris, Eiffel tower, Belgian waffles, Belgian beer, crappy souvenirs, swatting off homeless people…Back through the Chunnel to London, seeing a play-The Graduate, Picadilly Circus where anything goes, and I witnessed 1,000 Hare Krishna’s parading out of the subway or “tube” as they call it. “Minding the Gap” Look it up. Tavern on the Thames where I met some french dude named Jean Luc, we made out and I lost my friends who left me in a foreign country, but came back in a taxi to get me. Thank god.

Okay, so that pretty much sums it up.

Seriously though, Paris is one of the most beautiful places I have seen, and I wish that we could have stayed longer. However, we did not get treated with much hospitality. We stuck out as Americans, I don’t know how, I think someone stuck a “kick me, I’m American” sign on my back because that is how I felt through most of my trip. Being that it was post 9/11 (nearly a month after) that could have had something to do with it, I don’t know. In Amsterdam, we were asked if we knew Osama Bin Laden. Umm..i didn’t know how to respond to that question, so I gave the kid the stink eye and walked away. We were also followed down the street by some man who was muttering the words “American’s”, “tourists” “go home”.  One time, when we were eating at a restaurant, the waiter gave us our bill, and at the top of the bill it said “Yankees”, he apologized and took it back because that was his copy, and his way of knowing which table it went to! Geez

If you go to Paris, don’t ever go without some sort of pocket translator, or someone who speaks French. That will sure come in handy. I had to ask the woman at the ticket counter in the Metro station, which train I had to take to get to Montmarte Boulevard. She looked at me as if I was speaking alien and I was from outer space. I pronounced “Montmarte”  20 different ways in my best french accent before she said “oh yea, Montmarte!” All I could picture running through my mind was the scene from Money Train, you know the one…It involved gasoline and a match?! Also, while at the Eiffel tower looking for the Metro, we approached a group of heavily armed officers to ask them where the closest Metro station was and they just looked at each other and laughed. I had to close my eyes and open them again, thinking maybe I was delusional and having breakthrough schizophrenia.

Anyway, I’m not here to bash other countries, but the fact of the matter is, if you are an American traveling abroad you are not superior. You are in their country, so do some research before you go. I plan to travel for as long as I am on this Earth, and I will learn from my experiences. March will be my trip to Ireland which I am super excited about, but I have a resident tour guide (who was also my partner in these rantings) so I will be okay, let’s hope. On the agenda will be pub crawling, castles, and beautiful scenery. I will post about the trip shortly after I come back, but until then I will be continuing on with my random posts about everything and nothing!

 

 

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European Vacation-Part III Amsterdam cont’d

Day 2 in Amsterdam comes, and it’s time to check out of our hotel. We weren’t quite ready to leave Amsterdam so it was time to find somewhere else to stay. We packed up our suitcases (no, we didn’t travel lightly) and hit the streets looking for a vacancy. Julie had wanted to stay at the Hemp Hotel. We stumbled across it, and decided to check in. The concept was a great idea, everything was made from Hemp, the staff was friendly, but the accommodations were a little dingy and had the scent of body odor emanating from every corner. The room had a sink in it, and the bed was squeezed into two walls so the only way to get in it was to slide in from the bottom. Most buildings in Amsterdam are tight in space. The hallways are narrow and the stairs are steep. Definitely not “American” sized! If we had to use the toilet, we had to go up a flight of stairs to the bathroom above us. I think we even skipped showering the next day.

View from my window

We considered staying in a hostel to save money, but after peeking inside one and seeing it full of people piled on one big bed and sleeping in bunk beds,  we changed our minds.  I am sure that there are many hostels that are accommodating, but we needed somewhere that we could rest comfortably, not have to sleep with one eye open, and take a nice hot shower. In total we spent about a little over a week, flying by the seat of our pants. We stayed at a Best Western, a gay friendly hotel, and other random places in all different parts of the city.

