Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New & Improved

I've been trying to find a theme over at Wordpress that speaks to me and I've finally found it! Head over to the Happy Healthy Hip Parenting blog at its new address!

Thanks so much for helping me create such an amazing readership over the last two years. Please help continue to support me by subscribing to my blog and visiting regularly at its new location.

I couldn't have done it without you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

101 Questions Kids Really Ask

A few weeks ago, I received a copy of a wonderful question and answer book on sexuality that was put together by Mary H. Halter, founder of Healthy Edudynamics, an organization that educates young people by providing them with the knowledge and space to develop a healthy respect for their own bodies and the bodies of others. Set up in chapters focusing on the real questions that kids of all ages ask, the answers provide parents and educators, and even kids themselves, with accurate information that can help guide them through puberty.

While the questions from the serious (What would happen to the baby if a pregnant woman did use drugs?) to the more innocent (Why do girls' breasts grow bigger and boys' don't?), there are also questions that are pretty funny, from an adult perspective but can seem quite important - and perhaps scary - to a child (How many minutes do you have to stay in sex?)

Mary provides honest, accurate and age appropriate responses which parents can alter for their own children depending on the situation and how much your child is able to comprehend.

101 Questions Kids Really Ask...And the Answers They Need to Know is available through the Healthy Edudynamics website, along with a DVD that provides a comprehensive health education program for homes, schools, churches and community organizations.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Feel Pretty

Last night, I got dressed up and went out downtown, and on a harbor cruise, with some friends who I haven't seen in a few weeks. I felt good about myself as I was getting dressed to go, and I realized that I was feeling something that isn't a permanent condition. I felt pretty. I had gotten a pedicure and manicure on Friday, I was wearing a beautiful dress, sexy shoes and my hair and make-up were just right. I felt confident, sexy and excited to go out.

This may seem strange to many of you, that I'm actually writing an entire post about this, but I feel the need to draw attention to the fact that it hasn't always been this way. There was a time in my life when I felt anything but beautiful, hiding my body and not even wanting to look in the mirror because my self-esteem was pretty much non-existent.

There are many things that happened in my lifetime that kept me from feeling the way I do now and I won't get into that here, but for many young women, feeling beautiful is not something we experience. I saw a video from Dove earlier this week and a photo from Glamour which caused a lot of stir which got me thinking about body image and what I have personally overcome to get to the point where I am now.

Some may think I'm being arrogant or selfish or perhaps I'm vanity-driven now because I can confidently say that I feel good about myself and how I look. But the truth of the matter is, it's not about looks. It's about that feeling that I have inside me. The confidence, the way that I'm able to look others in the eye and can speak proudly and with great ease, speak my opinion and share my thoughts and ideas without worrying what others may think of me.

Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we may not all be attracted to the same piece of art or have the same definition of what is attractive, but we all recognize beautiful people when we see them, those that we want to be around, that are fun to spend time with and that are compassionate and genuine and honest, both with their words and the actions that they take.

I feel pretty today and I don't feel silly saying it because I know where I've been, I see that young girl who I used to be and I recognize that despite my imperfections, I wouldn't change a thing.

Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty is trying to make a difference in the lives of young girls by creating workshops on self-esteem. You can learn more over at their website.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger back in 2002, when I received an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) from the publisher. The book stayed with me long after I finished reading it. It was unlike anything I had ever read before, or since! Part science fiction, part romance, this is a story of love and longing.

I lent the ARC to my sister, if I recall correctly, and never did end up reading the final, published version of the book although I assume that little was changed. I had a difficult time explaining the storyline to others and I was thrilled when I heard that Jennifer Aniston & Brad Pitt (who were still married at that time) purchased the film rights before the book was even released. It was an immediate best seller and I nearly forgot about the project until they began filming a few years ago.

The Time Traveler's Wife is the first book that I mention to people when they ask me to list my favorites. The film did not disappoint, although I was prepared and made sure to bring plenty of tissues. It was amazing and brought me to tears with practically every scene.

I did hear some people around me trying to figure it all out (during the film and afterward), so I do think that reading the book ahead of time left me a little more prepared for the idea of this time traveling, tear-jerker of a story. It was beautifully portrayed by Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams.

