Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sex talk with the kids...

[photo courtesy canstockphoto.com]

I will warn everyone, this may seem just a little risque, but it was too funny not to share. 

You know that you may have sheltered your children a little too much when your seventeen year old daughter comes up to you and says, "OMG.... so-and-so told me that they really have sex in porn movies!  Did you know that!?"

My response was "....OMG, hahaha....and you believed her?  You are so naive..."

Did I do something bad??  *wink*

Saturday, November 28, 2009

And Now....A Word on Husbands....

Our third wedding anniversary was this past Wednesday, and I started thinking (always a scary thing). What makes a marriage work? Articles in magazines and books about relationships seem to alternately over-simplify or over-complicate them.

I have teenage daughters, and the advice I give them is to treat their boyfriends the same way they treat their friends. They worry if they haven't heard from the boy in a few hours, or they get mad if he doesn't call when they think he should. I ask them, "Does it bother you when your girl-friends don't call?" The answer is invariably "No". It shouldn't matter anymore or less when he doesn't. (This example applies only early on in a relationship) Ladies, we are all guilty of this at one time or another. We shouldn't analyze everything to the "nth" degree. (I know I do this, so this is therapeutic for me to write.) Sometimes our problems are caused by worrying that there's going to be a problem.

I have learned a great deal about healthy relationships since I've been with Randy. (This is where it is helpful to be married to a man who is older or just insightful) He has taught me how to trust my own judgement, love things about myself I once hated, and best of all, how to be a better parent. In our home, we do not allow the children to jokingly insult one another. It tears down self esteem. Trying to soften the blow of a cruel comment with "I was just joking" does nothing for that little voice in our subconscious that says "you aren't good enough." If anyone out there has ever played on a sports team of any kind, you know what we do to ensure that we get the best out of our teammates. We high-five, or hit knuckles. We tell each other "good job, nice hit." If you want something for yourself, do something for someone else. Building each other up instead of tearing each other down helps us achieve our own personal goals in life. We all need someone in our lives to be our cheerleader. Randy is mine.

I think the "secret " to our marriage is that we really, truly "do"  for each other. We don't keep track of who has done what. Sure, there are days and sometimes, weeks when one of us will do more than the other. It always works out. I prepare, and serve him his dinner. Before I get my own. Not because he's "the man" or because my needs are less important than his own, but because I love him. It doesn't hurt me to do that. It doesn't cost me anything. It is a small token of my love and appreciation. In turn, he lets me sleep in and brings me coffee. In bed. Almost every morning. (I do not cook every night.) I will offer him the last serving of my favorite food instead of eating it myself, for all the same reasons. And I love him even more because when he found out that I do that, he now insists that he will not have that last serving of my favorite food.

We argue. We get our feelings hurt and I'm sure there are times when I'm sure he'd love nothing more than to walk out the front door and never look back. Randy is the one person who can cut me to the quick with his anger, and he is the one person who can make me feel like I am the most intelligent, beautiful, sexy woman in the world. That is what happens when you love someone. You are sometimes vulnerable, and sometimes invincible. The people you love, whether they are your parents, children, best friend or spouse, help to mold you into the person you are. Randy, in so many ways has helped to mold me into the person I am today. I love him with every ounce of my being every minute of every day. Most importantly, Randy has taught me how to love myself just as much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wedding Story

So, in honor of my third wedding anniversary, I thought I would tell you about our wedding.

First, a little background. Randy and I had been business partners, dating, and living together for a couple of years prior to our marriage. Our lease was up on our old salon, and it was time to move on to bigger and better things. I found commercial condos for sale very close to our home, in a growing area, without competition nearby. We bought it. (Did I mention we decided to set a date, in the middle of construction???) We had to take this empty shell and turn it into a salon. The build out was brutal. Who knew that getting construction done during hunting season is a bad idea? (They can't work on Fridays, because they have to prepare for the weekend. They can't work on Mondays because they just got back from a weekend living in a tree fort.)

Our salon was designed to look like a comfortable place to visit, while still functioning as a salon.  We also decided to get married in the salon after it had that comfy feeling, but before it had "salon stuff" in it. The contractor promised that construction would be on schedule for the wedding. HAHAHAHAHAHA. (oh, sorry, I got a little hysterical there)

Can you see that this is not going well??? Needless to say, the salon, uh, I mean the wedding venue was not as ready as they had promised. Fortunately, I wasn't hung up on the perfect wedding, the marriage was much more important to me. Seriously. (But I would be lying if I said I was totally Zen about the whole thing.)

 Back to the day of.... I had cousins in town from Pittsburgh helping to decorate on the big day. I stopped by early that morning to see how things were moving along. My cousin, Sarah, pulls me aside to ask if I have a strapless, low back bra she can borrow, as she forgot hers in Pa. I am half listening and I tell her, "Sure, I'll take one out and leave it on my bed." I wasn't going to be home, I had all my "bride stuff" to do. Now, you have to realize, I forget most things as soon as I'm told them. (It makes it much easier to keep my stylist/client confidentiality agreement.... I know secrets!!!) So, I go home, pull out my dress and all of my underthings , lay them out on my bed, and go to get nails, hair and makeup.

Do you see where this is going, yet?

The wedding is at 5pm, and I know that I should get back home to dress by 4:15 or so.

Plenty of time to put on my dress and get to the wedding.

Unless, when you get back home.......

There's the dress.

And the shoes.

Where is my bra?

And my Spanx?

Its getting late.





I do not have anything else that works under my dress. I frantically start making phone calls... I can't leave the house. I can't get to my own wedding without those undergarments. I finally get Sarah's mother (my favorite cousin in the world, Becky) on the phone, and she says,

"Oh, didn't you set that one out for Sarah?"

And that's why I was 45 minutes late for my own wedding.....

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Girls....

Looking back through my posts so far, I realized that although this is supposed to be about me and my life, mostly its about my kids. I'm guessing that means that my worst fear has come true.

Apparently, I have no life.

Since I have no life, I thought I'd show you some pictures of my girls. This is Goldie:

Yeah, she'd have you believe that this picture captures her exactly.

