Friday, November 30, 2012

8th Grade, I'm Cool With You Now

Ah, 8th grade. I remember going to school each morning, my heart palpitating in fear of what might happen that day. What sort of torture would I endure, who would I have to defend myself physically and/or emotionally from?

It was one of the hardest years of my life...and yet, I met my best friend. Hi Mint!

At the time I was experiencing these feeling, the ones where I thought I was a terrible human that nobody liked, I wanted to not exist.

Now, I look back at 8th grade, and I laugh a little.

I think about how unimportant most of those concerns were in reality. If I could transport some of the confidence I have as a 33 year-old back to 1993-1994, it would have been a better year.

I think about the people in this picture now. Now that I'm a little less self-absorbed. I never quite grew out of that, honestly. At the time, they were all going through issues of their own. Each person in this picture was struggling with something, I was just too wrapped up in my own issues to figure out what their personal trials were.

Ms. Hauser, you were a light during this trying time. I remember your kindness, your warmth, your infinite patience. Thank you for being that for me, for us.

Ms. Kapaldi, the librarian who recently passed away, thank you for being a safe haven for Mint and I when we conspicuously cut gym class to go hang out and read books.

I'm sorry for any hurtful things I said to any of you guys in pre-adolsecent mania. I think you're all amazing people.

It's clear we grew up and became functional, even successful, somewhat less dramatic humans.

I'm going to keep this in mind when Ari and Samara enter junior high school.

Recently, I've been teaching middle school. I thought it would bring back traumatic memories, but it's had the opposite effect. I love these kids. They're capable of so much. They can have intelligent debates, and they say what they mean. There's no guise, no nonsense, just truth. Maybe that's how you felt about us, Ms. Hauser.

The lesson I learned from my 8th grade year is: be aware of yourself, and also be aware of others. You never know what someone else's internal struggles might be.

Peace out everybody, I'm gonna go play some freeze tag.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This is Not Happening

I'm not writing this. We're not in the hospital. This isn't happening again. Samara is not having surgery.

We're not sitting in a hospital room waiting. Samara didn't rip out her IV. I am not here.

Okay, maybe we are here, even though
I really don't want to be.

I am grateful that my friend Ilana works at Cornell.

I am grateful that this is happening again. It shows me that I am strong. Samara is strong. We got this. We can handle this.

I am not going to crumble.

Even though this IS happening. I'm
not going to panic.

I am here for my daughter.
I will be strong for her.

The last time I was in this situation, after it happened...I broke down.

This time, I'm not doing that.

The universe has thrown me the same situation to show me that I can handle

Just do it.
Move forward.

I am here.
I got this.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GEODEO Comment Contest - An Interview With Kristi Moe

You may have heard about the dangers of using antiperspirants, which contain aluminum. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer.*
In order to stay healthy, you also may have tried natural deodorants, which made you smell even worse.

I stumbled upon a natural deodorant that TOTALLY WORKS! It's called Geodeo!

Kristi, the Director of Marketing from TCCD (the company that makes Geodeo) sat down via Skype to talk with me about what's in Geodeo, why Tom's of Maine is dangerous in addition to being inefficient, and what celebrity uses Geodeo!

Guess what? I'm having a comment contest!
Here's how to enter:
1. Watch the video. It's funny and educational, I promise.
2. Go to the Geodeo site (I'm tracking the results, so go to the site, monkeys!)
3. Post a comment below about what scent you want to try and why. The funniest most creative comment wins and I will send you something awesome in the mail!

So what are you waiting for? Click on the Geodeo deodorants below to check out the scents!

CONTEST END 12/14/12 :)

*I'm not going to post relevant articles, but you're welcome to do the research!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Never Thought it Was Possible, But I Have an Office!

I struggle to maintain order in my life and in my home. Order is not something that comes naturally to me. Maintaining focus is hard, and cleaning is much harder.

