it really happened

The Women of the Bus: Lessons from our March on D.C.

Last November, something happened. I didn’t see it coming. And after it happened, I didn’t like it.

My good friend, Jenna, didn’t like it either. She was the one who first asked me if I thought I might consider going to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. I wanted to go, but I also don’t like being cold. I mean, President Harrison DIED because he went to DC for his own inauguration. Except he didn’t wear a coat or a hat and he gave a two-hour speech. And then he died from pneumonia. Jenna promised to lend me gear to keep warm. I agreed. We were going. But we also thought we could find a few other people to come with us. So we hired a bus. And then looked for people to fill it. Worst-case scenario we would be a lonesome twosome on a very expensive bus and we’d just have to hope that the husbands didn’t mind us spending that kind of money. “I accidentally hired a bus” doesn’t sound quite right, but it was sort of the truth.

So Jenna and I posted in our “secret” facebook group, “Chatham Moms for Hillary”. A friend of a friend started it as a safe place for Hillary supporters to talk with like-minded people. Chatham tends to be a rather red place to be, with slightly more registered republicans than democrats, and an awful lot of independent voters who tend to lean right when they get in the voting booth. Democrats in Chatham tend to feel like a minority, even though our state of New Jersey is always counted on to go blue for the President. In a sea of red Morris county, Chatham (Borough and Township) went for Hillary in 2016. I partially credit Chatham Moms for Hillary for making that happen. We were together. We felt empowered. We got out the vote. We made signs and posted them boldly on our front lawns and in public places. We let others know we weren’t alone. But our candidate lost. And we were collectively sad. So when the idea happened to come together and ask for our voices to be heard, we asked others to come along. It wasn’t just a ‘we don’t like Trump’ thing. It was a ‘can you please hear us’ on the issues thing. Issues like climate change (and believing science), education, health care access, financial security, homeland security, women’s issues and human issues.

We filled the seats of the bus in a week. And then there were more people who wanted us to get a second bus. We sent them to our friends in Madison and to Rallybus. We were satisfied with 53 women. It was enough for the time being. “I accidentally hired TWO buses” would definitely not fly.

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Yes, I’m writing. And no, I’m not sharing it, yet.

blue-typewriterSo you may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front. There’s a reason. I’m writing a book. The Book. And I actually would love a little help from my friends on a couple of things, if you don’t mind, and have the time…

Well, I actually have a couple books in the figurative fire, but The Book is right now called A (Few) Year(s) In My Head, and it’s scheduled to be done around January or February sometime. I have an actual writing schedule with the number of words I need to write each day. I’m ahead by 18 days at the moment. I like being ahead of schedule. It reminds me of my school days and extra credit. I loved getting 105 on a test. That would happen sometimes in English. Never math. Or science. That shit is hard. But English? Bring it. I’m such a nerd that way.

So, you ask, what is the book? What’s it about? Are you in it? So the book is similar to my blogs.  In fact I’ve incorporated some of that writing into it, so some of the book will look familiar to you if you’ve read all of my stuff. But the pieces are longer, more detailed, updated, and supplemented by another 50,000 words that I had to say. Out loud. And on paper. Well, for now my laptop screen. Hopefully someone will actually want to publish The Book when it’s all done and maybe even PAY me for it. I might buy some celebration book shoes.

But I am still adding new material – and if you WANT to be in the book I still have room. I’m looking for a little help on some of the research in three areas at the moment. So while you’re perusing the internet, or hanging out on the couch, or can’t sleep, some things that I have in my brain:

  1. I would like to add some more personal stories to the “Why Teenagers Should Drive Piece of Shit Cars” segment. If you have a story to add, please sent me a note. I also love these stories in general and they make me laugh, so thank you in advance for contributing to my excellent state of mental health.
  2. I would like to expand on my theory of why scientific studies are stupid. It’s also likely to go into the idea that polls and surveys are dumb. I know you’ve read an article about something and wondered who PAID researchers to do a study on lint traps in dryers, or why red wine is good for you (only to be followed by a study about why all drinking will kill you).
  3. Last but not least, I’m looking for a list of things that could kill you. This is going to be a pivotal new chapter called “And Then You’re Dead”. That might sound a little dark. It might actually be a little dark. But it will absolutely lean on some humor and has a happy ending. So if there’s a fear or phobia or thing that you read in the news that made you go “Hmm, we could die from that”, please share. I know you’re out there. I’ve seen your list on your phone. I’ve heard you over lunch, over wine. We talked about it waiting for our kids outside the school. The truth, the fear, the holy crap we’re all gonna die, it’s out there. Let’s share.