To that , all I can say is....Uh, no. This is more her personality:

A little sassy, but fun.

Kay is a little different. For the most part she is serious and wants to make a good impression, so she'd choose this pic:

Yeah, that's her....if you're her teacher and she needs an "A". Otherwise, it's this:

Sabrina should be a sweet girl. Here she is:

Most days, though, she's a little more like this:

Overall, the love is there.

Isn't it?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Party Time...

I'm working on saying "yes." The two older girls will more than likely be moving out by the end of next summer. We've always been pretty strict in our house, so we've always had a pretty good idea about where are kids are and with whom. They rarely argue about a curfew, and when they do they want to be able to come home at midnight. Goldie doesn't go out much, but K has a boyfriend and is out every weekend. I've never really insisted on a firm curfew time, it usually depends on what they are doing or who they are with. As strict as we are, we don't necessarily believe in assigning a time to be home when you never know what you're going to be doing. I don't really understand why some parents insist a specific time and then not give the kids any leeway if, for example, the movie gets out a right at curfew, so kid has the choice of either leaving the movie before the end, trying to find something else to do for the three hours, or be late. I say give them extra time to leave the theater and get home. (I realize there are some kids who are constantly trying to take advantage, and it may not work for everyone. I guess we've been lucky with our two.)

So, back to saying yes more. Three times in the last month, the girls have come to me wanting to go to neighborhood parties. The first party was a few blocks from the house, I was going to be home, and Son One was going to stop by. (He's my step-son, but I'm too lazy to write that everytime. From now on he is Son One. There is also another step-son, Son 2) So, I felt pretty good about letting them go. Because they were going to a party, I told them they needed to be home by eleven. The evening passed uneventfully, and the kids were home five or ten minutes early. I knew this was going to be their first "real party" and half expected them to avoid eye contact and run straight to their rooms when they got home. (not that I did that....) Instead? They came in, excited, and they talked to me. After a party, where there were no adults! I detected not one bit of scheming or hiding.

Early last week I was informed that there would be a Halloween party Friday night. This one was a still in the neighborhood, but further away than the last one. I took a deep breath, and tried to remember how to form the word yes. Son One would not be there to check up on things, and I had a softball game. I would not be right around the corner, I'd be in another city. I had to consider that the girls behaved responsibly last time, and with college coming up next year, I figured I'd better let them try again. So I said yes.

Then I got the kick in the teeth. They also wanted to stay out until midnight. My husband told me to say yes, to trust them. So I did.

The girls? Home at 11:00. Because they were too tired to stay out longer. (Huh? How old are they????)

When K asked if she could go to a party on Halloween night, I didn't even hesitate. Yes. Go. Have fun. Be home by midnight....

Not only was she home by 11:30, but they decided not to go to the party after all. Her boyfriend's parents were hanging out in their backyard, and they stopped to talk to them before heading out. They had so much fun with the parents, that they decided to just hang there all night. (And no, they aren't the kind of people to be the "cool" parents.)

I admit that I am in a state of shock. I feel lucky and blessed that they are as responsible as they are.

The only problem with all of this?

When they come home early, they are interrupting our (ahem) party time...

Damn kids...sigh...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More History....

I wrote this last year....a little deep and a little long, but worthwhile....

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? There are so many people who just believe that everyone else should take responsibility for them, and that they shouldn't suffer the consequences of their own poor decisions. For example, I have known many, many people who ting that the world is out to get them. These very people have chose not to finish school, they choose to speak, dress and behave poorly. And they wonder why they can't make it on their own. They don't want to hold down any job that requires them to show up on time, dress in a professional manner,and god forbid, the be held accountable for making sure the job is done properly. To them, it's everyone else asking too much of them.

I grew up along the coast in the southeast, with my grandparents. My mother had me at the age of 14, and was never able to care for me. Of course, as a child, I didn't know the difference. I guess I assumed all parents were like her. My father was young as well, but not allowed to see me or my mother. (I don't agree with that decision, but I can understand my grandparents not wanting the boy [who got their fourteen year old daughter pregnant] around. It was the '70's after all and these things were embarrassing to a family. So, instead of my mother doing all the things a mother should do, my grandparents and my mother's best friend, (Aunt Sharon) were my caretakers. Aunt Sharon picked me up and treated me as her daughter. When she married and moved away, she tearfully begged my grandparents to let her adopt and raise me. I have had wonderful role models, and been loved deeply in my life. I now enjoy a close, loving and (most importantly) a healthy relationship with my father and step-mother. Those who have loved me have saved me. As a young girl I looked up to my mother. I thought she was pretty and she was definitely cool. The mothers of all my friends were...well, old. I had no idea what a mother was really supposed to be like.

As I got older, I started to see the advantages of having a real mother. I wished for one. My grandmother was emotionally unavailable, my grandfather was a gem, but he had no idea how to be open emotionally. Aunt Sharon had married and moved away. I retreated into books. I planned out the kind of life I wanted to give my own children someday. I saw then, that my mother wasn't the kind of mother I wanted to be, nor was she as cool as I once thought. She found out she was pregnant at seventeen, got married, had a total of three children by the time she as 20; She was on her merry way with a new boyfriend by the age of twenty-one, without one child in tow. My brothers were raised by their paternal grandparents. I always found a reason to excuse the fact that she didn't raise us. Being as young as she was, she didn't know any better, right? I actually thought that way until I became pregnant and had my first child at seventeen. My mother was pregnant at the same time. She was thirty-one. Just over two years later, she had another child. It was after this time that I realized that she had no concept of motherhood. To my mother, children are accessories that she discards after she tires of them.

I am lucky enough that I had the desire and the drive to run as far from that tree as possible. I have learned many, many valuable lessons thanks to my mother:

1) I have learned that you will never get anywhere if you spend your life blaming other people for all of your failures.

2)You can not give your children advice if they don't respect you. If you have learned something from a mistake that you would like to pass onto them, do not continue to make that mistake over and over again yourself.

3) Sometimes, through no fault of your own, life hands you lemons. Make lemonade, or get over it. Don't sit and whine. Nothing will change if you whine.

4) Making a mess of your life does not obligate your children to bail you out constantly.