Recently, I was evaluated at an ADHD clinic. 

One of the things that was suggested to me was to work with a personal organizer. I knew just who to call, my lovely friend Dara who owns and operates her own personal organization company. It also helps that she's known me since 1st grade.

Here she is in a tiny picture!

She's not that tiny in real life. 
She's also a pisces, and I love her.

Anyway, I've been working out of my bedroom. This has been the worst home office situation I could possibly imagine. 

I wanted to create a space where I could work comfortably. I had a room in mind, but there was a major problem, it looked like this:

And this:

Dara believed that this space could be an office. 
She believed that I could transform this space into an office.
She had faith in me.
I was scared.
She wasn't.
She never gave up.
We worked for three hours.
I stayed with it.
I maintained my focus. 
I followed my dream.
I can do this, I told myself.
Just do it.
Make it happen. 
And it happened...this space...this messy scary space.... became this:

Thank you Dara, for believing in me.
Thank you for keeping me on task.
You are amazing.
My space is wonderful.
I am so grateful and at peace. 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Izzy And Bella Bath Bombs Giveaway!

I love to take baths. Unfortunately, since I have two little robots running around I never get to enjoy the luxury of bath like I used to.

However, tonight I was determined to enjoy a bath like I did in the good old days, before robots, I mean kids.

Lucky for me, I had the chance to try out an Izzy And Bella Bomb, which I received in the mail for review.

Izzy and Bella Bath Bombs have something exciting hidden inside them, whether it be a hidden ring or another mysterious item. I was excited to find out what my secret treasure would be... after taking a bath of course.

The scent I tried was "sweet orange" and it was really subtle and soothing. The Bath Bombs are infused with essential oils and are ideal for sensitive skin, which I have.

I watched the sweet orange bath bomb dissolve...

I waited excitedly to find out what my prize would be was...this:

Now it's your turn! Enter below to win an Izzy and Bella Bath Bomb! Leave a blog comment with which Bath Bomb you'd like to try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full Disclosure: I received a Bath Bomb for review in the mail, and it was amazing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Parenting Philosophy Judgement

I'm going to admit something to you, I judge people.
Yes, I do it.

If someone tells me something that they do with their kid that I (personally) wouldn't do with mine, I judge them. Now, I'm not a complete asshole. I don't do it out loud. But I do it, internally.

I blame society.

Look, I live in a neighborhood where I walk down the street, and random strangers will shout out parenting "advice" to me. These people think that they have the right to tell me how to parent my child. They are blatantly judging me.

We live in a society that condones judgement.

It's okay to tell a mom to breastfeed.
It's perfectly acceptable to force your opinions about formula feeding on a new mother.
It's fine to tell a new parent that sleeping training is cruel.
It's also perfectly reasonable to tell a parent that sleep training is the only way to get a baby to fall asleep.

What's the matter with our society? Why are we so nosy? Why can't we just raise our children the way we like, and stay the hell out of everyone else's family.

What works for you might not work for another mother or father, or grandmother, or grandfather.

And guess what?

That's okay.

We can be different from one another.

Diversity is awesome everyone.

Let's embrace our parenting differences.

Let's unite based on the fact that we all parent differently. Let's try our best not to judge another parent because they do something differently from the way that we do it.

Do you have a parenting philosophy? I'd love to hear it!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Put My Fire Out, Stranger

"Watch your child!"
"Hold her hand!"
"Pay attention to your son!"
"You're a bad parent"
"You're a shitty parent!"
"You're a terrible human being!"
"You have no idea what you're doing!"
"Give up!"
"Go home and change yourself, because you don't work correctly. You're defective."

Hey stranger! You're so brave in your car shouting parenting advice at me. You roll down the window and tell me what to do so freely. It makes you feel good to make me feel like shit.

You succeeded.

I feel like a terrible parent.

You feel great about yourself now that you told me how to watch my son, parent my daughter.
You feel powerful.

