Monday, May 21, 2007


I am about 98 percent sure this entry will get me in trouble. While my husband is a regular reader, I am not so sure how much he will like it when I write about him, but here it goes... I hate guns. I hate them, hate them, hate them. While I know people use them for hunting, etc. I don't buy any of that crap about, "guns don't kill people, people do." Whatever. Guns are bad. I am sorry, the are. They give people who have no power in the world all the power they have ever wanted, in an instant and at the expense of others. So, when my husband announced he was going to be a police officer, my response was, "but what about the guns...that means you will have guns in our house." I hate it. In the spouses academy (a class for cadet's wives to learn the ropes of being the wife of a cop--more useful than you might imagine), they talked about guns. I asked questions about guns. I thought about guns. Then, they caution such judgement and reminded me that it is his gun that could save his life one day. I see their point. Fine. I want him to have a good gun, be well trained and practice often. And, so far it has come in handy. Situations arise in which he draws his weapon more often than you might think. Oh, and then there was that time this spring when he shot and killed a pit bull that charged him. Even made the paper (pit bulls are a real problem here). I worry about his safety and have told him many times..."shoot first, explain later." While it sort of goes against what they teach in the academy, I rather have him alive and have to have us move to some small town than dead. I would choose to suffer 1,000 times the humiliation, embarrassment, whatever together over having him gone. Okay, so it isn't that I don't think guns have their place, but it is more about that I think there are many, many places where guns don't belong. Back in the day when he was a mere cadet, he saw a neighbor who was a year ahead of him at the grocery store with his kids and he had his gun. Neither one of us could believe it--why on earth would he have his gun with him (out of uniform, not in a police car). So fast forward a few years to the present, and more specifically yesterday morning at about 8:15. He is driving the kids to his mom's house for the day, in the van, out of uniform and I see him get his extra gun out of his car and tuck it in his belt. I couldn't resist. "You are taking your gun?!?" He looked at me, obviously annoyed that I chose to say something. "Yes." "Why? I don't understand why you would need that to take the kids to your mom's." "Oh, car jacking." Okay, now car jacking are happening like crazy right now, I will give him that much. There have been more than 96 so far this year alone and they are pretty much happening all over the city. But, his mom lives out in cornfieldville, and he is in the van with three kids...what car jacker would want our minivan with three kids in it? "Where might there be a car jacking in between here an your moms?" I asked. He proceeds to name an intersection that had a recent car jacking (according to him) that is on the way to him mom's. "Oh, fine. You take a gun yet you let me drive around all day long with the windows down and my purse in the front seat." And, this isn't an isolated incident. In March when we were going to Chicago overnight, I caught him sneaking his gun into the overnight bag. I again asked why on earth he would need that. He again comes up with some lame excuse. I say absolutely not...what if it got stolen out of the hotel room? "Go put it in your gun safe." Fine and he does. But, more and more the gun follows us out. Is it really protecting us? Would he really pull it and leap in to police mode out with the fam? Does it bring me comfort? No. Does it make me feel safer? No. Do I trust that it could save my life? No. Maybe, I don't know. But does it send a good message to our children or to others that he needs to carry his gun around? I don't think so. I wish I understood, but I don't and I never will. Even if I agree to go to the range and learn how to shoot one like I always said I should so I would know how to use it, since it is in my house, if I ever needed to, even then I still won't love guns like he wants me to. I will always hate them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Maximum Exposure

Oddly enough, the story I am about to tell you has happened to my twice in my life. Let's start with the most recent episode.

Yesterday I am at Panera for a meeting. I arrive straight from tennis at about 1:50. My meeting is at 2:30, so I sit outside. I get a bottled water and check my Blackberry, make a few phone calls, etc.

When I first sit down, all four tables are empty. Then, a middle-aged African American man sits down at the table next to me and gets on the phone. I continue with my stuff and as I am making phone calls, I am worried about being too loud (I always feel like people cannot hear me on my Blackberry, so I am sure talk louder than I need to). I notice how quite he is and wonder how the person on the phone can actually hear him. He continues. Other folks come and go, a young couple about to head off for a wedding and honeymoon, a student, a Panera employee. I take it all in, drink my water and continue to wait.