My children are almost grown now. They know how important they are to me . I am also raising my youngest sister, K. She is nineteen days older than my oldest daughter. She is a great kid. For the first twelve years of her life, she lived with our mother and her various boyfriends. The nice ones were discarded in favor of the "bad boys." K saw our mother doing drugs and was nearly homeless several times. She was made to be responsible for our youngest sister, mothering and raising her. At the age of twelve, K decided she'd had enough. The next time I was asked to take the girls "for a few days, until I can figure things out," she said she wasn't going back. She hasn't. (She is amazing and I will do a post on her sometime.)

I will often read advice columns for fun. Most of them advise the people sending in questions to try to reconcile with family members so that there are never regrets. Sometimes however, those relationships are damaged to the point that they are poisonous to those involved. My mother is poison to me. Whenever I have to talk to her about anything deeper than the weather, I am a wreck, and it affects my children and marriage. So, I have made the decision to completely cut her from my life. I will no longer be responsible for her. I will not protect her from the anger and resentment that she has caused her children. I will not allow my life to be turned upside down by her neediness.

And whether I like it or not, I will always love her.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have a hard time being controversial. I don't like it. I may be a little controversial here today. The main reason I have such a hard time with it is because I'm afraid I will come across as small minded (which I know I'm not) or really tick someone off. One of my purposes in having this blog is to change parts of myself that I am unhappy with. I am going to try, every once in a while to write something controversial. I've made statements before about standing up for what you believe in and it is time for me to take my own advice.

Religion is a hard subject for me. It is one that I avoid most of the time, mostly because I'm sure to offend someone. I grew up in a Presbyterian church. The minister we had while I was growing up was fantastic. His name was Larry and he was someone who always seemed to understand the real life sometimes meant making decisions that weren't always covered in the bible. He also allowed his beliefs in humanity and compassion to lead him to make decisions that were deemed "wrong" in the bible.

Case in point, a young hardworking couple with a young son came to our church, needing a place to live for a few months. A series of events had occurred in the preceding year that took them from a family who were completely self sufficient to homeless. They were willing to work around the church to pay for the ability to stay there. Larry agreed. The members of the church were so against his decision, that they called for Larry to step down. Why were they so against this family staying there? They weren't married. (I can not stress enough that they were not irresponsible people.) Larry did not want to place this family, and especially the young son, under any more stress. They could have rented a motel room by the week, but they wouldn't have gotten ahead. Larry wanted this boy to have a chance at a stable home once again. It didn't matter to Larry that they weren't married, that young boy didn't know or care that they weren't married. They were Mommy and Daddy and he loved them both. Larry understood that to evict them based on their marital status would be more harmful to their family unit than it would be damaging to the church for allowing them to stay.

I give you that story because to me, it represents everything that is right and wrong with religion. What is right, is that we find that loving others is a sure way to show and spread God's compassion and love. It is wrong, because we sometimes use God's expectations and guides as a way to inflict cruelty to one another, simply because we don't believe someone else is living their life the way we think God says they should.

My controversial statement today is this; I do not believe that the bible should be a literal interpretation of how to live life.

I believe in God. I think that a lot of the lessons we learn in church or in the bible are good, valuable lessons, but I also think there is a lot of hypocrisy there, too.

My next controversial statement is this; I am not a fan of organized religion, for the most part, today.

If I could find a church that would practice the positive things in the bible, and leave out the condemnation of anyone who doesn't do exactly what they say you should do, I'd go faithfully.

If I could find a church who lived by, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" I'd go. I hate that there are people out there who think that because they are spreading the word of God, they get a pass for being intentionally cruel.

We all have the right to live our lives the way we want to. We have to raise our kids with morals and values. We all deserve to know God and feel His love. Those who may need it the most can't find it. They can't find it, because when they look for it, all they find is someone telling them how disgusting, evil, wrong and, in some cases, how unnatural they are.

Its kind of hard to feel love for someone or something that makes you feel like you shouldn't have ever existed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dancing The Night Away?

I remember my first school dance. It was 1986 or 1987. Michael Jackson's Dirty Diana song was popular. Going in, I was scared to death. I wondered if anyone would ask me to dance. I wondered if I would look stupid trying if they did. The closest thing I'd done to dance at that point was to turn on the stereo on the counter top in my grandmothers kitchen and shake my booty in my nightgown. (I may have been wearing an ankle length nightgown one night. It may have been made of a rather inflexible fabric. And I may have kicked my leg high in the air.... while the fabric tightened around my other leg. And pulled it out from under me.) So.... I'd not had much experience with the whole dancing thing.

Throughout my school days, I occasionally going to dances, but never danced with boys. They were always too cool. We girls would get together in a group shake our hips and snap our fingers, no dirty dancing in my school. Has anyone seen how the teen boys dance today? As the mother to teenage girls, let me tell you... I'm. Not. Happy.

My girls won't even dance in front of me. They say it would be "awkward". Um, I'm thinking it would be awkward only if it was inappropriate.

In any case, tonight two unusual things happened. My two seventeen year olds went to the local elementary school dance. ( They don't know any of the students there.) They just went to chaperon. They had to make sure the little ones didn't get out of hand. I was so proud of them. They are showing me everyday that they are growing and maturing. I'm finally feeling , maybe a little smugly, that it's nice how well they've turned out. I can totally trust them. Right?

The second unusual thing that happened, was that they wanted to go over to a friend's house. After 10 pm. That alone wouldn't be that unusual. What made it unusual is that this particular friend has been out of high school for two years, and comes and goes as she pleases. She is considered an adult by her parents. So my girls mature, responsible girls would be staying away from home tonight. They showed us earlier tonight how mature they are, they volunteered their time to young children tonight. They acted as role models.

Yeah, I don't think so. They are in their own beds tonight.

They are too young to be out without a chaperon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How old are you??

Coming home from work today, I anticipated an afternoon filled with important things.

Like watching my DVR. I had to catch up on a few of my favorite shows. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that my youngest child, who is fourteen, stayed home sick today and had commandeered the TV attached to the DVR.