Thanks for reading, researching, and being there for the journey! Onwards!

The Poop of the Beasts

dog poop signToday I want to talk about something that plagues me on a daily occurrence. Dog Poop.

Those of you who know me may know that I have not one, but two, Bernese Mountain Dogs. Gryffin is 130 pounds of pure happiness and love. Nicky is 90 pounds of medicated hyperactivity. I love them both, but I really love Gryffin. He is the best dog ever. But there is one area in which Nicky beats Gryffin. Poop.

If you are a dog owner, or a parent, you can understand the ability and desire to discuss poop. Poop is indicative of overall health. Physical, emotional, mental. It is the essence of the being. You see, Nicky has his issues (please see Yes My Dog is Crazy if you haven’t read it already), but in the poop department, he is king. Regular, perfectly shaped, excellent consistency, not too hard or too soft, not overwhelming in size. And the best part is that he poops in the yard every day without fail and NEVER poops on a dog walk. And since I live the life of a princess, we have someone who comes pick up the poop in the yard and take it away twice a week so I NEVER have to pick up Nicky poop. Ever. That is perfection.

Gryffin, however, poops every time we take a walk. Which is every day. It’s as if he can only find comfort in pooping on someone else’s lawn. So a daily part of my life is picking up his poop and carrying it home with me. Now, here’s the thing. Gryffin has food allergies. If he eats a bite of something he shouldn’t, his poop falls apart. And then, too, so does my day. Easy, one might say. Just make sure he only eats what he is supposed to. Yes. That sounds right. But the only food that doesn’t make Gryffin sick is Hydrolized Soy Protein. So any bite of food that falls from anyone’s hands, anything that’s left on a coffee table, any tempting piece of morsel – runny poop. Cheese, milk, any dairy, pork, chicken, fish, duck, venison, we’ve tried it all. The only protein we haven’t tried is kangaroo. I like kangaroos. I can’t believe it is a dog food. But we’re not buying it. Might as well be called “cute furry creatures”. So in the meantime, poop.

I’ve come up with a system for rating my poop days. Remember, Gryffin is 130 pounds. So he has poop the size of a human. Sometimes more than any normal human. So in order to have an easy time of picking it up, despite whatever size it may be, it needs to have a consistency of perfection. That makes it possible to use the first piece of poop to pick up the other pieces of poop, sort of like stacking pieces of playdough against each other. This is what gives me joy.

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Mother’s Day at Our House – a prediction of this year based on past years and I just know ok? Trust me.


yellow rosesWe’ve done this routine before. Mother’s Day. Smiles, flowers, breakfast in bed. And a few realities too. This is how it will play out tomorrow.

6 a.m. I hear Katie stirring. She is an early riser. She comes into my bed and snuggles and whispers “Happy Mother’s Day!” She is adorable. She’ll wake Brian and head downstairs to cook breakfast and bring it to me on a tray. She is good that way. Brian will pat my head and stumble downstairs after her.

6:45 a.m. Breakfast will arrive. I will pull off my sleep mask and reach for coffee. I wish for sleep. Just, sleep. And I marvel that despite all the wonderful things my husband can do in his career and life, he makes terrible toast. I remember when I was sick once, and I asked him to make me toast, and I got back this hard, brick like substance with a smoosh of butter in just the center, not spread out to all the sides. Toast is really an art. And no one makes better toast than my mom. Perfectly toasted, the butter married to every nook and cranny all the way up to the crust. Toasted but still soft that it isn’t overwhelming you with crumbs. Just looking at the toast would make you start feeling better.