I won't spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, but I do highly encourage you to read the book first. It's an amazing adventure that will keep you turning the pages, falling in love with each of the characters and leave you wondering what your life would be like if you could travel to the past or into the future.

It left me with many questions, such as what would I tell my seventeen-year-old self if I could? What would I tell my grandchildren if I could travel into the future? Or would I just want to be there to witness and observe?

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Annual Dad Blogs Conference

I know I say this many times, but this site was created as a place for parents to come and hang out, get some valuable information and find resources but to also have a place to go for some entertaining stories and hopefully discover a community of people among those who comment and stop by.

Dad Blogs discovered my site a while back, or perhaps I discovered them first (more than likely) but I'm excited to share with you some news that they've announced just this morning.

From the lovely Dad Blogs Team (Pete and Joe):

There is so much going at Dad Blogs it is ridiculous. First, we have had a ton of new folks sign up. Apparently we were right when we said that Dad Bloggers are the up and coming genre on the net. There are so many high quality bloggers joining the Dad Blogging ranks every day it is truly exciting to witness.


The Bar

There are a lot of updates. First, you may have noticed the new Facebook like bar at the bottom of Dad Blogs. It includes a chat feature and hot buttons that wisk you away to great places all around the site. Those hot buttons are important to remember because when you add videos, photos, reviews (I'll get into those i a second) and update your profile--you get karma. What's so important about karma? Karma can get you paid. Stay tuned because we are giving away loot in an awesome contest starting Sept 1st.


We used to be big into reviews for like a week there, but they are now back. The review section is completely revamped and totally awesome. You can review everything from toys for your kids, to parenting books, to TV shows for grown ups and beer. Basically, just take a spin through review land and see what I mean. The great thing about reviews is that they are great places to earn karma and weigh heavily in that area--remember you can get paid to be karma king.


Yeah, we experimented with moving it around, but folks didn't seem to keen on that. So, group chat is back where it always was. One of the things that makes Dad Blogs so special is the ability for people to connect through avenues like group chat and we will never take that away.


There are two contest announcements for Dad Blogs. First, the current contest. PJ from realmendriveminivans and an illustrious columnist at Dad Blogs is hosting a contest to giveaway a children's music CD. The question you need to ask yourself is, "Do I want to win something fun and cool for my offspring?" If the answer is 'yes' proceed to the contest post and enter to win the new album from Milkshake. They are from my home town of Baltimore (go Ravens) and have been on PBS Kids, Noggin and Discovery Kids (their superstars--to your kids).

The next contest is forthcoming so this bit of info is meant to be a teaser. So, what I am going to say is that you can win money or a ticket to the upcoming Dad Blogs Conference. That's right--it's booked. Details are forthcoming so you can save the date. Anyways, the contest--yeah, you can also win a t-shirt if you come in 2nd or 3rd which isn't a bad consolation prize if you ask me.

The First Annual Dad Blogs Conference

This will be huge. Dad. Blogs. Conference. I just like the way that sounds. We are planning useful, informative sessions during the day, cocktail hours at night and much more. The conference is set for Chicago, Illinois from July 15-18. It will be all that and a bag of chips (chips not included). The first conference will have an emphasis on fellowship, networking and getting to know each other--like a big family reunion. The objective is to steal some of BlogHer's thunder and point the spotlight on the guys for a change. If anyone has any suggestion or amazing corporate sponsors that would love to throw money at the convention--let us know. Also, wait for the official post before you go etching dates on the side of your car door.

So, keep an eye on Dad Blogs. Big things are going down and we want each of you to be a part of it.

I hope I can be a part of it. After all, what better way to discover what dads want to read, write or talk about then to attend a conference that they created? Besides, this blog was just listed in the Top Dad Blogs directory over at The Daily Reviewer so they've just gotta let me in now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

That's Not Fair

We all know that life can be unfair sometimes, but explaining this to a child can be difficult. After all, we want to protect our children and their innocence as long as possible but letting them know that they can't always expect things to go their way, or win every game, is a part of growing up.