You drive away before I can retort, leaving me tasting vile rage.

I clench my fists.
I want to scream and cry.
Blood filled tears stream down my face.
Tears filled with rage.

I hate you stranger.
I hate you for ruining my day.
I hate the face I never saw. I hate the voice that I never attached to a face, the voice that told me how I was wrong.

I scream internally.
My insides ignite with fire. I'm filled with fury.
I have nowhere to place my fire.
It burns through me.

I'll never see that face or hear that voice again.
I'm a fire waiting for water to quell me.


I need my keys.

 I just put them down, but where... I came in the door, I put my bag down, and I went to the bathroom. Where are the fuck are my keys? I usually hang them up on the thing. But they're not on the thing. The thing is empty.

 "I'm hungry! I want a peanut butter sandwich! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! If you don't listen to me, I'll cry forever."

 That's an empty threat. He can't possibly cry forever, it's physically impossible.
 "WAAAAA!" Shit, Samara's crying.

 "Did you hit her?"
 "No!" "Are you sure?"
 "I hit her."
"You don't hit her, use your words. Say sorry!"
"If your don't listen to me, you're not going to Trader Joe's!"

 Where the fuck are my fucking keys?!
 Maybe they're in the garbage. Samara could have thrown them in the garbage. She does that sometimes.

Nope, they're not in the garbage. Wow, the garbage smells bad.

"Remember what I said?"
"Yes!" "So why are you doing that?"
"Because I'm trying to read a story!"

 I really have to leave. I'm still in my pajama pants.

"Why is she crying again?"
"I don't know. Here Samara!"
 "Don't give her that! She could swallow it!"

Where are my keys? Where's my brain. I smell bad. Do I have time to shower? I'm so tired. Maybe I shouldn't go. No, no, no, I have to go. It's not like I'm going to sleep or anything crazy like that.

"Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay..."
"Can you please stop doing that? I can't focus when you do that."
"But it's in the story. The pigs say okay, okay okay..."

My brain hurts. My keys are probably in the refrigerator. I'm in the refrigerator, my brain is in the refrigerator.

"I'm gonna read a book, everybody hides in a new piece of the bow tie. And then...hide them before. No don't touch that. Big, big house! Everywhere they went... I will count to ten."
"Ha ha ha ha ha!"

Well at least they're having fun. My keys aren't having fun. Focus. Focus on what? Where am I going? What am I doing? Who am I? What am I wearing? How did I get here? I'm leaving.

 Nope, I can't leave because I'm not dressed and my keys are missing. ...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Win a $25 Gift Certificate to ImagineIt-ToysNow

Through the wonderful world of Twitter, I was introduced to Kori, a lovely stay-at-home mother of three, and owner of ImagineIt-ToysNow 

Kori and I are collaborating on a giveaway! The lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to her website, where she offers toys for children and adults!

One of those toys, Ari and I really enjoyed playing with, it was a mini-chess set!

This chess set is one of the many items that you can find on ImagineIt-ToysNow.

I've been meaning to teach Ari how to play chess, and this set was just perfect for little hands. He had a great time learning how to move each piece, and loved capturing my pawns. 

Now, onto the giveaway...but first, a little more about Kori!

1. Kori, tell us about yourself! 

I'm a 26 years old homemaker with three wonderful children. My husband works in the oil field so he's away a lot. I've always dreamed of being a wife and mom. Having the option to stay home and raise my kids and not miss everything while I was working was a no-brainer. My kids and I are blessed with an amazing husband and father. 

2. What is ImagineIt-ToysNow?

One of the mottos I live by is, "if you believe it, you receive it" and that is where I got "ImagineIt" from. ToysNow came from "toys nowadays." ImagineIt-ToysNow is a site where you can find toys for people of all ages. 

3. What kinds of products do you have on your site?

No matter how old or young we are, we still have our toys: from speakers for a vehicle to hair extensions for that teenager, to phone cases and accessories. I wanted to offer a wide variety of items for the entire family. You'll find a wide range of toys for all ages on my site. 

