Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Morning Strata Surprise

I orignally posted this on Facebook as a "note" because I was at work and my Blogger basically does not work at all on that computer for some reason. But I really wanted this information on my blog because this dish was so tasty. I was just reminded of that when I had some leftovers a few minutes ago. I forgot to take a picture when it was done and just out of the oven and all bubbly and a picture of the leftovers won't really do it justice but I'll post one anyway:

 So here's what I wrote on Christmas day:

Because every recipe sounds better if you add the word "surprise!"

I wanted to make something I could do the night before and throw in the oven on Christmas morning. I looked up recipes that used the basics; eggs, milk, sausage, cheese, bread. But I was stuck on using some potatoes, too, since I'd made a hash brown casserole last year that was tasty and delicious. So that's how I found Paula Deen's recipe  and used that as a starting point. I also looked at this one.

You could do all kinds of stuff with these recipes. So GO CRAZY! Here is what you need if you want to do what I did. I have been told my version was pretty yummy!

Most of you know I'm not good with measurements and stuff, so I apologize in advance for not being terribly helpful on that front!

Christmas Morning Strata Surprise
(Should serve at least 6 HUNGRY folks if not more)

Frozen hash browns (I used Ore-Ida's Southern Style, a 2 lb bag, but I didn't quite need the whole bag)
French bread
Chicken apple sausage (Aidells), 4 links
Onion (I used one medium yellow)
Cheese, whatever kind you like (I used Havarti [some brand I got at Target for cheap and it's really good] and Dubliner; shred up enough to make... not sure it was quite two cups, but maybe?)
8 eggs (egg substitute would totally work, too)
2 cups of milk (I used fat free and it worked just fine)
Parmesan cheese (Ummm... didn't measure... a few tablespoons, maybe? 1/4 cup, perhaps?)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste... check out some recipes for ideas on this if you don't trust your abilities in this area, I just sorta sprinkle and stuff!)
Couple squirts of mustard (I used a jalapeno mustard I get from Target that is yummy; I think anything that adds zing would be good, dry mustard of course, would work)
Few drops of hot sauce (I used Crystal, and of course, if you don't like spicy then skip it)

Get out a 13x9 pan (I used glass) and spray that with some cooking spray.

Thaw the hash browns in the microwave. I put the bag in a casserole dish and had them on defrost for 15-ish minutes. You know how your microwave works better than I do! Set those aside. Dice up some French bread. I used a small loaf I got a target but you could do whatever kind of bread you like. You're just going to need enough to make a layer in the pan. Dice your sausage and slice up the onion thinly. Sautee them together over medium heat just to get a little color on them. I did not wind up draining mine; I cooked them in cooking spray and I didn't really have to much residual oil, but depending on what kind of sausage you use you might want to drain it. Shred your cheese(s).

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

Put a layer of thawed hash browns into the pan. Add some seasoning like salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix it up a bit, just so you don't have boring taters. Then put the bread on top of that. I sprinkled a little bit of my cheese over the bread. Next, add the sausage and onion. On top of that, pour the egg mixture carefully, making sure you get it even distributed. End with cheese. Cover it in the foil and put it in the fridge overnight. Of course you don't need to do this, Paula's recipe doesn't call for this, but that's how I did mine.

In the morning pull the casserole out. Let it sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes; it will look firm and golden brown and delicious on top. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. ENJOY!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Thanksgiving Post, Or the One in Which I Talk About Stuff For Which I'm Thankful and Try Not to Repeat Myself Too Much

We should totally be thankful for everything we have and the beauty that surrounds us, like, 365 days a year. But since we have this holiday with the word thanks right in there, it seems fitting that on this day in particular we should talk about all that stuff to get into the spirit of the day, you know, beyond getting stuffed to the gills and hanging out with our families and/or friends. And what a good place to start... So in no particular order here is the list of stuff for which I'd like to give thanks:

1. Getting stuffed to the gills with my family: Thanksgiving is awesome. I am so thankful I am not working today because sometimes that is the case and I show up after everyone's eaten and is already in a coma and I have my plate(s) of food by my lonesome. At least a couple of times when that happened, I was fortunate enough to have already partaken of an awesome spread at work. I am thankful that I love my family... a lot... and that they seem to feel the same way about me. We always have a good time when we're together and I'm really looking forward to this afternoon.

2. My beautiful daughter: No explanation needed, right? To be all Jerry Maguire (which I swear, is not something I normally am), she completes me. In a way that no other person or partner ever could. Motherhood is amazing, mostly because she is.

3. My friends: I only have about the best group of friends ever. Many of whom came to me late in a life but that I think I will keep forever. They're amazing, the way they put up with my insanity and my hormones and my bad judgments and they just love me. So lucky to have them (and they know who they are).

4. The Internet: It keeps me connected to people to whom I might not otherwise be connected. Or not connected on a regular basis, and that is my favorite thing about it. Also, when you don't know what something is you can Google it. You don't have to go to the library (though I do love the library, a whole lot) or pull out an encyclopedia and that's pretty badass.

5. My family: The good, the bad, and the hilarious. The whole thing. They made me who I am today and they always have my back.

6. My set-up: As in, my job, my lack of commute, my house. It's awesome. I'm making out like a bandit. I love my job and don't want to leave until they make me or I can retire. I love my house and hope to never leave it (and fantasize about owning it one day and making it bigger, but even if that never happens I still don't want to leave). And I love that the house I love is down the street from the job I love. Really, with that deal right there, what in the heck do I have to complain about?

7. Helpful drugs: You know, the kind that make your brain a little better? Like, let's say you're wired such that you think things TO DEATH, to the point of losing a great deal of sleep, and that you get easily depressed, and because you're depressed when things don't go right you kinda want to SCREAM or throw things? There are drugs that can help with that. I love that one does not have to live with faulty brain wiring their whole life if one does not want to. This one did not want to and I love that I don't have to.

8. Endorphins: Similar to helpful drugs, but natural and FREE!! Get some.

9. Food: It's just so good.

10. Dancing shows, like DWTS and SYTYCD: They make me smile. Watching people dance can make me laugh, or cry, or get goosebumps, or all of the above. It's a beautiful thing. I also love the interaction between the hosts and judges on both shows. Such fun.

11. Top Chef, Next Iron Chef, and almost any cooking show: See "food" above, for starters. I've loved cooking shows since I was a kid watching them on PBS with my mom on Saturday mornings (thanks, Mom!). Cooking competition shows are just dynamite. I love to see the things that people make, even though I will probably never make them or even taste them. But still, I can't get enough.