I took my son to Legoland a while back with a neighbor of mine. Her son is a year older and so, when we reached the Volvo driving school, we froze as the lines separated the kids into different age groups. One line was for those 5 and under, the second line was for kids 6 and up. This was going to be difficult to explain, or I thought.

My son and I stood in line with the 5 and under crowd while our friends went and stood in the line with the older kids, a line which was much longer than ours. By the time my guy was finished driving, we found them, still in line along the other track. My son was convinced that he was going to drive over there too and, while I thought about explaining to him, one again, that he wasn't old enough, I figured I'd just wait and see what happened when we reached the front.

When it was "our" turn to go in, the Legoland employee made sure to ask each child their age. My son, who up until that moment was excited about driving again, looked her dead in the eye and said, "Five and a half."

At this tender age that precious half is so important that it didn't even occur to my son to lie about such a thing. She looked at me (as if I were the one trying to cheat) and let us know that he wasn't able to drive on that track. She directed us to the other side (like we didn't know about it already) as my son took it all in stride. No crying, no temper tantrums, no complaining. And me? I was so proud of him for handling it so well. If only us adults were so calm - and honest - under similar circumstances.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Urgent Care (or the Tale of the Missing Condom)

Even though I was at BlogHer this year and attended several seminars and sat in on a few panels, I was not present for the reading of Knotty Yarn's Stuck in the Middle with You. Danielle read the entire blog post during her keynote speech and I am kind of glad I wasn't there cause I would've probably pissed myself from laughing so hard and then I'd end up telling everyone around me about the time that I had to go to Urgent Care for a similar situation (you know, to distract them from the fact that I had wet myself).

Oh hell, it's an awesome story and one that I can't believe has not been shared yet. So here goes:

It was the first time I had sex with this particular individual and it had been a long time for me (dry spell). I was incredibly turned on and it was completely-spontaneous-in-the-middle-of-the-afternoon type sex and everything was going well - until it was over.

After sex, I typically lay there in the afterglow and enjoy the sensation of being naked and not having a care in the world (as opposed to being naked in front of the mirror) but this time, that moment of calm was interrupted by what he said.

"I think the condom slipped off." He said it so casually that it took me a second to register what he was trying to say. Once I did, I could hardly relax. My first thought went to what day of the month it was, quickly followed by: Was I ovulating? Was the pill 99% effective with or without a condom? I couldn't remember and I was panicking and not even thinking about the sex anymore or how good it wasn't. All I could think about was, Could I be pregnant already?

As I stood up and looked at him (standing in front of me, naked, and with an odd expression on his face), I realized that he was more freaked out than I was. I started to get dressed and was thinking about the Morning After Pill and what I would have to do in order to get a hold of one, when I noticed that he was tearing the sheets off the bed. And that's when I realized that what he really meant to say was, "The condom is missing."

We both started to look under the bed and tossed aside the clothes that lay on the floor around us. "Where is it?" I said. "It's gotta be around here somewhere," he responded.

It was nowhere to be found. The only logical place it could possibly be was inside. Me.

I went to the bathroom to try and fish it out (seriously, Danielle, I feel your pain here). By the time I finally gave up on the search, my female bits were sore and I was seriously not in the mood to even face my new partner.

I was pissed. In fact, my partner would say (if we were still speaking), that he wanted to leave at that moment because I was acting like such a bitch. I was embarrassed, annoyed and freaked out (still thinking about the possibility of conception).

We went to bed that night with our backs to each other. I was not going to let him touch me again. After all, imagine what else could happen down there? I was seriously behaving like a child, blaming him for 'losing' the condom instead of laughing about such a crazy situation (which I laughed about the next day).

I went to Urgent Care the next morning although I made sure to call ahead. See, I've been there before and I know about that little window in the tiny waiting room that you're required to speak through when you check in. The receptionist asks you what you're there for and I was prepared to not have to explain it to her and the handful of strangers sitting there.

Over the phone, I told her why I was coming in. "I had sex last night and the condom disappeared. I think it's stuck inside me." I made sure to explain that I would not be able to say that out loud when I got there. I think she was laughing at me when she hung up the phone.

