WhAt iF….?!!

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anxiety disorder / emotional health / human experience / mental health
If she were actually me she'd have a mouth.  And it would be talking incessantly.  Am I right, friends?!

If she were actually me she’d have a mouth. And it would be talking incessantly. Am I right, friends?!



“Feel the fear, then do it anyway”.

I love it. It sounds so darn simple, it might just work! I thought this for a good split second. And if it were to work, it would be the most perfect idea I’d ever come across when it comes to handling anxiety. Unfortunately, it’s way too simplistic for those of us who’s anticipatory fear is severe and debilitating. It’s almost like telling a coma patient to “just snap out of it and join us for dinner!”

For common everyday fears and anxieties among optimists and even pessimists, I get it. I’m scared to walk into that convenience store at night, but I’m really craving a Slushie and it’s not a bad part of town. I’ll just suck it up and go then! Easy. Done. No perseverating on what could happen to the point of feeling nauseous or faint. No dwelling on “could be” or “may be” or “what if” until you tuck yourself into your bed with the blankets piled high around you or you find yourself heading back home and drinking a bottle of vodka instead of that special sugary drink in order to settle your nerves and put you to sleep. No shaming yourself because you realize your fears are mostly unfounded and generally irrational and you feel like a freak and a wimp and an overall schmuck who constantly doubts himself.

My first experience with severe anxiety came in the form of a reserved 3rd grader named “Bree”.  She was a beautiful little girl with a friendly, yet shy disposition. She was intelligent and quiet. While she was outwardly eager to please others, on the inside she was very tough on herself. Her mother said that she was so sensitive to what others may think that sometimes Bree got upset at little things she had said or done even before anyone else would have time to react to it. No one would ever suspect this as she didn’t tell anyone. This self-judgment was never really an issue that could be seen for what it was. For the time being it went compartmentalized somewhere in the nether regions of her fast growing brain.


She was only eight years old when her mother was becoming more and more aware of her daughter’s need to please others.  What she didn’t see, though, was how much Bree depended on others’ acceptance for her survival in any peer-related activity. She got focused on this aspect of her daughters life so much so that she forgot to notice that Bree might have her own thoughts and feelings about situations and people, yet never expressed them overtly for fear that other’s might not agree.

Early on both Bree as well as her loving mother would never have suspected that if Bree didn’t speak on her own behalf than others would be more than happy to do it for her. And they did. And she found it to be easier that way. One doesn’t get in trouble if one hides behind others’ words and deeds. Blame comes even easier as well. You weren’t responsible for the damaging words your friend spewed forth toward that peer who just got a haircut and was crying in the corner because someone from your group said she had “a bad boys haircut”. Bree may not have liked what her friend said but a.) wouldn’t challenge her on it, after all, it hadn’t been she who had bullied this peer with the bad haircut; and b.) the bully was infinitely “stronger” than Bree, who wouldn’t dare to be on this bully’s bad side; and yet c.) a nonresponse is indeed still a response. Bree was grouped together as a “mean girl” simply by association. In reality she was a very nice, overly pleasing girl. Who was simply afraid. Of everything, it seemed.

“It was her idea!” She could say pointing blame at someone else (though in reality that only happened at home with siblings). And sweet,  sweet Bree could just slide right through childhood with her own opinions tucked away safely where no one could criticize them or disagree with them or even agree with them if they so chose. She was so far into her anxious self-protection mode, highly alert to potential judgment and ridicule from others that she didn’t use her own voice anymore. Maybe she didn’t even exercise her critical thinking brain enough to weigh out what she actually wanted or needed. It was safer to stay hidden behind those who would be quick to criticize.  That my friends, is called a secondary gain that Bree was experiencing, which only works to reinforce the behavior of hiding out behind stronger, more assertive peers. You see, it meant more to her to just “belong” in this group of angry ill-bred children than to be outside of them, where she, too, could be made fun of or left out by.

Life went on. Bree seemed so cooperative and compliant. The perfect little conformist. Teachers loved her. Friends liked to be able to boss her around. She found herself attracted to the “cool” kids that needed girls like her to control. Even as young as third grade kids get it. They know who they can manipulate and who will speak up against them.

It was also in third grade that Bree had a little sister who adored her along with two loving parents who were present and educated, loving and hopeful about each of their children’s futures.What was there to complain about? Since the family was expanding yet again, it was time to either add an extension to the home they loved or move. They decided to build on to the small family home before baby number three came.

Times were good, Bree was blossoming!…cheerleading for her school’s peewee football league…playing basketball…things her mother never imagined she’d want to do because of the social commitment contradicting her general shyness. This was a hopeful sign that her little girl was maturing. All of Bree’s friends were cheering as well so Bree was able to “belong” to something social and active. Mom was proud and excited.

In the meantime the house was steadily being built onto. Construction crews became daily reminders of change. It was inconvenient but the future rooms being built meant space to breathe to mom; a “man cave” to dad and a playroom for the kids. In the meantime a new refrigerator was replacing the old.

What happened next would open up a whole other realm to her. One that was not expected or welcomed. “It” was making itself known. “It” was a presence and would now need to be dealt with; but first they needed to find a name for this beast that had begun a slow erosion of a young person’s confidence level. This thing had sent second and third guesses running amuck throughout her brain waves; it had triggered false alarms to even the most mundane of experiences. “It” kept her awake at night with worry, brain humming with static. “It” told her she was not good enough or worthy or pretty or smart. “It” told her she needed to be afraid all the time. Of everything. “It” said the only place you’re safe is in your house and up the stairs into your room. And “it” said not to trust anyone. Among those ruminating falsehoods, she was told not to eat. If she were to eat she might throw up like a classmate did in math class yesterday. It was disgusting and kids laughed and made gross noises and kept making fun of the little boy even as he took his leave to the office to await his mother’s rescue.    IMG_3355

She went to sleep thinking of this moment…the smells and the sights…her classmates howling laughter and teacher’s urges to get someone healthy to walk this sickly little boy to the office; the maintenance man’s grey one-piece jumpsuit, mop, gloves, bucket of sanitizer. The way the mop slushed all the gross vomit-filled chunks around the small area before picking any of it up…her head spun and her stomach twisted and turned. She felt nauseated herself. There was no way she was going back to school. She too might throw up in front of the classroom of mean kids. She felt like she knew she would just die if that happened.IMG_3356

The next morning before school the new refrigerator arrived while Bree’s mother was finished cleaning up the old and getting it ready to remove. Bree was at a loss. She wanted to scream and cry and hurt herself because her head was still spinning and her old refrigerator was leaving their house. After a short period of observing crews sizing up the situation regarding the old one out and new one in, she’d had enough. Her brain flooded. She couldn’t breathe, her heart pounded out of her chest, she could feel her face flush and her body sweat, she felt like she was on overload. Without any warning whatsoever, Bree did something completely foreign to anyone who knew her quiet, timid nature. She opened her mouth and screamed a full octave highter than usual, while reaching for the old refrigerator door that hung open:


Everyone stopped. The crew set the new one down on that spot as if on command. The father who’d previously suggested it was time to get to the office, stood expressionless. The mother stood motionless beside the old refrigerator, wearing gloves still dripping with a cleaning solution onto the floor. IMG_3369

A cycle that would take years to understand and learn to cope with successfully would now begin for Bree and her family. Anxiety disorder, along with Depression, is a family disorder. It takes all hands on deck to support and reinforce healthy coping skills. The mother would later say how fortunate they were that “it” was caught early so that when Bree was a teen she would be better able to cope with her medical condition. A condition she likened to her own asthma in the sense that it can require medication to help stabilize to the point where better, healthier coping skills can be learned and utilized to possibly prevent future cycles from occurring, though not a guarantee.  IMG_3351

According to scientists, just as heart disease and type 1 diabetes, mental illnesses are complex and probably result from a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological  and developmental factors. They have actually been able to track anxiety down into several areas of the brain, however there are two distinct brain parts that show, through brain imaging devices, the key factors in the production of fear and anxiety: the amygdala and the hippocampus.

According to The National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml) “the amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret response. The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders, or flying.

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories. Studies have shown that the hippocampus appears to be smaller in some people who were victims of child abuse or who served in military combat. More research is necessary to determine what causes this reduction in size and what role it plays in flashbacks, deficits in explicit memory, and fragmented memories of the traumatic event that are common in PTSD.”

Who is at risk?  Some facts:

  •  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).
  • Women are 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime.
  • In a classroom of elementary school aged children roughly 1 out of 7 is clinically anxious (as determined by at least six months of excessive, irrational fear and dread).
  • A large national survey of adolescent mental health reported that about 8% of teens ages 13-18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms commonly emerging around age 6. However, of these teens, only 18% received mental health care.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
  • Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60(7), July 1999).
  • More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services; people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  •              IMG_3363
  • Does anyone you know sound like this? Do YOU? Get the help you need and pass it on. There is no shame in self preservation and being the best YOU that you can be!

Reliable sources (just to name a few):

50 Shades, All Grey: Depression

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cognition / emotional health / human experience / mental health


EVERYWHERE she looked…grey.  IMG_2147

The sky, an unusually beautiful deep robin’s egg blue…grey. The scarlet roses in the garden that usually gave her so much joy and affirmation…grey. The pink-cheeked family that shared a fondness for laughter and loved her silliness…grey. The home that wrapped her in a yellow glow of warmth felt cold and grey. Her job with people who relied on her fiery red passion and the calming green hued wisdom…all grey. There was no escaping this dull hum of greyness. Of nothingness.
The absolute emptiness was palpable.

“You are so blessed!” They said. True.

“You have everything you could ever need!” They said. Yes, you’re right.

“Just smile!” They exclaimed. Ok.

“Wow! Look at you! You’ve really slimmed down! What’s your secret?” They complimented.  Ummm…not sure really. I don’t feel like eating, I guess?

“Looks like you’re gaining a little weight there, honey.” They warned. Yes. I can feel it. I can’t seem to get enough lately.

“You sleeping okay? You look so tired lately!” They inquired. No. I’m having some trouble sleeping. It’ll be better tonight I bet.

THIS escalated to:                                                      IMG_0181

“What’s wrong with you? You are healthy, you have a family, a great job, people who love you!” They shouted.  Absolutely. I do. You’re right.

“What is it NOW?” They demanded. I don’t know. Nothing maybe. I’m just tired.

“Snap out of it!” They yelled. Ok. You’re right. I will try.

“We all get depressed once in a while, shake it off!” They advised. Right. Of course. I’ll do that.

“We’re sick and tired of you just sitting there doing nothing to help yourself!” They observed. Ok. Me too.

“Just go talk to somebody”. They suggested. You’re right. I’ll do that.

“Enough with the pity party already!”  They warned. You’re right. I’m just feeling sorry for myself. Again.

“You are so selfish! It’s not always about you!” They spat. Yes. I know. I agree.

“Stop crying! You’re just being manipulative…crocodile tears…cut it out!”  They pleaded. I’m sorry. I’m trying to stop.

APATHY. Sadness. Crying jags. Loneliness. Isolation. Irreversible words. Anger. Self-blame. Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment. Hatred. Self-deprecation. Suicidal thoughts. Self-mutilation. Despair. Loss. Inner chaos. Train wreck. Emotional death. Weight gain. Weight loss. Failure.The abyss.

Pain – Everywhere…anywhere…anytime.

WHAT-IS-WRONG-WITH-ME? She finally asked the mirror through mascara stained tears.

I-don’t-know. Came the weak response, I really don’t know.


Depression. It hurts everyone. It has no boundaries. It knows no class or socioeconomics status. It doesn’t care what race you are or about your religion or what your bias’ might be. How good your story is will not be judged. Everyone is welcome. You could be a blonde, black, brunette, auburn or gray haired man or woman. You might be short or tall, have light or dark skin. Highest one percent income or lowest…smart or dull…and everything in-between.

You might be able to disguise it better with nice clothes or makeup or jewelry, or purchasing things, or using drugs or gambling or karaoke, by dancing until you are ready to puke or being the funniest person in the room; but eventually it catches up no matter your efforts to mask or escape from it. When the clubs go dark and the people go home and the booze runs out there is only one being left to answer to. Yourself.

Go ahead and deny it, it chuckles way back there in the recesses of your mind, I’ve got your number!

It is the bounty hunter of a genetically predestined, traumatized and/or serotonin depleted brain. It lies in wait for the right moment when it might show itself by hijacking your thoughts and actions and wringing out any semblance of joy from your senses. It is heavy like a Mack truck that rams you in the chest while you’re turning to look in the other direction before walking across the street. There is no way out, it seems, from its talon-like grips.

Depression is a tricky character. It is sneaky and always lurking. It is an opportunist. It is a carnivore with a taste for the blood coursing through your veins until you give in at last out of sheer exhaustion. At this point you may also turn a ghastly shade of grey to blend with your world as you see it.

She begins to think that it would be a hell of a lot easier to have a heart attack or a broken hip. At least then people could try to sense the pain she goes through with each cycle of depression. At the very least she’d get flowers or a “get well” card. People appreciate the affliction which is concrete. A Band-Aid or a cast shows proof to people who are so quick to judge. Because she has nothing to show for this emotional turmoil and the ultimate in numbness with the grey decaying shell she sees and feels, she won’t get the help she needs. She will suffer in silence because people don’t believe in mental illness. She will continue to cut herself on the upper arm with lines as straight and narrow as she’d like to believe she is in order to see the blood and feel the pain that she cannot prove is real in her body and mind. She even questions herself at times. I probably just want attention like people are saying…maybe I am just lazy…I wouldn’t invite me either, I’m no fun….yeah, maybe it’s just my period…I’m just a mean person so I deserve this.