7:15 a.m. I’ve eaten and put my sleep mask back on. I bet I can catch 40 minutes before we have to go to church. Because yes, I agreed to teach Sunday School on Mother’s Day. And yes, I’m part pagan. But the kids love me. And I’m nice, so this is what we do.

7:20 a.m. Katie checks on me to see if I want more breakfast. No. Just Sleep.

7:25 a.m. Brian checks on me to see if I want more coffee. No. Sleep Mask. Sleep.

7:30 a.m. The dogs check on me to see if I want to get up and feed them breakfast. FML.

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Little Trip to the Prairie

signWe left the boys home. They weren’t interested. Or at least not obsessed enough. So this trip was just Katie and me. Two girls on an adventure to Minnesota, to follow the road to all things Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie.

We started by flying from NJ to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I’m not sure why these Twin Cities are so close together considering how far apart everything else in the state is, but they’re only 25 minutes apart. It can take longer than that to get across midtown in NYC. We hopped in a rental car for a 2 ½ hour trip across the southwest portion of the state. The rental car guy asked if we needed a map (yes please) and where we were headed. “Walnut Grove!” I exclaimed, thinking everyone on the planet would jump up and down at how exciting that is. I mean Laura LIVED there. He shook his head, “Never heard of it,” he replied. “Sleepy Eye? Springfield?” I implored. Those were the big cities Pa would take the wagon to when he needed supplies. “You must be going out really far,” he answered, and gave me directions out of the airport. I was on my own, with Google maps and Katie, age 10, as navigator. I also decided the rental car guy was nice, but a total turd for not knowing and worshipping Walnut Grove.Read More

Yes, My Dog is Crazy, and Yes, He Needs Medication

IMG_6664You might have heard this before, but my dog is crazy. Not Gryffin (short for Sir Godric Gryffindor of Harry Potter fame) -he’s my first dog, the older dog, the perfect dog. Firstborn son dog. Dog that finished every training class they had at the local animal shelter and was recommended to be a pet therapy dog for hospitals and senior centers because he was soooo good and soooo perfect. That dog I like. But I liked him so much I figured, hey, why not get a second dog? Then my pet can have a pet. I think he’s lonely when I’m not home. He needs a puppy. Great idea, right? Wrong.

Welcome Nicky. Short for Nicolas Flamel, also of Harry Potter fame. Except the only magic this dog has is that he hasn’t managed to kill himself. From the beginning he wasn’t “normal”. Most dogs can be crated and learn not to poop in their crate. This dog pooped in the crate and rolled in it so that anytime I left the house for an hour I had to bathe him. And get poop off of him. Gross. So away goes the crate. He doesn’t like to be contained or restrained. I get it. Except when I leave now he starts eating not just anything he can find laying around, but also the walls. Not just the corners, or the moldings, although he ate those as well, in addition to the actual walls.

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Man Flu – She’s Sick; He’s Sick(er)

man cold seasonYou’ve noticed right? Or maybe suspected? That there is something drastically different between when a woman is sick and a man is sick? It’s OK. You’re not alone. Here’s what happens. To All Men. Without Question or Exception. Sometimes, men get sick. Sometimes they don’t whine. Sometimes they go to work and tough it out. Sometimes they muster through the weekend and still do household chores. And then at some point, their Healthy Manhood expires and they act like a Sick Man. And what Sick Men do is not the same as what Sick Women do.

When He’s Sick: He wakes up. He has A Sniffle. Maybe he has a Tickle in his throat. He moans. He Feels Sick. This means he can’t get out of bed. He can barely move. He must remain lying down, stay in bed and Recuperate.