My appointment arrives at about 2:30. The guy is still on the same call as when he sat down. We are chatting away and then, I see this guy making hand juestures while talking and it sort of draws my attention. I shift my eyes over to him for just a second. Something catches my eye. I stop and think, did I just see what I thought I saw? I look again.

Sure enough. It is a one-eyed snake staring right at me--a brown one. He is exposing himself to me. Now, at first I think maybe this is just an accident, like he is wearing shorts and no underwear and it is just the angle. I wait a few minutes and look again very discretely over the shoulder of the woman I am talking to. No, it isn't a mistake. This isn't just me looking up into his shorts, this is him hiking them up. By now, his penis is resting mid-thigh. He is doing this on purpose and now I can even see his balls.

Panic. I am in total panic mode. Then I think there is no way he is doing that on purpose. Then I think certainly he would feel a breeze on that thing if it was on accident. Okay, plan A. Go tell someone at Panera. I shoot that down as I figure what will they do? Plan B. Call Jeff and tell him to come over here in his police car. No, that won't work. How would I get Jeff to come over here without telling him why and the guy would hear me. Plan C. Tell the guy to stop. No, that is just plain weird and crazy. "Hey, buddy, can you put your shlong away? That is nasty and I am trying to have a work meeting here." Plan D. Wait for someone else to see it and say something, preferably another man who says something like, "dude, put it away." But, mostly women walk by. I watch their expressions with deep intent, I can tell two saw it too.

Now, he is still on the phone, or as I have now come to believe--pretending to be on the phone. Plan E. Ignore, ignore, ignore and hope it goes away. I pick that. I position myself so he can tell I can only see his upper half and as the woman who I am meeting with (totally unaware of what is going on) moves, I move with her.

Nearly an hour later, he is still there and still pretending to be on the phone. I have only listened to about half of what this woman is talking about as I am running through scenarios in my head. I am reminding myself to be careful when i get in my car and to pay attention to see if he follows or stays when I leave. I keep hoping he will go. He doesn't.

Finally, the meeting wraps up. I decide that when I leave, I will go in Panera and tell them. I stand up and look down one more time to see if he is still doing it. His shorts, of which the legs were pulled up near the top of his thighs before are now pulled down past his knees. I just leave and he stays...still on the phone.

I asked Jeff at dinner, thinking because of how he pulled the short legs down to his knees by the time I got up, maybe he didn't realize it was hanging out and then pulled his shorts down low to ensure it wouldn't hang out again. No. He knew what he was doing, Jeff assures me this was an intentional self-exposure. After saying, "You should have called me" we discuss what purpose that would have served and the answer is none. The police would have to catch him in the act to make it a misdemeanor. Nothing would have happened.

So now the odd part. As I said, this has happened to me before. As soon as I was old enough to work, I have worked. My first job, and my job all through high school (and then some) besides that of working for my dad, was at a locally owned toy store in the mall. One day a man came in in shorts and wanted some help with a toy called Blocks and Marbles. This is probably 1986, maybe even 1985. He was wearing those short shorts with the white trim, remember those? His were yellow.

He asked me to tell him about the toy, which was on the bottom shelf. I bent down with him to tell him and his penis flopped out the side of his shorts and rested on the side of his leg. Of course, that motion caught my eye. He continued to ask questions as if nothing had happened. I continued to answer them, trying to act like nothing happened. I told myself he didn't know, that had to be an accident. After a few more questions, I realized this guy totally knew what he was doing. I excused myself and found someone else to help him.

Still troubled, I asked around. Could you feel that if it happened? Would you know you were hanging out if you were that exposed? Could such a thing happen on accident or was it intentional. While I wish it wasn't so, I am now certain he too was a pervert--intentionally exposing himself to a girl who wasn't even old enough to drive.

