Sunday, July 31, 2011

Have you or haven't you?

Borrowed from another friend's blog, here's a list of Have or Have Nots.
The things in BOLD are the things I have done.
The others I have not...not yet anyway...
How about YOU?

1. Been to the Red Light District in Amsterdam (Twice!)
2. Slept under the stars (In a tent, but never out under the stars...someday!)
3. Been a part of a hockey fight (Can't imagine this ever happening...)
4. Changed a baby’s diaper (many many many...but, gratefully, it's been a while!)
5. Given more than you can afford to charity
6. Climbed a mountain
7. Held a tarantula (Loved my little pet tarantula, Heri!)
8. Said “I love you” and meant it (what a difference it makes to say it and MEAN it...)
9. Bungee jumped
10. Visited Paris (Three times now...)
11. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise (But I see many on the way to work several times a week!)
12. Gone to a huge sporting event (Many! The biggest being the Dodgers' 50th anniversary game--along with over 100,000 others--at the Coliseum in 2008 )
13. Climbed the stairs to the crown of the Statue of Liberty (Twice!)
14. Grown and eaten your own vegetables (Miss this!)
15. Stood on the top of the World Trade Center (also stood at Ground Zero...)
16. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (Are you kidding? I grew up in Catholic Church...this happened weekly!)
17. Wished upon a falling star. (No, but I'm keeping my eyes wish is ready!)
18. Bet on a winning horse (LOVE going to the races)
19. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (Never taken a sick day)
20. Been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa (I have literally been within 10 miles--TWICE! On the list!)
21. Held a lamb (no, but I was at a goat slaying ceremony in Kenya...close enough?)
22. Gone skinny dipping (on the '50 things to do before I'm 50' list...)
23. Had a meaningful conversation with a homeless person. (Quite a few in Kenya...)
24. Seen a total eclipse
25. Hit a home run
26. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking (Every time I dance)
27. Adopted an accent for fun (If you have ever hung out with Allison, you have done this too!)
28. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (Does Jonesboro, Arkansas count?)
29. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment (For a lot longer than a moment...)
30. Loved your job 90% of the time (I'd say 99% of the time)
31. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (definitely)
32. Gone rock climbing
33. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach (No. But this would be toward the top of my wish list)
34. Gone sky diving
35. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (countless times at Coco's...)
36. Bench-pressed your own weight (I don't think that would be possible.)
37. Milked a cow (Bottom of the wish list...)
38. Alphabetized your personal files (And my CDs and DVDs)
39. Ever worn a superhero costume (Although I was the green Powerpuff girl one Halloween)
40. Sung karaoke (Would LOVE to do this...)
41. Lounged around in bed all day (One of my new favorite things to do...)
42. Gone scuba diving
43. Kissed in the rain (This is on the wish list too!)
44. Played in the mud
45. Gone to a drive-in movie theater (lots of very memorable dates at the drive in. Wait, there was a movie playing?)
46. Done something you should regret, but don’t (Many things...)
47. Visited the Great Wall of China
48. Started a business (Once, I kinda owned a hospital)
49. Taken a martial arts class
50. Been in a movie (OK, it was a waitress training video for Coco's...close enough?)
51. Gone without food for 3 days (Can't see this one ever happening...)
52. Made cookies from scratch (And ate LOTS of batter!)
53. Got flowers for no reason
54. Spoken more than one language fluently (La plume et sur la table. ok. no.)
55. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone (never gotten into a fight.)
56. Bounced a check (Many. But, gratefully, not in the last six years.)
57. Read - and understood - your credit report (Only in the last six years!)
58. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy (Chatty Cathy, Bobblehead Dolls, Old Lunch boxes, PEZ dispensers, and more!)
59. Called or written your Congress person (and my letter was published in the LA Times)
60. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over (Hmm...yes)
61. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
62. Helped an animal give birth (no comment)
63. Been fired or laid off from a job
64. Won money (I was the name of the day on K-BIG-$500!)
65. Broken a bone
66. Ridden a motorcycle
67. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph (My brother in law's Porsche 911 Turbo!!!)
68. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
69. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing (When I flew to Italy, I took THREE Tylenol PMs and was OUT the whole time!)
70. Eaten sushi (Oh Lord YES...LOVE it!)
71. Had your picture in the newspaper
72. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
73. Gone back to school (Got my Bachelor's Degree a week after my 37th birthday!)
74. Changed your name (My maiden name is DiLallo)
75. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands (We are talking fly ball, right?)
76. Eaten fried green tomatoes (Come on, my mother is from Arkansas!)
77. Read The Iliad
78. Taught yourself an art from scratch (Baking? Cooking? Blogging?)
79. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (For the love of God.)
80. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt (Still doing this...)
81. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (I do this at work nearly every day)
82. Been elected to public office (No. But I have been elected room mother, team mom and vice president of the music boosters!)
83. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (Every single day...)
84. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (My Grandpa John)
85. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you (I couldn't GIVE my artwork to someone who KNEW me)
86. Dyed your hair (once or twice...)
87. Rocked a baby to sleep (oh yeah. oh yeah. Loved my babies so much.)
88. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all fours (No. But I have wanted to.)
89. Raked your carpet (Our RED shag!! Remember Gina? So beautiful!)
90. Brought out the best in people (I think I have.)
91. Brought out the worst in people (I hope not.)
92. Worn a mood ring
93. Ridden a horse
94. Cooked a dish where people asked for the recipe (All the time. BTS!)
95. Gone to a Broadway play (Many many many many!)
96. Been inside the pyramids (Definitely on the list!)
97. Shot a basketball into a basket
98. Danced at a disco
99. Played in a band
100. Tutored someone
101. Ridden a train
102. Eaten caviar (once was plenty for me...)
103. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need (yeah, maybe more than once...)
104. Ridden a elephant (Every year at the fair right before I have my funnel cake!)
105. Published a book (Maybe someday!)
106. Pieced a quilt (Will never have the patience.)
107. Lived in an historic place ( I've lived in the OC for 48 years! I'm older than most of the cities!)
108. Acted in a play or performed on a stage (But not my Senior Class play...have I ever mentioned that?!)
109. Asked for a raise
110. Made a hole-in-one (No. But I bowled a 201 in late 1977!)
111. Gone deep sea fishing (Should have killed it and prepared it for dinner!)
112. Gone roller skating (Was a regular at Skateway!)
113. Run a marathon (Absolutely last on my list. Wait, it's not even on the list.)
114. Learned to surf (Would LOVE to learn to surf!)
115. Invented something (I totally invented the "pull up"...disposable potty training pants. Tried for a long time to sell the idea. Yeah....and the chip clip! )
116. Flown first class (OH yeah--complimentary too! Took more pictures on this flight than when we were in Paris! It's the only way to fly!)
117. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite ( Venice, Italy. Alone.)
118. Flown in a helicopter (Over the Swiss Alps!)
119. Visited Africa (Kenya 2008)
120. Sang a solo
121. Gone spelunking (No. And don't look this up. There are a couple of definitions. No to both.)
122. Learned how to take a compliment (Yes. And OH how I love to take them.)
123. Written a love story (Oh yeah...)
124. Seen Michelangelo’s David (My oh my yes...twice)
125. Written a fan letter (To Michael J. Fox)
126. Spent the night in something haunted (A Victorian B & B in Cape May New Jersey.)
127. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane (Oh good God, no thank you.)
128. Ran away (See #60)
129. Learned to juggle (I'm going to buy a bag of oranges...can someone please teach me?)
130. Been a boss (And been a little bossy.)
131. Sat on a jury (I was juror #138 in April 2011)
132. Lied about your weight (Come on, I weigh 120. Period!)
133. Gone on a diet (I LIVE on a diet)
134. Written a poem (A love song or two actually...)
135. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox (A Bobby Sherman Lunchbox!)
136. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
137. Been to the southern hemisphere.
138. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks (Used to take my kids all the time!)
139. Gone to the opera (Have been in a LOT of Opera houses in Europe tho!)
140. Gotten a letter from someone famous (Michael J. Fox)
141. Ridden in a limousine (A few times now!)
142. Attended the Olympics
143. Can hula or waltz (See #26)
144. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books (Even MET the Hardy Boys!)
145. Been stuck in an elevator
146. Thought you might crash in an airplane
147. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert (Although Bobby Sherman sang a song to me when we saw him at the OC Fair...)
148. Saved someone’s life (My own.)
149. Eaten raw whale (Really?)
150. Know how to do needlepoint (Remember your awesome birthday gift, Sonja?)
151. Laughed till your side hurt (Nearly every day...)
152. Started crying for no apparent reason (Every single day...)
153. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing (Yes. But lets admit, the best pictures have people in them...)
154. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival (Went to the Globe Theatre in London!)
155. Spent the night in a hostel (With Allison in NYC!)
156. Been a cashier (Yep. And then was promoted to being the lady who cuts material.)
157. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
158. Donated blood (Every six weeks at Montage!)
159. Built a campfire
(I was a Bluebird and a Campfire, you LOVE those stories, huh?)
160. Have a blog (Oh man, do I have a blog!)
161. Know CPR (No. But I like mouth to mouth. I know. BOO!)
162. Owned a convertible
163. Met a famous Sports Celebrity (...have I ever told you about the time Greg Maddux bought me a drink?)
164. Found a long lost friend (and got a great new friend out of the deal...)
165. Fallen in love