Depression will make you doubt yourself and your reality. You will question all your thoughts, words and deeds. You will wonder if you are crazy. You will look at others and wonder why it is that happiness escapes you somehow while the remainder of the world seems so well adjusted and satisfied. You thought you were normal. You thought life wasn’t supposed to be this hard; that it was just that you couldn’t keep up because you were somehow weak, flawed or unworthy.


This isn’t just “her” problem. It’s OUR problem.

We all need to be walking EACH OTHER home.


Your Attention Please:

By 2020 depression will be the #2 leading contribution to the global burden of disease. (World Health Organization), save.org/

Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States for ages 15 to 44.3. It affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 and over in a given year. This can develop at any age, however, the median age of onset is 32.5. It is more prevalent in women than in men. This is an estimate, as many individuals, particularly males, do not report and ultimately go undiagnosed and untreated. (adaa.org/about-adaa/…/facts-statistics).

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year, usually in late fall or winter until early to late spring due to light changes in the environment. It’s prevalence in the U.S. ranges from 1.4 percent in Florida, to 9.7 percent in New Hampshire (Friedman, Richard A. (12/18/2007) “Brought on by Darkness, Disorder Needs Light”. New York Times.

For more information on depression or any other mood disorder seek information from reliable sources:

National Alliance of the Mentally Ill: NAMI.org

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: dbsalliance.org/

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: adaa.org/

Centers for Disease Control: CDC.org

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: SAVE.org

Freedom from Fear: Anxiety and Depression Resource Organization: freedomfromfear.org/

National Institute of Mental Health: nimh.nih.gov/

the shadow behind the wall…temptation

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cognition / emotional health / human experience / relationships / Uncategorized


 EMPTY house. Empty bed. Morning shadows peeking in from closed curtains as if to see if he had made a decision regarding his own fate yet.

IT felt almost certainly that it was a one-sided relationship he’d been experiencing these last few years.  Most men might not have noticed; however, he was intuitively keen-sensed and more in touch with feelings than he was able to show overtly. There was some kind of unspoken agreement that he didn’t ever remember being asked his input on, nor was he given an opportunity to consent to. The  S—–P—–A—–C—-E  between them, for lack of better visual, was almost painful in it’s distance that kept him from her.  It created havoc in his emotional wiring, which tended to be fed by reciprocation and validation.  Both of which, he lacked. He felt no telepathic magic going on with this dangerous game anymore.  His powers of intuition were now shot. He’d done what he had never intended to do. He got lost in her. He broke boundaries and probably held court in a person’s head who had no business taking residence in his. In this case he received no comfort or warmth that he generally required of a relationship.

THE mere idea of her gave him such strong longing that, at times, holding back with it’s need for resistance created such pressure, such a sense of tension, that he felt powerless to it. Left alone with his thoughts, he obsessively spent hours second guessing past conversations that he’d assumed meant one thing, and yet maybe they meant something else altogether. He studied everything about her. All of his senses wanted to be around this mysterious being with the dark glances and broodingly quiet presence. He yearned to crack her open to see a beating heart. Surely she had one. Though it was kept hidden deeply inside herself. Buried deep underneath layers and layers of protection, as she’d been burned before, and deeply.

HE knew this about her like he knew her smell and the sound her soft chuckle made when he attempted what now seemed like inappropriate tries at building rapport. The only way he could identify with this type of emotional pain was to hit something and keep hitting it until his hand bled and his knuckles throbbed. His pain was then real to him. If she couldn’t see his genuineness then he would feel it for both of them. It didn’t seem fair and it didn’t feel right…this “thing”, whatever they had.

EACH and every response he got from her, be it verbal or nonverbal was akin to that perfect golf shot one gets; yet these were few and far between. He would think to himself that he must not be doing this right. He was the judge and jury as his motives were constantly being questioned. He sought boundaries and some semblance of a rule that might help him to understand why it wasn’t ok to have these feelings (lust? love?) while in the same breath he could rationalize them as just wanting sex. It was okay. It was normal. It was what guys do.

BUT it wasn’t. He felt more. He wanted more. He felt the need for her presence. There was a connection there. Pheromones? Souls colliding? What. The. Hell. Was. This. Bullshit?   IMG_3218

SO he would stop. He told himself this repeatedly. Historically he had always done whatever he had the urge to do.  He had been gluttonous almost and was able to reconcile that with the fact that he was a good person with all good intent. If there was to be a mess he would be the first there to clean it up. There were no consequences in his mind greater than the desire he felt to have it all. To have her love him. Or maybe need him. Which was it? He demanded of himself to know. He had to know. He had to organize this in his mind.


IN his current situation, though, he constantly questioned whether his good was good enough. He found that it may never be the right time or place for him to get it right with her. His best intentions were making a mess of him.  He’d like to pretend it all didn’t matter, that it would go away with time and distance. He would like very much to think that he didn’t need it in his life.  That there was no place for this one-sided friendship. It was becoming too much work for not nearly enough yield. Or maybe he hadn’t believed in himself and the power and strength that he had over good and evil. Maybe he could fight this magnanimous force with the thousand pound pull. Maybe he didn’t want to.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to give in to temptation without fear of consequences? Didn’t he deserve to feel a sense of comfort and warmth with each tug and pull at the sleeve of that which provided minimal attention at best?

WHAT made him grab for the steel ring below when the platinum one hung at eyelevel?  He learned in his CCD classes decades ago that a sin was equal to the amount of awareness and  intent present in an action. A mistake, rather, was something that just happened. There was no intention or plan to be deceptive or to be untrustworthy. Therefore, his actions in the form of his feelings toward this woman were merely based on honest compassion and aided by his life circumstances at the time. A millisecond of relief rose in his heart and mind. Until he realized that he’d known all along what he’d been doing. What he didn’t understand was why the pull to her was so strong when there was so much to lose. A temptation that he felt testosterone-driven to acquire? Or a person that he might be able to love deeply. Madly. She, who wrapped around a soul that shared his own?

AND what about this life he already shared with a wife and children who he loved? He buried his head in his hands. The usually loud, vibrant sound of young children weren’t home. His dedicated, unassuming wife was out with them. He’d begun to sob quietly. How could this even have happened? How could he have allowed this to happen? He heard a voice inside himself beg to let it go. Let her go. Make this obsession leave him at peace to focus on his wife. His beautiful children. HIS LIFE.

Shadows fell as the sunlight dimmed in his quiet home where he placed his throbbing head on his office desk to alleviate the pain. He would fix this. He would manage this as he did his 237 employees. He would put this away in a neat, confidential file in his brain. He would attend church more.

He would resist temptation.


The Flush Heard Around The World

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Humor / relationships

Last you heard, the Stepford Wives were potential conspirators in a murder scheme so sophisticated that, considering their teeny goldfish brain-size (one sixteenth of their actual body size) and their capacity for maintaining information with a memory bank that could hold an estimated half of a thought, (or one verb and one noun respectively) for approximately three months, given they survived that long, it would seem highly unlikely that our heroines of the tank could pull off something like this. Twice.  My ten gallon residential tank, aptly named the Tolerance Tank, had never experienced anything quite like this in it’s five short months of existence. It wasn’t just one beautiful life of a fish snuffed out prematurely, but two. Two innocents taken in a tank full of potentially intolerant, self-involved  goldfish.