Oh, men. Really what makes them think we want to see that?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dream Weaver

I am, and have always been an extremely active dreamer. While I may spend the same amount of time dreaming as everyone else (but I doubt it), it is how I remember my dreams and my physical response that is different. Some mornings I wake up exhausted from overly active dreams.

When I am pregnant (which I won't be again, so I guess worrying about this is over) and hormones are racing, forget it. My dreams are so freakin' bizarre it would scare you. Pregnant or not, my favorite dreams are right before I wake up. They are the longest ones and the ones I remember the most. They are also the ones that have the most relevance to my life, so I pay close attention to what they might be telling me.

Not unusual is it for me to be somewhere and have that deep feeling like I have been there before. More often than not, it turns out I have been there in my dreams. It all comes back to me at some random moment and I see it in my dreams. Now, I don't predict the future or proclaim to have visions that allow me to derail upcoming events. These are just environments, conversations and people who I am always sure I have seen, had or met before.

I have always sort of chalked it up to my level of creativity, thinking the overactive brain on dream overdrive is like the curse of a creative mind. I would love to do a sleep study some time, but there would have to be a good enough reason to get insurance to pay and we know how that goes. It seems as if Samuel has inherited this as well. He too can have rough nights of dreaming leaving him exhausted in the morning and has more often than I can count on both hands and feet sleep-talked or had nightmares.

I remember as a child at least two reoccurring dreams that I would have a few times a year--a sign of emotions swept under the rug. Hmm. But, even today, most of them are just bizarre and each morning I search for meaning and clues from my consciousness. The good news: a lack of dreams can be signs of something more serious (this is a lack of, not a lack of memory of). So, I am good there.

And, while men dream about women, women tend to dream about men and women. Had those, so I am good there. Sometimes, when something happens in a dream you can think it is real. Had those too. Like the time in my dream a crowd was chanting to me "Poke him in the eye, poke him in the eye, poke him in the eye." And, I did. I poked Jeff in the eye with my finger.

But what about ones like this morning's. I was in what appeared to be downtown Indianapolis on Capital Street (even though we are on the East Coast in my dream--New Jersey, maybe Philadelphia), with a friend I couldn't place, sort of loitering on the sidewalk, getting ready to get in the car after an Eagles football game. Okay, where should I start with what is wrong with this picture just in that sentence alone?

I spot a friend from college, Kim Jetter, across the street. She looks exactly the same, as in still wearing an outfit she had in 1993 and driving the same car (it was in good shape for a 14 year old two door Nissan). She is by herself. Long ago, I heard she married someone and had a few kids and still lived in New Jersey, but I never could see Kim as a mom. I was dying to know what she was doing--and she was alone! I pointed her out to the person I was with and even though they knew her, they did not want to say hello. But, I did; I had to.

I had on this weird headbandy-turtlenecky thing that I kept pulling down over my mouth and the bottom of my nose and then would push it back into my hair. I saw her get in to her car and she was waiting for traffic to clear to pull out. I ran across the street and knocked on her window. I could tell in a flash she recognized me, but then she changed her tune and pretended over and over again not to be able to remember me. We lived together for a least a year, I knew she had to know who she was.

She just kept telling me over and over "The Eagles just won the Super Bowl." I kept saying, yeah I know, but remember we went to school together, we lived in that apartment in Germantown Avenue together? She seemed to remember but refused to discuss it. I asked her what she was doing now and she changed the subject and I asked her about some of our other old friends and she said she didn't know what had become of any of them. I was standing there, baffled, pulling the turtlenecky headbandy thing down below my chin so she could see my face and maybe recognize me. She refused.

I said I had to go because my friend was waiting on me. She looked across the street and saw her, and obviously recognized her too and she asked why she didn't come over to say hello. I didn't answer, I turned and crossed the street. We got in our car (a black two door), my mystery friend was driving, and we sat there and watched her pull out of her spot into traffic.