4.  What inspired you to create your website?

 I'm always online these days (like most people) and I came across this ad for stay at home moms who wanted to bring in an income. I had to check it out.  I did research and started learning all there is to know about having and running a website. I felt like this was the best opportunity for me to help my husband and still be home with the kids; have my cake and eat it too. I thought about what I go online for, and what I like and dislike about different sites I visit.

I wanted to make a site where people could find things for the whole family and not have to pay a lot of money for those items. With the holidays coming, I thought it was a great time to start my website and give people the oppotunity to save a little money and time. 

5. What do you hope people will gain from your site?

By visiting my website, I would hope people would feel comfortable buying online. A lot of websites out there charge outrageous prices. I know with three children, spending can be tight. I want to offer people the best deals on the products they love. So, sit back, relax, and browse the site. Beat the holiday crowds and crazies!

Enter below to win a $25 gift certificate to Kori's site, ImagineIt-Toys Now

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Friend, My Lover, My Flame

I have a man. We've been together since I was six years-old. We were friends at first. He kept me company while I tapped my fingers on my mother's IBM Selectric II typewriter.

I clicked away at my story. It was about a princess who lost her hat.

Anyway, back to my man. He's loyal. He's been with me all these years. The relationship has grown. We used to be friends.

But then I turned 16.
It all changed.
We became lovers.

I was in love with him from the moment I opened my green composition notebook.
He stayed with me, through every poem, every story, every lost love.
He was with me when my first boyfriend broke my heart.
He stayed with me when I wrote poem after poem, short story after short story.

I went to college. We remained hard, fast, in love.

He's mine.
He will always be.

Every time I gripped my felt tip pen, he was there, listening to every word, encouraging me to use my voice.

He stayed with me through Israel, London, Ithaca, Spain, Croatia, France, Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Upper West Side, 87th Street, Park Slope, he's been there, and he'll always be there.

I don't use a pen anymore; only rarely. But when I feel my fingers touch the keys, my man is listening, he's here, by my side. He's caressing my back, he's stroking my hands. He's my one and only true love, and he'll never let me down.

My man.
His name

Monday, November 12, 2012


I'm typing. 
I'm watching.
I'm typing again.
I hear it. It's a need, a cry, a want. I shudder. 
"Up, up, uppie!"
She wants me. 
I lift her up in my lap.
I slowly feel my insides melt into gelatinous goo. I'm green, slimy, I'm nothing. I'm no one. I'm a giant mass of waste.

She wants me.
She wants everything I have.
I have nothing left to give her.
She jumps down from my lap.
I'm a pool of slime on the floor. I'm trying to lift myself up, but I keep slipping. I'm melting into the hardwood floor. 

I want to scream
Someone help me!
Lift me up.
Bring me back to life.
I can hear her crying. I can't get up. I'm liquid. 

I'm nothing, I'm no one. 

I feel the anger surge like electricity through me, a pile of liquid on the floor. I'm glowing, electric. I'm rising up above the floor, above the crying, above the sounds. I'm charged, plus, minus, electricity emanating through my veins. 

I can feel.
Wings spread through the electricity. They are white, fluid, long, soft. 

I can breathe.

I will not escape this feeling. 

She cries louder. My wings spread and I float upward.

I am electric.

I am charged. 

I am someone. 

My wings flutter, and the room begins to spin. I'm spinning, the crying is louder. 

She rises up and meets me. 

We are electric together. She and I. I am terrified of her charge, her eyes.
She reaches her hand out and touches my wing. I breathe, and float downward.

My wings contract and I float down down down to the ground. 

I am curled up in a ball on the floor. She strokes my wings softly while I cry. She curls up beside me. Together we are calm. Together we are one. 

We fall into a deep comfortable sleep. 