12. A washer and dryer at my house: If you do laundry outside your home or ever have this needs no explanation.

13. Coffee: I don't know what I'd do without it.

14. Carrie Fisher: I love her. I'm reading Shockaholic on the Kindle right now and I can tell I'm going to devour it. I think I've read all of her books; Surrender the Pink was one of my favorites, and her one-woman show was a-mah-zing. She's so real and insane and funny and has been so troubled and is so open about it. If I had to go out to lunch with two famous ladies right now, I want to go with her and Tina Fey.

15. My mom: I know I said my family, but special shout out to my mom. She is my... am I really gonna tear up? F#%king hormones! She is my rock. My touchstone. My friend. The one who drives me nuts by nagging me about stuff (stuff about which I need to be nagged). To say she has my back is an understatement. She cares for my daughter (physically, as a sitter, and emotionally, but loving her up to the moon [and yes, sometimes spoiling her]). She has bailed me out more times than I care to mention. I love hanging out with her; we've had great adventures just the two of us and with the kid and I look forward to many more. If I had to choose a mom from the fictional Mom Store of which I've told Kayla many times, I would choose her all over again. She is simply the best.

I'm thankful for a whole bunch of other stuff, but I've rambled on long enough.

What are you thankful for, today or any day or every day?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Looking Up

I turned around at work when I heard something I couldn't quite identify. It was just the coffee pot making some post-perculatory (not a real word) noises. When I turned I caught a glimpse of the sky through the trees out of our window. And the sky was amazing. It was just a few minutes ago and it's already changed so it's hard to explain, but there was such a warm, pink glow to it that it instantly calmed me.

The sky is beautiful at 7:15 on Sunday mornings sometimes.

And before I saw that sky I was tempted to write a blog about how some lessons take a really long time to learn. For example, if someone is a douche or someone is thoughtless then chances are, no matter how nice or nurturing you are to them, especially if this person comes into your life as a grown-up, chances are they will always be that way. That ends the lesson/negative portion of this blog.

I woke up this morning and I was miffed. The red numbers glowing menacingly on the clock read 5:16. These numbers in themselves are not evil, of course, but when I've set the alarm for 5:35, you can see how I'd find them to be a little bit evil because it wasn't as if I was going to just fall back into peaceful slumber for another twenty minutes. Nope, my body doesn't work that way.

So I lumbered through getting ready and went to put on my makeup and found some eyeshadow in my Sephora assortment (possibly the best $25 I ever spent even if it's not the same as the one I bought last year with my gift certificate [thanks, Sarah!])that made me look like I was awake and curled my hair and it came out okay and then I got outside to my car and saw the sky, which looked completely different then, at 6:45, than it did at 7:15. And I thought to myself, "Holy crap. The sky looks AMAZING."

Last night when we got home from the super awesome Haunted Hallway at Ellerhorst (though Kayla's reaction to the thrills and chills will be document later in my Kayla blog), as soon as I got out of the car I noticed the moon. It was a crescent, but it was so ridiculously bright, and sometimes you can't really see the part of the moon that's hidden in shadow too well, but last night that part looked so cool, like a deep, dark blue-black. I can't explain why it looked so cool, I can only tell you that it did. And the sky at 7:30 last night also looked really amazing.

So sometimes dumping the negative thoughts is as easy as looking up. Not always, but sometimes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Life is Like a Potluck... Don't Bring Haggis

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

More than one friend has posted this quote on Facebook before and it's in my mind this morning because I think it sort of relates to want I want to say.

I was in the bathroom this morning getting ready and it's funny how sometimes things strike you while you're topless and curling your hair. Don't get me started on the fact that using hot appliances with a considerable amount of skin bare is a bad idea, and don't think that I get inspired by that bare skin because that pretty much just usually inspires laughter.

So what struck me is that life is like a potluck. But some people look at it like it's a buffet. Let me explain. And when I say that, I mean I'm going to attempt to figure out what I'm trying to say and at the same time explain it to you.

The idea of a potluck is to come together and share. You bring something and you get to partake of the goodies that others have contributed. It's give and take. You give something, and you get to take something in return.

Life is this way. Sometimes it's about a relationship. Any relationship is a partnership. Whether you're friends or lovers or spouses or parent and child or work mates. You bring something to it, and the other person is supposed to bring the same amount. Of course, this can be tricky if you're talking about a parent and a child, and certainly with spouses this is sometimes only a theory, but you get the idea.

I'm thinking particularly about what you bring that can't be quantified. How are you showing up? What's your attitude? What sort of energy are you bringing? Either to your office or your home in your interaction with your kids or your spouse or your friends? Do you bring what you would like to get back?

Do you bring a casserole made of haggis, head cheese, and random animal testicles (thank you, Facebook friends! [and no matter how fancy a chef makes them, testicles OF ANY ANIMAL are never going to be anything I try, like the lamb "fries" I saw on Chopped]) and then expect to eat lobster, caviar, fancy delicious cheeses, and Doritos? Well, it doesn't work that way.

You get back what you give, pure and simple.

Buffets are awesome things. You get to show up and take whatever you want. Life is not like that. You need to give something, and you should give what you want to get back.

Do you walk into a room and light it up? Or do you come in under a gray cloud and spread it all over the place? If you do that second thing, STOP DOING THAT.

The people who will read this probably don't do that. So let me talk to the rest of us. But first I'll say, I've totally been that cloud. I can't lie. Like, especially at certain times of the month, get out your umbrella because there might be nothing but gray skies and rain all around my space bubble. But I really really really try not to be that person. And I really really really try not let that kind of person drag me down.

But let's face it, it's hard. We're only human, for goodness sake. It's hard not to get sucked into some jacked up energy, especially if you're not in a great place and having one of those "fake it 'til you make it" days (and by the way, I am a really big fan of faking it 'til I make it, because it sometimes really works).

Now look, sometimes stuff is just really super crazy awful bad. So bad that you'd be a freak if you could figure out a way to put a positive spin on it. Some of the stuff that people endure from which they come back fighting AMAZES me. They are my heroes. So I'm not talking about sucking it up when it comes to real problems.

I am talking about being positive when you can be. When you have the choice between positive and negative, choose positive. When you have the choice between a frown and smile, pick the smile. When you can't decide whether to laugh or have a rage stroke, try the laughter.

I know, this all seems so basic, but you would be amazed at how not basic it is for some people. You know, the people who probably aren't reading this.

I'm not really sure that my opening quote really goes with what I what I just rambled about, but I'll keep it there because it's a good one anyway.

Like with almost anything I write, I do this so that I can remind myself to be this person more. So thanks for letting me talk to you in an effort to work on my stuff.

