Virtual Valentines 

Since I’m spending today with those people closest to me, I thought I would give a shout out to some of the ‘things’ that are currently brining joy into my life.

My beloved Keurig, 

You are the last thing I think about as I fall asleep each night and the first thing my mind goes to when I wake each morning.  Our relationship is pretty much one-sided, but at least it’s consistently hot. 

To The Best New Show on television; This Is Us: 

Thank you for making us laugh and cry and care about a TV family again.  But most of all, thank you for giving me the opportunity to snuggle my youngest son for one uninterrupted hour every Tuesday night.

Dear 2013 VW Passat, 

You came into our life as a complete and utter surprise.  But ever since, you have provided a safe and reliable mode of transportation for R and me.  What a great feeling it is to jump in you for last minute road trips and adventures! Ps. We really love your ample legroom, sunroof, and kickass stereo.    Danke!

 And last, but certainly not least…

Cupid, 

Thank you for your persistence.  No matter how many times I duck your arrow, your aim continues to be spot on.  Don’t give up on me and I won’t give up on you.

xo 

 

 

 

 

The Birth of a Queen

These days she has a solid sense of her own significance.

When people ask how she is doing, she replies, “Strong.”

She announces it in the tone of a queen, escorted with a satisfied smile.

She is a new kind of Queen.  Not the kind to execute her subjects, as they serve as reminders of all she is not.

She is no longer bound by the vines of materialistic pleasures, she is not measured by how many things she has purchased.  She rebuffs the shitty labels society reaches out and tries to slap across her chest like a name tag at a trade show.

Little by little she sought her truth and little by little pieces of it appeared.  Some had welcoming faces that she embraced fully, while there were others that were harder to look at…harder to accept.

But change could not happen before acceptance of herself entirely – demons and all.

She was surprised at how the life of royalty would be so ….

simple..

yet significant.

 

**photo credit: pinterest

A Single Mom Milestone

So, after five long years, I made my last car payment this morning.  It may not seem like a big deal to many, but for me it’s a considerable occasion.

In my 29 years of driving, I’ve bought several cars, but I’ve never paid one off.  You see, I am a self-proclaimed “car junkie”.  I generally get the “car bug” and end up trading in my current ride for something cooler.

This event is also special to me because during my marriage I went out and bought this car on my own (without his approval first). I brought it into my new life and one income household.  We survived the five months I was without a job.  There were some close calls where I thought i was going to lose it, but by picking up odd jobs and keeping in close communication with Wells Fargo, we made it through. Thankfully.

Now that it’s paid off, here are some things I need to do~

1.) Celebrate! Besides announcing it on social media, I also sent a text to a few close friends.  I’ve asked one of my girlfriends to meet me for a quick beer after work. The office car wash guy comes tomorrow and I can’t wait to have her all detailed and maybe even snap a photo.

We tend to get so wrapped up in our day that we forget to celebrate the minor things in life.

2.) Make a plan of what to do with that extra money each month.  I have already decided 1/3 will go into savings, 1/3 will go towards paying off old debt and the remainder will be used for “stuff”.

3.) Make notes to follow up with the lien holder in regards to the pink slip.  Once received, I will store somewhere secure.

4.)  Call my insurance company to see if I can lower my coverage.   I also plan on obtaining quotes from other companies.

If you have any other tips, please share!

 

 

 

 

 

Trying To Do Divorce Right

In the months following our separation, the dynamic between my ex-husband and me was reminiscent of stale business partners.  To keep our family operable,  we were forced to run things by each other; things like finances and our shared son’s schedule.  Our interactions were cordial, but brief.

However, the following year our relationship gradually began to change.  Much like the way the earth shifts and settles, without one realizing it.  The changes happened slowly and silently; yet making a huge impact on our blended family.

We began to sit together at our son’s sporting and school events, once in awhile grabbing a bite to eat after.  Then we added birthdays and holidays to the mix.  Rarely did a day pass without either of us texting the other. A friendship was beginning to form which not only benefited the son we shared, but our other three children (one his, two mine).

The following summer, my ex asked me to drive our son down to his campsite in San Diego.  He suggested I stay the night to make the drive easier on myself.  My initial reaction was a negative one.   I didn’t want to put any of us in an uncomfortable position.  Besides, wouldn’t this trip be confusing for our 8 year old?

After a few days of deliberating the idea with myself,  I came to the conclusion this was about my son.  We had spent many years camping together as a family and they were some of the best memories of our time together.  Besides, just because the romantic side to our relationship had ended, didn’t mean our family had to.

Before I agreed, I spent some time talking to our son about it. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to get the wrong idea.  I explained that we could continue to do things together as a family.  However, that did not mean mommy and daddy were going to live together again.

It was a quick trip and went off seamlessly.  We spent the day at the beach,  played soccer then sat around the campfire and chatted that night.  I found myself relaxed and free to fall back into the good things my ex and I had together – the laughter and comfort.

This trip was the element that opened the door for two more family vacations for us. We went to Las Vegas for our son’s football tournament last year.  We split the cost of a car rental, gas and food.   It was an added bonus that both parents were present to celebrate our son’s team’s victory in lieu of him having to try and share the excitement over the phone with one of us.

This past Spring Break, we planned an even bigger outing: a road trip up to our family cabin in Utah. I wrestled with some mixed emotions going into this trip.  We planned on driving the 12+ hours together up to the cabin, that was bought during our marriage.  There were a lot of emotions and memories I needed to sort out.  But I agreed.

The morning of our trip, my ex pulled up outside our condo just after 4 a.m.  Crawling into his truck was like crawling into a time machine.  Foreigner was blaring on the radio, the cab was filled with pillows, blankets and bags of snacks.  We slept, we ate, we sang and laughed. All the things you do on a road trip and all the things we did when we were married.