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baby Gap

Last weekend I went to a baby shower--and for the first time ever--I was the only MOTHER in attendance (and I've been to way too many baby showers.) There were a dozen or so women at the party--in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s--and yet, there was not one other mother in the bunch!
As she opened her gifts, the mother-to-be and I seemed to be having the only conversation. She asked me question after question after question. Not that I ever lack for words, but seriously, how long has it been since I felt a contraction or breast fed or stayed up all night with a crying baby?
I must admit, amazingly enough, the answers seemed to flow very easily from my mouth; somehow all of those things are still very fresh in my mind. I shared my natural childbirth experiences (hey, she asked!) as well as the frustration I felt when I couldn't figure out why my baby would not stop crying. And I recounted my brief attempt to save the world by using cloth diapers. (Or should I say, diaper.)
Of course, in between the questions I shared with her the REAL memories of those hearing my babies' sweet little laughter. And the splashing delight of giving them a bath in the kitchen sink! And of their first word, first step, first tooth. And of holding them in my arms and rocking them to sleep. (At one point I was a little misty-eyed.) Sure, it's been a long, long time since I've had a baby...but those things are always fresh in my mind.
As the only representative of motherhood present, I wanted to be sure she understood what she was in for: yeah sure, hours of labor and 2am feedings and piles of dirty diapers and the crying and the teething...
But I made sure she knew what was really ahead: more smiles and laughter and excitement and adventure and happiness than she could ever possible fathom!!
...and, 28 years later, it will still be among her favorite things to talk about.
Secure your own mask before assisting others.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fairly Reliable...

To be really honest, I could do without 95% of all that the Orange County Fair has to offer. I don't ride the big rides or play any of the games (does anyone really need a six foot Hello Kitty?) God knows I wouldn't touch a chocolate covered corn dog or a beer battered Snickers bar, and I'm not particularly fond of huge masses of people--I usually try to go on a Wednesday at 10am if I have my choice!
And, personally, I think it's ridiculously expensive.
All that said, thanks to Sunny and Elijah, I haven't missed one in years. We skip right past the rides, games and food stands and go straight to our FAVORITE parts of the OC Fair:

we ride the elephant...
then we go see the snakes, spiders and reptiles (I LOVE these!)
we spend a LOT of time with the farm animals (and always hope to see the newborn piglets!)
and we spend the rest of the time wandering through the vegetables and flowers...
I LOVE the gardens!
in between, of course, we have ice cream and popcorn, get our face painted and take lots of pictures...
and I just love on that little guy.

But other than that, I can do without the fair.
Til next year of course.

Anticipation of pleasure is, in itself, a very considerable pleasure.
David Hume

Thursday, July 21, 2011

If I could turn back time...

I have a very good memory. Actually, I have a phenomenal memory. Although friends often marvel at (read: make fun of) the fact that I can remember the license plate number on Steve Brady's truck (1D83813), and which movie I saw with Brian Mathews on our first date at the drive in (Popeye), and the theme of Homecoming 1980 (Babe)--remembering things from the past--in such detail--can actually be quite detrimental at times.