And please, if I ever have a potluck, do not bring that casserole. Thanks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some Things Change a Little and Some Not So Much and Sort of a Re-Run Post

Since yesterday I kvetched about stuff I don't like, I figured it made perfect sense to do a post about stuff I love today. About stuff that makes me smile and get all warm fuzzy-like in hopes it would make you guys think of stuff you love and then you'd feel all warm and fuzzy and someone would pass by and see you grinning like an idiot and then they would feel all warm and fuzzy and so on and so forth. Like, how super cool and badass would that be? So I started to type and then I thought wow, this feels familiar... So I checked the archives and found a post from 2008 that well, pretty much covers a bunch of stuff I love. But before you check that out...

... I have to say that while the things I love I have remarkably (or not so remarkably) pretty much have stayed the same (though I will add a few things, just because), the beginning of my post talks about how my life was at the time and how I didn't really want to talk about my life. Which makes perfect sense because I was less than three months away from finally separating from my ex so yes, my home life kinda sucked hard at that time. And now I can say wow. It so DOES NOT SUCK. Like, at all. Sure, I have things I need to work on and change and I get confused about stuff that has to do with boys and just life in general but mostly, wow. I. Love. My. Life. So I'm glad I included that blurb because it makes me really, really, really, really, extremely, very much, a whole helluva lot appreciate where I am.

Here's some stuff I really like that wasn't in the original post:

1. Skinny Fries: Trader Joe's makes them and you can eat 65 of them for 110 calories and 2 grams of fat and they kinda taste like a French fry crossed with a potato chip crossed with air. And they are good for dipping. And I just ate some a minute ago which is why they made my list.
2. Trader Joe's: Damn, they have a lot of good stuff in that store. And a lot of cheese. And decent prices on many things. And the people are always nice, too.
3. That I'm finally actually dieting and losing weight: After years of false starts and no will to give up using food for much-needed comfort, I'm finally getting it done. It won't be fast, but I will do it this time and I couldn't do it without...
4. Major support: ... from my friends and family who are working on their weight loss goals and the ones who just cheer for me when I talk about how much I've lost. Between Facebook and and the close pals I talk to nearly everyday, I have more support than I could ever hope to get and it makes a huge difference in my life. I see a light at the end of the tunnel that I haven't seen in years and this is beyond priceless to me.
5. On-line dating websites: Shout out to them because they get a bad rap and in some respects, sure, there are a lot of losers and weirdos out there, no doubt, and if you are on one of these sites they, meaning weirdos and losers, will wind up contacting you. But you might also find that you meet some interesting folks and have some interesting experiences, and have guys say nice things about you that you kind of needed to hear for like ummmm... ever. Not saying they are for everyone and I've already pointed out the considerable downside, but for someone like me who doesn't ever have friends who know anyone with whom I should mix and mingle (which reminds me of one of my favorite Phineas and Ferb songs) and who has no possibilities in the workplace and who doesn't hang out in bars, well, there you go. It has its uses.
6. Being single: Kinda think it was meant for me. Can't say enough how much I love sharing my space only with a small person.
7. The Internet: Recipes, pictures of Australian blue-tongued lizards, it's all on there. And it seems to be the way I do a huge portion of my communicating with friends.
8. Beer: It's yummy and I like to drink it with friends and I like finding new varieties that I enjoy.
9. Naps: No explanation needed.
10. Sex: See naps.

Click here for the a link to my post from December 22, 2008, to see more stuff I love.

What are you loving at the moment?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things of Which I Am Majorly Not a Fan

Ms. Tams had a blog post the other day called "Things I Hate... " So since she has inspired me A LOT recently by like, sending me ideas and telling me to write more I am going to go ahead and steal be inspired by her idea and come up with a similar list. Because I need to flipping write something. At the moment I'm wondering why I always try to do this close to nap time when I'm so sleepy. Probably not a good idea when I'm barely coherent when I'm wide awake.

While I am going to go ahead and complain about this stuff, in general, I don't want to complain. I really don't. I don't want to send my food back or tell someone providing a service for me that they didn't do well and I want to like any gift I receive and I want to adapt and go with the flow rather than have anyone make some change for me. Like, that's my default setting, or at least I hope it is most of the time, but I vent. I can't help it. I do. And I try to do it with a sense of humor and I blow off steam about it and drop an f-bomb or five and then I'm over it. So is this venting, is this complaining, or is this just me looking at that top part of the glass with no beer in it, who knows. I'm just sharing and maybe I'll connect with someone who is also not pleased about the fact that they have zits AND gray hair.

1. Cable TV: Well, any of you know me know that this is a love/hate relationship to be sure. I love TV in general. I do not love taking it up the a$% cablerarily each month when I pay my bill. I would like to be able to design something where I have the like, the 12 channels I want and can get rid of the 388 I don't want and only pay for 12 channels and not 400.
2. Not being able to get my chair right at work: We have nice chairs. I am a moron. I have a hard time some days getting the angle of the seat and back just like I like it (see the part about being a moron).
3. Obliviousness: I am talking about people in a store or a crowd anywhere who for some reason have decided they are the only ones there and do not need to pay attention about being in your space or your path. I'm really big. How do you not see that you're in my way?
4. Rude drivers: 'Nuff said.
5. Crowds: I only deal with them if I must. Some things are fun to do with a large group of people, like a watch a concert or a movie. Otherwise, I dig it when places are relatively empty. Like Target. How wonderful Target is when it's not crowded. Or a restaurant. Or a waiting room, whatever. I'm sure this has something to do with being a big person and always kind of feeling like a bull in a china shop, too. Crowds don't scare me or anything, they just bug me.
6. Snobs: Hmmm... how to explain this one... If you automatically think you're better than someone because you have more money than they do, or because of where that person came from, geographically speaking, or because you've had more schooling, or because of your line of work compared to theirs, you can suck it.
7. Body hair: My wish is for world peace and hair that grows on your body only where you want it to grow.
8. Having acne... as a f$%king grown woman: So. I've paid some dues. I made it through junior high. Terrible hair. Awful eyebrows. Pregnancy. Being in the workforce for 24 years. A failed marriage. Flaky guys on on-line dating websites. 41 birthdays. Should it not be time for me to catch a break in the form of not having zits? On the one hand, great, my skin is so oily that wrinkles are probably far, far away for me. For this I am thankful. And I know, I should be more diligent and consistent about my skincare, no doubt. But I swear, my nose is a blackhead masquerading as a nose. I don't even get how I can smell out of that thing because seriously, it's just one huge clogged pore. Okay, that's gross, but you get the idea. Raise your hand if you thought you'd hit some magic age in your twenties and never ever see a zit again? Yep, same here.