Once we go to the cabin, I stepped inside to a flood of memories.  I scanned the kitchen and living room to see not much had changed.  Above the couch, my eyes immediately fell upon the wildlife photos we picked up in Canada one year.

One of the photos was of a mother Polar Bear rolling around with her cubs in the snow and the other was of a lone Black Bear.  The Black Bear was standing in the middle of a lake with a fish in it’s mouth.  When we chose these two photos, we joked how the polar bear was me and he was the black bear. They became symbols of our marriage-  I enveloped in the children as he spent the majority of his time out providing for us.

Dealing with my emotions and putting them aside were all worth it.  Our boy had both of us here to shoot hoops, ride the quad and sled.  He sat between us on the over sized couch as we watched movies and ate our favorite snack of popcorn and M&M’s . He was able to kiss both his mommy and daddy goodnight at the same time.

I have learned so much over the past few years.  Marriages may not last a lifetime, but family does.  I encourage anyone who has a good relationship with their ex to let your guard down and open up to making your own kind of family.

I couldn’t help but wonder if time would allow us another family vacation.  I glanced over at the pictures of the bears, hanging opposite each other.  I noticed how different the scenes were.  The contrast between the two photos was imminent… yet these images still complimented each other beautifully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Groovy!

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Today I am excited about everything!

I am still reeling from yesterday!  My first-born graduated with a double Associates Degree from our local college and will head to Art School in the fall.  The weekend is here and I am elated about the following:

  • A quiet Friday night with my guy and tomorrow our trip to The Reagan Library.  It is very close to where we live and surprisingly, I have never been.
  • Sunday, I am going to see The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl with one of my best girlfriends. We have a room within walking distance and I am looking forward to lounging poolside beforehand.
  • My second personal essay was published (and I had no idea)! Kudos to my ex-husband for notifying me.  Since it was about him, I am happy he liked it!  If you want to check it out, its on xojane.

Happy Weekend!

My Heroine. My Heart. My Hanah.


My firstborn turns 22 today.  I was only a few months older than she when I endured  24 hours (cue: mom guilt) of labor bringing her into this world.  I did everything in my power to have her before midnight, as I could not imagine the teasing she would endure had she been born on April 1st.  Thankfully, she arrived just after 10 p.m that night.

I know it is a cliché, but it is true – the moment our eyes locked  – I was forever changed. She would go on to teach me patience.  She helped me grow up and become selfless.  She taught me a love I never knew existed.

The years passed and my little “Monchichi”, as we called her turned into a little princess. A girly girl with large doe-like eyes the color of chocolate and just as inviting.  Her long wavy hair was fun for me to play with and I spent hours dressing and painting her fingers and toes.  She was my own living doll.  She was an amiable, yet a spunky child.

As Hanah grew up, and our family dynamic changed, she remained the epitome of a gracious, young lady.  Being a caretaker to her siblings came naturally to her and it was evident she was wise beyond her years.  The older she got the more I found myself asking  her view on things.  She had no problem sharing with me the way she saw our world and again, Hanah was my teacher.

At 22, she not only works two jobs but has two degrees.  She continues to grow and learn and also teach others.  If you’ve had the chance to meet her, you know the moment she smiles,  you catch a glimpse of her golden heart.

Some say she is my mini-me, but I could never reduce her to such.  She is my heroine.   She is strong and smart and beautiful and every kind of amazing.

And I am lucky enough to be able to love her to the moon and back!

Happy Birthday, Sissy!!!

Assembling My Tribe

March’s Full Moon was termed The Worm Moon by Native Americans because with the warm weather came the appearance of worm casings above the softening ground.

On a balmy evening the night of March 23rd nearly 40 women from all over Ventura County gathered under a starlit sky for another Women’s Full Moon Hike.

The feedback I received from last month’s was the perfect blend of positive and motivational-exactly what I needed.  In lieu of feeling anxious, like I did in my post here, this time I felt empowered.  This month, I felt a little more  Gandalf -like, leading the women up the hillsides of Ventura.

March’s group was twice as large as our group in February.  I saw several familiar faces and even more new ones.  This time some of the ladies came early to picnic.  We had another adventure trying to locate the elusive moon, but cheered in unison as it made it’s appearance just as we were leaving.  I was overwhelmed with euphoria the entire night.

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Studies show spending time with friends has a larger impact on our physical and emotional well-being than spending time with family.

When I was married to husband #1 (at the ripe old age of 22), I didn’t take much time out for me – let a lone my friends.  I completely threw myself in to the role of wife and mother for eight years.  I naively thought I didn’t need anyone else in my life, but my little family.  In retrospect, there are memories of feeling isolated and even a bit depressed.  If I could share some words of wisdom to 20-something year old me, it would be to maintain some level of independence and connect with other mothers, wives, sisters on a regular basis.

I believe when women continue to come together in a safe place – an immeasurable bond is created.  A sisterhood.  The benefits of female friendship are endless.

I am proud to say, I have found my safe haven, under the moon and within my tribe of these magnificent women that gather with me.

Our next hike is Friday, April 22.

 

 

Happy World Poetry Day

Here is a little-known poem by my favorite author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

ON A PLAY TWICE SEEN

ERE in the figured dark I watch once more;

There with the curtain rolls a year away,

A year of years — There was an idle day

Of ours, when happy endings didn’t bore

Our unfermented souls, and rocks held ore:

Your little face beside me, wide-eyed, gay,

Smiled its own repertoire, while the poor play

Reached me as a faint ripple reaches shore. Yawning and wondering an evening through

I watch alone — and chatterings of course

Spoil the one scene which somehow did have charms;You wept a bit, and I grew sad for you

Right there, where Mr. X defends divorce

And What’s-Her-Name falls fainting in his arms.