When She’s Sick: She wakes up. She has A Sniffle. Maybe a Tickle in her throat. She gargles with the leftover toothpaste in her mouth and spits. The Tickle doesn’t go away. She gets the kids ready for school. Has some tea. The kids forgot they need to make a cardboard castle for a poem project for school. The rest of the tea is forgotten as they excavate the recycling in the garage so they can finish the project in thirteen minutes. She drives the rest of carpool to school, balancing a castle on her lap. On the way home she picks up dog food, goes to the bank, and remembers the kids lunch supplies for the rest of the week. When she gets home her tea is cold and Himself hasn’t moved. He moans a little in his sleep. She forgets why she married him. It certainly wasn’t for his immune system.

When He’s Sick: He uses four boxes of tissues. Some of these tissues make it into the garbage can. The rest spread across the floor like a carpet badge of honor snot.Read More

Cooties from Paradise

IMG_9845I was planning to write a blog about Man Flu – She’s Sick; He’s Sick(er), but something happened and I need to write it out. Katie has cooties.

You may remember the blog I wrote about lice. She doesn’t have those cooties. But she has cooties of the foot variety, so this child is literally a lemon from head to toe. I love her, but lord help me.

We had this amazing trip to this beautiful resort in Antigua. Left the day after Christmas, which made me feel like we were criminals escaping town as I left my house a total disaster with wrapping paper and slippers all over the place. We left the dogs home and my parents in charge which also meant that I had given them my house to “watch” when it resembled a DMZ that had been condemned. But my mom was wearing her halo and she started cleaning dishes and never complained. And I went off wearing my crown and parked my butt on a lounge chair. We were all loungey to the extreme. We started keeping track of who was reading the most pages while we were on vacation. Katie had over 1000, I was close with 900 something, Alex kicked both our butts with over 2000. That boy can read. Brian read 75. He’s slow. We like him anyway.

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Husbands Helping at the Holidays, A Primer for Sanity

Brian green eggSo a couple weeks ago we hosted 36 people for Thanksgiving dinner. It was quite a feat, kept me occupied for two weeks prior getting everything ready, and made me laugh and curse and laugh at how my husband “helps”. He really means well. It’s just that I don’t think he has a true party gene. It’s like when Jennifer Aniston said Brad Pitt was missing a sensitivity chip. My husband is missing the party part of his brain.

As I was talking about this on Thanksgiving, many of my fellow sisters and mothers and cohorts on this planet could commiserate. Their husbands were also missing something in their brain – what else could lead them to think that reorganizing the toolshed was a helpful part of the party process? The first question is – do they really think that something like cleaning out the garage should be done for a party? Or is it just something to do in order to avoid actual important work instead?

I would like to put forth that these husband (party pooper) actions are not ill-intentioned. They truly believe they are doing good things for the overall party needs. If they were just trying to avoid work, they wouldn’t pick another chore – they’d watch football on the couch, they’d escape the house and go to the bar, they’d run an errand and not return for hours. These “Helpful” Husband Chores can be very upsetting and confusing to the wives who are busy balancing every other item on the to-do list. Here, I have compiled a helpful list of what the husbands* are likely to want to do based on personality. I’m not sure if it’s fixable, but it’s at least explainable. And laughable. Lordy we need to laugh.Read More

How I Bruised My Butt, And Who I Wanted To Show It To

blueberrypieSo I fell down the stairs the other day. Landed so fiercely that the bruise color looks like my right ass cheek sat in a blueberry pie. Mind you, the fall was only two stairs, like two actual steps, not flights of stairs. I wasn’t paying attention, I was looking at my watch with my left hand and eating grapes in my right hand. When I slipped, I caught a glimpse of the ceiling light fixture behind my watch, so I think I was definitely airborne for a certain amount of time. I might have touched the ceiling. Or outer space. So I came down on the sticky outy part of the stair that Siri tells me is called the tread nosing, which is the part that goes out over the riser of the next tread or step. So the sticky outy part. And I hit one, and I bounced back up to outer space, and then I hit the second one, and then I landed on the floor and still did not know what time it was and decided I would never eat grapes while walking again, because I was lucky I hadn’t choked and died. I actually say that to my kids about grapes, “Don’t walk and eat that – Don’t talk and eat that – you could choke and die”. God has a seriously funny sense of humor sometimes.

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