Most other things of which I'm majorly not a fan have to do with me, and that's a post for another time. What's bugging you in general or today specifically?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Post About What I'm Thinking About Right Now

In no particular order, certainly not in order of importance, I'm just going to talk about what's on my mind at the moment. And when I say it won't be in order of importance, I mean that probably nothing will be important so you might want to stop reading right now.

I don't have time to really sit and think of a composed sort of anything; my mind is a jumble of thoughts because I haven't finished my second cup of coffee and I'm on a time constraint because I've gotta get on the treadie so I can get in 40-ish minutes and have enough time to get ready and make a quick trip to the store before Spook picks me up for the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival today where we will see the Spazmatics play, yes, those NERDS THAT ROCK. (I'd think you'd say "nerds who rock," but hey, it's from their website.

Anyway, in my head:

Sleeping in was awesome. First time I've been able to stay in bed until 8 in a month.

Doing all this blogging has been swell, but I'm going to have to work on my posture at my desk. Don't think I'm terrible ergonomically correct at home and I'm feeling it in my old neck.

This week I WILL use the weight room at work. Tams has mentioned the weight room at her gym a couple of times, in her blog and on Facebook and I have been talking about how I have been doing ZERO strength training which makes no sense when a) I like it and b) I know how good it is for me, when it comes to my bones and metabolism and c) I have weights at home and d) I can use the weight room at work. For free. Whenever I want. And it's down street from my house. So I will be doing that at least once if not twice this week. Maybe it was never in my head because I didn't want people from work potentially seeing me look like a hag in workout clothes and no makeup? Ummm, I'm over that.

I need to clean my house. I mean, like, all the parts of my house, not just the parts I usually do because we're in them or the parts that company might see. It's redonk. Have I mentioned how much I hate cleaning the house?

With all this zucchini in my freezer (9 cups at the moment, thanks to gifts from the gardens of Steph and my next door neighbor), I WILL figure out a way to sneak some into Kayla's mouth this week. Whether it be in a muffin or a cookie or a smoothie, I gotta get this kid to eat vegetables. Not even MORE vegetables. ANY vegetables. I've laid such a bad foundation by not being more conventional about our eating habits. I gotta work on that s#%t.

I was reading Buddhism for Dummies in the john (a. k. a. "The Reading Room) this morning and I need to spend more time reading it. Such good stuff in there. About suffering and ending it and living morally. Yes. I need to be there.

Okay, my time's beyond being up. I know I mentioned this earlier this week, but my time management skills suck. I need to work on that.

What are you thinking about today?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Money and Stuff I Don't Spend it On Like Purses

In human years I am 41. In money sense years I am approximately 11.

Actually, I might have had more sense about money at the age of 11, when my income was from a paper route and said income was spent on video games and Tootsie Roll Pops at 7-11 (it was a small and relatively unprofitable route).

I will come out and say that I am a complete and utter idiot when it comes to money. Here is what I know about it: I go to work and make some. Then I turn around and spend more than that on stuff I don't need. I have run out of it several times and have been embarrassingly bailed out by my mother more times than I care to count. I am pretty sure I owe her one million dollars, though she says I work some of it off by carting her around sometimes so maybe I owe her more like $999,900 at this point.

I have set out to make a budget a whole bunch of times. But I'm pretty sure that never happened. I can always tell you how much I pay in bills each month. There's no variable. It's the "other stuff" that trips me up.

So on the one hand, I eat out too much; mostly at work, sometimes going out with friends. I am not sure what my beer budget is, but it's pretty high compared to most households, I'd imagine.

I wind up spending a lot of money on grooming.
I ju
st got my hair done today and if I had the skills to do it myself or if I ever took my friend's advice and let her do it for me I would save A LOT of money. But I've been seeing Bernice for years and years and I'm a creature of habit and I like how she does my hair so there you go. I also can't use cheap shampoo (as much as I'd LOVE to) because of the kind of hair I have, so there's more money.

Don't even get me started on waxing. I gotta wax my brows. I can't not go and see Bev. Don't ask me about parts I get waxed that no one ever seems to see. It's pretty ridiculous.

And then there's stuff on which I refuse to spend money. Like purses.

I had this purse I LOVED and the only reason I a
m no longer carrying it is that I wore it out. It was from Target and made of fabric and it was a black and white floral pattern and it was so flipping cute. And it was $8.

That's right. $8. It was normally $10, but I got it on sale for $8 because I'm cool like that.

So in my pursuit to replace this purse with an almost exact replica, I searched high and low. Checked at Target every time I was there, no dice. Fi
nally found it on Etsy and it was $26. I went back and forth with myself about it. $26? But I really want another purse for $8. Here was a purse that was adorable, hand-made, machine-washable, and I loved it. Yet I was hemming and hawing about it being $26. This blew the mind of my dear friend, Stephanie, when this come up when I was hanging out with her, Spook, and Sarah. She could not believe I would trip off of something like that when I do spend money on other stuff. How much had I spent for this particular girls' night? How much would I spend for a sushi lunch (seriously, like $24 sometimes with tax and all that).

And it was hard to explain why I want a purse for
$8 and I want t-shirts that cost about the same and I why I don't even want to spend $30 on a pair of jeans and why I like to buy shoes at Payless. The only way it possibly makes sense is if I say it is wasted on me.

If you gave me a purse that cost $100 and a pair of jeans for the same amount I would look at you like you thought I was the Queen of West County. Why, these are garments and accessories made for royalty, I would say to you.

I TOTALLY don't begrudge anyone their fancy
pants or real jewelry (I'm pretty much a fakey fakerson when it comes to that, mainly because losing earrings is what I do), and I'd never pass judgment. Okay, that's not entirely true. If I knew someone who was kind of a douche and they had a pair of $200 jeans I might say, "Oh my gosh, that guy is such a flipping douche in his $200 jeans."

To many I realize I look like an idiot because I DO spend money and I have too much stuff but not so many nice things to show for what I spend. So this isn't about me being cheap, sheesh, I wish I were were. It's just that when it comes to some things I want to spend this many dollars and with other stuff I will spend more dollars.
I went to the book fair at the kid's school today and spent 40-plus dollars on books. We go to the library. Where we can check out books. For FREE. But the kid's a bookworm and she digs owning books. As in, "I get to keep this one? All the time??"

And buying books encourages bookworminess. Which encourages her to be smart. Which encourages her to be so involved in her studies when she is older that she pays no attention to boys whatsoever and she gets into an amazing college where she studies science and becomes a doctor and finds a cure for all the incurable diseases.