Here are some of the things I enjoyed while in Amsterdam: Vlaamse frites (basically french fries smothered in mayo) don’t knock it til you try it! The people..they are very friendly! Many speak English, and better than some who speak it as their first language. While in a coffee shop, a nicely dressed woman came in, sat beside us and lit up a joint. She had a quick conversation with us about what our plans were for the day, and then excused herself while she had to leave and go to work! The architecture of the city itself is amazing. Canal houses are tall but narrow. Most are only about 30 feet wide. There are pulleys at the top that people use to get furniture inside because the staircases are too narrow. This type of architecture can also be found in some parts of New York city( known as brownstones), also once known as New Amsterdam, when Dutch settlers started a new life in the New World.

We spent many of our days in coffeshops, living in a “haze”. I do not recommend doing that because the city has so much more to offer. Many of the streets look the same and it is very easy to get lost (especially when under the influence) and end up on a street saying to yourself “didn’t I just come from here?” We didn’t take cabs, or public transportation, we walked everywhere and that to me is the best way to experience a new place. Bicycle use is HUGE  in Amsterdam, every street you walk past is lined with bicycles. Many tourists ride them, but more residents own bikes than cars. There isn’t much space to park a vehicle in the city, and before the smart car was introduced here in the US, I saw many of them in Amsterdam.  Men and women were cycling to work in their suits, dress clothes and  some women in heels.  But I can’t even ride a bike at home!

We didn’t try too many different foods. I am a very picky eater, and if I can’t read it, I don’t eat it! Julie on the other hand, was so hungry one night and we were lost. We came across some sort of deli that looked like it was getting ready to close. She just picked something on the menu, because the big guy behind the counter was yelling something at us in Dutch and we were scared. It appeared to be some sort of sausage, and she was eating it without hesitation, I could not bring myself to do it. Honestly, I don’t remember what I ate for an entire week.

Hanging out at a coffeeshop (Julie on the left, me on the right)

We wanted to find the Red Light District, strictly out of curiosity of course!  For something that is so taboo to us, we wanted to view it for ourselves.   The streets are lined on each side with women sitting in the windows, dressed in racy lingerie and brings new meaning to the term “window shopping” or maybe that’s where the term came from? I tried so hard not to make eye contact, as if I wasn’t interested. I never walked so fast down a street than I did there! I read somewhere before hand that they frown upon taking photos in this area of the city, and if you break out a camera the girls will robe up and go inside. At night you can see the glow of neon lights lighting up the street. Despite what the Red Light district stands for, it really is a beautiful sight and a must see!

The red-light district in Amsterdam by night

Red Light District

Well, time was running short, and we still had a few places to visit. We definitely wanted to get to France, and I wanted to spend some time in London before I headed home. So it was time pack it up and head back to the train station. We lost our luggage tickets that we got from checking our luggage in earlier that day so we could spend just a little more time in the city. But it was hysterical to watch the luggage handler bring out every black suitcase one at a time before we identified ours! No surprise we lost our luggage  tickets, after frying our brains for a week it’s completely understandable.

When I go back, I will do some things differently. I will visit the museums and parks and try new and different foods. I will make hotel reservations, even though it was a fun experience going day by day staying at different places in every area of the city but I’m a little too old for that now! And I will take more pictures! And if they decide not to take away the coffee shops from tourists, I will definitely visit them again.

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European Vacation, Part II-Amsterdamage!

So, day two of my European vacation arrives and it’s off to Amsterdam! Julie and I had purchased a Eurail pass which is a great idea if you  ever travel to Europe and want to visit more than one country. There are many different options you can select from, that take you to many different countries. We chose the Benelux package (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) But it didn’t only take us there. We were also free to roam  Germany and France as well. We had planned to explore many places, but once we got a “whiff”  of Amsterdam, we almost became residents.

We left on a train from London to our destination Amsterdam. England is an island, so the only way to get to the other European countries by train is..under water. Yikes! I’m not a big fan of riding on a train at high speeds under water. As we cruised through the English channel, or “Chunnel” there was no scenery. No, we didn’t see fish, sharks, or stingrays. Just walls, that felt like they were closing in on me. The train was shaky and fast, which I didn’t mind because honestly the faster the better,  just get me the hell out of there! After about 35 minutes, we end up somewhere in the countryside of France, and hop on another train Belgium and then to Amsterdam. You may think it very difficult to navigate in foreign countries with different languages, but most countries have things written in English, and the train systems are fairly simple to navigate.

