Feeling Groovy!


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!


DON’T SWEAT the small stuff

Last week, I read this blog post about childhood worries.  Afterward, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own adolescent anguishes.  Some of them were inspired by bad 80’s television, others by playground chatter, and the rest were made-up scenarios in my head.

I was one of those kids who spent more time worrying than playing.  I worried about things that had already happened (my mom forgetting to pick me up after school), things that could happen (nuclear war) and things that were more than likely never going to happen (stumbling into a pit of quicksand).

At the age of ten, I watched a Made for TV movie about breast cancer.  Coincidentally, I had been experiencing some pain and swelling in my chest.  With that said, I convinced myself, like the protagonist, that I, too was suffering from breast cancer.

I worried for weeks.  I couldn’t sleep, I cried off and on, but was too embarrassed/scared to go to anyone with my concerns.  Finally, one afternoon my mother caught me crying.  In between sobs, I broke the news to her that I probably wouldn’t be making it to my 11th birthday.  She explained (albeit giggles), I was going to be fine and that the “symptoms” I had experienced were simply signs, that it was time for a training bra (Ugh!  If only I had read Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret one year earlier).

After recalling that lovely childhood memory, I couldn’t help but wonder how my own children dealt with worry.  I reminded myself to give them each some guidance on the issue.  I had come a long way from the Worry Wort I once had been.  Perhaps by sharing this with the kids, it would save them from some of the pangs I endured in my youth.

And just like that – It was if the Parental Gods had read my mind! The following morning, R and I were getting in the car when he gently shoved his iPad in my hand.  He looked up at me, his brown eyes searching my face for a reaction.   I was shocked to see a huge crack across the screen.  “Oh, buddy! What happened?!” I asked, admittedly in more of a Peg Bundy than Carol Brady “concerned mom” voice.  Before he could muster an explanation, I took a few deep breaths and told him it didn’t matter and it could be fixed.

But he was unusually  quiet on the ride to school.  I asked him if he was worried about the iPad.  He nodded his head in agreement and told me he was really worried about his dad’s reaction.  I reassured him again that the iPad was fixable.  I took it a bit further and shared my recently-found philosophy.

“I try not to worry.  But it does take a lot of effort on my part.  I remind myself that the only things in life worth worrying about are those things that we have no control over-like the health and safety of our loved ones.  As long as my friends and family are healthy, all is good in my world.”

R seemed to be listening attentively.  But who knows if he actually “got” the point I was trying to make.  I am confident, he will see my example and learn from it.

With that being said, I am a work in progress.  Once in awhile, I slip back into old habits.  To remedy those moments, I find connecting with a good friend and also some deep breathing/meditation exercises do wonders for putting things back into perspective.

How do you manage stress?


Men Without Kids Vs. Dads

After my six-month relationship ended, I decided to reevaluate what I wanted in my next one.  K had never been married or had children and at first, I found that to be an added bonus to an already amazingly, sweet man.  Little did I know, it would hinder the growth, I wanted in our relationship.  A wise woman once shared this with me: Men without children do not know the depth of love, like those who do have them.  In other words, they do not know how to really put another person’s needs, feelings want before their own.  This doesn’t make them bad or selfish people.  Just different.

I met a nice guy a month or so ago.  He was my age, divorced, no children and had a successful career.  He drove up from South Bay on Saturday to take me to dinner.  The conversation flowed, as we sat eating in a brightly lit Thai restaurant.   Though, I didn’t feel that immediate connection, like  I had with others in the past, he was smart, funny and attentive.  In other words, I was open to a second date.  After dinner and a friendly hug goodbye, he asked to see me again.  Agreeing, I sent him back on the 101 and then a few days later, I sent him a thank you card.  I wanted to let him know I appreciated the time and effort he made to treat me like a lady.  It was comforting to see there were still true gentlemen out there, or so I thought…

He asked me out again, but because of our schedules, it took some time to set the second date.  With my son out of town the week of Thanksgiving for his football tournament, we made plans for that Friday.  I offered to go to him, obviously, since he had come up here the last time.

When I woke up Friday morning, I was looking forward to our date and getting out of Ventura for the day.  But after breakfast, I received a text from my ex.  He offered to split the cost of a rental car so I could surprise our son in Vegas.  I knew my date would be disappointed, but when I said goodbye to my son on Tuesday,  I had already disappointed him.

I called my date and began apologizing the second he picked up the phone.  His tone of voice was less than supportive of my sudden change of plans.  I began to explain what had just transpired with my ex,  I felt like I was having to justify(did I mention he was an Attorney?)  my trip to see my son.  Not once did he tell me “no worries” or “I understand”.  I asked if we could reschedule for the following weekend, but he was “booked”.  When I hung up, I genuinely felt bad.  But then images of my son’s smile quickly replaced any guilt I had for canceling a date.