I remember way too many things from my past that I would love to forget. And most of the time--with pin point accuracy--I can tell you where, when and with whom all those unfortunate things happened. (I can usually tell you what song was playing at the time too...)
Perhaps the most painful part of this is knowing the exact moment I could have CHANGED everything and altered the future completely. And lived a totally different life.
Sometimes, for just a split moment, I truly think that I can jump in my 1978 Volkswagen Rabbit and drive back there. Back to where I was in 1979 or 1980. As if I'd find ME waiting there--out at lunch or at a football game or where ever I was at that moment of bad decision. Sometimes, I feel like I could TRULY do that...and I actually would love to do that. Honestly, I fantasized about doing just that...all the time. I call it my 'time travel field trips.'
I wish, SO OFTEN, that I could go back in time and find ME--my 16 or 17 year old self--sitting on that stupid bench in front of the boys' locker room at Mater Dei...and knock some sense into her!!
"Be in the Senior Play" and "Go to Hawaii" and "For the love of GOD--GO to UCLA!" is what I would SCREAM at her. No, I would encourage her. Kindly and with so much love. I would let her know that it's HER decision--not her parents' or her boyfriend's--and that it will greatly affect her future!
And, I know, she would be so GRATEFUL! She knows I am right...she KNEW what was right EVEN THEN! She had relinquished control to others...God knows why. Still today I don't know why she had no voice. (The voice finally showed up in 2005.)
And what of the boy who looks longingly at that (dumb) girl, sitting (reluctantly) on the dumb bench with the 'popular' kids at school. Could I drive over and let him know it's OK to go talk to her? Buddy, find a way to say hello at least, please! And damn, when you are given that last chance and you are sitting right behind her at graduation, for the love of Jesus--tap her on the shoulder and say hi! Ask to borrow a Kleenex! What have you got to lose?!
Yeah, besides the next 30 years.
Youth is OH SO wasted on the young. SO many opportunities, SO many open doors, SO many chances and so many choices. Why didn't we say 'NO'? Why didn't we go with our gut and scream, "I don't want to do this!!" It's actually OVERWHELMING to me at times, to think that I got married six months out of high school and spent the next 23 years regretting the decision and living with the consequences. I SO didn't want to walk down that aisle. I actually OFTEN think of having a time travel field trip to that church on in April 1982 and running in before that wedding starts. I can SEE myself dragging me out of that church...with very little resistance, actually. I know that I would be so glad that I arrived just in time. (I suppose we should ride away on a bus...)

The other day I got off the 5 Freeway at First Street in Santa Ana. On the corner...the Elk's Lodge where our Baccalaureate Breakfast was held in May 1981. As I sat at the light and looked over at the lodge, I swear I felt like our whole class was still sitting inside there. Still 18 years old. Still waiting for life to start. And waiting for our older selves to drive over and run in and come save us from our youthful mistakes and save us from our life long regrets.

Or maybe it's just Julie DiLallo left in there. Crying her heart out...
And still waiting for me to show up.

Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away.
Love, like the Autumn sun, should be dyin', but it's only just begun.

Like the twilight in the road up ahead, we don't see just where we're going

And all the secrets in the universe, whisper in our ears
and all the years come and go, take us up, always up

Sung, through tears, by Mike Belprez and Eddie McDonald at the Elk's Club, May 1981

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"it's never too late to be whoever you want to be
there's no time limit...start whenever you want
you can change or stay the same
there are no rules to this thing
you can make the best or the worst of it

i hope you make the best of it
i hope you see things that amaze you
i hope you feel things you've never felt before
i hope you meet people with a different point of view
I hope you live a life filled with joy

and if you find that you're not
i hope you have the strength to start all over again"

~Benjamin Button

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Aunt Juju

With Sunny, Thea, Thatcher and Logan
November 2005

With Logan, Sidney, Thatcher, Thea and Sunny
When I look into the future, it's so bright, it burns my eyes.
~Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, July 16, 2011