A Beneluxtrain from Bruxelles arriving at the ...

Benelux train

We arrived at Centraal Station in Amsterdam, and seriously it was like night of the living dead. If you think there is a homeless problem in America, go to Amsterdam. Zombie like people roaming the joint panhandling for change to try and get their next fix, (so i’m guessing). They are a colorful bunch of people, who look like they are from all over parts of the world. My theory is that they went to Amsterdam for the liberal use of illicit drugs, and then never left. Panhandling must not be illegal because they had no problem walking into the bank and asking me for change while I was standing in line waiting to convert my currency! Now keep in mind, this was in 2001, right before the Euro was introduced, so by the end of my trip I had a change purse that looked like the United Nations couch cushions!

English: Amsterdam's Centraal Station at night...

Centraal station

So off we went. With a street map in hand, and a hotel reservation (that I made while back home) and we were on our way. I mentioned transportation being pretty easy to navigate, but not in Amsterdam. They use some sort of tram connected to  train tracks below and wires above, that drove in the middle of the streets,  and the destinations written on the front were not English. The street names in Amsterdam are on average about 13 letters long! Some use 2-3 vowels in a row, and are not easy to pronounce. Try asking how to get to Ceinturbaan street  if you’re lost!

I’m kind of a hotel snob, and when I was looking for hotels to stay at, I wanted a clean, 4-5 star hotel that wasn’t crawling with hippies, panhandlers and people under the influence. The first night we stayed at the Novotel, but little did I know, it was in the business district of Amsterdam way off the beaten path of all the “fun”stuff! After checking into our hotel we grabbed our walking shoes…oh wait, I forgot to mention that I didn’t pack walking shoes!!!!! At the last minute back home, I switched suitcases, and forgot to pack my sneakers! All I had was a pair of black loafer type dress shoes that I sported the whole vacation because I was too cheap to buy sneakers..(lost my job, remember?) The first night we were there, we mapped out a few places we wanted to visit, and walked the streets to each destination. My feet were killing me! And Julie wasn’t offering to rub them!

Amsterdam is full of rich history, The Van Gogh museum, The Anne Frank house, and beautiful city parks. We didn’t go to ANY of those places! (We did go to the Van Gogh coffeshop though, and they don’t just sell coffee!) So, many of you know that Amsterdam is known for their “coffee shops”. They serve coffee, yes, but they also have a vast menu of different types of marijuana for purchase and use while in the coffee shops. Hey, when in Rome, right?!  We spent a week in Amsterdam, and because this post has already rambled on, I am going to leave it right here. I hope that you come back for part III because we had some exciting adventures that I want to share, and some more travel tips. I have a lot to say, and I want to say it all, so I am afraid that this might turn into a mini series! I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into here! But please feel free to leave some thoughts, comments or questions that you would like to address or get answers to for the next post, I would love it!

that's me on the right!

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European Vacation, Part I- The Arrival

I’ve always wanted to write about my travel experiences, problem is though that I don’t travel that much anymore these days! (I could write about my trip to Hell and back, but I haven’t come back yet so keep a look out for that one!)In the past decade I have traveled to places like: Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New Jersey, New York, and the Bahamas. Exciting, I know.. But this year will be full of travel experiences, and my first destination will be Ireland. I’ve been to Europe, and this upcoming trip is getting me excited because 1. It’s Ireland!! and 2. It reminds me of my last trip to Europe and how I just loved it there!

In October of 2001, I took a trip to London, England to visit a friend that was studying abroad for a semester. I can’t imagine she did much school work that semester because the whole 2 weeks I was there she NEVER went to class!!! As you know, 2001 wasn’t a good year for America. I had a great summer, went to Vegas with friends, was making good money at my job, living on my own with a roommate and then September 11th came, and I feared for my safety traveling abroad just a month later. I lost my good paying job, and a friend I was supposed to travel with backed out (he said his parents made him, we were 24 yrs old!) Anyhow, like I said, I had lost my job,  and all the money I had saved was for my trip, but what would any responsible adult do? Go to Europe of course. Even though I knew I was moving back home with the ‘rents as soon as I came back!