I prepared to watch one of those teen shows on MTV, or something equally "cool." She's in her last year of middle school, so I see a lot of eye rolls, hear a lot of UGH's, and I am generally reminded every second of everyday that she is growing up!

What do I find? Noggin. Spongebob. The Fairly Oddparents.

Huh? I guess growing up is put on hiatus when you're fourteen and don't feel good.

I hear her calling for me.

Somebody wants her Mommy.

If only for a little while...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Come Together...riiiight now...

Teenagers often get a bad rap. As adults, we see the negative first. This past week, I've witnessed the coming together of an entire school over an "ineligibility" of a star football player at my daughter's school.

This particular student's parents are divorced. His mother is apparently suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment for it. The mother currently has custody of the boy, but he's been living with his grandparents (in our school district) while his mother is undergoing treatments. He is a senior. Long story short, a rival school has lodged an official complaint about this student's attendance at our school, saying that he is in their district. Our high school accepted that he was living with his grandparents, allowed him to attend our school and play for our team. It was ultimately decided that our school team would have to forfeit all games in which this student played. We were 6-0, ranked sixth in our state.

Whether or not he was playing "legally" isn't my real concern. High school football isn't important to me. I am well aware that rules exist for fairness, although, in some circumstances common sense should prevail over "rules." Should this boy have lost his last year of eligibility, because his mother is sick? Not playing his senior year can cost him scholarship money and the chance to go to college. I'm guessing that in order for him to legally live in our district with his grandparents, his mother would have to give up custody of the boy and turn it over to his grandparents.

People writing in to the local papers are demanding that they release the name of this boy and his parents. They want to know who this "cheater" is. They want to be able to punish and humiliate him and his parents. They don't know the whole story. For whatever reason, the school hasn't released the extenuating circumstances of this case. The school principal is appealing the ruling. If and when those circumstances are made public, I hope it will be a reminder to people that one side of the story is rarely the whole story.

That really isn't my point. My point is how the students have responded to this. The student body could have decided to place the blame on this boy who wasn't eligible. They could have taunted him, harassed him and made his life a living hell. After all, he took something from each of them, right?

They didn't. The students, especially the football team, have thrown all of their love and support behind this boy. They have told him that they believe in him. They know, that even if the rules were broken, they weren't broken by this student intentionally. School pride is at an all time high. These kids are seeing past their collective moment of joy and disappointment to rally behind one boy going through one of the most excruciating experiences of his life- possibly losing his chance to go to college, while facing the prospect of losing his mother.

I am proud of our kids. For this one moment in time, they aren't being the selfish, short-sighted people we expect them to be. They are growing up. Seeing the big picture. They are finally understanding that sometimes, winning and glory isn't everything. Being there to lend a hand and support someone is more important than winning.

This football season, win or lose, is unimportant. The football team itself, doesn't really matter.

This team right now is the entire student body. They are finally learning to play the game of life.

I predict a winning season.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overthink, much?

It is no secret that teens are difficult. I am guilty of complaining about mine. I get so frustrated with my own, sometimes wondering how in the hell I'm going to make it out the other side of this. I've always taken my job as Mom very seriously. My sole purpose since I became a mother has been to raise strong, independent women who are not afraid to speak their minds, and to be open to the joys of a happy, loving family of their own. I want them to be smart and self motivated. I want these things so badly for my girls, that when I see them slipping away from those things I go nuts. I take control and push them back in that direction. And realize that by pushing them so hard, maybe I'm taking away that independence and freedom of choice I've always desired for them. Are there other mom's out there who feel like they have deposited their own dreams onto their children, and then wrestle the control away from their children because it doesn't mesh with what we want for them?

There is an expectation of respect in our home. The girls are allowed to express whatever it is they need to express, but they may not do it while throwing a typical teen tantrum. Is it healthy or unhealthy that I don't allow them to do the tantrum thing? So far, they are everything I could have dreamed they would become. They are kind, loving, smart, hardworking kids who don't take crap from anyone. To everyone outside of our home they are unfailingly polite and I hear from nearly everyone who has contact with them that they are wonderful kids.

We seem to have a pretty good relationship, but I wonder sometimes, if it is superficial and only seems this way because of my strong "you will talk to me with respect or you're grounded for life" message. I can't decide why I'm questioning myself. I suppose I should go directly to my two seventeen year olds and ask them. I might do that. They are not afraid to tell me their opinions, so they would probably tell me the truth.

The truth is, if I'd just buy them an iPhone and get rid of the curfew they'll agree everything is just perfect.

This week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dual Personality

Sabrina, my youngest is fourteen years old. She is a wonderful kid. I realize that she's not all grown up yet, but she's getting there.

Sabrina is very outgoing. She's one of those people who's never met a stranger. As teenage daughters go, she's been a dream. She doesn't do most of the things a lot of other teens do. She comes home when she's supposed to, not too interested in boys, yet, and she enjoys sitting in the back yard, talking to her best friend through the fence. So many things I see in her life are nearly idyllic. A typical night in our home has me cooking dinner while the girls are on their computers or doing homework. All of the girls are pretty good about doing what they are supposed to do, although Sabrina has a touch of ADD and can't always remember what she's supposed to be doing. For the most part, that's my biggest complaint.

Until the third week of the month.

Sabrina turns into the monster from hell. You know what I'm talking about. Aunt Flo, her "friend" from out of town. The dreaded week of the PERIOD.

My darling Sabrina turns into satan.

Does anyone remember Linda Blair in The Exorcist?

She looks like an angel compared to Sabrina at that time.

We've tried everything from grounding her to threatening to send her to Egypt once a month.

Nothing's worked so far, so I've decided to try another tactic. Last month, my blood pressure rose to dangerous levels.

My sense of self preservation has taken over.

I'm thinking I'll be spending my day tomorrow at Target, buying lots of chocolate, Midol and heat packs. Then I'll run to the grocery store for grapes.

I found the fan last month...

I might be gone a few days.... you'll find me in Her Majesty's room....

peeling grapes and fanning her.

Hoping to survive the week.

