Archive for June, 2013

They look so cute in the movies and are seriously irresistible when attached to someone else. They’re pretty and polished when on display, but it’s simply impossible to know how much work that takes until you have some of your own.

I’m talking about children in case you’re confused. I have nothing against them of course. In fact, I have three of my own and am really quite fond of each one of them. Alright, I love them to death, if you must know.

But let’s cut the to the crazy here – they are work and they wreck the house. No, no, they don’t mean to cause any bother. They’re just living their little lives, going about their important business, learning to function in this great big world. But man, nothing is left standing in their wake.

So, save your money, folks. Do not invest in wildly wonderful and exorbitantly expensive treasures. They will not go the distance unless they’re bubble wrapped, vacuum packed and under lock and key, stored nowhere near where you actually live.


You might feel I’m being a drama mama. I’m not. I swear.

They’ll work on ‘projects’ in your freshly cleaned kitchen and you will find melted wax and splattered paint in every corner for weeks on end. You’ll spend scrupulous hours decorating their rooms only to find your carefully chosen and expertly applied paint sabotaged with stickers, posters and pushpins. You’ll buy new pillows and discover them on the hair-infested floor, which reminds me, children will also use their magical powers to convince you that welcoming animals in to share your home, not to mention help them in their endeavor of destruction, is somehow a great idea.

You’ll wash and iron their clothes and uncover them back in the basket a (very) short while later with a pocket torn away. You’ll haul the couch covers off to give them a spin and find an ink stain ten minutes after you’ve put them all back on.

And, you’ll cherish all of it.

I’ve been married 20 years today and my kids are 17, 14 and 12 and a ½. I wouldn’t trade any of them it for a pristine house in the Cotswolds, even if they did carve “poop” into my dining room table.

Poop 2

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Well folks, it’s Friday. The weekend has arrived and it’s found my husband and I relaxing and reminiscing about our childhoods, our weekends and basically the things we used to think were the bee’s knees.

Although I admit I thought so at the time, my parents weren’t really over the top strict.

Side note: In the summer the other kids were usually playing outside as I watched from my bedroom window on tiptoes, clad in pale yellow baby-dolls. (Bedtime was a sharp 7:30!) And on two separate occasions, I was grounded for two weeks, once, because a friend was overheard swearing (logic says I must be swearing too) and the other, due to the fact that I was caught riding my bike with no hands.


Alas, I digress.


I wasn’t allowed to be a hooligan, I wasn’t allowed to swear, as mentioned above, and I had to be respectful, which is basically the first two points summed up into one. Easy, right?

I wasn’t allowed junk food, they would’ve liked me to get good grades and I had lots of chores.

Case and point: doing the dishes after dinner, no we didn’t have a dishwasher, included; rinsing, washing, rinsing again, drying, putting away, clearing up leftovers, wiping counters, wiping the table, cleaning the stovetop and sweeping the floor. That was every night and only counted as one chore.


I wasn’t allowed to have short hair or wear make-up. They didn’t want me to be common and I often got in trouble for always having my nose in a book. Go figure.

Much to their dismay, I did not turn out to be a ballerina, an award-winning Irish dancer or a gold league soccer star.


But…there were the weekends. Magic. An enticing British series would come on and we’d cozy up by the roaring fire, consuming several pieces of delectable, whiskey-infused chocolate.

We’d hike the forested five miles to the tantalizing tangerine filling station and I was granted two Icy Cups from the big jar on the counter as a reward.

We’d ride our bikes down to the local pool and swim for free in the misty summer rain.

I’d play Queen, The Police, Pat Benatar, The Beatles, Yazoo, Air Supply and anything else I could get my music-greedy little hands on, using my parent’s state of the art stereo system.

Company would land in and I’d be allowed to watch TV as late as I wanted in my room on my tiny, orange plastic, black and white portable, a bowl of chips, licorice and a Root Beer float at my side.

Now that I have kids of my own, I know my parents weren’t all that strict. They were simply trying to survive while keeping me alive and unscathed by the not so savory things life has to offer.

I never wanted for anything and it turns out that what I thought was the bee’s knees then, still is and, I am in fact, unscathed.

Icy Cups 1

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At fifteen, I was a witness.

An enormous steel door cranked open in the distance and launched his cries into the stale, cold air. His heavy steps clamored on the slate pavers and I heard hesitation in the back and forth shuffle he seemed unable to control. As he moved slowly up the ramp towards me, his breath clouded and fused with the death that engulfed us. He didn’t look up.

A noose was placed around his neck; eyes saucers of spilled black tea, dark and brimming. His lashes were long and caught in the tiny pieces of cool, blue light filtering through cracked slats of wood. He was massive and mesmerizing, stunning. It was impossible to look away.

My heart galloped as the straight end of the noose was pulled taut. He bucked frantically, but was dragged off his feet, head ramming into the stone wall beside him. Dazed, he’d slumped to ground, groaning and moaning, tears wetting his panic-stricken face. The bolt went straight through his skull, centered just above his eyes and a long, straight metal prod was inserted, meant to scramble his brain. He fought and flailed and I’d felt his desperation clawing its way into my own rattled organs.

He finally looked up and our eyes locked, both begging.

Kill him,” I’d choked. “Oh please dear God, have mercy and kill him.”

They used the noose to rope his legs and in an instant, he was on his back, all fours up in the air, slit open straight down the middle. His body shuddered and his sweat christened the ground below him before the blood could reach it. His insides oozed and steamed as his valued parts were scooped for market.

It was the most brutal thing I’d ever seen and like the beast, I was gutted. Running off, fighting through tall grass and bursting out into the misty morning air, I was sure I’d never kill a living thing as long I lived.


The door protests loudly at my intrusion, but she doesn’t look up.

The room is shadowy and the rain pelts hard on the double-glazing. Cool blue light steals in through a crack in the curtains.

She’s lying on the bed; what’s left of her anyway. Trying to raise her wasted hand is exhausting. She surrenders after only a moment. There’s hesitation in the back and forth breaths she seems unable to control. She groans and moans, as tears wet the cheeks of her panic-stricken face. Dazed and scared, frenzied, as fear and death vie for her attention.

My hand rests over her heart and it’s clear we’re not beating in time. Hers is slow and labored; mine races to keep up with the trampling thoughts littered over my aching soul.

She finally looks my way and her gaze locks on mine, eyes big and blue, brimming; an ocean’s waves spilling onto the beach. And it’s obvious we’re both begging, only for two very different things; I’d give anything if life would sustain her. More than anything, she finds torture in each extra minute.

Every raindrop punctuates her silent plea.

End it. Oh please, please help me. Have mercy and end it.”

And, I do.

At forty-five, I’m a participant.

Cracked light

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You’ve stuck around. Cheered me on. Supported me. I’m torn between thanking you and asking what the heck are you thinking?

My pastime as of late has been to pick through previous posts, searching for the biggest and the best. Oh my! My jaw is tight and my cheeks are sore from the Oooh, that’s embarrassing face.

So yeah, I’ve been contemplating the question; “How have you managed to stick it out?” But, I’ve thought better of it. That question could insult you. It might make you look back on my work and think; “You know, she’s right!” You may change your mind. Heaven forbid, you might leave me.

Well, a tight jaw and sore cheeks trump red eyes and a runny nose every time, so I’m going with praise instead. Big props to you for reading, liking, commenting, following and most of all, for giving me a reason to believe there’s a teeny chance I just might be able to pull this off. It means the world to me.

And I thank you.

Be a beginner

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