Stepford Wives mingle with Pimp Daddy, Creamsickle and Maria prior to..."the event". I cannot go there.

Stepford Wives mingle with Pimp Daddy, Creamsickle and Maria prior to…”the event”. It’s just not right.

We might ask ourselves what our two victims, Maria the speckled, tricolored samba-swimmer and a very flashy, gold colored fish with a penchant for rapping to Frank Sinatra tunes , Pimp Daddy Gangsta, have in common. And why would they threaten a small tank of orange colored goldfish who liked to call themselves the Stepford Wives?

These “Wives” consist of Bobbi, Claire, Sarah, Joanna and Charmaine. None of these femmes fatale have been married or even engaged as far as I know. In the tank among our “wives” remain Thor, an effeminate white bodybuilder fish; and a two-tone fish named for an ice cream treat I had happened to be craving at the time, Creamsickle. I enjoy a good rootbeer float as well, however, it sounded a bit damning as a name for a fish. Each of these fine coldwater loving creatures was relocated from the local Petsmart with dreams of a new life in the suburbs. Feelings of joy shown on their upturned mouths with the thought of fresh flakes of fish food being sprinkled in abundance from somewhere in the sky into the tank daily.  There would be no more of that nasty threat to survival due to the tank of thousands of colorful fish dive bombing eachother in order to get to the meager  pet store morsels, usually ending up with only the bubbles from that small, quick, speckled fish that consistently took more than his fair share of the finite amounts of sustenance.

Creamsickle...not because she chose that name, but because I was hungry

Creamsickle…not because she chose that name, but because I was hungry; and Thor directly to the right of her. He’s a teeny shy.

•Fun Fact: Recent polls suggest that male goldfish think about food every fifteen seconds.

  • It is no surprise that both Maria and Pimp Daddy were two of the newest of newbies in our Tolerance Tank neighborhood.
  • Each joined the tank with a specialty of sorts, she a samba dancer and he a rapper.
  • Both were minority fish: Maria with her brilliant speckles of color and Pimp Daddy with his flair for fashion and expensive looking exterior. I already mentioned how he’d been mistaken for gold coins by fishermen in his life prior to the unfortunate Petsmart relocation in my last update on our friends.
  • Both came from rough neighborhoods originally, she from Phinny, he from Brookfin. Both neighborhoods were notorious for celebrating various traditions and holidays in flamboyant, joyous ways using lively music and lots of bubbly; gestures that may have ruffled a fin or two of our superstitious and uber controlled “Wives”, preferring to catalog shop, then snail-mail the packages rather than celebrating among anyone other than their safe little clique.

Those being the similarities, what might be possible motives for our “Wives” to want to “off” our then unsuspecting, now deceased friends:

  • Reputation? Money?
  • Did any of these water breathers have a history together?
  • By the way: Where in the hell is Creamsickle? I haven’t seen her/him in quite some time… (and for some reason I’m hungry)
  • And where is CSI when you need them?
  • And we’re up a creek since fish won’t talk….

Besides the disappearance of Creamsickle, the Tolerance Tank has been running pretty smoothly lately. Thor keeps to himself while the “Wives” entertain each other with Bunko every evening after their feeding. Tell me folks, what is wrong with this picture? I shall take my leave to think.

Hours later⇒ ⇒ Holy Mackerel, friends! THIS JUST IN: Creamsickle has been located. I repeat. Creamsickle Has Been Located. ⇐ ⇐

S/He was found lying underneath the gazebo in the far left corner of the Tolerance Tank! How on earth did the gazebo end up ON TOP of my Creamsickle??? Not floating does not mean NOT DEAD apparently. With no pulse all I can surmise is that Creamsickle is victim number three in the Tolerance Tank Serial Killings.

There s/he is…see the white tail looking thing peeking out from the gazebo structural looking contraption? What is wrong with this Tolerance Tank??? “Friends” not looking above or beside him/her! I. AM. APALLED.

This leaves me to wonder still….

  • Because Creamsickle was named for my craving, does that mean I will no longer feel the need for ice cream of the vanilla- orange sherbet kind? Could I ever partake again?!
  • Might this be a copycat crime the likes of which we haven’t seen since The Wizard of Oz? And if so,
  • Are “Little People” involved here as well? And if so,
  • What about witches and flying monkeys? It is close to Halloween after all…

What are we to take away from another ghastly day in the Tolerance Tank?

If you happen to see the ladies pictured here: Bobbie, Joanne, Claire, and Sarah...where's Charmaine?

If you happen to see the ladies pictured here: Bobbie, Joanne, Claire, and Sarah…be frightened…we may be dealing with masterminds here. Although they appear harmless enough, their tiny brains are most likely hatching a plot to take over the Tank. Oh dear, where’s Charmaine? Anyone seen Charmaine? Oh dear God….

A. Something fishy is going on in Tolerance Tank Town.

B. Maria, Pimp Daddy G and Creamsickle were either strategically murdered by a shameless gang of Wives, or our white confection-looking, Thor. Unless, of course, they were simply victims of unpleasant circumstances.

C. Thor is the only minority fish left now shacking up with our Wives; all living separate lives it appears. Either they each have an iron clad alibi or someone’s up a creek without their fins! Tune in next time as we take a peek inside the Tolerance Tank.

RIP Hortense “Creamsickle” McVey, craving-instigator

 You will be missed; the extra pounds will not!

Creamsickle...not because she chose that name, but because I was hungry

Creamsickle…not because s/he chose that name, but because I was hungry. RIP





Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star….aw, bite me.

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emotional health / human experience


♦ Twinkle twinkle life is hard; you don’t get to choose your hand of cards.

Up above in the heavens and in the spaces down below, people are hurting and dying just to know

Why no one cares or no one who does shows

integrity and grit, only greed and shameless souls. ♦

You see there, I have taken a tired, old nursery rhyme full of fun and wonder and made it work for me. Because I’m bitter, that’s why.  And guess what? Bitter is NOT the new black like the very funny book by Jen Lancaster says it is. Bitter is just ugly and negative and spiteful and NOT what I want to aspire to (or need to aspire to since I am clearly already there.)  I can find nothing redeeming about something that, in it’s adjective form, is defined as:

“characterized by intense antagonism or hostility: bitter hatred; or hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow.”

How does one live like this for long periods of time? It’s been a week for me and I already feel the need to shoot myself. I remember defining a grandmother as “bitter” because she was someone who liked to put others down a great deal. She would hold grudges and spread rumors and seem genuinely unhappy often times. Because she was resentful toward the other side of my family, a history that went way back to high school for her, my sister and I received one hand towel and one roll of toilet tissue from her at Christmas one year. I was about ten at the time so I don’t quite remember if “hand towel” had been on my short list of Christmas hopefuls or not, but I was gracious and surprised to say the least.