Boston’s Logan airport was under heightened security. There were security checks everywhere, and people were being profiled and patted down. I, however, got through with no problem and no questions asked, while I watched almost everyone else being subject to an extra search. I guess I fit the profile of New Englander, and most likely didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction on me. I don’t know…..But the flight was fantastic! There was hardly anyone on the plane! I flew on Virgin Atlantic, and Richard Branson did a nice job with his airliners. Of course you have to walk through first class to get to coach, and on my way I noticed a spiral staircase that led to what I could only imagine to be some really hip lounge with fabulous beverages! When I found out my friend wasn’t coming with me, I wanted to see how much first class would cost, since I was flying alone and the cost was unimaginable. 10,000 dollars for first class!!!! That’s right! I was expecting to see that foot massages, mani’s and pedi’s, and blowjobs were included, but nope..that was just for a seat, and possibly admission to the spiral staircase. I was hoping and praying that since I received the royal treatment at the airport, they would bump me up to first class out of kindness, but that didn’t happen!

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-400 (G-VBIG...

FU Virgin Atlantic, for not bumping me up to First class!

Finally, after being jet-lagged and arriving in London at 5am, midnight my time, (with no one to pick me up like they were supposed to! ahem, Julie..)  I was in a complete tizzy being spun around by commuters, and run over by luggage carts. I felt like I should have been getting ready for bed, yet I was up at the butt-crack of dawn..confusing!!! I scrambled to find change to use the payphone and call Julie  to come pick me up, but then realized the payphones don’t take quarters!! I was smart enough to have some money converted in the U.S. before I left, but didn’t have any change.

After panhandling for some change to use the payphone and waking Julie from her slumber, I tell her not to bother (because I hate waiting and I knew she probably had a gnarly hangover), I will just take a cab. It was a nice surprisingly sunny day and I had the quintessential black cab experience with a little tour along the way from my cabbie who pointed out where Madonna lived, but I couldn’t be excited because the only thing that I could think about was,  how much is this going to cost me???

80 pounds and about 45 minutes later, I finally arrive to the dormitory she was residing at in South London. I’m not sure if the “South side” of everywhere is the same, but South London fit the description of the dismal, poverished, unsettling area of every “South side”  I’ve been to. I was greeted by my friend and given the tour of her residence hall. Finally, I  made it to my accommodations and was excited to see where I was going to sleep. I knew this was going to be the kind of trip where it was sleep whenever, wherever, but her bed was so small (didn’t even look as big as a twin) and the little area of carpet in her room was wet, because for some reason Europeans don’t think it necessary to put up some sort of division between the shower and the floor. All there was, was a little “lip” so when you shower, the water just flows freely everywhere.  But I didn’t care, I needed sleep. I pretty much took a catnap, how long can one possibly sleep when in a foreign country with so much to see and do?

The evening was fantastic. Walking along the Thames River, strolling over  Tower Bridge (which by the way is a drawbridge, and I had no idea til the damn thing started shaking) and snapping photos of Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abby.

Look kids! Big Ben!

I wish I had more photos to share, but after moving 8 times since, many have gotten lost. I had to use a camera, yes a camera that used a roll of film.

Kind of a low key evening, since the following day we were taking off to Amsterdam, Holland,  The Netherlands!!!

To be continued…….European vacation, Part II- Amsterdamage!!!

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Taking a Hiatus..

Hey all that subscribe to my page. I want to first thank you all for being interested in what I have to say! But also want to let you know that I will be taking a little time off from writing. A dear friend of mine lost her child, and my heart is breaking for her. I try to think of other things to distract myself, but it is just too hard. Most of us say that we don’t know what we would do if we ever lost a child, but we never expect it to happen to us, or a good friend of ours. 2 year old Sophia was such a precious baby girl. She left an impact on everyone that has met her, and even the people who haven’t had the pleasure. No one should ever have to lose a child… I feel so helpless for my friend, and feel like I should be there holding her tight every day, but I know that she and her husband and their 3 girls are surrounded by many people that love them.  Everyone is devastated and I hope that they can all  find the strength to move forward, and always keep Sophia’s memories alive. Tomorrow will be the day that she is laid to rest, but she lives on in our hearts. I am finding the strength to be there for them, but am at a complete loss for words.