When I arrived, the woman behind the desk asked me what I was there for (I swear, she should've recognized my embarrassment), so I said, "I'm the one who just called. About the situation. You know. That I can't say." She nodded (fighting back a laugh) and said, "A nurse practitioner will be with you shortly." I sat down and everyone in the waiting room stared, wondering what I was there for and why it was too scary to say out loud and should they be sitting so close to me?

Apparently, getting a condom (or anything else) stuck inside you is sort of a big deal, cause I was called back pretty much right away and as I stood up, everyone in the room looked up at me, either thinking that they were glad they didn't have what I had or jealous because they still had to wait for their emergency care.

Once I was with the practitioner, I was much less concerned about an unplanned pregnancy and was sort of intrigued when she started telling me about "other" things that "people'' have gotten stuck inside them (notice how she didn't say 'women' or 'vagina'). My imagination was on overdrive as she removed the condom and provided it to me as evidence (I asked to see it) so I could relax and return to my regular scheduled program.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Absinthe-Minded Friday

Every Friday, San Diegans, tourists, and guests of the Sofia Hotel head downstairs, or to the corner of 1st & Broadway, to participate in a ritual unlike any other.

Last week, I enjoyed Absinthe-Minded Friday at
Currant, with a good friend. Our perfect evening began with an amazing meal and top-notch service that impressed me from the minute we sat down.

Our waitress greeted us and poured bottled water into our glasses as soon as we were seated. Not once through the entire meal did they let our water glasses empty. This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves when I go out, having to hunt down or flag down our waiter for more water. They took such good care of us through the entire evening, that the two of us were able to focus on our meal (and each other) without having to worry about a thing.

The large water that was brought over to us was a little intimidating...but the waitress assured us that she'd take care of the entire process and we just only needed to sit back and watch. She then brought small sugar cubes to rest above the glass and just below the water drip on each side of the table (one for each of us). She lit the sugar cubes on fire and when they melted, we poured a small amount of water on top to dissolve the remaining sugar into the glass.

Then she came and poured the absinthe into the glass and removed the large water basin so I could see my partner's face (and look into his gorgeous eyes) once again. The absinthe was strong. Much stronger than I was expecting and the black licorice flavor lingered in my mouth well beyond the wonderful meal that we had.

We shared the sea
scallops which were described to accompany "sweet corn risotto croquettes, lemon beurre blanc, avocado relish." Yum. They melted in my mouth and left me both satisfied and looking forward to the entree.

My date ordered the Roasted Beer Can Chicken, which I sampled and which I was very impressed with. It sat upon porcini and baby leeks, gravy and mashed potatoes. It was delicious. I ordered the Lamb Bolognese with hand-cut pappardelle pasta and shaved grana padano cheese. It too was amazing, although the long noodles (and lots of them) was a little too much for me to deal with. I ate quite a bit but when she took my plate away it looked as though I had barely touched my food.

We did leave feelin
g completely satisfied and wishing we had saved room for dessert. The entire staff treat us well, stopping by our table often but without rushing us or making it feel like an interruption to our dinner.

The General Manager, Chris Cooke, came out to introduce himself and let us know to ask for him if we needed anything. Our experience there was a positive one, one that I won't forget for a long time to come. Of course, having a wonderful person to have spent it with doesn't hurt.

Take a video tour of Currant or make a reservation for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Missing Out

My son's first tooth fell out last Friday at school. His dad picked him up for the weekend and even though they told me right away my heart sank from not being able to be there and hug him and see his face when he got to share the news. He did call me and I heard the excitement in his voice so it did sort of make up for the fact that I wasn't there to also see his face the next morning when he discovered the quarter under his pillow that the Tooth Fairy left in exchange for his tooth.

Imagine my surprise when this week, his second tooth fell out at school once again. And again on a day that he would be spending the night at his dad's.

They say that going through a divorce is much like dealing with death. There's a grieving process involved and even though time heals and you are able to start seeing the positive aspects of life from your new point of view, there are still times when those raw feelings come up and bring you down.