Okay, so I'm pushing it a little. But we will get a lot of use out of those books. And when she is done with them we will pass them on to her baby cousin, and who knows how many years they will be around. I could almost buy a fancy purse on sale at Macy's for what I spent on book fair books.

But I really wanted to get those books for her.

What do you spend money on that you shouldn't? Are there "fancy" things you just can't live without, places where you refuse to not splurge? How do you like to save money or stick to a budget?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Complicated

You know how you can pick that as your relationship status on Facebook? You can tell everyone that you are in a relationship and that "it's complicated." What relationship is not complicated at one time or another? I seriously think it should be implied in "married" or "in a relationship."

I guess if you pick that as your status it's more like the purgatory between a relationship and being single. That middle ground of confusion about whether to stay or go or whether he's on the same page with you because you kind of feel like maybe he is but then again there are these signals that suggest otherwise and then there's the length of time he takes to respond to your texts and...

Whew. I am glad I'm not in a relationship. But I mean, seriously, yay for the rest of you who do it and rock it, even with the complicated stuff.

At least a complicated relationship is something you could leave if it got too bad. Sadly, my complicated thing is my brain.

Here's what I wish. I wish there were a little switch on my brain that I could turn off an on. Like, literally, I wish I could turn my brain off sometimes. And it would also be nice if I could flip a switch that would turn on a scrolling marquee on my forehead that says, "It's complicated." What a great warning for people that would be!

My brain is the last place you want to be if, like Fergie sings in Big Girls Don't Cry, you are looking to be with yourself, center and get some clarity, peace, and serenity.

And that's why I'm writing about it because I'm always looking for ways to make it more peaceful and less complicated in there. Granted, it's been way worse in there than it is now. Right now it's not too bad... but there's still room for improvement and today I had sort of a light bulb moment about something I'd been making overly complicated and I told myself what I'm always telling other people (usually not to their face, usually it's when I'm kvetching about something at work or something that is driving me nuts). I say, "It's not that hard."

It's not that hard.

It really isn't. Some things just aren't that hard to grasp and to make sense of and yet I find myself over-complicating such things a lot. And I don't want to do that.

A friend recently posted a clip from YouTube of a guy doing a funny riff on the differences between the brains of men and women. He talks about women's brains being sort of like a jumble of wires where everything is connected, compared to the brains of men, which would look like a set of boxes, everything separate and compartmentalized. Now, I would be likely to say such an idea were ridiculous if it were not, in my case, so true. I do connect a bunch of stuff together and sometimes it is because it should all be connected together and other times, you know, not so much. But it's what I do (ask my ex-husband).

I will never be able to divorce my thinking from my feelings. And I will always be an over-thinker, sometimes to the detriment of my psychological well-being. But I'm writing because I'm also going to try to embrace the moments of clarity where I really listen to what I tell other people:

It's not that hard.

And also:

It's not that serious.
It's not nearly as complicated as I'm making it out to be.

The more I keep this in mind and the more I relish the feeling of taking something complicated and making it simple, the more I will be likely to do it. At least I hope so.

Do any of you think the crap out of stuff or have to deal with someone who does? Know any good tricks (other than meds, that's one of mine!) that help with this sort of thing? Please, share your ideas with me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Really Quick One About God

So I started a blog post this morning that I thought was going to be about Dave Grohl and how I'm attracted to random people and then I got both confused and bored so I scrapped it. Perhaps I will come back to it later when I can think of a way to make it interesting to me.

Logically, instead of talking about the most beautiful rock star of all time, I will go ahead and talk about God.

Real quick-like, because I'm really sleepy and it's just about naptime.

I would really like to believe in God. Like, you have no idea how much. But I just don't. And I'm kinda pissed about it. It's odd, because it pisses me off but at the same time I feel perfectly normal about it.

I totally used to believe in God. I don't know when I first heard about Him, exactly, but I know that when I had the chance to go to vacation bible school at a neighbor's house and when the red and white church bus came around to pick up kids from Hilltop Green to go to the First Baptist Church of El Sobrante (El Sob #1) my brother and I were like, totally "all aboard" and whatnot.

I think I went to Sunday school for about three years or so... I can't remember why I stopped going, exactly, I just know that I did.

I spent from the age of 13 or 14 until I was 23 believing in God and saying prayers every night. And then Polly Klaas was abducted and killed. And then that was the end for me.

In an instant, it was all gone. I decided that God had to be a complete and utter sham because if there were a God, stuff like this wouldn't happen.

Now, right off the bat, those of you who believe will tell me I have it all wrong and that it's completely illogical and that there are reasons and a plan, etc. And I'm not questioning that idea at all. If it helps you to make sense of things, I'm all for it, and I would never judge it. It just doesn't work for me.

I just got to a point where I decided it made much more sense to me that all of us being here is about science. Obviously, I'm no scientist and I do believe that there could be a God involved with all this science-y stuff, I just don't happen to believe this is the case. At this moment.

In spite of the fact that I stopped believing, I started attending the El Sobrante United Methodist Church in 2001. I loved it, the pastor and the music were great. I left after Pastor Gaye's sermons feeling like I wanted to be a better person. Which is awesome and what I think church is supposed to be about. I might still be attending had I not moved and wound up working weird hours and weekends, because obviously, there is something to get from church even if you don't believe in God.

Did I mention that I'm agnostic and not an athiest? I do not have near enough conviction to be an atheist because hey, there could be a God, and if there is, well great.

Can I be agnostic and still hope that somehow, when I die, I will still be able to say, watch over Kayla? I hope so, because I am and I do.

It's about faith. I don't have any, not in someone who is above us or around us who has supreme power but chooses to sit back and watch all of this. And by this, I mean "the world," the good and the bad. Because as we know, there has been some really bad shit that has happened and I don't blame a supreme being for that, either.

When good stuff happens, I believe it's because we made it happen or we were super flipping lucky. I love the idea of being "blessed," but I don't believe in it. I am one of the luckiest people in the world. Had things gone slightly different at certain times in my life, I would not be sitting on my ass blogging write now. I might be sitting on my ass behind a liquor store passing around a can of beer in a brown bag to my friends. Seriously, some people would say, "there but for the grace of God go I" when they see someone less fortunate. And I say, thank goodness I have been so lucky to be where I am surrounded by those I am lucky enough to have in my life.

For those of you who are so fulfilled by your relationship with God, this is me saying, that is awesome. I sometimes wish I understood that and I had it and I'm not kidding, it's true. But at the same time, I truly believe you can be happy and fulfilled and a good (mostly) person because it's what you want to do and who you are. So don't feel badly for me because I don't have what you have. I'm just sharing what it looks like over here.