There is silence. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Dance - Back to Sixth Grade

"We're having a Halloween party today. The kids missed out on Halloween because of the hurricane." the principal told me. "Help your kids with their costumes and the party will start at 1:10."
"Okay, great." I said rushing to my advisory room.

I had a Dracula, Dr. Who, and a vampire among others. There was one boy dressed as Lady Gaga running amuck in the hall.

I helped my kids with their costumes and then it was time.

We all rushed in droves into a dark room with florescent green lights and cobwebs. There was a DJ with his hand on a record player ready to go. He released his hand and the music began to blast. All at once my stomach began to turn. 33, 32, 31, 30, 29, 28, 27...16, 15, 14, 13...12.

I'm 12 years-old again. Standing in the corner of a large gymnasium. Looking at the boy dressed in baggy jeans and a black tee-shirt with spiky hair.

I want him to look at me. If I nod my head to the music and do a little half smile, maybe he'll notice me. I move to the beat. I tap my foot. I'm cool. I'm cute. I'm going to lick my lips and fix my hair. I hope he sees me. He doesn't, he's too cool for me.

Maybe I should have worn a different dress.

He leans in against the wall. A girl approaches him, she's noticeably taller than him. Her hair reaches beyond her waist. She smiles, reaches over and touches his baseball cap, pushing it over his eyes. He pushes her playfully. She walks away to get some candy from a table in the center of the room.

He'll never notice me.

He turns his cap sideways and places one foot up against the wall with such confidence that I blush.

I approach the candy table and shove ten pieces of candy corn into my mouth to distract myself from...

"Ms. Fader? Would you mind handling the raffle?"

33, I'm 33 again. I'm responsible for collecting money for the raffle and selling candy.

The baseball capped boy is back in 1991.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Poetry Corner With Deborah

My friend Debbie is a wonderful writer.

We compare poetry and stories all the time. Today, I'm giving up my blog to her. She's here to share with you her latest work about a man behind a wall. Please do comment, interpret and share your thoughts on this piece. Take it away Debbie!

Hi, my name is Deborah, and I will be finishing my Associate’s degree in Accounting in a small school in Michigan this year, than moving to New York to finish my BS, and possibly continue on to higher education. I love to write poetry and short stories, and once, I had five minutes and wrote a small poem for a Facebook poetry group. 

I wasn’t impressed with the end result, but others thought I was insane. I guess one can go into the whole significance of whether it is the audience or the poet who needs to be impressed with a specific piece, but I was hoping to gather opinions on this poem. I love it and I hate it, because while it fills the specific goals I had in mind, I feel as if I have completely missed the essence of what I was trying to say. The problem is that I have a working body, and it looks pretty good, but I am missing the soul of what would make this poem unique. However, there is an option that I am standing to close to it, and am being too hard on myself for this poem, so, I am going to leave it entirely to an unknown audience to judge and rip apart. I can’t promise I will take everyone’s advice, but it would be interesting to have some type of sounding board.
The Wall
There is a man who stands behind the wall.
Is he mine? Can he hear my call?
If so, he’s still standing behind the wall.
Does he see when I bring home
A friend? Does it matter to him that night
After night after night the friend is different.
More than it matters to me, I’d think
But still, he doesn’t move,
From his place behind the wall.
Does he watch or turn away
Giving me some modesty I don’t deserve.
I don’t know because he’s standing behind the wall.
I rip into their backs with my nails
And pretend I am tearing down the wall
But I don’t want to see him standing there.
A face of silent sorrow, or a mask of hatred
How would my man look on?
As he’s standing behind the wall.
Does he stiffen with each scream?
Faked or unwilling?
Can he hear everything behind my wall?
Who is the man?
What does this poem mean?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Staten Island Shoe Mitzvah

Out of all the boroughs, Hurricane Sandy hit Staten Island the hardest. One of Ari's teachers (Ms. Y) lives on Staten Island.