Parents who raise their children in two homes go through this process over and over again, from having to deal with the times when they're not there for their child (nightmares, milestones, first experiences), it's an emotion that is hard to talk about, difficult to express and at times feels selfish to even acknowledge. After all, is my son missing out on anything or is it just me who's feeling left out?

His father and I share moments like this with one another because we know how important it is for all of us. We have our son call the other parent to share his excitement when things occur that we'd want to be a part of ourselves were the roles reversed, but at what point does it stop hurting? At what point do I start being excited for my son and not feel sorry about not being there? Please tell me it gets easier...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Breaking the Law

This weekend, my grandparents will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, along with my grandma's 80th birthday. Her and my grandpa have seven children, most of whom now have grandchildren of their own. They have a total of thirteen grandkids and twelve great-grandkids so far.

My son and I will be the only ones out of the above referenced individuals who will not be there for the event. My heart is breaking right now just thinking about it but, since my ex-husband will not grant permission for me to leave the state with our son, we'll be here instead.

Up until yesterday, I was planning on getting on that plane with my son tonight, even though it would be considered a federal offense and no doubt my ex would have an Amber Alert issued for the 'kidnapping' of our child. Several of my friends had to talk me through how that would not be a good idea and how, more than likely, it would be used against me in the future where any custody arrangements or schedule is concerned.

My ex-husband doesn't have a large family. It's his mom, his sister, and him and I can't help but feel sorry for him when family events come up for me because he reacts the same way each time. I have to work hard to convince him to let us go and even harder to ignore him when he tells me how selfish I am and only thinking of myself when I ask his permission.

Our son has a family that loves him, that wants to spend time with him, and whom I want him to create memories with but it's very difficult being so far away and at times, I often wonder if things will ever change. Will the courts ever grant me permission to move back? Will I ever have the courage to request such a move again?

These are not easy decisions to make, but today I am wondering what's left for me here. I can write from anywhere and being closer to my friends and family would greatly benefit me - emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I blossom (as does my son) when we're there...

When mama is happy, everyone is happy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GM Product & Technology Event

We arrived in Detroit on Sunday evening, approaching the young man with the GM binder with a wave and a smile. We kept waving, obnoxiously, trying to get his attention and then he stepped to the side and looked behind him, assuming we were trying to flag down someone else.

Finally, Sugar pointed at him and said, "GM. We're waving at you!" He still didn't quite get it until we both stopped in front of him saying we were there for the Product & Technology event.

"Oh he said. I can usually see them coming." We laughed, wondering what was really going through his head as he watched two thirty-something women heading his way, one with a tattoo (and obnoxious sunburn), the other wish a nose-piercing.

He escorted us to the baggage claim area where he explained that another young man, Jordan, would be driving us back to our hotel. Once we found our luggage, we stepped out into the 90 degree heat and waited on the curb for the Chevy Malibu to pull up.

Jordan was a spunky guy with long hair and right away, he won us over when he handed us water bottles and offered us candy or gum. Of course, we were hoping for a real dinner, like the one we had missed at the Heritage Center, but he assured us that we could take advantage of the room service at our hotel once we finally got there.

Sugar sat in the back as we started telling our driver about how startled the other GM rep was (I think his name was Kurt) when we introduced ourselves. Jordan laughed and proceeded to listen to us as we started to ask where Greektown was and how far away the Joe Louis Arena was from our hotel.

Before he knew what was going on, Sugar pulled out her video camera to show him the footage we taped at the Del Mar Racetrack the previous day and as he drove, he watched the three minute video as I tried to disappear in my seat.

Jordan liked us (he told us as much later into the drive) because he made a detour and took us past Greektown and then back towards Comerica Park, Hockeytown, the Fox Theatre, Ford Field, and made an extra special trip so we could stop and take a picture (which turned out really blurry) of the Joe Louis Arena.

We drove past Joe Louis' arm and saw the skyline of Canada across the lake as somehow our conversation turned to his Mexican girlfriend (very passionate), drinking (he totally would've bought us drinks if he weren't on the clock) and cougars (he made a point of letting us know that he thinks older women are hot).