  1. Expectations are planned disappointments.
  2. If my house was burning down, I'd just grab my laptop. And maybe my purse. Yep, that's about it.
  3. Vin Scully can make even a crappy game sound attractive.
  4. I could eat a whole box of See's DARK chocolate molasses chips.
  5. I schedule nights now to be alone and do absolutely nothing.
  6. I am very rarely overwhelmed. Everything can be solved/fixed/figured out.
  7. I LOVE an afternoon nap.
  8. I love Orange County. It's not "too fast" for me. It's just perfect.
  9. I got a big kick out of paying $3.75/gallon for gas in Orange the other day.
  10. I really wish that I didn't have to watch my weight. I miss pancakes, granola and bagels.
  11. I am happy 99% of the time. The rest of the time, I'm just sleeping.
  12. I drink a little more than a half pot of coffee every morning before I leave the house.
  13. Once a week or so, a guest at the hotel will say that I look like Reese Witherspoon. Or Alice in Wonderland.
  14. I often fantasize about going back in time and changing things.
  15. I LOVE being with my high school friends. I love shared memories. And making new ones.
  16. I miss cooking.
  17. I have never broken a bone.
  18. I really miss my other house.
  19. I was 21 before I was ever on an airplane.
  20. I am addicted to writing.
  21. I have never seen one episode of Star Trek.
  22. I can't believe how much I love the iPad.
  23. I have so enjoyed the giant bathtub at this apartment.
  24. I love to be in a cabin in the mountains. (Especially in the snow)
  25. I would rather have a cold Corona than any other drink.
  26. I always have my camera with me. Always.
  27. I admire my daughter more than anyone else on earth.
  28. I really love getting my hair washed when I get it done each month.
  29. I sleep with two pillows. One between my knees.
  30. I can see my whole life with a soundtrack.
  31. I could wear jeans with a tee shirt and flip flops everyday and everywhere.
  32. I love the smell of something baking in my house.
  33. I think email is the best thing ever invented. And Google.
  34. I wish the tattoo would just go away already...
  35. I really enjoy watching people as they are being picked up or dropped off at the airport.
  36. I love to dance.
  37. I really love kissing.
  38. I LIKE getting up early and rarely see 10PM.
  39. I now truly enjoy my days off.
  40. I am living the life I always dreamed of.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

14 Juillet

Bastille Day
Paris, France 2006

Bastille Day
Costa Mesa, California 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nothing to do, no where to be...a simple little kind of free

I enjoyed an early breakfast with a friend this morning and, as he got up to leave to go to work, he asked me what I was going to do for the rest of the day.
I said, "Not much!"
In my other life, I would have never dreamed of answering this way. I wouldn't have wanted anyone to think that I was lazy or unproductive. Now, well, everyone knows that am neither of those things and I am happy as hell to tell you that I don't have anything to do today. And feel damn good saying it.
I actually stayed at the restaurant after he left, had another cup of coffee and finished two more chapters of my book. As I headed home I thought about stopping at the market or at Target, but I had to admit that there was absolutely nothing that I needed.
I came back home to my tiny, clean little apartment and decided to get back in my bed and just lay there for a little bit. (Mostly because I can.) I think it's called relaxing, and though I haven't had much experience or practice with it, I am growing to really like the feeling.
Actually, I'm beginning to think this free time, this relaxing time just might be the payoff for living a very simple life. Time to sit down, time to read a book, time to have breakfast with a friend, time to truly enjoy living! It's kind of what everyone hopes for and works toward, right? No big house to clean, no yard work to do...not even a garage to organize. No debt to worry about ...and, of course, for me, no kids to take from place to place.
My days off work are just that now. There's no work to do.

It was six years and six months ago yesterday that I left my other life.
And I think I have finally arrived at exactly the place I always dreamed I would be.
Enjoying the here and now.
Loving the peaceful calm.
Delighting in the clean and organized and (majorly) down-sized living.
Drinking in the (unbelievable and constant) quiet of this sweet little apartment.

It is absolutely refreshing and yes, very relaxing.
After my nap, I actually did make it over to the gym. Then I enjoyed a salad with my book on a restaurant patio, did a little walk through Barnes and Noble, I spent some time with my journal and my dreams and still had lots of time to catch up on emails, finish blogging and put on an old movie. (No baseball on tonight...)

In between I spent a few glorious moments on my beautiful little patio, just sitting enjoying the view, the peace, and taking pleasure in the thought that, quite honestly, this is exactly where I want to be.

I'm enjoying every moment of this simple, easy life...
and I'm not afraid to let you know.

Regrets, I have a few...

Things I regret (in no particular order)
  1. Not going to UCLA
  2. Not being in the Senior Class Play
  3. Not going to Hawaii with my Graduating Class
  4. Getting married before I had any idea who I was
  5. The tattoo
Looking at this list I realize that, even though I did not attend UCLA, I did eventually graduate from college (Cal State Fullerton, Class of 2000)
I also made it to Hawaii (Oahu, 1989)
I'm no longer married and definitely know who I am now
And, I'm having the tattoo removed.