It was at an even earlier age than that when I realized that the world just didn’t operate fairly. While others lived in a reasonably happy home among two doting parents, I had one over-worked, totally stressed out parent and one who thought he was an FBI agent, having already won a gold medal in the Olympics and been drafted by both the Giants AND the Red sox respectively. And forget the “home” part, we moved so often that to this day I can only  define “roots” to you as “belonging to a plant”.

I stress to you, however, that this is not a pity party.  It’s a realization that we have to make something out of what we’ve been given.

Take something and make it beautiful.

How can we not see the beauty in the setting sun, a baby’s sweet smile; rain that produces rainbows; fresh air in your face on a warm day; fresh fallen snow; your proud kid beaming; a new day…and another…and another? I’ll tell you how we lose track of all that good stuff…we get caught up in competing and comparisons and we stop appreciating the simple breaths we take and the very moments we live.  We stop practicing mindfulness.

I feel as though I have lost a week of my life to pettiness and the hope that karma would get a hold of some people’s jugulars and squeeze…s.t.i.l.l…squeezing….no. I am not proud….not done squeezing….ok.

Easier said than done. I shall try again tomorrow. sigh.

♦ Twinkle twinkle angry me. Learn to let go or remain in misery.

There’s too much you miss when you choose to be

so full of disgust and hostility.

Up above let me be free to see

the world in all its tranquility.

With a hopeful heart and a sight for the good,

let me see in others their intentions I mistook. ♦



She with the stilettos dripping in excrement

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emotional health / human experience / mental health / relationships


She works alone in the dark, behind dumpsters full from the waste leftover from those who she spit out after she’d won another match.  It’s always in the darkest of night when she caws rather barbarically, throwing caution to the Gods, who she professes to entrust her life to. She’s a hypocrite. She has no conscience. You are nothing but a gateway to what she really wants. She fed you, stroked your ego til you began feeling amazing and powerful and now you are nothing but the urban dust and decay on the tiny heel of her fancy stiletto that gets her from Emotional High Street to Downtown Main Street.

She looks like an innocent. Outside appearances hide the ugliness within her well manicured nails and designer purses that hold her arsenal of influence. She will attempt to buy you. Not your love, but your influence. You won’t have seen it coming. Everyone has a price. She will use you. You will not know how you came to that decision. She will devour you and moments later, she will vomit you back up as she must leave room for more souls. It will be as if you return from the bowels of her very own hell, and in the form of weakness and shame, you limp away before being snatched up and heaved into the dumpster to rot.

If you are spared, She will call your shots. You will open your mouth and speak as if a puppet attached to her golden purse strings. You will be victimized and angry. People will talk about you. They will murmur how shocked they are that you have breached all lines of ethics and morality. You will feel a ting of regret. You won’t always know why though, because the mere peasants that you crap on will be too busy shoveling excrement off their faces to see clearly; they don’t like conflict, you see. That is why She is able to continue to manipulate and take advantage of you.

Your faithful friends will question you behind your back. They will continue on as usual though. No one will stand up for the victims in the dumpster. Why would they? They too, could be eaten up.  What is in it for them? There is nothing but integrity and character to gain from such an act of rebellion. It is far too risky to stand up to She, with the cunning strategy and arsenal of positive appearing reinforcements for her minions to share and, like crack they stow away in corners and smoke of the toxic goodness that makes them forget how unworthy they feel for being paid for their silence.

Even high they know that standing up for something right is too lofty a price to pay for them. The risk does not outweigh the rewards they are receiving for their quiet compliance. Not yet anyway. And the beat goes on until some very brave someone with absolutely everything to lose stands up and murmurs half to herself and half to those who might come up from the excrement,

stop. this is wrong.

At that tiny sound, a person or two  might peek up from the fecal matter and hone their ears to listen.

we are better than this. stand with me. Pleeeeaassse.

Suddenly there will be multitudes of people, shaking the feces out of their ears and listening to this small voice.

Please. Stand up for what is right and good. We are more powerful together!

Please…..show me that human kind is caring and loving and good. I need to see your goodness! Please stand up for what is right! Don’t fall for false idols with stilettos and money! Fight for people! Fight for what is right!……right?…We can do this together…!

Spineless people, afraid of retribution, will scurry back into their comfy holes of shit. It was just safer down there.

Suddenly realizing that maybe nobody actually cared, our very brave someone, now deflated, will wipe the tears from her eyes and face, sit resolutely in place and shout,


At this point she silently forgave those who sold out; and prayed for the world, her piece of a very large world, that God would help people see what potential she saw if only they would come together and demand change.


Head vs. Heart: Hmmmm…That’s an Easy One :)…?!

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acceptance / cognition / emotional depth / emotional health / human experience / Humor / love / relationships / satire / Uncategorized / Valentine's Day Greeting Card


“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins”. I Peter 4:8

I saw this quote today and it stuck with me. I suppose it is love that covers the multitude of flaws people come to us with daily – and we to them. It could be love for mankind in the larger sense, love for a specific cause because we’ve been touched deeply in some way, love for the sake of love, as in “I love the lightheaded feeling of being in love” or just the opposite – seeing so deeply into another being that we only acknowledge the goodness that connects us and draws us ever closer, in spite of the strain that time and life events can have on relationships. At that point all reasonable thought might hypothesize that this thing we call “love” supersedes ego beyond any narcissistic need.  It is hard to put this into rationale wording….we hear things like, “it’s amazing”, “I’m floating on air”, “I can’t think straight”, “light-headed”, “I feel alive”, “colors seem brighter”…good grief. It’s hard to put scientific logic to the depth and sphere of that kind of love. It isn’t rational. What we can measure are dopamine receptors and serotonin quantities in the brain; also, the biofeedback from those who have physical changes going on when a certain person comes into a room. There seem to be an infinite amount of tests, both written and oral to try to explain and examine this phenomenon. Then there are just those who accept, embrace and enjoy the hell out of this feeling.


It is an emotion that has the power to make us laugh, cry, flirt, turn red, do any number of strange things; feel passionate feelings of anger, jealousy, fear, frustration, joy, happiness, silliness, pain, sorrow, excitement…..you name it. My husband of thirty years, (…three months, six days and 11 hours…but who’s counting?!) will tell you that indeed, I am NOT much of a romantic. I will agree with that and add that I have always rather intellectualized this love thing. For example, I have gone to bat against getting tattoos aspiring to hold up high love standards…i.e…”love conquers all”, “love is the answer”, “love beyond measure”…blah, blah, blah…or really any semblance of love in the message. And yes, I am assuming that most people over romanticize the mere idea of love. I am to love what scrooge is to generosity. BAH HUMBUG!

In reality though, this love thing must be a terribly deep and powerful feeling to be able to say that “love conquers all” thing. Ancient Roman Latin poet and author of the epic Aeneid, Virgil, must have felt touched deeply to expouse such a statement. Clearly, in direct opposition to that, perhaps I have been too shallow to experience the kind of intensity that would have one dying to or for something/one.