I want to share a poem that I wrote for Sophia.

Sweet Sophia

You are now an angel up above

Your life will always be cherished

with beautiful memories and lots of love

Why you left this Earth

We will never know

But like the sun peeking through the clouds

Your presence will always glow

We will miss your laughter

and your abundant toothy smile

Until we meet again Sophia

If even for a while

You are in the hands of God

and loved ones who have passed

You are a free spirit

In a place so vast

Until we meet again

If even for a while

Shine down on us Sophia

With that abundant toothy smile

 

Why I am a REAL housewife!

Some may disagree that I am not a housewife because I have a full time job, and I am going to school working towards a better career…however, I beg to differ.

house·wife – /ˈhousˌwīf/ 1. A married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework.

(thank you Google chrome for the definition!)

So yea, out of the 168 hours of the week, I may spend 40 hours at work, and  50 hours sleeping, but the other 78 hours are spent tending to my very rambunctious 5 year old and my 34 year old man child husband..my dog and cat..cleaning, cooking, budgeting(aka dodging overdraft fees), paying bills, grocery shopping, , laundry..etc..etc..etc…..
Here is my confession. I am obsessed with every Real Housewives show on Bravo. My favorites being Beverly Hills and New Jersey. But, I want to petition that they change the name of the show. Half the women are not even married. They should change it to The Real housewives, divorcees, and baby mama’s of………Okay, I know that doesn’t sound as good, but you catch my drift? Another thing is why don’t they film one in New England? Are they afraid that there may be too many F bombs that they’d have to bleep out?  I know that I would never be cast on that show, the most expensive thing I own is a pair of Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses I bought at Sunglass Hut a year ago.

Deutsch: Logo

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 11:  Cast members...

What it would be like to have “rich people problems”….
What dress do I wear to my friend’s daughter’s baptism-the Chanel with the Prada heels, or the Dior gown with the Louboutin pumps?
Will my stylist arrive in time to finish my hair and makeup before my friends arrive for the dinner party that I am throwing, where my personal chef will be preparing all of his best dishes?
Should we take the Range Rover or the limo?
Those options would be fabulous, and I am not going to lie and say that I wouldn’t love to have to decide between those things, BUT that will never be me and I accept that. I have a holiday party to go to tomorrow night at a friend’s house and this is what I will be doing to prepare.
I will reach in to my closet (because I can’t walk into it) and grab my new Angels jeans I bought at Kohls the other day I bought for $7.20 from the clearance rack and with a coupon!
I will run the brush through my hair for a little more volume after falling limp from running around all day, and touch up the makeup that I applied in the morning while asking my five year old to get dressed umpteen times.
I will most likely carpool with my two friends Toni and Tracy in Tracy’s 1998 Ford Expedition (sorry Tracy, I’m sure she still runs great!)

I will pop a frozen dinner in the microwave for my husband, because he will NEVER cook for himself.

And most of all I will have a lovely time with great friends , not having to worry about which one is talking about the shoes I am wearing, or the outfit I have on.
This is what makes me (and my friends) REAL housewives, and this is what Bravo would get if they came to New England!
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Creating memories with family on the Holidays..

This is a holiday photo taken at one of our family gatherings. Circa 1982ish? One of the greatest memories I have growing up in a large family. (can  you tell which one I am? blondie, front row center, possibly the milkman’s daughter, I don’t know.) This was taken at my aunt’s house, and it isn’t even the entire family. 