Once I arrived to pick up my rental car, I received a text that went something like this:

Him: You’re probably going to hate me for this, but …That was a really lousy thing to do.  Thank God R wasn’t injured or some other kind of emergency.  He didn’t  need you there.  You decided you would just rather do that than go on our date.  I’m profoundly disappointed.


My Reply: My children will always come first.  Thank you (I really, really wanted to add  MUTHAFUCKKAAAA here, but I didn’t).

I never heard from, nor did I contact Mr. Almost Second Date again.  I really couldn’t wrap my head around his way of handling the situation and I suppose he felt the same way about me.  We are not only from different planets (i.e. Venus/Mars), but perhaps different lifetimes.  I feel I am light years ahead of him in this life.  After all, I have carried three lives in my womb, arms and heart for the past 21 years.  So, perhaps it is time to look solely for those who share the same life as me.  The one where we, as parents come second to everything and everyone else when it comes to our children.  And to that I will always say, “no worries!” and “I understand!”.

Stay tuned…



Thanksgiving With A Twist

The holidays are one of the many drawbacks post-divorce.  A time that once brought me such joy now consumes me in a tornado of expenses, stress and scheduling conflicts.

This Thanksgiving was mine to spend with our son, R. However when R’s football coach announced we had a tournament in Las Vegas over the holiday weekend, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it.  Don’t get me wrong, I was just as excited as R upon hearing the news.  Visions of my son and I on a plane, cuddling in a hotel room before joining the team for  Thanksgiving dinner got me all warm inside.   Unfortunately, with the high cost of holiday travel, that vision quickly dissipated.

My ex and I get along well.  So, I proposed we rent a car and split the costs to make the trip.  He casually dismissed this idea and informed me he and R were catching a ride with a teammate.  They would be home Sunday and he would return R to me then.  I was crushed. I was mad.  I even cried.  But, knowing him like I do, I decided not to push the issue.

I planned to keep myself busy.  I would spend Thanksgiving day watching my Cowboys game and then head over to my girlfriend’s for dinner.  Friday I had scheduled a second date with a nice man in South Bay.   The remainder of the weekend, I would spend getting the house dialed in for the holidays, in turn surprising R when he got home from his trip.    I could do this. “I got this shit handled!” would be my holiday weekend mantra.

Thanksgiving came and went.  I missed R, but all in all, had a good day and I got a lot of shit done (like fixing my vacuum – myself!!).

Friday, I woke early so I could chat with R before his game.  I sent my ex a text and then our conversation went something like this:

Ex: Wishing this tournament was closer for you and the family to come. Certainly missing that aspect of life right now once again :((((

Me: Me, too..

Ex: Why don’t you rent a car and come surprise your son?  I will split the cost with you.  You can bunk in our room, if you share R’s bed (um, duh- me).

Me: You don’t have to tell me twice!  I will text you when I am on my way!

I couldn’t call my date quick enough to reschedule.  He was less than supportive (future blog post, stay tuned).    I was going to be spontaneous and surprise my boy and watch him play his final football game of the season!

The Ex texted me, as I got into town and told me to go relax at the hotel, since the team was all at Circus Circus.  I was too excited for the surprise and offered to join them at Adventuredome.  It only took about 45 minutes to park and another 30 to find them but when I saw The Ex, he had a Lime-A-Rita waiting for me.  So, we were off to a good start!  I looked around this dome of chaos (Did I tell you how much I really love my son?) and waited for R to exit a ride.  I saw him in the distance casually walking in my direction, his eyes darting around at all the rides and people and then almost as if he felt me there,  he looked up.  His eyes locked onto mine briefly.  Then he glanced away.  After a few more steps, he looked at me again and that’s when his smile consumed every inch of his freckled face.  He ran up to me and opened his arms as wide as he could.  He buried his head into my chest and I held onto him and that moment for as long as I could.

The weekend had every ingredient of a Hallmark Christmas movie.  The first night as we settled into bed, R whispered, “That was a really, big surprise, mom.”  And if that wasn’t enough to give George Bailey a run for his “holiday money”, our football team brought home the championship trophy!  My ex and I got along famously, I didn’t even wince when he rolled in to our room at 1 am Friday night.  Plus, it was sure nice to be able to split all the travel expenses with someone.

We hadn’t spent Thanksgiving together in 3 years.  But when I look back on Thanksgiving 2015, I will be filled with a different version of that “holiday joy” I once had.    It may not have been a traditional family celebration, but it was special nonetheless.

In addition to all the other amazing things in my life, I have to say, I am grateful for My Ex this year.


Navigating Online Dating, Part II

As I mentioned in Part One, online dating can quickly become overwhelming and discouraging.  I am here to share with you what has worked for me.  There are no hard and fast rules, but there are some steps you can take to ease the process; therefore making it more enjoyable.