There's a reason I named her Sabrina here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Size of a Woman.... A Man's Perspective

At one time, I had another blog. I decided to go anonymous to allow myself greater freedom in my writing. I've seen a few other bloggers writing about Dove's Real Woman campaign. My husband actually wrote this piece for our other blog last year. Please understand, in this post he is not referring to women who are naturally thin, he is referring to those who starve themselves to meet the so-called "ideal".

This is his opinion....

I am sick and tired of these anorexic looking "kids" like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and all those twigs being passed off as the only "desirable body" type. TO WHOM? I am not even slightly interested in that body type. How could a mature man look at those little girl bodies and get turned on? Nicole Ritchie looks surprising like a lot of 12 - 13 year old child (female) I've ever known. I have seen healthy, mature, naturally thin women that I find attractive, but the key word is naturally. If you eat well and stay thin, fine. Let's get it straight here, if you don't eat well, you WILL NOT look good...period. If you are not healthy, you can't look healthy.Who decided that Calvin Klein had it right, with Kate Moss and all those models like her (which he uses almost exclusively)? It's a joke. It is appealing to no one (that I know) and seems to target pedophiles. Our society tolerates this and even, to some extent, encourages it by buying their crap. It's time we recognize what's happening to us. At some point we need to be able to tell our children "hey it's OK to wear a size 10" or 12 or 14" who really cares? Since when is everyone cut from the same mold (or gene pool for that matter)? And this BMI crap, I'm 6' o" tall and I weigh 180 or so. At some point I was 192.....now, that was 192 of solid muscle and very lean (rock climbing 3-4 days a wk) and yet, I was told that I was overweight....(you don't want to know what I said). Now if you saw me...well you would laugh about that, I am considered slender by most....I've heard skinny, but I am not overweight. It's crap! Now, I do understand that even a little extra weight COULD be harmful to your health. I also recognize that our children may not eat as well as they should. We all should see, however, that anorexia and bulimia are on the rise. We should note that a large percentage of the children today have serious self esteem issues, mostly concerning perceived body flaws, fat being the number one concern. Adults are affected also, but it's the children who are most susceptible to these pressures. I, for one, am over it. I have seen young girls torture themselves to "make the weight", otherwise beautiful girls reduce themselves to skin and bones. I have friends whose children are literally killing themselves by purging daily, in fact several times a day. It's enough already, it has been for quite some time now.I have not bought clothing, fragrances or anything I know comes from Calvin Klein. I will in the future, try my best to boycott any line of clothing that I believe promotes this unnatural body type and/or uses "women" like Kate Moss, who need to starve themselves or use drugs to keep their unhealthy bodies so ridiculously thin. If it's natural, I have no problem with it, if not...eat a doughnut.I certainly hope this is taken as it is intended, as a positive statement to those who suffer each day, suffer because someone told them they were "thick" or "chunky" or just a little "heavy". It's time to speak up, it's time to let those people know "I like the way I look and I am happy with who I am...period". The body police should maybe get a clue...and while we're at it, let's just hit the "fashion police" too. Let everyone be who they want to be, not who some small group of people think they should be. I paint outside the lines....and I run with scissors, and I don't dress like everyone thinks I should, so sue me.I have spent most of my adult life helping people look their best. I help everyone feel the best that they can with no preference given to "smaller" people. I believe that each person that I see (professionally), every day, deserves to be happy and feel as beautiful as I can make them feel.I truly believe this, and I truly do my job that way, every client, every day. I find those who would attack another person for a perceived "imperfection" to be disgusting, even when it's disguised (she would be so pretty... if she'd just lose a few pounds). Judge not, lest you ...get ugly and lose your teeth.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My husband, R, is a great guy. (As you can see, I still don't have a clever name for him...after you read this post, maybe you can give me some ideas!) He has a great sense of humor, although he's not always politically correct. He is my best friend, my business partner, my lover. (sigh)

We own a small business together. He doesn't always tell people he is one of the owners of our business. (He doesn't want people to think he's egotistical or self absorbed.)R loves practical jokes. One such example: A client comes in for the first time. He's doing the initial consultation. He calls me over, to consult with him. He cuts and I do the color. I am in my most professional mode, starting the consultation, when he leans down and whispers in the client's ear, "you know, she only has this job because she sleeps with the boss..."

Thanks, honey.

Really, if you knew me, you'd know I love my man. He is very talented and he's truly handy. He can design a floor plan, he can build just about anything, lay tile flooring, rewire a house, fix a car. R can figure out how to do just about anything. He can help anyone while they're shopping, looking at clothing the same way he looks at hair. He can fight. He's one of the most incredible athletes I've ever met. (We play on a softball team together. Most of the guys are in their thirties, and he is fasterquickersmarter than they are. They will all attest to this fact. I'm not bragging....really, I'm not!

I seriously think he is the perfect man.....almost. He cannot figure out how to work the dryer. Or the vacuum cleaner. Or the dishwasher. WHY?!?!?! This man can take a computer apart, fix it and put it back together. Yet, he stands in front of the dryer, cursing it, and can not figure out how to turn the damn thing on..... he gets angry. Finally he yells to me, "KENSI, I can't turn the damn dryer on. How the hell does this thing work? I'm not doing this crap again..." I calmly walk into the laundry room and press the button that says..."PRESS AND HOLD TO START"....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This is a little off the subject of MY life...

This is obviously not a political blog. However, I do have some concerns I'd like to address. I will start out by saying that I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I tend to like some things about each party. Without going into detail about my beliefs, I could describe myself as either a very conservative Democrat, or a very liberal Republican. Make sense? I am alternately very happy with the job our president is doing and irritated with him. That being said, I have to say that I am worried about our children and the future of our country. Not because of what our president is doing, but because of how "we the people" are responding to him and to each other. Most of us seem to have drawn a line in the sand and said, "This is what I believe in, it's not up for discussion, I will defend my position to anyone anyway I want to, without regard to their feelings and without listening to any other position."

My concern is that our children aren't seeing the adults respectfully debating the issues. They are seeing talking heads on television bashing each other and calling each other names. If you look at the comments after any news article (political or not) online, you see what I consider the most vile person of all: the one who hides behind a computer screen and says things they would NEVER utter to another person's face. The most shocking to me however, was Rep. Joe Wilson yelling at the President and calling him a liar. Now, whether you think he is lying or whether you simply disagree with the President's plan is not really the issue. What Joe Wilson showed us is that the "Jerry Springer" way of handling disagreements has now affected us all the way to one of the highest levels of our government.