The holidays.  A time for rejoicing, merriment, feasting, and of course…family! In my past experiences, the holidays have always been a mixed bag of people crammed into a small apartment with me and my army of cousins running around, while the adults chain smoked in the kitchen. Bless my mother for wanting to host the holidays in our small second floor apartment in the Silver Lake section of Providence, but with the size of the family being rather large, it would have been nice if they could have rented a hall! We did on occasion spend the holidays at others’ homes, but  my my mom loved to entertain and still does. Most of my mom’s side of the family lived in Rhode Island,  minus a couple of aunts and uncles that lived down south. My mom comes from a family of  eight. My dad’s entire family( which is even bigger than my mom’s)  lived in Texas, and we shared holidays with them at times, but not as much as I would have liked.

At one point in time, there would be roughly 14 of us kids together,  and we  had to entertain ourselves.  Sometimes we would go outside, so we could avoid the secondhand smoke which wasn’t “dangerous” back then, and go deaf from the loudness of the adults talking over each other. As mentioned, I grew up in the city, and there wasn’t much of an area for us to play. Triple decker family homes, lined up side by each. (For those of you who are not from Rhode Island, a triple decker is a three story home with a separate apartment on each floor)  We didn’t have Nintendo DS, Ipods, or Playstations to keep us occupied. We had an alleyway outside where we played tag, or hide and seek. Or if it was too cold, as sometimes the harsh New England weather could be, we would cram into either mine or my brother’s bedrooms and listen to the radio while we told jokes, or swapped punches while the parents had no care in the world. Every now  and then one of the adults would catch wind of it, and I remember getting a slap from my grandmother  for teasing my younger cousin Charlie! I will never forget that. My grandma was one tough cookie! (C’mon, we all have one of those cousins!)   We would sneak  the “spiked” punch when no one was looking and one year my older cousin Sheri (who was probably 15 at the time)  was sick  from sneaking too much! She learned her lesson and never went for the punch again!  I remember having to sit at the kiddie table when I really wanted to sit with the adults, and  at gift time, we would all sit around the tree, while our aunts and uncles passed around presents to each of us! They must have hated having to buy for all their nieces and nephews, but we didn’t mind.

As I got older, most of the family slowly migrated south, my cousins had families of their own,  my dad has since passed and family gatherings just haven’t been the same.  I miss the loudness, the packed house, playing outside in the cold, even the secondhand smoke! (ok, maybe not that, but you know what  I mean!) We don’t have big Christmas eve gatherings, or Christmas dinners, but we still get together in a smaller and more intimate setting since it is just me and my nuclear family, my mom and her boyfriend, my brother and maybe an aunt and uncle or two.

However, my 5 year old son is an only child, and also an only grandchild to my mom. Which means on my side of the family he doesn’t have the cousins to beat up and play tag with. We can’t kick him out of the house to play by himself in the cold, and he doesn’t have a kiddie table to sit at. Many people are not having the big families that they used to. Times have changed. Both parents are forced to go to work just to pay the bills, and more women are focusing on their careers.(Well at least this is my situation)  We try to do everything we can to make sure our son has memorable holidays. He has an advent calendar, a bell with links attached that he rips off each day to countdown to Christmas, a calendar from Toys R Us that he uses to color in each day as they pass. (And he thinks it’s time to do all of these while we are rushing out of the house in the morning!) We write a Christmas list, which one day he saw it and I had crossed off items that I bought and he yelped “why are things crossed off my Christmas list??” Oops. Sometimes I feel bad that he is all alone, and it makes me spend extra money on him so that his gifts from Santa are overflowing from under the tree onto the living room floor, but I know that isn’t the answer, and I guess he doesn’t really know what I had as a child and what he is missing. My husband and I are forced to be young again, because we have to play with him on Christmas morning with all the exciting things he got from Santa. (We don’t mind though) I guess we are creating our own memories with him, and I hope that he will look back on them and it will bring a smile to his face.

As Christmas is only less than a week  away, I can celebrate happily knowing that my son has two parents that love him, and the family that is here and afar that care deeply about him.  I wish I could go back in time, and just have one more big family holiday because I sure do miss those days. Things could be worse. I know that there are many people out there who don’t have anyone to share the holidays with, so please be kind to everyone you encounter, even if it’s just a smile. And most of all, appreciate the family you have, because you never know when they are going to be gone.  Happy holidays everyone, (and don’t drink too much punch!)

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