I was going to start with How to Search for Mr. Right, but more than likely you will have a gazillion messages waiting for you after day one. So, let’s get straight to messaging.

1.) Messages from Mr. Wrongs –  I sort through these fairly quickly deleting and/or blocking anyone who has sent something trivial or offensive.  However, if it appears a guy has taken the time to read your profile and write you a nice message, please take the time to thank him with a reply.  An example:  “Thank you so much for your kind words.  However, after reading your profile, I don’t think we would be a match….”

Believe it or not, men can take rejection.  Nine guys out of ten will be appreciative of your response.  But lets be clear here, there is always Guy Number Ten and more than likely his profile is filled with blurry pictures from the 90’s of him riding a dirt bike, jumping out of a plane, surfing, posing with a large fish, sitting next to a chained up tiger, a few gym pics and last but certainly not least – the shirtless bathroom selfie.  His reply will probably go something like this, “I love music, eat food and breathe air. So why wouldn’t we be a good match?”  Don’t take the time out of your busy day attempting to explain yourself.   There is no point in engaging Action Jackson, his ego or his chest.

2.) Replying to Mr. Might Be Right –  When you receive a message from someone who piques your interest, take your time and read his profile in depth before replying.  Note things in common and also look for something to mention in your reply that will make him laugh.  When looking at his pictures, keep in mind physical traits that are/aren’t important to you and make sure those aren’t being “cleverly” hidden (i.e. not showing teeth when smiling, no full body shots).

3.) Moving from the world of Online dating to the real world –  I think it’s a good idea to move fairly quickly to the next step of exchanging numbers.  Texting is a great way to get to know someone, their sense of humor, spelling skills and most importantly their emoji-use. 😉

After a day or two of texting, it’s time to move on to the Phone Date.    Speaking on the phone is very important before agreeing to meet someone.  You can get a better idea of the chemistry between the two of you.  Plus, it can offer a little relief to both parties- I don’t know about you, but if I were a guy and the hot little blond I had been texting the last few days ended up having the phone voice reminiscent of a 60-year-old, male chain smoker, I may rethink inviting her for coffee and instead  drag her to a karaoke bar..  But that’s just me…

Which takes us to the next step… “The Initial Meet Up”.  Stay tuned…


Navigating the Rough Waters of Online Dating Part 1

The world of online dating is a completely different experience for a woman than it is for a man.  The second a  woman signs up for a dating site, she is basically “thrown to the sharks”.  I know this because one of my very first online dates worked for a site and he was kind (or maybe “buzzed”) enough to share some of the tricks of the Online Dating “trade”.

Once a female has created her online profile, she will appear in every man’s Search (whether she matches his criteria or not) for the first few weeks of membership.  With all of that exposure, she will then be flooded with messages.

Online Dating Guy also shared these two ploys with me:

1.) Inactive profiles show up in searches to make it look like there are more members than there actually are.

2.) Your “online now” light stays on long after you log out (which could potentially get you into trouble down the road).

After a few days, you may begin to feel a bit overwhelmed by all of your fan mail.  But don’t throw in that towel just yet.  Let’s try and organize the process, shall we?

Choosing your site – First off, decide if you have it in your budget to pay for a service.  As a single mom, it is hard to justify $20.00 or more per month to subscribe to a dating site.  In the beginning, it is probably best used towards gas in your car or treating the kids to pizza on a night you are too tired to cook.  With that being said, I recommend going with a free site at first.

These are the sites, I have tried and my opinions of them:

Match (overpriced and unorganized)

Tinder (often referred to as a hook-up site)

Okcupid (so far, so good)

POF (ew, just ew)

Zoosk (lame)

DBG (not enough members, yet)

EHarmony (ridiculously long process and price).

If you’re feeling intrepid, pick two.  Personally, I have had the best luck with OKCupid and Tinder.

OKC offers a free or paid service and is famous for its quirky questions that range from super irrelevant to super invasive.  But by answering them you up your chances of finding a good match.

Once questions are answered you can narrow down your choices using the percentage you match with someone.  There is also a really great search feature which allows you to narrow members by age, location, height, and so on.  And with a paid subscription, you get an even greater search tool (for picky “daters” like me) and are notified of who “likes” you.

My favorite feature of OKC is the Invisible Browsing.  When I find someone I am really excited about, I tend to read and re-read their profile.  I want to show my friends to get their opinion and before you know it I appear to be Cyber Stalker of the Year. To avoid giving off a premature Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction vibe, just take a screenshot of their profile and pics. By doing this, you can safely refer back to their profile and show off his photos to your friends(and he won’t be concerned for the safety of his pets).

Personally, I have had two boyfriends in the past 3 years and met both of them on OKCupid.  So, perhaps Cupid isn’t so Stupid after all.