By the time we got to the hotel (over an hour later), it was late and we were both very hungry. Sugar was anxious to see her daughter so we both headed up to our rooms and enjoyed a quiet meal before bed.

The next day, the true adventure began as we hopped onto the bus after breakfast which too us over to the GM Technical Center. There, we were provided with stickers to cover up the cameras on our phones and were given specific instructions not to touch the vehicles unless we were told otherwise (some were clay models although they looked real).

Bob Lutz, Vice Chair of New Product Development, spoke first and he was very funny as he talked about his reverse retirement, wanting to continue to work for The New GM, thinking that with all of the excitement over the "rebuilding of our image and changing perceptions," the real fun could begin.

Lutz went on to speak about the changes that we can expect from The New GM and how his goal is to "be a privately owned company as quickly as possible." It was clear from his speech that his vision for the company, moving forward, is one that he's excited to be a part of and as a consumer, I'm anxious to watch it all unfold.

After he spoke, we split up into three groups (green, red & blue) dispersing to the many different design galleries within the building, one for each of the four brands that GM is working on reinventing (Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevy). It was in the Buick gallery that we met and spoke with North American VP of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, Susan Docherty, about the Ebay partnership that has just begun in the state of California.

Lunch brought us all together in the Chevy room where we were surrounded by future models, such as the Corvette, Chevy Camaro, Chevy Spark (my personal favorite), Chevy Equinox, Chevy Traverse and where the beautiful Cadillacs were unveiled that are going to be released in the next few years.

The bus ride to the Milford Proving Grounds took about an hour, so we were very eager to finally arrived at the 4,000 acre facility. GM CEO and President Fritz Henderson spoke to us very briefly before letting us all loose to test drive the vehicles that had been introduced to us throughout the day.

I was able to speak to him on a more personal level later that afternoon on the blacktop so I used that as my opportunity to share the story of our roadtrip in the Chevy Equinox just a few weeks back and to thank him for the chance to learn more about The New GM and to be a part of the growth and future of this company.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mother & Daughter Reunion

I spent the day in Detroit on Monday at the GM Product & Technology event with several friends and met some new people who I look forward to connecting with again.

Sugar Jones invited her daughter to be there as her guest and it was so much fun to see the two of them together since it was my first time meeting the eldest of her children. I watched them interact throughout the day, laughing with each other (sometimes at each other) and I was amazed and touched by the two of them and how they just kept smiling the entire time.

My mom is far away, although I see her and the rest of my family as often as I can, but it just occurred to me - while watching Sugar and her daughter - that I would love to have a mother/daughter relationship like that someday too (a daughter of my own, I mean).

This morning, I found out that one of my pregnant friends is having a girl. She is so excited about the idea of going shopping with her someday, or getting a manicure and seeing "girly" movies together when she's older.

I think about having a second child often. Of course, it's not something that will happen anytime soon, but seeing the mother & daughters together that I know, and spending time with my own mom really encourages that craving, once again.

And then suddenly I recall how very awful I was as a daughter - hormonal, emotional and so, so bitchy. I don't know how my mother ever put up with me. Which only means that if I have another boy, I'll be just as happy.

All parent/child relationships are unique. Some better than others, but I've learned so much from my son, so far, that I can't help but want at least one more.

I can't imagine falling in love with another human being as much as I love my son, but I think it's fair to say that there's enough to go around.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dad Gone Mad

Last week, I went to Danny Evans' book signing here in Escondido. It was pretty deceiving, since we walked into the large bookstore and explored the entire store without finding Dad Gone Mad or anything that remotely looked like there was an event going on somewhere in the vicinity. In fact, we almost left, my friend making fun of me for driving such a long way on the wrong night, or driving to the wrong location. Then, I asked an employee to help me figure it all out once I had the Dad Gone Mad appearance listing open on my iPhone...

We found Danny tucked away in a little corner of the bookstore, where he was answering questions and reading from his book, Rage Against the Meshugenah. Perhaps his use of the word testicles or dropping the "F" bomb is what kept them from putting him on display right in front, but I was ever-so-pleased to have found him and the small, yet intimate group of readers there to meet him.