Yes, it is true. I have serious anxieties and issues about my personal relationships (friendships) and this dream is here to prove it. Not being recognized, the headbandy turtlenecky thing, this one is loaded with symbolism and meaning. Wow. I have some issues! I rarely seek outside interpretations of my dreams, as I think I am the best interpreter, but in case you want to learn more about your dreams, check out this website:

Off to make a delicious french toast casserole and more for the annual Mother's Day brunch at our house today with my family. It is always a fun time. The weather is beautiful today and I cannot wait to be together with my family! Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms.

P.S. As I started making the breakfast goodies yesterday morning, I had a flash back to another dream from the night before. I always have anxiety about making things ahead. I want things to be "just out of the oven" fresh when guests arrive. But, I also didn't want to be standing over the stove frying bacon and sausage when everyone arrived. I had been planing out my cooking schedule in my head for a few days. while I had decided to cook those two things slightly in advance, I seriously toiled over the decision.

The eve of Mother's Day provided me with a dream that reassured my consciousness it was okay to do that. I dreamt I was walking past a restaurant on the sidewalk that had windows into the kitchen. It was very late at night, sort of middle of the night and while the rest of the world was dead, the kitchen was hoppin. They were cooking bacon and sausage. I said to myself in the dream, "See, even restaurants cook bacon and sausage ahead of time." And then, it all felt better! When I started cooking, I was reassured by my concious that cooking ahead was just fine and it all turned out beautifully.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Parent-Teacher Conference

Today we had our parent-teacher conference for the middle child--all full of mischief and long, long eye lashes. We were so proud to hear the teacher's comments. But, does it make me a terrible mother to say I didn't hear what I always thought I would?

Well, I guess I sort of did. We certainly know around here who the ray of sunshine is in the house. But we also know who can turn the sky dark faster than anyone. We know who has the greatest sense of humor. But we also know who likes to fake cry and whine about hurt feelings when a certain someone, I don't know who, tells him his farts smell like hot beans. Seriously, I don't know who says that. Well, I might know.

We know the one who is first by your side when you yell ouch to see if you are okay and offers soft kisses kisses anywhere on the body that appears to have been injured at any point in a persons natural born life. But we also know the one who bulldozes his little brother, stands on top of his back and giggles with delight of his conquer.

We know the one who still likes to be held like a baby, carried and cuddled. But we also know the one who loves girls and is convinced that his penis is an object for public display. We know the one who listens to a story quietly, seemingly enjoying the pictures. But we also know the one who interrupts your sentence to finish it with, "...and then he pooped on his head." We know who has such an eye for beautiful and rich things. But we also know who has destroyed the most furniture, blinds, walls, floors, cabinets, cars and more in this family.

That Sam, he is a real study of polarism. There isn't a lot of grey area with Sam. He is on or off. Happy or sad. Funny or hurtful. Listening or not. Laughing or whining. Torturing or cuddling. So, today I sort of expected to hear about the times he said he hates Jesus or gave his friend a wedgie (how on earth do you spell that?). I expected a report of how he too often uses his hands to solve problems or how he said dammit at snack time.

Nope. None of that. Okay, fine. He can be incredibly rotten at home--totally exhausting and rob any adult within 200 feet of every ounce of energy they have. But, here is the really important part, two things. First, he does know when to do that and when not to. He has a filter that tells him school is a place where he has to make decisions about how he will behave and more often than not--most of the time--he makes the right choice. Second, he loves me so much he can be whoever he wants at home and he knows I will still love him just the same.

I don't know why I had different expectations, but I did. And, here I am to admit I was wrong about that little guy. I always knew he was smart, funny, of incredible spirit and extremely devoted to his family, but I am even more amazed to learn what a good friend he is, how well he listens and participates in class (especially during Bible stories! What?!?). I am so proud to learn he encourages others, supports them when they are sad or feeling left out and rallies the troops to get a job done. That's my guy and I am so glad he shares that side with the world.