Tinder gets a bad rap.  It’s like the slutty step-sister of dating sites.  But I like Tinder.  It’s not only free, but YOU are in charge of who can message you. The only men who can contact you are the ones you  swipe right (like) to.  This saves a lot of time and frustration, as I tend to be a magnet for the guys who have profile pictures that look like they were taken by the local police department or at a retirement home.

In order to create a profile on Tinder, you have to have a Facebook account.  That feature adds to the chances that Tinderfella’s age, photos and friends are legit.  Obviously, this isn’t always the case, so use caution.    I also appreciate the fact mutual FB interests and friends are displayed.  This has been very helpful.  For example, if I am checking out a guy’s profile and I see we have a mutual female friend in common, I will contact said friend to verify how she knows him before I swipe right.

I am still friends with some really great guys I met on Tinder.  If it weren’t for Tinder, I probably wouldn’t have had my first (and only)PBR with a PSB (Pro Snowboarder) or  learned how to play a card game called Tonk with an Ex-NFL pro-bowler, in addition to some other really cool experiences.

Tinder and online dating in general is what you make it.  You are in control.    Make it fun and easy.  But don’t be easy!

Stay tuned for Part II.




My Experience With A Chemical Peel

Like any other newly divorced woman in Southern California, I decided to treat myself to a little something “just for me”, now that my divorce is final.  As tempting as it was to head to The Beverly Hills Institute for a new rack, I chose something a little less invasive on my body and my bank account.

I made an appointment at Pure Skin Day Spa for a chemical peel.  Those two words immediately brought a picture of myself with an itchy, beet-red, peeling face.  I cringed at the thought, but trusted Katrina and looked forward to the fading of my fine lines, fresher skin and my freckles becoming more pronounced and less like one big blob.

We decided on The Perfect Derma Peel.  First, Kat cleaned my face, throat and upper chest with alcohol.  It burned slightly.   Then she painted on  the ‘chemical’ to the same areas-concentrating on my dark spots on my cheeks.  It stung lightly for about a minute and the smell reminded me of (surprise!) burnt skin.   Finally, she used a device which blew air all over the treated area.  The entire process took about 20 mins!  She sent me home with two medicated wipes, a tinted SPF cream and a peel cream.

She instructed me not to do anything to my treated skin at all for the rest of the day.  The next morning, I applied one of two medicated wipes, after my shower and the SPF cream I was given.  I wore a tinted moisturizer in lieu of foundation and applied the rest of my makeup as usual.  My skin look tanned and felt tight.  I had a concert to attend that evening and was concerned about the peeling.  But, per Kat,  the peeling wouldn’t start until day 3!  That night I washed my face and used the second wipe and peeling cream.

Day 3 – Slight peeling around my temples and mouth.  Nothing to be horrified about.  I applied the peeling cream and SPF again and wore the same make up as before.  I did feel as though I had a sunburned face, but otherwise all was good.

Day 4 – Today, I woke up to noticeably more peeling.  My 9 yr old son noticed right away and kept trying to help my peel move along. But no peeling the peel!!!  You must let the skin fall off naturally.  I did use tiny scissors to “trim” the long, hanging pieces of skin

Day 5- Same amount of peeling as day before, a little burning and itching.

Day 6- I feel the peeling today was the worse yet.  I found splashing my face with cool water, patting dry and applying both creams brought relief.

Day 7 – The peeling tapered off and I wore full makeup to Happy Hour.  My skin looks brighter, feels tighter and my dark spots have lightened up considerably.

Day 8 – Saw Kat for my follow up.   My skin is glowing! Dark spots have faded significantly and my freckles look more like they did in my youth.

I am very happy with my results and even happier that my bank balance and bra size haven’t changed 😉

Turn The Page

I signed divorce papers today.  And once I finished putting pen to paper, I thought I would feel a weight magically lifted.  Or some sense of relief.  I envisioned putting the pen down, as I rose like a phoenix from the flames and my old life.  I would soar towards the next phase.. but none of that happened.  Truth is, I feel tired, sad and a little scared.  Even though we’ve been separated for a couple of years, the physical act of signing the documents brought a sense of finality to our story.  Obviously, ours wasn’t always a fairy tale, but it wasn’t a Shakespearean tragedy either.  We fell in love quickly and passionately then combined our families into one boisterous “Brady” bunch.  During our ten years together, we six created a lot of exceptional memories.  Memories filled with belly-aching laughter, spirited adventures, happy tears and sad and also lots of life lessons.

My ex-husband was a great step-dad to my kids.  He treated them as his own and introduced them to experiences, they would not have had otherwise.  He is a hard worker and provided a very comfortable life for all of us.   We had nice things and were able to travel often.  Those ten years were some of the best of my life and I don’t look at them as being “wasted” at all.

With that said, the next chapter has yet to be written.  But, it is mine and mine only to write.