I took Ari to school the other day, only to find that Ms. Y was not there. Ms. X (Ari's main teacher) greeted us as we entered the classroom.

"Where's Ms. Y?" I asked "Is she okay?"
"No," Replied Ms. X. "Her house was flooded. She's got a crew of people helping her clean it up at the moment."
"Is there anything we can do to help?" I asked.
"That's really sweet of you to ask." She replied. "I'll ask her and let you know."

But that simply wasn't enough for this Jewish mother.

When I arrived home, I busted out my laptop and searched through my email and found a mass email that Ms. X sent out a while back to all the parents in Ari's class. 

I hit "reply all" and said:

Hi All,

It's come to my attention that Ms. X's home has been adversely affected by the hurricane. What can we do to help?

By the way, I still don't really know the difference between "affected" and "effected." I think I used the correct word, but I did google it before I sent the email. Was I right?

Shortly thereafter, I got an email back from Ms. X letting the parents know what Ms. Y was in need of. Ms Y needed (among other things) a generator, and shoes. Ms. Y's home was severely flooded. She, her husband, and her son were left without any shoes. Sneakers and winter boats were mentioned. 

I wrote Ms. X back and promised I would buy Ms. Y's son some shoes, boys size 6.5.

Today, Ari, Samara and I went to Payless. I scanned the boy's section and found a pair of Airwalk sneakers. Then I noticed that there were a pair of winter boots right above them, the same size, Ms. Y's son's size. I couldn't afford both pairs of shoes. I only intended to buy one pair. But my brain wouldn't stop...

It's cold. 

Sneakers are not enough...

His feet will freeze. 

Fuck it, I'll buy both. 

It was a mitzvah, I told myself. Now Ms. Y's son will have shoes.

We arrived at school, today election day. Ms. X told me I could drop the shoes off with her, but she wasn't in her classroom. 

I went to the office. I asked Marisa, the secretary, if she knew where Ms. X was. She told me she would be here. I started to panic. 

"You could leave them here, I'll give them to Ms. X for you."
No, I thought. What if they never make it to Ms. X. It's not rational, but I want to physically hand them to Ms. X. That way I'll know they're going to get to Ms. Y. They're going to get stolen in the office. I know it. Also, I'm completely insane. 

"Would you mind calling upstairs? I just want to drop these shoes off to Ms. X. They're for Ms. Y."
"Sure, no problem." Said Marisa.

Marisa thinks I'm insane. 


Ms. X came down from her meeting.
"Hi," She said "Thank you so much, I'm sure Ms. Y will love these."
"There's a receipt in there, in case they don't fit," I said frantically searching through the bag.

Why am I so weird?

"Thanks again." Said Ms. X. "I have to run back to my meeting. See you tomorrow!"
"Bye!" Ari chimed in.

Finally, Ms. X had the shoes, and they were on their way to where they belonged, Staten Island.

A mitzvah has been done! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hot Air

I close my eyes and travel to a place I've seen many times before. There's a vast expanse of green. In the field is a multi-colored hot air balloon. Sitting next to the ballon's basket are two sand bags. The field is entirely empty. There are trees in the distance.

I stand there in a green dress. It flutters in the wind.

I want to step into the balloon's basket, but I'm scared.

The wind gets stronger. I look up at the sky. The clouds turn a shade of dark gray and move toward the center of the field. I feel my chest tighten. I step one foot into the ballon's basket followed by the second foot. My dress gets caught on something. I feel a drop of rain, and I panic. I pull at my dress and it doesn't budge. It begins to rain. It's a gentle rain, but  know I don't know have much time.

I tug hard at my dress and it rips, but I'm free.

I get into the basket. I bend down and remove one sand bag, followed by another sand bag. The balloon releases; it rises up. I'm floating upward. I can feel the mist on my face. It's cool and refreshing. My dress is wet.

I am flying.

I don't know where I'm going, but I'll get there.