At the end of the day it's all about being nice to each other, no matter what your reason for doing that is. Whether you want to be like God or like Jesus or like Ganhdi or like Martin Luther King, Jr. or like your mom; whomever or whatever it is that inspires you to be a good person is a good thing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let's Start With the ABC of It

Let's start with the ABC of it
Roll right down to the XYZ of it
Help me solve the mystery of it
Teach me tonight

If you have never heard Teach Me Tonight, dial it up on the YouTube.
Dinah Washington's rendition is outfreakngstanding, and Amy Winehouse's version will break your heart because you'll see what a huge talent she was and how legendary she might have become.

Anyway, my dear friend Tami's blog post this morning was called "
The ABC's of Me," a fun read and a great way to learn a little bit more about her, and since she asked us to share our own alphabetized list of random tidbits about ourselves, I figured it would be a great way to get my fingers moving on the keyboard and actually do a blog post since, unlike Tams who does it every day, I obviously have nothing similar to that level of dedication or ambition, so any little thing helps over here. Anyway, here it goes. I would love to get your list, so please, share it in the comments or wherever you like (just tell me where to find it).

A - Age: 41.25.
B - Bed size: California king and it still seems too small, especially when Kayla and Chief are all up on my side.
C - Chore I dislike: That would be all of them which is why I so seldom do them. Anything to do with cleaning my "office," as it is ALWAYS a complete and utter disaster area, would be at the top of the list.
D - Dog: I love them. I have never owned one as an adult and I can't imagine having to take care of one though I am asked at least every other day, "When can I get a puppy? Is seven old enough to get a puppy?" If a dog would use a litter box I would probably already have one.
E - Essential start to my day: Coffee and hugging up the kid. Followed closely by checking my e-mail and Facebook.
F - Favorite color: I like a lot of them. I love pink and lavender and black or black and white prints when it comes to clothing.
G - Gold or silver: Silver or white gold for sure. Though I'm more of a fake jewelry type of girl than anything.
H - Height: Ridiculously tall at five-eleven-and-three-quarters-and-no-not-six-it's-always-just-under-six-feet.
I - Instruments played: Oh, if only I could answer this question in a dirty manner. Trumpet in elementary school. And my dad had been a music teacher and I never practiced as much as I should have. And that's a whole other post that could be written with the help of a shrink. Trumpet and then
baritone in junior high and high school. It was ginormous. And every once in a while I had to carry it home. From Crespi. On foot. Over the trail and through Hilltop Green. And up the hill from the park to my house. No wonder I find my life so flipping easy now. I think the last straw was playing it in the rain at Cal Band Day. NOT FUN. So that did not last my whole high school career, mercifully. I long to learn to play piano and drums. One day this may happen, at least the piano part, I hope. Oh, and guitar. I would like to be like a rock star lady and play guitar and sing at the same time.
J - Job title: Full-time mom and full-time police dispatcher
K - Kids: A 21 year old stepson, an 18 year old stepdaughter, and a five year old daughter and I'm really lucky I have all of them.
L - Live: Like every day is your last but within reason. Which means tell people you love often that you love them and have a really good time.
M - Money tip I like best: I'm not sure I've ever received a money tip, at least not one I've retained which would explain why my finances are the way they are.
N - Never plan to: Get married again. Marriage is great for other people. I will never do it again and I most likely would never shack up with a person again. I didn't realize how much I love not sharing my space with another grown-up until I'd lived it.
O - Overnight hospital stays: Ugh. Surgery to remove fibroids, C-section to remove a baby, and nose surgery to remove something that was in there and fix my deviated septum. Guess how many times I'd like to stay overnight in a hospital again? ZERO TIMES. First time was the best because I got a lot of morphine and slept through most of it.
P - Pet peeves: I'm usually bugged by the way people act as opposed to things that they do. So I am peeved by douchebags and people with no sense of humor or who think they are way more important than they are or who have no self-awareness or are selfish.
Q - Quote from a movie: So many good ones. "Don't be like me. Don't you be like me." - Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets telling Greg Kinnear's dog to not be as crazy like he is... which is what I say to my kid.
R - Righty or lefty: Righty, though my handwriting is so terrible I've always wondered if I was supposed to be a lefty.
S - Siblings: One younger brother who is awesome and hilarious.
T - Time I wake up: Days I work at 7 I sleep until 6, usually. Days I take the kid to school, 6:45-ish maybe? Just depends. Today I slept until 7 because the bd took the kid to school and it was divine.
U - Underwear: Yes. And I usually like them black. Unlike my coffee.
V - Vegetables I don't like: Okra. I can't think of anything else so I'm surprised I don't eat them more often.
W - What makes me run late: Extremely poor time management skills. There's no way to sugarcoat it.
X - X-rays I've had: Dental x-rays plenty of times. There was that stupid chest x-ray I got when my doctor thought maybe I had pneumonia and it cost me a fortune because I had a PPO or whatever and not Kaiser at the time. SMH. Oh, and I suppose I had one when I broke my arm when I was a teenager.
Y - Yummy food I make: Lasagna or anything resembling it. If it involves cheese and a casserole dish I usually believe it will come out okay.
Z - Zoo animals I like: Giraffes and zebras, and not just because they remind me of me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Yes, zukesagna. It's the fancy name I made up (and I guess I made it up because when I Google it I come up with nothing) for making lasagna and using slices of zucchini in place of lasagna.

Yes, fancy. Zukesagna! It's so fun to say I can hardly stop saying it.

So, since at least one Facebook friend (shout out to Livvy!) asked for a recipe, I figured I'd just blog it and then I could say that I'd actually done a blog post, since it's been a month or two or three of Sundays since I'd done one.

My dear friend, Stephanie, had a shit ton (I love that expression) of zucchini in her garden, and I was lucky enough to benefit from her bounty. I started with one that was ginormous. There's no other way to describe it. If I remember correctly, it weighed in at 3 pounds. I really like my new digital food scale and will probably mention it again before this post is done.

I peeled that big mofo and sliced it up. I wasn't sure how thin to slice it; the slices were thicker than lasagna noodles and of course they weren't uniform or anything because it's not as if I actually have any knife skills. Frankly, after slicing that zuke and an onion last night it's amazing that I have no wounds as a result. When I was done I had in the neighborhood of 5 1/2 cups. Anyway, after I sliced it I threw it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. I used two pans, and the slices were overlapping, but I didn't really care. I was hoping to dry it out a little bit, and I'm not even sure if that did anything to that end, because it's not like I'm Alton Brown here, I'm no food scientist or anything.