Now, if only there were SOME way to go back and be in that play...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I went to a garden party...

"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose..."
~Tennessee Williams

Sunday, July 10, 2011

You can call me Betty...

Sometimes size matters...
Still have enough zucchini for another batch!
When my dear friend gave me this GORGEOUS, home-grown zucchini, I KNEW immediately I would be grating it up to make several loaves of spectacular bread! I spent a little time on line searching for the most amazing sounding recipe and then ran to the market to get everything I needed for...
I was very quickly reminded of how much I love baking!! It always seems like almost a miracle to me that you can take flour and sugar and eggs and a giant zucchini--and with just the right amounts of all of them, mixed ever so perfectly with a 'tsp' of this and a 'Tbsp' (and the 'zest' of one orange) that you can come out with something that makes your mouth water and actually tastes so phenomenal. (I did lick the batter off the spatula..a few times--oh and there is no way I'd ruin it by putting nuts in it!) I also forgot how very warm and inviting the house feels when the aroma of something delicious is wafting throughout the place. It was a good experience in so many ways.

Of course I won't actually EAT any of the breads...
(ok...I may try a bit...they are calling my name right now!)
but I will definitely be sharing them with friends this week.

The first one goes to my favorite zucchini farmer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bobby loves Julie

The only thing I love more than baseball is music--if there is not a game on in my house, iTunes is definitely blaring! And, since the Dodgers played (and amazingly won) earlier this afternoon, tonight I put the iPad on 'shuffle' as I did a little baking and worked around the house. About 10 songs in, I stopped what I was doing and tears welled in my eyes...Bobby Sherman was in my kitchen belting out, "Julie, do ya love me?"!
I haven't heard it in YEARS and I gotta tell ya, it is undoubtedly my favorite song of all time.
I was five years old when the song came out, and I vividly remember my dad bringing home the single for was my very first 45 record! I listened to that song over and over and over--until I actually wore out the needle on my record player (does anyone remember replacing needles?!) I KNEW Bobby Sherman was singing that song to me! I remember CRYING the day I found out that he was married. I was 8.
Of course I still have that single--and the jacket with Bobby's beautiful picture on it. (I keep it in my Bobby Sherman lunch pail.) I actually have all my old 45s and all my old albums. Unfortunately, I no longer have a turn table....I'd probably wear out the needle anyway.
But, thanks to the iPad, tonight, in my kitchen, Bobby and I danced and sang together LOUDLY... "oh oh oh Julie Julie Julie, do ya love me? Ahhh, Julie Julie Julie do ya care? Julie Julie are ya thinking of me? Julie Julie will ya still be there?"

I don't care what you say...tonight, I know he was singing to me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hear me roar!