Really, how can you not love this guy? No one loves you back like Sam. Sometimes loving him is at a high price, the the return on the investment is 1,000-fold. He is one in a million.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Contract

I recently received a contract via email from my hairdresser. I gotta tell you, this is one of the strangest things ever. People, including me, love contracts. I won't work without one, even for people I have worked with for years. It gives a sense of security, the feeling that you have covered your bases and outlined expectations. But, contracts are by no means iron-clad guarantees of anything.

So, while thinking about this contract in which I would agree to be on time, ask her to fix haircuts I was unhappy with, "within reason" as she won't provide refunds, promising to cancel my appointments within 24-hours (she has a kid, certainly she knows the whole world can shift no less than 5 minutes before an appointment) and promising to give her notice if I am going to find someone else, I wondered what else I would like contracts for.

How about a contract for blogging.

I promise to provide updates as frequently as possible or as deemed necessary by the random, disappointing, celebratory, amazing and humiliating moments of my life. I promise to provide photo documentation when appropriate, a sense of relativity and keep anonymity of parties who have not authorized release of their identities. I promise to make myself vulnerable and seemingly expose my insecurities, anxieties and compulsions. I promise to share the moments that connect all of us as one--as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. And, I promise to write interesting entries that are neither too short or too long, too sappy or too depressing.

And you, what do I expect from you?

You promise to comment (on the blog, not just in emails to me), pass the blog address along to your friends and provide insight into what makes a good entry. Why is this important? This is the whole point about blogging often lost on people older than me--blogging is about sharing and how do you know you have shared something unless someone tells you? My mom never understands it. "And, is the goal for strangers and other people to read the blog?" she always asks. Yes, that is the goal!

So, let me revise the blog contract. I promise to share. You promise to share. The end.


I have figured out how to add a photo stream to this site. View the photos using the link on the right. This is so much easier than uploading individual photos (which I will probably still do some of, when appropriate). I also added some updated links.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Birth Day

Today is my birth day, the day I came into the world. While possible, I guess, I think it would be incredibly difficult to truly understand the meaning and miracle of this day if you have never given birth. I have had entries before about the power of birth--the amazing journey through labor ending with a new life in your arms. You know I love it and would do it over and over again.
For my mother, I am not sure it is such a fond memory. I was a long, long labor. A sizable baby that drifted behind the pelvis, which translated into hours and hours of painful back labor and a baby they couldn't get back on track without extensive use of forceps. No one's ideal birth story.
Today is really a day to celebrate my mother's achievement, her willingness to share her body with me, her bravery, her tenacity, her patience, her love for me even before I was born. It is so weird and primal when you think about it. Like the animals we truly are, we grow something inside of us. Once born, they still need years of care, and like mother birds with babies in the nest, we provide food, teach it to fly and how to build its own nest. At first, totally helpless, these babies slowly grow, and grow, and grow until they grow so much that we start caring for each other until finally, they most often care for us. But, no matter what, a mother never loses sight of her babies. And no matter how big they grow to be, they are always her babies.

I could go on and on forever about how amazing life is, and really how it is such a gift from God that denying his existence seems unfathomable to me. He is so obvious in the everyday...really, who else would think of putting hair in an armpit? I am so pleased with the gifts he has given me and our life together. While I seem to be on a perpetual path to work less and spend more time with the kids (a path I never fully travel down), our life is amazing and our family is whole and sealed together for all eternity.

Today on my birth day, I shall celebrate my life and the gifts of love, support, hope, trust, faith and forever-ness bestowed upon me by my mother and father. I will spend no time on my shortcomings, those days I yelled or ignored my kids, those days I wasn't the best wife or felt incredibly fat, those days I just couldn't wait to go to bed and start over. Today, it is all about the good and the gift of life.
I feel the love of my family every day, including my extended family. When it seems as if nothing is going right, I can feel their arms around me, all 40+ of them. My family, despite its warts and times of trouble, extends far beyond visits on the holidays. I am blessed with true love and I fully intend to acknowledge it everyday and to pay it forward.