Until I had children. Then I began to truly understand it.

And also, to fear it. It was almost too intense. What if my angel fell and hurt herself? Worse, what if she was left at school and felt forgotten because she didn’t have a cell phone, mine died and I was stuck in traffic? What if, God forbid, my beautiful child got kidnapped or tortured somehow and I wasn’t there to save her? Ultimately, WHAT IF I TRULY GAVE MY HEART TO THIS HUMAN BEING AND SHE LEFT ME AND THIS WORLD, SOMEHOW PERMANENTLY?

How could I ever breathe again? And would I even care to?   IMG_1821

So friends, you can see my dilemma. Distance or engulfment. Yikes! to both.

This has taken me well into my almost-golden years to understand. I don’t do things half-way, generally. A self-preservationist at heart, putting myself out there in Vulnerable Land is not where my car is generally parked. So imagine my chagrin when I realized that LOVE is what it is all about.

Raise your glass to love my friends! Relationships are what keep people, the fallible-human-being-kind, moving, growing, living. These connections are critical to how we think, feel and go through our lives in relative harmony. They are the mirrors with which we reflect ourselves…our worth seen through someone’s eyes that we truly love and respect is both integral to ones ego strength and development as well as catastrophically empty if there is a void there.

The reason, I believe, is because people need to receive validation from other beings. How good does it feel to receive positive feedback from someone you respect and appreciate or fear even – like a boss or parent. Compare that to the feeling you get from someone you feel deeply enamored by. It is fairly close, but one leaves us feeling like we’re walking on air. That’s the connectedness that comes from depth and the ability to be real and still be accepted. Even older couples can score that kind of magic if they work extremely hard at it (trust me on that one!).


I have allowed, even encouraged myself, to avoid this at all costs most of my life. It makes perfect sense to me and others like me, who are more comfortable being in their heads than in their hearts. We are the “sensible” ones, the “rational” ones. The “Wow! You have such wisdom!” ones, who won’t follow our hearts if our lives depended on it. Why?

Because messing with emotions is tricky business. It opens up raw feelings that tend to complicate and entangle rather than simplify and tame. Would you wash your hair and NOT use a conditioner to detangle and keep the frizzies out? That’s my pathetic metaphor for getting rid of dry, brittle uncomfortable things akin to raw feelings. It seems to me that a prudent individual would be quick to smooth it over with creme rinse to keep them from experiencing the intensity of dry, brittle split ends feelings. It helps for those in survival mode who cannot tolerate much more drama in their lives so there is some benefit to my denial or condition-it-away process. It has a time and a place. However, if you are looking for a life beyond being on autopilot, might I suggest a wake up call?

Hello?  Your life is calling! You can either answer it or let it go, but love is  maybe possibly probably the answer to the question you were meaning to ask and didn’t. by the way, it’ll be worth it. And so are you.

Bruno Mars wonders: Who would you catch a grenade for? Throw your hand on a blade for? Jump in front of a train for?…

I’ll get back to you on that one, but I can assure you that I would.

My Greeting Card Might Read:

Dear Valentine, it is finally our day!

But alas, I hear you question your love;

Is it real or just made up?

Perhaps you are thinking too much to feel…or maybe you just don’t like me, for real.

Either way is okay, I guess. I can survive, eventually, and without all this stress!

Oh hell…you are not ready for something so deep. So take your damn ring and shove it up your Asshole you creep BLEEEEEEEP!!

Go fuck yourself Have a shitty good day!


be like water

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human experience / relationships / Uncategorized


The first time I’d ever seen the phrase “Be like water” it was scrawled in red spray paint across a section of the Pont’s des Arts footbridge, or “Bridge of Locks” as it’s become known, in Paris, France. It had been written in all caps that must have been at least four to five feet tall and forty feet wide. I found it peculiar at best – a bit puzzling initially.  There was something quite deep philosophically; yet, downright disrespectful to the beautiful Paris attraction at worst. I didn’t have a good camera shot at it as people were in my way while gazing along the famous bridge to the Seine River underneath, along with all the hundreds of thousands of locks that had taken up residence there.

A gorgeous sight, that bridge. A hopeful, inspiring place where one would join with his spouse, companion, lover, and friend then promise forever and click the padlock shut before tossing the key into the Seine. It should be that simple…love I mean. It should be as concrete as purchasing a padlock, attaching it to a chain link fence and making a promise before a lovely scenic river among hoards of tourists all making that same guarantee. For just three euros a couple could pick up a lock and write their names on it with a permanent marker also made available at the kiosk. Forever for three euros! That’s a bargain, friends!

The Bridge of Locks before parts of it broke due to the heavy strain of thousands of padlocks weighed it down, loosening the links. Hopefully it wasn't a metaphor for thousands of hearts broken and promises unkept....

The Bridge of Locks before parts of it broke due to the heavy strain of thousands of padlocks weighing it down, loosening the links. Hopefully it wasn’t a metaphor for thousands of hearts broken and promises not kept….

Eternal love aside, I went back the next day to photograph those words in paint that had haunted me. Three simple words had taken my attention off of the romanticism that has the power to have inspired writers and painters, poets and prophets. That quote  – graffiti really – that, to me, trumped foolhardy love with it’s concrete promises, was quite profound. In fact, love is very difficult to explain and particularly hard to maintain. This quote held with it something more tangible to me than mere promises made with keys and padlocks. So much so that it had remained heavily on my mind ever since I’d happened upon it a day earlier. Unfortunately for me, it had already been painted over, to the point where one wouldn’t have ever known it had existed. I questioned whether I’d actually seen it there or made it up or maybe it was on another bridge overlooking the Seine River with locks attached to it’s chain links? I looked it up on google to see if it even existed outside of my head.

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”  ~Bruce Lee

I’m guessing “Be the water” is a close cousin to “go with the flow”, except it sounds deeper to me. It puts me in charge of how I react to my circumstances. It assigns me a role to play in my life. Beyond going with the flow, it makes me the flow and charges me with personal responsibility for my own peace and harmony. I can fight the crowd or I can be one with the movement of the crowd and eventually get beyond the crowd. Does it say be a chameleon? No. It says to find a way around or through something.

For example, if due to life circumstances I cannot continue in a relationship, be it friend or lover or partner, I must resolve to charge ahead, over, around, and/or through it, to overcome and be my best self. Fluid motion is key. Remaining stuck or stagnant is a form of death. Death of life, death of soul, death of potential, death of joy. Being rigid makes us place obstacles around ourselves and others. It makes seeing clearly almost impossible according to Bruce. If we are rigid we have already decided we know the ending to the story. That being the case, then why continue?  Do we have that much power? We don’t, do we? Young children are often like water. Wide eyed and accepting. Learning and growing with each new experience. It is us, the ones who “know better”, that tend to fight so hard to stay young, maintain the status quo, give in or give up out of fear. Fear changes people. Fear beats down life. It comes in all different sizes, shapes, colors, titles, diagnosis.

I say choose life. Be empowered. Be water, my friend.