While talking to the incredibly interesting people I work with at lunch today, the subject of women out living men came up. Someone at the table had just read an article stating that the current average life span for women is 79 and for men, 72. Married men out live single men, and single women out live married women. Looking around the table of mostly single, 20-something guys, I told them that the proof was in--I am going to out live them all!
Of course we went on to talk about why this is so...and why is it that women have ALWAYS out-lived men?
Jokes aside, (I can already hear my dad saying, "Because we WANT to go first!") this does lend itself to the thought that women are basically stronger than men. Even the cancer survival rate is higher for women than for men. 56% of women survive it. 43% of men do. Again, why?
All afternoon I thought about it and I came up with a theory that I think it's probably pretty close to the truth: women have to be tougher and stronger from the time they are around 12 years old--when they start having to live with hassle and discomfort for one week of every single month. By the time they (we) have our first job at 16 or 17, we already know how to endure severe pain, while working 5 extra trips to the bathroom into an 8 hour shift and we learn quickly to trust our friends to 'check the back of us' when we walk away. It does not take us long to realize that we have to keep smiling and working hard and acting like everything is just fine through it all.
Yep. We just keep going.
Then, we get pregnant. And we adapt to having a human being grow inside of us. Our stomach and breasts grow uncomfortably large and yet, we learn how to sleep and walk and keep on working--despite incredible fatigue, weight gain and swollen feet...(I waitressed at Coco's until two weeks before each of my babies was born--and I was still the best waitress there!)
and....we keep going.
And then--we give birth.
I had both of my children "naturally"--no pain medication at all, and TO THIS DAY--26 plus years later--I can vividly recall the unbelievable, excruciating pain. Indescribable. Almost unbearable. Until you see that baby. And, while they are stitching you up "down there" (yeah, THAT'S a whole OTHER kind of pain) you are holding your baby and suddenly feeling a strength that will get you through anything! I remember the nurse handing me Allison and thinking, "I will protect and love and nurture this little person. I have a reason to be strong and I will never let anything happen to this child!" Seriously, I was 19 and holding her in the hospital and I literally FELT that strong, protective nature kick in immediately. When they handed me Zachary, I was a mature 21 and knew that I was going to be the strong mom that he would need to be an amazing man. (And, I was going to teach him to pitch.)
Damn, at this point, we KNOW we can keep going!
Then they let you bring that baby home. Women spend the next 18 PLUS years cooking and cleaning and planning birthday parties and kissing boo-boos and dressing Barbies and putting Ninja Turtles back together after battle. Women were 'multi-tasking' LONG before the word became trendy. I always had a load in the washer, one in the dryer, the dishwasher going, the crock-pot cooking, the San Juan Mission being built in the living room and either the entire high school choir having a party in the back yard or 14 boys watching WWF upstairs. Throw in working in a shift at the Little League Snack Shack. And baking 30 cupcakes for the bake sale. And then nursing a broken-hearted teenager. And hiding report cards. And 'buffing out' that scratch in the car before Daddy got home. Aahh...fold five loads of laundry, get dinner on the table and lunches packed and get each of them up and dropped off at school and orthodontist appointments and karate class and stop at Target for a poster board and...we just keep going! And then--HELLO!--most of us go to work! All the while...making it look effortless!
Often while suffering that now scheduled hassle and pain...and helping our daughters to endure it as well.
Of course women live longer. We can do it ANYTHING!
Fortunately, most of us women also understand and appreciate the reward in all of this:
An amazing sense of accomplishment! The pride of being able to make it all work! And the absolute JOY of providing an amazing life and unending love for others.
THAT'S what keeps us going.

There's really no question as to why women live longer.
We have to!
We can survive anything.
And, apparently, we do.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Go out in the world and work like money doesn't matter,
Sing as if no one is listening,
Love as if you have never been hurt, and
Dance as if no one is watching

~Victor Hugo

This little piggy...

LOVE my Ralphs Club Card Rewards...
(this is like two weeks' worth of groceries for me!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kenya feel the love

When you have a few minutes...check out this amazing woman's blog.
She is a magnificent storyteller too.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back to the future