I read a blip somewhere that you could salt up the zucchini and let it drain, I imagine a process similar to what I do with eggplant (I slice it, salt it, stack it, then put heavy stuff on top of the stack to help drain the bitter juices, then rinse it and dry it and it's ready to go). Just saying, I'm not sure you need to throw the zucchini in the oven at all, but you might want to address the high water content, because when my stuff was all done, it was a little watery, however, it did not take away from its deliciousness. That being said, I will certainly address that issue in a different manner next time and see what happens. Before I used it in the dish I did pat it dry a bit, but still, I'd love for it to be even a little drier next time.

After I dealt with the zucchini, I made my sauce. Well, if you've read this blog before you know I don't "make" sauce. I take jarred sauce and maybe add some stuff and voila, you've got sauce. So in this instance, I squeezed some chicken Sicilian sausage from Trader Joe's out of the casings and browned that up, all the while poking at it so it was nice and crumbly. Then I throw that onto a paper plate lined with paper towels to try to drain some of that grease and wipe my pan out, too.

Here comes the hard part: Open two jars of sauce. I know. I didn't mean to throw this wrench into this easy dish but yes, you will need to open up two jars of your favorite sauce. So I used Trader Joe's Puttanesca, by far my favorite jarred sauce of all time. I would have liked to use two jars of that, but I'm all diet-y and junk, so for my second jar I used Classico's Tomato Basil since it literally had like 8 grams of fat less than my Puttanesca. After I feel I've sopped enough grease off of that cooked sausage, I throw that back in the pan with the jarred sauces and let that simmer for a bit. I don't know, like 15 minutes would do just fine. And when I say simmer, I mean it's up higher than that until it sorta starts popping, then I turn it down to simmer, but I want to let all that stuff mingle for at least 15 minutes. I also added some red pepper flakes (I like my sauce a little spicy, just like my men) and some dried mince garlic. So do whatever you like with this step.

While that sauce was simmering I shredded some cheese. I had Monterey Jack and a sharp white cheddar from Trader Joe's, so I used three ounces (exactly, again, I love my food scale) each of those, in addition to using 6 slices each of lite provolone and lite havarti from Trader Joe's. I am calling it "lite" since that's what's on the package and if you try to do it like I did I wouldn't want you to be confused looking for light provolone and finding none. I also sliced up a sweet onion, since I had one and it sounded good.

Now it's time for assembly. I used a 15 x 10-inch glass baking pan. I always do sauce-noodles (zucchini)-cheese-sauce-noodles (zucchini)- cheese-sauce-a little more cheese, or something like that. I threw in sliced onion with the zucchini layers. So on my cheese layers I did my sliced cheese and filled in the gaps with the shredded stuff and then ended with the shredded stuff. I felt like more sauce would have been good, actually, so I will give you this warning that you might want a little more sauce if you use a pan this big and this much zucchini.

I covered it with foil and baked it at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, then I took the foil off and gave it another 10 minutes... at least I think I did... that was all the way last night but I'm pretty sure that was right.

Of course you're gonna want to let it sit for a minute before you try to cut into that bubbly goodness. I cut mine into 12 pieces, and the breakdown went something like this using the ingredients I did (thank you, 307 calories, 12 carbs, 18 grams fat, 20 grams protein. You can TOTALLY bring the fat and calories down by using different cheese and sauce and omitting the sausage. Frankly, my stuff is totally freaking delicious made just this way, and for me the calorie/fat count was worth it, but next time I will try to get it lower.

So give it a whirl and I hope you enjoy it! If you don't, it's totally not my fault, I'm sure it's something you did or blame it on your oven!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Headboards and Other S#@t I Like to B$%ch About

I slept in a twin bed until I was about 28. I know, it makes me sad, too. There was a time in there where perhaps I had my parents' hand-me-down full or something, but from the time I was a young teenager I had a twin bed that I loved. (Don't try to picture me at this size sleeping in a twin bed. You will hurt yourself laughing.)

So when I got together with my ex-husband at the end of 1997, it was obviously time to upgrade. I mean, the twin was cozy for a few months, but then it was just silly (even though I was MUCH thinner back then). I remember we bought a queen bed and a metal frame from this place on San Pablo Avenue near 23rd in San Pablo. It was a good deal. I remember at the time thinking wow, we really need a headboard and stuff, but let's just wait until we can afford to get matching stuff. You know, the whole deal. Dressers, nightstands, etc.

Then not long after the kid was born at the end of 2005 (stuff seems to happen to me in December, doesn't it? Her birthday is 12/27, my ex-dateaversary is 12/26), we got a really good tax refund and decided to upgrade to a California King. I think this was when we figured out we were "those" parents whose kid was going to sleep in the bed with them, pretty much until the end of time. Once again we were like, wow, just a spent a good chunk of change on this mattress and box spring... but at some point, we really need to get like, a headboard and all that jazz and matching dressers and stuff.

Fast forward 5-ish years later. I got custody of the bed. And I still have no freaking headboard. I have dressers that are falling apart and are of the variety a college kid would probably have in their dorm room. Apparently this is not much of an issue for me. What is an issue is the lack of headboard. I don't even care that much that my bed is practically on the floor. (Floor, box spring, mattress, us.) But the not having a headboard thing is driving me nuts. The kid has bonked her head on the wall a couple of times, and today I just about knocked myself out when I hit the back of my head on the window sill (who else is deathly paranoid about head injuries and thinks that any time they hit their head that this could be curtains and thinks of poor Natasha Richardson and all of that? Is it just me???). So enough's enough, I gotta do something about this. And this concludes my b$%ch about headboards.

I dislike that I'm a hoarder and that I never seem to throw anything away. I just seem to move piles of paper from one part of the house to the other.

I am not a fan of the fact that I'm lazy. For example, I've been too lazy for years to do anything about the hoarding/piles of paper issue.

It bugs me no matter how much I get inspired or try to inspire, that I still have so much trouble putting down the fork and that no matter how much I know it is not the answer, something gooey and cheesy or guacamole-y always seems to be the right answer when things aren't going well. At the time, it so very much seems to be the right answer. And then, afterward, not so much.

It sorta sucks that when it comes to men, I tend to gravitate like a big fat magnet to those who are not good for me or don't want me. It doesn't help that at my size, I've become something of a "specialty" (see previous b$%ch). On the one hand, it's not really a big deal. I'm not looking to get married, pretty much ever. On the other hand, it frustrates me that it even frustrates me when a HUGE part of me very much doesn't care. Decipher that s#@t if you dare.

It blows that at the age of 41 I still have not managed to figure out budgeting. You know, and spending only what you can afford, that sort of thing. That's pretty fucking sad. Sorry, that deserves that actual bad word.

I'm perturbed by people who don't get it. I can't put it any better than that. I figured that I should put in at least one b$%ch that wasn't about me.