Belle parole non pascon i gatti (or, “fine words don’t feed cats”).

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human experience / Humor / Uncategorized

IMG_2847  Contrary to what some of my less travel-curious friends may think, I got much more than just an apron depicting full-frontal biblical character, David, in all of his marble glory during my eight day stay in one of the most fascinating and historical places on earth. I got a headful of interesting and useful facts that I can use to finally compete in a game of Trivial Pursuit: The Country Version.  Not only that, but Rome, Italy and surrounding cities are everything I’d imagined them to be AND a bag of chips.

  • In a city of approximately three million of the most gracious, benevolent people I may have ever met, it is also home to the smallest country, Vatican City. A country consisting of approximately nine hundred residents and three thousand employees, it is on record as the smallest country on earth, one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York City. I could explain how and why this all happened, as originally, Vatican City was considered a part of Rome, but I’d have to say it in Italian and I’m guessing my audience is not fluent at this time.

    Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

    Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

  • My grasp of the rich and gorgeous Italian language has grown from simply “ciao” (hello, goodbye) and  “toilette” (toilet, bathroom, potty), to “prego” (your welcome), “grazi” (thank you), and “bella” (beautiful). Naturally I heard the latter a great deal while on holiday there. My “fabuloso” (fabulous) new leather purse felt like butter and looks like I spent “mucho denaro” (much money). The Italian people may not have found my face to be awe inspiring, however, I did find an amazing leather store while in Florence to brag about.
  • The aqua there is the most lovely tasting spring water I have ever encountered. According to my sources from YAHOO! Answers, Rome has the best water in all of Europe. So there you go! As a side note, I believe I look years younger as well.


    People drink and fill cups at these fountains. It’s a beautiful thing, I tell you!

  • The people are passionate about their art, food, wine and driving. Yikes. Art is just phenomenal…one cannot be skittish either, as the human body is most assuredly art. I can say I learned a thing or two about the male mind AND body. The food is fantastic from the most plain of  salads with lettuce, tomatoes, olives and mozzarella to the more intricate raviolis with squid ink ricotta cheese and prosciutto. The wine is also incredible, and I don’t typically love wine. A five euro bottle of wine will not only get you pleasantly drunk, but in an emotional state I like to call heaven on earth. It’s that wonderful. The driving…well, let’s just say each person I was fortunate enough to drive with knew the size of their vehicles extremely well.  Also, painted lines on roadways, AKA lanes, aren’t necessarily used as boundaries between vehicles, and definitely not for motorcycles, who go wherever, whenever they fit.
  • No one is shy about the penis – whether in a conversation, amid the architecture, displayed on paintings, on the streets or in the museums of Rome and Florence, the beat goes on. However, while in the churches, cathedrals and Vatican City there are dress codes. Bare shoulders and any skin above knees must be covered. Shawl and scarf vendors have a niche beside the more famous of these. Genius, I tell you.

    ...one of the many...

    …one of the many…

  • Michelangelo’s “David”, of David and Goliath fame, hangs out in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence (less than two hour train ride from Rome). NOW THAT’S A MAN! Or a work of unbelievable artistic genius, rather…I meant. And I’m not just talking about size here. Regardless, I shall be weary about bringing my souvenir apron to show my second grade CCD classes when we cover David and Goliath during our Bible story time.
  • Here’s a fun fact: Women’s lines to the toilette are just as long, if not longer, in Rome. The men whiz in and out as usual while we, the child containers, resulting in heavily-bladder-affected women must simply stand and move slowly. Much like cows to milking we shuffle to a small room with maybe two stalls. Each appears made for a fit, petite woman. Seat covers? Ha. Squat or get wet with unidentifiable urine. Half the time there are no seats with which to sit, if you do that sort of thing. Great for your thighs though!

    Bathroom line at Vatican City...oi vey!

    Bathroom line at Vatican City…oi vey!

  • St. Ignatius is AWESOME. And so is his church. The frescos there are unbelievable. They appear to be coming straight off the ceilings as the 3-D effect painted by Andrea Pozzo is no less than astounding. His illusionistic technique will blow your mind. A Jesuit himself, he made legendary Jesuits, along with biblical stories come to life on the ceiling of this historic church. I’m in love, yet again!
    St. Ignatius church fresco...I'm sure I'm in there among the saints...

    St. Ignatius church fresco…I’m sure I’m in there among the saints…


  • And Pompeii! Holy volcano, Batman! This place is archeologically, structurally and socioeconomically so significant, not to mention very cool. These Romans knew several things: how to party, how to build shit and how to care for ALL people, not just the more well off citizens. These ruins show civilization far advanced than that of ours in ways I don’t even have words for. (Strange, I have so many words usually…and prego). When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79 it completely destroyed the largely seaside vacation city of Pompeii, covering it with volcanic ash while moving the body of water south two miles. What remains is the shell of what defined life in those times. From brothels to farms to homes with prominent wealth and the more common folk, Pompeii represents all that was decent about humanity while fitting in what was seen as okay in a civilization that looked at men and their needs as not so terribly different than they do even today. The brothel had a fresco menu showing sexual position selections, much like Burger King, so men could literally have it their way. I kid you not! On another note, there are actual people and animals found in positions befitting the panic and fear of this eruption just prior to them being covered and burned with this deadly volcanic ash. Pompeii is still half covered with volcanic ash, which they have left for future generations to uncover. History came alive for me in Pompeii.
    You didn't think I was kidding, did you?

    You didn’t think I was kidding, did you?

    Pompeii ruins

    Pompeii ruins

  • I went through my own personal hell to be able to pass through heaven. Yes, I did. The Amalfi Coast and Positano are the most gorgeous sites I may ever see with my eyes half shut, while praying to God that I can hold down my breakfast. This is an area built literally along the Mediterranean Sea amid the cliffs above. It was as breathtaking on the eyes as it was ruthless on my stomach. It took major maneuvering to conquer this  raw, beautiful land via van. Our driver was an expert, for sure. I only threw up four times. I’m afraid it could have been worse with a mere novice at the wheel. Next time, rather than omit this heavenly paradise from my list, I shall be airdropped directly to Positano’s beach front, preferably in a lounge chair with a limoncello in wait.



    not-so-fun fact: while my comrades were out of the van taking pictures such as this, I was along the side of the road barfing…see those hills people?….oi vey…. I take pride, however, as I am one with the Southern Italian earth.

Those who know me even a tiny bit, know there is probably so much more I have to say, yet I shall cease for now. Jet lag is a curse that compels me to eat carbs in the form of bread and chocolate. Just let it be known that the world is a vast and magical place. As my friend, Michelangelo said, “I am still learning”. We are but a grain of sand to the whole of it. You may quote me.

Ciao babies!


Impure Thoughts: The story of my life…

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human experience / Humor / Uncategorized


Thank you Dave Matthews for the interesting cover. One question - where you he get my picture? I am center, far right.

Thank you Dave Matthews for the interesting cover. One question – where in the world did you get my picture? I am center, far right.