Thursday afternoon, loaded up on Advil and an abundance of courage, I headed in for my bi-monthly laser tattoo removal treatment. A half hour later, covered with ointment and wrapped in gauze, with a small ice pack taped to my lower back, I drove home in devastating pain. And now, here it is, 48 hours later, and the lasered area is still throbbing--you know, that heartbeat you feel in a part of your body that is in pain?'s still beating in there today.
Have I ever mentioned how very much I regret ever getting the tattoo? "Six inches of four-color ridiculousness" is what I affectionately call it. Regret is its real name.
Don't you think that it's amazing it takes just a one-time, two-hour appointment to have a tattoo etched INTO your body, yet it's taken nearly TWO YEARS and 13 treatments for me to have it (almost) removed?! And because tattoo ink is not at all regulated, there is no way for them to actually know how long it will take for the tattoo to completely fade away. Especially the reds and the blues in the 'art'. Let me kindly mention, on top of it all, that the cost of removal is more than TEN TIMES the cost of the original tattoo.
Yep, regret is expensive. Actually, I have to admit that the memory, at this point, as well as the regret is long gone. It's only the damn tattoo that remains.
But not for much longer. Every 8 weeks I am faithful to my appointment, to make sure of that.
I have done all I can to make the best of the situation, as I have learned to do in every other area of my life. I love the girls who work at Dr. Tattoff and SO enjoy entertaining them with my cries of woe and pain while undergoing the treatment. I always ask when they are going to open a bar in there, noting that a stiff shot of Vodka or Tequila--before and after--would beat the hell out of the weak, topical anesthesia they offer. When they mention that perhaps I have a low tolerance to pain, I quickly remind them that I had two babies--with NO medication whatsoever--and that it hurt FAR less than the laser treatment to my back! I swear they draw straws for who gets to go work on me. Because I make it so much fun for them. I apologize profusely through laughter the whole way into the room and beg for them to double the anesthesia and time they let it soak in.
Though they swear to me that I am not the loudest and that there are those who scream throughout the entire (five minute) procedure, they have often asked me if I could try to 'be good' this time. Those are the times when there are 'consults' in the waiting room. They PLEAD with me to be quiet with my pain...offer me foam balls to squeeze and assorted bullets to bite down on. Sweet Mariel, a former labor nurse, tells me stories of her wedding plans and the new home she is decorating. Of course while she paints a sweet picture of her bridal gown, I can hear the popping of my skin and, worse yet, I can smell it burning. The smell is unmistakably burned up microwave popcorn--only it's not. It's me. All the while I am screaming, crying, biting a chunk out of the foam ball and yelling for her to periodically STOP when I just can't take it any more. (In between I cry out, "MOTHER OF MERCY! DEAR JESUS! HOLY #@&!!" and actually, a few unprintables things.) Have I made it clear that it hurts like hell?!
Funny as it might (not) seem, my favorite time to be there is when they have consultations sitting in the waiting room. "The room of regret" I call it. People looking to find out how much it costs--and how long it will take--to get rid of a memory. Well, it's usually a name, a quote--something they obviously loved so deeply at one point that they thought they would want it printed on their body for the rest of their life...but it's mostly the memory they want to vanish. And they will pay deeply for it, I assure you.
As Mariel finished me up this time, salving up my burned, broken, bleeding flesh and carefully wrapping me up in gauze, she looked at my file and said, "Well, that was your 13th treatment, Julie. I thought we'd be done by now, but, obviously you can see that you're going to definitely need three or four more...those reds and blues are gonna be tough."
Attempting to stand up, smelling the burned up popcorn behind me, I asked her if there was ANY other option...a pill, a cream, a miracle that could make this regretted ridiculousness fade away sooner and quicker and much less painfully.
She said, "Well, yes, actually, there is one other option. Your tattoo has faded sufficiently now, enough that you could have ANOTHER tattoo put over it."
I laughed for the first time that whole visit. (I do believe I actually said, "Are you F*CKING kidding me?!") I continued, "And is there a tattoo that you would suggest for me, sweet Mariel?"
She said, "Well, no one's name and no one's face, for sure." She continued, "I guess I have never had to remove a Dodgers tattoo...why don't you go with that?!"
Can I see a show of hands of anyone who'd like to see a Dodgers Logo on the lower back of a (nearly) 50 year old woman? Yeah. It's gonna freeze over first.
We both laughed. She was (somewhat) kidding...
Truth is, though not as quickly as I'd like, it really is fading away...
blistering, peeling, burning and aching in the mean time...but definitely lightening up and ever so slowly actually fading away.
Today it is bubbling over with colorful blisters and the whole area is still swollen and bright red. I've doubled up on Advil and have added a little Tequila to my Fresca tonight. The itching will come next and being on my lower back it is obviously rubbed by anything I wear--jeans, pantyhose--anything and everything. Today I've worn only loose yoga pants and a tee shirt...and have gone through a tube of Neosporin.
Needless to say, it looks like hell but the ONLY saving grace is that it is NOT on my leg or arm or my face...or anywhere that anyone could see it. Of course, I'm lucky too, that I AM the only one who sees it. And I have to really make an effort to look.
Interestingly, most people have no idea that I ever even had a tattoo and when I mention it, I am often told that I am so not the type. And I agree. Please note, of course, that my daughter (at last count) has EIGHT tattoos and she is currently a missionary in Africa. Not sure what "the type" is anymore actually...but it's not me, not anymore for sure.
I always hope that no one accidentally sees it--and I never show it to anyone!
I guess I never really did. The meaning was never really meaningful to me...and I stopped liking it just a few months after I got it.
It's actually always been a sore subject...Now it's just sore.
I got the tattoo six years and six months ago.
I stopped showing people at least six years ago.

I'll tell you this much for sure though...
I can't wait to show you where it used to be.

I don't care if I NEVER get back...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE being at the ballgame...