My daughter, who is a senior in high school, was not allowed by her principal to listen to the President's address to the students. I honestly don't know why she made that decision, especially considering that most people in academia tend to lean a little more to the left. (Which is fine by me.) My fear here is that her principal wanted to avoid offending someone, so she just made the decision that none of the students would hear his address.

We have reached the point in this country where we can't mention God in school because someone might be offended. Now we can't listen to our President for the same reason. I don't understand. How will our children learn to respectfully debate issues with each other if we don't practice it? How will our children learn and grow and maybe even change their minds about issues if they haven't been taught how to have an open mind and listen to others' whose opinions might differ from their own?

We used to tell our children; "Stand up for something or you'll fall for anything." I am afraid our children will fall -not because they didn't stand up for something- because we wouldn't allow them to listen to anything.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do your kids make you a little nuts?

Can anyone tell me if teenage girls actually have floors in their rooms?
Has anyone ever notice that sweet, fruity,vanilla-y smell emanating from their room?
Why are their beds never made?
I thought the clothes were supposed to hang by the rod up top.
I had no idea that clothes were a lot like ivy climbing up a wall.
Do your teenage girls leave what looks to be melted people in lots of piles all over their room? Seriously, they just drop everything right where they are standing. Sometimes, they even leave their shoes in the middle of it.

I have one nice bottle of perfume in my bathroom. I get a new one every year. Because they are so expensive.
Why do my daughters have multiple bottles of this very expensive perfume in their room?

They have better phones than I do first. Then, I wait a year to catch up and have a nice one of my own. Only to find out I bought last year's model...

Why do they spend ten minutes arguing over something it would take either one of them 30 seconds to do? And then complain that her sister doesn't want to help her later?

Why is it okay for teenage daughters to fill up her gas tank with your gas card every Monday, drive her friends everywhere all week, and complain that she doesn't have enough money to get gas to run an errand for you?

Why do teenage girls complain and act completely ungrateful toward us, and then get so upset and angry when their step-siblings act ungrateful toward them?

Sometimes my girls babysit. They come home frustrated and complaining about the rude and disrespectful way one of the little ones spoke to them. Then then they complain when they have to repeatedly tell the little ones not to do something, and the little ones keep on doing it.

Is it wrong that I think that their frustration is hilarious, and hope someday their own kids make them as crazy as they've made me???

Monday, July 20, 2009


I've mentioned before that my maternal grandparents raised me. My grandfather was someone I enjoyed being around to the exclusion of nearly anyone else during my early years. Pap and I spent lots of time together. He was born in 1922. His father was a teacher and together with his wife, they also owned a small general store. Pap was the youngest of eight children, of which seven survived infancy. His family was large and they all loved music. Pap loved music. He never learned how to read music, but he could play "by ear", which basically means he listens to the notes, finds it on his instrument, and then continues on with the song. (Coincidentally, my father is a musician and plays his guitar the same way) Pap taught himself to play the piano at the age of four. His brother was playing a simple song (and I'm so upset that I seem to have forgotten the name of the song) and he sat down, at the age of four, and played it himself. His love of music continued throughout his life. When I was a little girl, the Lawrence Welk show would come on Friday nights, when Pap had gone with his band, and because Lawrence Welk played the accordion, I thought he must be Pap. As for his day job, he was an airplane instrument mechanic, he would leave for work around four or five a.m. and would come in my room to kiss my forehead before he left for work. He was not a physically affectionate person. Those times were the only times I ever remember him initiating affection. His way of showing love and affection was to talk to you about everything that he felt was important for you to know. I remember his lessons on fiscal responsibility, the importance of being on time, and on having a good work ethic.

My grandparents weren't "in love" with one another. Their story is one of the least romantic stories I've ever heard. Pap was almost fourteen years older than my grandmother (Nonnie). They married because, well they had to, in March of 1953. My oldest uncle was born in July of 1953..... After five children together, and the added burden of raising their grandchild, their marriage was one of taking care of the business at hand. So, my grandfather opted to spend lots of time away from the house on weekends. When he wasn't "playing" (what we called his music gigs) he would drive to the local donut shop to sip coffee, make new friends, usually taking me with him. I loved those times.

The first major change I experienced was in the winter of 1984. Pap's best friend, Johnny, lost his mother and we were on our way home from her funeral. Pap was driving, I was in the backseat with Nonnie. The car started to weave and I remember someone asking if he was okay. He said he was fine, (he was never one to complain) and he continued on. After a while Johnny became concerned by the lack of control Pap had over the car. He asked him to pull over and Johnny offered to drive. I will never forget the moment Pap stepped out of the car. He lost his balance and nearly fell. My reaction was one that would haunt me for years.... I started to laugh at him. We didn't know it at the time, but he was having a stroke. I laughed. Granted, I was only nine years old, but when I think about that I am so ashamed.The stroke was very hard for him. Pap was a proud man, and to not be able to do the most basic things for himself was excruciating. (As I said earlier, he and my grandmother did not have a loving marriage. My grandmother was an alcoholic, albeit a very functional one, and she smoked like a chimney. Pap did not smoke) Nonnie suddenly was the caretaker of not only me, but of Pap as well. The original prognosis for Pap was that he would never be able to walk again. They didn't think he would be able to speak clearly again. He certainly would never again play his beloved accordion. During this very trying time, I saw a man who did not ever give up. Not once. When we discovered that his wheelchair didn't work in our home, he decided to get a little rolling garden cart. He was not going to stay cooped up in his room. He was getting out. He bought a stimulation unit, to help him regain the use of his right side. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is basically a portable (mild) shock therapy device. He regained the use of his voice, practiced walking until he could do it without a cane, and after about a year, was able to drive again. He joined the city recreation center and started aquatic exercises. One of Pap's friends, and a fellow musician, bought him a keyboard. Pap, who thought music of his own making was gone forever, was able to once again teach himself how to play the keyboard. With one hand. He was able to play the cords and the melody. With one hand.