Danny spoke quietly so I walked to the front row in order to hear him as he read the laugh-out-loud scenes from his book that covered his conversation with his mom about priaprism and about his experience with his psychiatrist who fondled his shirt upon first meeting him.

I started reading his book the very next day at the beach. I couldn't put it down (I blame him and his compelling story for my sunburn) and I found myself both laughing and crying along with Danny as he shared his very personal account of being laid off (been there), dealing with depression (been there too), experiencing a miscarriage (been there as well) and dealing with his feelings of inadequacy as a new parent (yep, been there once again).

Despite the fact that this book is a humorous look at serious topics, the most touching and poignant passages from Danny's writing were the pages where he discussed his unconditional love for his wife, Sharon, who stood by him through his darkest times. He describes the way they embrace and how, mostly because of their relationship, and her faith in him, that he is able to survive his depression and come out on the other side, more aware, more enlightened and better able to enjoy his role as husband, dad and son to his parents.
"I'm more than a foot taller than Sharon...When we're hugging over something happy, she stands on a chair so she can squeeze my neck and I can kiss hers. When I'm feeling romantic (or reasonable variations thereof), I walk up behind her and wrap my arms around her shoulders. When we're making up after an argument, Sharon sits on the couch, I get on my knees in front of her, and I dive in to bury my face in her neck."
"If my life could be measured with the same kind of line graph economists use to measure stock performance on Wall Street, there would be a huge spike at the moment I kissed Sharon's soft, sweet lips for the first time."
Danny writes from the heart. He writes with passion and full disclosure as he sorts through the emotions and experiences of truly finding himself after reaching the deep end. Readers will travel with him on this journey as he explores the depths of his despair and reaches new heights with his recovery and through the eyes of his children.
"The sight of two caring, special human beings - that I helped to create - displaying kindness and love to one another (without being asked) shattered the mold of what I thought I was, what I thought a Man was. Just as the case was with the onset of my depression a few years earlier, the feeling I had at that moment was unlike anything I'd encountered before. And just like depression, that vision rocked me to the core and forced me to take stock of what was happening around me. The one obvious difference between these two moments was that the former left me awash in numbness and confusion. The latter flooded me with a sense that perhaps my life was just beginning..."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here?

Now what? What's next? Where do we go from here? These are the questions I asked myself as I sat crying in the airport after saying goodbye to the man I spent the last five days with. The man I gave my heart to years ago. The conversations and moments that we shared were long overdue but perfect in every way. Except for the sunburn.

I thought about sharing every detail here and relive the exact moment when we made that next step, the words that we spoke, the way he tasted and felt, but I also want to keep the memory of these events in a special place - between the two of us. Because it was a very special occasion, consummating our relationship after being friends (with much sexual tension between us) for fifteen years. Not that I've been keeping track or anything...

He got the approval from my friends and my son but now he's gone. The five days went by so quickly and now it's a big reality check for the both of us and I'm back to the same questions that I do not know the answers to just yet. What's next? Where do we go from here?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lady in Waiting

Dating while having a young son is a little challenging at times. He hears things (overhears things) and is exposed to conversations that give him a tiny bit of insight about how it all works.

I have a male friend coming in town tonight. My son asked me earlier if I have a crush on him. The question startled me, and I couldn't help but smile, and I know he assumed this meant 'yes.'

When I asked him to explain what it meant to have a crush, he said, "It's when you like someone."

"Then, yes, I suppose I do have a crush on him."

Seconds later he asked if there was going to be more boys or girls tonight. I assume he meant when my friend joins us, so I said, "There's going to be more boys than girls."

I can't even tell you how excited he was when he heard that. In a celebratory tone he stated, "I have a crush on him too, then." See, he's still in that phase of thinking that girls have cooties and he can only be friends with other boys.

I so want him to stay in this stage for a long time, considering how quickly young people grow up these days and get involved in sexual relationships much too early (in my opinion).

But then again, if he's going to learn about dating and what it means to respect, love and treat someone with affection, then I want to be the one to show him that. I want him to continue to ask me questions, because I know that he feels comfortable saying anything, (in front of anyone), no matter how much it embarrasses his mom.