To wake up and immediately go for the salt and vinegar kettle cooked chips on the corian countertop in the kitchen was naturally a bad idea. The message I received from that small gesture of self-destruction was clear however. I was overwhelmed. It would become that kind of day. A day full of fat-fueled bad ideas. A self-pitying, guilt-induced angry “bite me.”- “what are you looking at?!” kind of day. But it wasn’t supposed to be that kind of day. I was supposed to be efficient and focused and organized. I realize you’ve heard this from me before. But I wasn’t prepping for anything like this before!  I was supposed to keep my eye on the prize….in less than a week I would be in Rome. The Rome in Italy. Rome-fricken-Italy people! Not only does that sound farfetched for a gal from the trailer park like myself, but it is surreal and I’ve been in total denial.

What if the Pope (THE fricken POPE!) thinks I am a blundering idiot? What if this beautiful, holy man sends word directly to God that I am not worthy for some reason? What if saying “fricken” in between “THE” and “POPE” is a sin?!!! Oh dear Lord, you know I love that man, don’t let me blow it now. And why didn’t I study for this?!  I’m picturing myself being escorted out of St. Peter’s Square by Armed Pope Guards just based on my thoughts lately.

It goes down like this. Suddenly, just as I pick up my phone to take a selfie while in St. Peter’s Square, I would see fellows in snappy black uniforms marching up toward my rear end (granted, not my best side) with grand head gear like maybe the 4th degreed Knights of Columbus wear at funerals – fancy, like a pirates hat sort of – that displays their Pope Police emblem (I’m picturing a cross with some kind of sword. Oh, and an icon for handcuffs too).

“Hey! You in the red tank top and skinny jeans!” One large, muscular Italian man in Pope Police uniform would bellow in Italian while pointing at me, “Clean up your thoughts or get out of this area!”

I would then smile and give a teeny wave before turning more red than my “Totally-Really-Red” fingernail polish.  First off, I know not what he’s said and therefore would probably imagine it was something quite complimentary, as I am narcissistic like that. Second, how would I clean my thoughts anyway, even if I were able to speak any Italian?  His critique of my mind-matter would really just serve to make me obsess about such thoughts further, wondering, for example, how on earth the Pope Policeman knew who or what impure thoughts I may or may not have been thinking. Surely I wasn’t naming names or positions or such nastiness. NOT AT THE VATICAN for God’s sake!

“This area is for pure thoughts only! And by the way, you have no business wearing skinny jeans!” Another burly Italian man with Ray Bans befitting a secret service agent, spouts off, also in his beautiful Italian language; which, of course, is incongruent from the actual message. Which I would not at all find beautiful. In fact, had I known (still in my fantasy) that he was being insulting I would have…why, I would have…probably cried.  Out of embarrassment as well as the money spent on said skinny jeans.

Then, just as he was leaving he would point rather decisively at my bare shoulders. Naturally I could only continue to assume that this was playful flirtation. This man couldn’t quite get enough of me. So I would bat my eyelashes in response, maybe swish back my hair for kicks. Thank goodness I was protected by my ignorance of the Italian language, as I was spared the entire insulting mess.

What I didn’t know that I needed to know, however, was that wearing a tank top to St. Peters Square sans the shoulder-covering tres chic black blazer (Italians like black, it’s classier, I hear) was a distinctly huge no-no. A tourist would then look at me and point to a sign that read, “COVER YOUR SHOULDERS prior to entering the Vatican!”  I would, of course, nod in response and mumble something about her “probably being a hall monitor in middle school” and hope to hell the spiteful words didn’t get past my lips and out to Pope Police ears.

And yet, here I am in my office in the USA. My busy fantasy life is not going to get my bags packed, now will it?

There was only one other time when I was in denial this deep. It was when I was pregnant with #4. I may still be (in denial, not pregnant with #4 child) and that would explain a lot, but that’s for another day. Right here and now I am going to explore with you how and why a person can actually rationalize away almost anything. I will attempt to do this using a male voice (could be tricky) and a female voice (got this one nailed!). “Manage Your Now” creator, Michael Linenberger, organizer, motivator extraordinaire will be disgusted but I’m sure he’ll manage.


Hurry up! It’s time to go!


I’ll be down in a minute or make that five. While your goal is to get there, mine is to eventually be there smelling amazing and looking fabulous.


It’s so simple, just prioritize and follow your list.

MY THOUGHT: (you’ll notice I switched over from “WOMEN” to “MY” to take full responsibility for my poor attitude around keeping irresponsibility alive and well. All women aren’t this, um, “disorganized with purpose”, I guess I’d say).

You. Are. Simple…. if you think I will just write a list and actually follow it! What if I lose my list? I already have seven going so far! No, my way is better. I will get to it when I’m done figuring out how to untangle this necklace. It’ll look stunning with my black tank and that maxi skirt, you know the one. I got it the day I suggested you relax and let me take over the finances and you made some snarky control-freak face and….remember??….where’d you go?  Hello?????….


I asked you to do one thing. Pick up my dry cleaning so I can pack.


I asked you to do one thing last week. Make dinner for six people, keeping in mind that you helped make four of them, one of which will only eat bagels with cream cheese. Did that happen? I ended up working all day, coming home to the aroma of what? Dog pee. You forgot to let the dog out too. Did you ever hear me complain? No. There I was scrambling around looking for what to make while mopping up urine from a 160 pound dog who drinks two gallons of water per day…wait…are you there?…hello? Are you even listening?

(I put a bowl of chips out! he yells from the nether regions of the house.)


You don’t need to pack that much stuff.


How often does one go to Italy? How am I supposed to know what the weather will do?

(look it up, he says)

That was hypothetical, I know what it says, what I don’t know is what it MIGHT do if it doesn’t do what it says it will do. A girl needs backup clothes. You know, clothes for the clothes that are inappropriate somehow or get a spaghetti stain on them or God forbid we get our periods! After all, weather, though fairly predictable at various times of the year as a whole, is not an exact science on a day to day basis. Sure, Doppler weather predicting is much more accurate than it used to be, but….hey, where are you going? I’m still talking here! RUDE.


Yes. Just wear that. (he says while working on his computer)


Ah….so you like my new skinny jeans with this red tank top? You’re sure it looks ok to wear to Rome? I figure I’ll pair it with my tres chic black blazer. I hear that Italian’s adore black. It’s classy. Don’t you think?



  • Do NOT wear sleeveless shirts to the Vatican.
  • Learn the language of the country you decide to venture to.
  • Skinny jeans apparently aren’t for everyone…sigh…
  • Spanx can hide a myriad of unpleasant sights.
  • Men and women tend to speak different languages even though they come from the same country, state, city, street, house.
  • High fat, greasy snack foods are not a good way to begin one’s day unless one is in college and hungover.
  • A pure mind is a…well, I don’t know, I’m not sure I’ve ever had one…
  • When in Rome…(I’ll let you know upon my return!)


Many thanks are in order to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Can I get an "Amen!"?

Many thanks are in order to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Can I get an “Amen!”?