I used to wonder where this stubborn streak that I have came from. I will usually do something someone has told me I'm not capable of, just to prove them wrong. Looking back, I see that Pap is probably the primary source of that strength. At arguably the lowest point in his life, the showed a tremendous amount of strength and fortitude. He did not give up on himself. He didn't want to lay there while life beat him up. He was a fighter, and he wasn't ashamed of his disability. In fact, one of the stories he liked to tell was one that happened a couple of years before he died.Working as a musician in restaurants, he would of course be there from five or so until the restaurant closed. With his stroke, he was given a handicapped license plate. He would park in the handicap spot long enough to unload his equipment, then he would move his car to a regular spot. He didn't want to take up one of the few handicap spots all evening. On one particularly busy night, all of the regular spots were full (Pap's car being in one of them) while all the handicapped spots were open. Pap goes to his car to pack up and notices a small note under his windshield wiper. This gem of a person left him a note asking him why he was taking one of the regular spots, therefore depriving this person of a place to park, when the handicap spots were available!!! Here my precious Pap, trying to be considerate of others who may be worse off than he, was the recipient of a nasty gram. The nerve!!

Pap left us in September, 1996. He developed congestive heart failure, had a quadruple bypass surgery, and had several small strokes. That ultimately caused the complete loss of his voice. One week before he died, I was with him in his hospital room. None of us were sure if he knew what was going on, and no one knew for sure how to get him to respond so that we would know for sure. I remembered that when I was a little girl, he tried to teach me sign language. Just how to sign individual letters. So I leaned down, and whispered, "Pap do you know who I am?" He nodded his head. I said, "tell me then. Who am I?" He lifted his left hand and started spelling my name. I burst into tears hugging him. I was so glad to know he knew me, but I was crushed to know that he was fully aware of how completely his body had failed him.

On the morning of his death, he reminded us all of his determination. He refused to enter a nursing home when he was still able to communicate clearly and decidedly with us. Pap was now at the point where the hospital could do no more for him. Nonnie couldn't take care of him at home. It was time for a nursing home. In the hospital room Nonnie, my Aunt June, and the nurse made the final decision to place Pap in a nursing home. Nonnie sent June out to start filling out the necessary paperwork. After 43 years of marriage, Nonnie and Pap were not in love with each other, but there was love between them. Before the paperwork had been completed, my wonderful Pap passed away.

He made his decision, and he stood by it. He never did get to that nursing home.... he was too damn stubborn to go.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


My mother was the fifth (and last) child born to my grandparents, and the only girl. My grandfather (Pap) adored her. She was coddled, loved and spoiled rotten. In the early 1960's, when my mother was around three years old, her family moved in to our family home. They moved from the mountains and away from Pap's family to live here, near the ocean and closer to my grandmother's (Nonnie) family. The day they moved into their new home, my mother met the girl across the street. Her name was Sharon Mitchell. They sat on the curb, each little girl on her own side of the street, and stared at one another. After awhile, they got tired of simply staring at each other, so they begged their mothers to let them play together. Although the two girls didn't get to play that first day, they eventually went on to become the best of friends.

The two families proved to be quite different. During that time, Nonnie was a twenty-eight year old mother of five, whose husband worked for the government during the day and was a musician on the weekends. She was completely overwhelmed with the children and had a tendency to drink a little too much. She was a functioning alcoholic. She cleaned the house and cooked the meals, but she never befriended any other wives in the neighborhood. (I once asked her why she never had female friends, and her response to the question was "women are bitches." I was stunned, to say the least!) Nonnie and Pap's marriage was strained at best. Pap was a good man. He worked hard and tried to help control the boys, but he and Nonnie fought over the way she disciplined (or didn't discipline) the children.

Sharon's family couldn't have been any more different from ours. Her mother and father were very much in love when they married and in the years they have been married that love has only grown stronger. They always backed each other up in front of the children, and to this day, I have never heard one speak ill of the other. Sharon's father was a tough disciplinarian, and though her mother was very soft spoken, she was tough as nails when it came to her children minding their manners and behaving themselves. Needless to say, the Mitchell children did not misbehave often.

Relationships, whether they are friendship or romantic, are most successful when the people involved in those relationships have similar values. As Sharon and Mom headed toward the teen years, the differences in the values of the two families became more apparent. While Sharon was required to attend church on Sundays, be home by curfew, speak respectfully to her parents and behave herself around boys - Mom was given all the freedom she wanted. She had a curfew, although she wasn't obliged to actually be home on time. By the summer of 1974, Mom was pregnant with me. She was fourteen years old.

Sharon was shocked at the pregnancy. Sex was not something she had ever considered. Sex was for marriage. Values. Sharon also expected that Mom would be busy caring for her new baby. She also thought that she would be a part of that. Sharon would become my "Aunt" Sharon. Sharon was only half right. She would be a part of my life. Mom would not be taking care of me. That was left up to Nonnie, Pap and Aunt Sharon.

Having a child didn't alter the course of Mom's plans to do what she wanted, when she wanted. If it was convenient for her to have a baby, she would take me with her, if it wasn't convenient, she'd leave me home. I have so many stories I could tell you about my early childhood. Maybe I will sometime, but for now, lets just say that Mom wasn't the most nurturing mother. It didn't take long before Sharon started to lose patience with Mom for leaving me all the time. Mom had lots of parties to go to. She had a string of boyfriends to entertain. She ended up marrying one of those boyfriends just weeks before her eighteenth birthday. She was already pregnant with my brother. After she married my first step-father, Steve, they moved to a neighboring city. My brother was born six months later, and another brother followed eighteen months later. Steve was a very nice man. Sober. When he was drunk, however, he was evil personified. Their marriage lasted four years. My mother, 22 years old, was once again single. She decided she couldn't handle raising two boys on her own, so she gave custody to her husbands parents.