You're probably thinking, man, Jen, if I were you, with all this stuff to kvetch about and the head injury, why are you not standing on top of your one-story house, thinking about doing a face-plant on to the concrete in your backyard? Well, the answers to that one are simple.

I have the best roommate/kid in the entire world. Who randomly accosts me with kisses and tells me I'm gorgeous and that she loves me so much and that I'm the best mommy.

That right there is enough. And then on top of it I not only have a job, but one that I love. Add to that the best friends that money can buy (kidding, about the money, not that they are the best), and the best family. Like, I actually enjoy family gatherings because my family is awesome.

So what was I saying? I'm thinking I might have a concussion... Oh, that's right. I need a headboard.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Conversations With Kayla

I love talking to my kid. She is endlessly entertaining. I am fascinated by the conversations in which I find myself with her. Here is one we seem to have frequently. As a matter of fact, we pretty much had this conversation three minutes ago:

Kayla: Mommy, where's my (blah blah blah, I can't hear her because I'm on the treadmill, which is loud, and the TV is on, which is also loud, in spite of the fact I have the captions on).
Me: Honey, can you talk louder, please, I can't hear you.
Kayla: Where's my (blah blah blah, she has the cutest little voice which is very soft usually, especially when I'm really trying to hear her and the treadmill is loud).
Me: (Turning off the treadmill) Okay, what are you looking for?
Kayla: Where's my table?
Me: What table?
Kayla: The table for the Littlest Pet Shop toys?
Me: (pause, looking at her and thinking how cute she is and wondering how many times a day do we have conversations like this) Honey, I have no idea what you're talking about.
Kayla: Where is it?
Me: Honey, I don't know what it is. How would I know where it was?
Kayla: It's a REAL thing.
Me: I believe you, I just don't know what it is. (Pause) I need to go write this down before I forget.

So I hopped off the treadmill and came to write this down. This morning she wanted to know where her red scissors were. Who uses her red scissors? Just her. She's the only one who uses them, unless she hands them to me and asks me to cut something out. Right now she's into cutting out paper animals or people, and then cutting out food for them (like the blueberries she cut out of blue foam yesterday). But some things she wants help with... for example, circles are hard, according to Kayla. This is true.

So the point of all of this? There is no point. I'm just entertained by my kid and I'm not making fun of her. Because just this morning I called my mother to ask her where my calendar is. That's right, my calendar. That I use for writing down my stuff. But I had no idea where it was, and I figured she'd seen it when she'd been here taking care of Kayla. And sure enough, she had.

Me: (on the phone) Mom, have you seen my calendar?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Okay... do you know where it is?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Are you going to tell me?
Mom: You're the one who told me where it was the other day.
Me: And where was that?
Mom: Where are you?
Me: In the office.
Mom: Oh, you're really cold.

I'm not kidding. We had this conversation this morning. I also do that to my ex-husband, call him up and say, "Hey, while you were here, did you see such and such laying around?"

But really, this is such a mom thing, I guess. I don't mind Kayla coming to me to ask me where something is, even though I might not know what it is or have any clue regarding its whereabouts. It's just like, Mommy will know. And if she doesn't know, she'll help me find it (or go write about it). And I like that.

She just asked me, "Mommy, where's the white kitty?" I said, "I don't know... " "Oh, there it is!" It's so great when she finds stuff all by herself. And if she asks me first before she goes looking, that's okay with me.

Happy Mother's Day, to all of you mommies who constantly help your kids find their stuff.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Filing Divorce Papers Post or I Am A Rock Star

So, I finally did it. I filed my divorce papers. And the "finally" must be included because it's right there in black and white on the papers that our date of separation was March 1st, 2009. And chances are, that separation was at least a year overdue. So yes, finally.

I have known this day was coming. I have made several promises to my mom... that I would file it by my 40th (last June) or by this past Christmas or by Valentine's Day this year (because come on, that's kind of funny). I'm sure there were other dates I'd thrown out and missed just because everything else I have to do is so much easier. And I didn't think it was hard because of the emotional component; I figured all of that was water under the bridge. As far as I knew, I'd already done all the mourning of my marriage I needed to do when it was falling apart and shortly thereafter. The past two years featured some sadness and anger, but mostly it's been about me having a great time as an unencumbered grown-up (nope, the awesome kid doesn't count as an encumbrance, apparently) with a great group of friends and just loving life, mostly.

So when the bout of sobbing hit me this morning in the bathroom, it was unexpected and unwelcome and confusing as heck.

I had just finished printing and copying everything I needed to file. I knew I had some sorting to do, but I needed to take a break and get in the shower and get myself ready. I was brushing my teeth. I was thinking about having to go to Martinez to file the papers, and all of a sudden it was 2002 and I was younger and fresher-faced and I was happy and in love and getting a marriage license in Martinez. So I could get married and spend the rest of my life with this guy. And the next thing I knew, my mouth full of foamy toothpaste, I'm crying. No, not crying, but like, chick flick dumped girl sobbing. Like, pmsy forgot to take my meds for two days distraught.

I wanted to go and get a hug from my mom, she was already here so she could watch the baby while I took care of my business, but I was like, no... I don't want the baby to see me crying and I don't want my mom to think for a minute that my meltdown had anything to do with wanting to stay married. She and I have had that conversation like eight gajillion times. She's known I have been done emotionally for ages, but of course, as my mother, she wanted my rights protected and the only way to do that is to have it be official on paper. She's known the number one reason it hadn't happened yet was that I'm a lazy procrastinator. It's true, I am. For my part, I know that there were other things going on that prevented me from doing it sooner... but really, mostly, lazy procrastination.

Anyway, I had to just take a few minutes this morning to cry it out. Not for me now. Me now is fantastic. I guess I was crying for me from 2002, so (relatively) innocent and full of hope with all kinds of plans. Dang it, I'm tearing up now. Yes, I'm sad for that girl (I was almost thirty-two, but so much more of a girl than I am now!). Would I have it any other way? Absolutely not. And I always come back to thinking that things happen when they happen for a reason. I feel like I'm where I am supposed to be at this moment in time, and part of getting here was dragging my feet with this divorce. But now it's done and it's right and I don't think there'll be a need to shed any more tears.

As I walked away from the court clerk's office, I felt relieved. I didn't for a minute wish I could go back in there and change my mind, which is good, since the line was really long when I left. Had you told me at thirty-two that I wasn't going to live happily ever after with my ex, I wouldn't have believed it and I would have been devastated at the thought. At almost forty-one, it's not how I planned it, but as I sang along at the top of my lungs to Pink's So What the whole way home, I knew this is how I want it.