As I grew older, I would hear other people talk about Mom's irresponsibility. Throughout my childhood and teen years I didn't blame her at all. I loved her. I rationalized that Mom was only fourteen when she had me. Of course she had no idea how to care for and nurture a child. When I thought of her giving my brothers away, I excused her because that marriage had been brutal, and she'd done what she thought was best. In one part of my mind, I thought she was pretty and very cool. I secretly enjoyed the look of surprise on the faces of my friends when I told them how young my Mom was. I liked to show her off. I thought it was neat that my Mom had "boyfriends" instead of a husband. In the other part of my mind, I longed for a real family, with a mother, brothers and sisters. One like Aunt Sharon's family. It was buried deep within me. It pushed me to think about the direction I wanted my life to take.

If Mom's bad decisions had stopped there, maybe I could have forgiven her for everything. After her divorce, she moved from one relationship to the next. I was maybe six or seven years old when she met a man named Larry. I'm not sure what Larry really did for a living, but it apparently required a lot of travel. Mom went with him. I didn't see her for a long time. She did write letters and send presents. In one letter, the only one I remember, she asked for a recent picture. The only reason I remember that one is because I had to ask what "recent" meant. Eventually, that relationship ended and there were more men. I don't remember much about any of them, but I did meet a few of them. In 1984, Mom got lucky. She met a wonderful man named Lou. Lou was the father of four. His oldest son was the same age as me, but lived with his mother. He was the single father of two other boys and a little girl, who was less than a year old. (Her name was Kensi, too) The younger three children had been abandoned by their mother. Lou and Mom started dating. Lou had a very nice family. (When I say "nice family" I really mean they were a functional family.) Eventually they married, and Mom became step-mom to Lou's three children. My mom was the only mom Little Kensi knew.

Life settled down for nearly a decade. Lou and Mom bought a house, my youngest brother came to live with them. When I was fifteen, and still idolized Mom, I moved in with them. Pap was a little hurt, I think, but he understood. Mom and I spent a lot of time talking about our family and the issues we had. We talked about Nonnie's alcoholism and how Mom never felt like her mother cared where she was or what she was doing. It was true that Nonnie was much too permissive. Mom also let me know that she felt like she stopped existing as her mother's daughter the day I was born. She told me that it was like Nonnie transferred any love she had for her to me. We talked about the need to break the cycle and become better parents. Mom told me how important it was the mothers and daughters become close to each other and lean on each other. Some of the lessons she had to share with me were good ones. In some ways, she did help me become the mother I have become. She said all the right things, but she wasn't able to follow through herself. ...

I realize this is a long post, so I'm going to stop here for now. I will post the next part soon...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I have three teenage girls living in my house. They drive me insane, they make me laugh and there are times they make me want to move far, far away. Goldie is my oldest biological child, but technically the fourth in our family of five children. Goldie can keep our family in stitches. She will burst out in song and dance that can rival any one of American Idol's early rejects. She can tell the tallest tales with a perfectly straight face and act totally offended when you don't believe her. It is hilarious. Goldie has her issues. I worry that she doesn't worry about tomorrow, or next week and certainly not next year. I am worried that Goldie is in no way prepared for life outside of our home,despite my best efforts. Goldie also has seizure disorder. Most days, she is the funny, crazy kid who makes us all laugh. Some days, she's asking the question most of us ask every once in a while, "Why me?" On those days she is reminded that her lot in life could be a whole lot worse. For her to have one seizure a year was normal until earlier this year. She has had three seizures this spring. This hasn't happened in years. I am terrified sometimes that I am going to lose her. I'm sure that I'm just paranoid, and my Goldie will be just fine.

Although I don't consider her seizure disorder a disability, it does cause her some difficulty. The medication makes her move a little slower and she can't always concentrate. I don't want her to think of herself as disabled because for the most part, she's not. I try very hard to treat her the same as our other kids, but I do make excuses for her from time to time. I know I shouldn't. Don't misunderstand, I hold my children to a very high standard. I demand respect and a positive outlook. At times, though, I've found myself excusing her from finishing the kitchen, or overlooking the pile of laundry that is creeping half-way up her bedroom wall. Why? Beats me.

All I know is that she is my firstborn. My beautiful, crazy girl. There isn't a thing I wouldn't do for her. And I love her...

Friday, June 26, 2009

WWWWWWhooooo are you, who, who, who, who?...

I have lately been trying to find out who I am. I feel like I am constantly putting on a "face" for one reason or another. I'm either trying to make sure I make a good impression on a client, or trying to set an example for my girls. Even trying to select a blogger template, I am making myself decide if the design I've selected is really something I like, or if it is something I've decided fits who I am supposed to be. Becoming a mother at the age of seventeen hasn't left a lot of time for self exploration. I tend to think of myself as a wife and mother. Being those two things has defined me. My oldest daughter will start her senior year in high school this fall, and I think its time to start to define myself. Please don't misunderstand and think that I need to go off and "find myself." I am perfectly happy in my life, myself and my home.

Since I was a child, I've somehow known the path I wanted my life to take, without ever really thinking of the details. I knew what kind of life I wanted to provide for my children, the kind of family I wanted to surround them with, the character I wanted instilled within them. I knew what kind of marriage I wanted to have. Through either hard work or luck, I've somehow managed to meet those goals. My girls are growing up to be wonderful young women. They are smart, responsible, loving, and generous. They are far from perfect, but I love them with every ounce of my being.

So, who am I? (with out using "wife" or "mother")

  • I am a woman approaching my mid thirties.
  • I am desperately in love with my husband.(we'll call him "R" until I can think of a more clever name for him.
  • I own a small business.
  • I am good at what I do.
  • I am of above average intelligence.
  • I am athletic.
  • I can be judgmental about certain things.
  • I feel like I need to soft peddle and explain why I am judgemental about certain things. (But I won't!)
  • I try to not to offend people.
  • I seem to be very serious minded, but I have a good sense of humor, and sharp wit.
  • I am sometimes argumentative with my husband for no good reason. (I really need to stop that!)
  • I am a (wannabe) organized person.

Hopefully by the end of this journey, I won't have to think so hard about who I am!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Welcome to My Life...

My life started under the most stressful of circumstances. It's been an interesting life, full of love, laughter and tears. Its also been a life of contradictions. I am struggling to come to terms with a few things, and I am hoping that by writing everything down, I can somehow find the truth about who I am, what I want from life and see just how far I've really come.