Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Building A Christmas Tree

So, we really need some Christmas joy up in here right now.

We got back from our Thanksgiving hell on Sunday around 6 and we promptly put up our Christmas tree.  

The kids were wound up from spending seven hours in the car.  And us grown ups were exhausted from worrying and still being uncertain about what exactly will happen next with my mother.

But Christmas is coming and we figured we could use a little joy. And we always put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.

We have a ton of traditions around this time of year, I do love traditions.  Just because we call them traditions doesn't mean they are quaint and just means we do them every year and they mean something to us.  The quaint, cutesy family goes to a farm on a night when snowflakes are gently falling, they may sing a carol or two while they go pick the perfect Christmas tree to cut down.  We don't do that.  

We march down a flight of stairs to our musty basement and get the box that holds our tree.  Then, we start building our beloved oh Christmas tree.

It was a bit fast and furious, but fun.  My husband Tim and I were so tired that we didn't worry too much about if all the fake branches were spread out enough to make it look real.  Who are we fooling anyway?  We didn't care where the kids put the ornaments, but we never really do. We usually get a kick out of their clusters of ornaments right at their individual eye level. 

We quickly told stories about various ornaments, but not as in depth as other years.  We took a few pictures, but not as many as other years.

Some things with our decorating were a little off.
Tim didn't know anything was wrong with this wreath when he put it up, upside down.

But we kept the tradition alive and it does make us feel some much needed Christmas joy up in here.

Building our tree...

Check out this online Advent Calendar for grown ups that is fab!  I love it.  It incorporates pop culture with celebrity quotes and movie/tv clips.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#ShockingButTrue (At least to me)

***Be warned the F word and other foul language appears quite frequently in this post.  Be f*#&ing prepared.****

I don't care who you are, when you are stressed saying the word Fuck makes you feel better.

After our mother, who is an opiate addict and suffers from multiple mental disorders, broke her neck on Thanksgiving, my sister and I said the F word more times than ever before.  Okay, I just lied.  My conservative, proper sister said the F word more times than ever before.  I might have tied how many times I said it when I was pregnant, because even though I love my four beautiful children I fucking hated being pregnant.

Don't worry I am not walking around the house or most of my life swearing (my kids still think stupid and shut up are bad words). Where's the fun in that?  I like the shock value of the F word.  I like texting it to unsuspecting souls and picturing their eyes widening as they try to hide their iphone screen from others.  

My sister and my husband don't swear very much and they are the perfect targets for my f-ing shock value.   My husband is mortified that I am writing this post and does not endorse it at all.  (Even more fun for me!) It is a proven stress reliever....try it.  I dare you.  

Another stress reliever we discovered this past happy holiday was playing the hash tag game.  Maybe I am too obsessed with Twitter, but I don't f#&@ing care it is fun.  Not a tweeter? A hash tag is a way to search for tweets with a common topic. And a fun way to comment on a comment.

It can be used to joke around with people.  Like when I was giving my sister a hard time about her swanky neighborhood.  

My tweet was something like this: 
Cops in Escalades, nice.  #onepercent

As many of you know, there is a lot of waiting in hospitals.  A lot of time to fill.  So the hash tag game was perfect.  Here are some of the hash tags my sister and I came up with regarding our situation...

Anytime we could find something positive, like free snacks for the families= #brightspot.

The rest went like this:
#ourhusbandsrock   (lame! giving my sister credit for this one)

and my personal favorite, 

We liked imagining Samuel Jackson saying that last one.  And you better believe I tried to do my best impression, repeatedly.

Swearing and hash tagging, the best of both worlds to get us through an extremely rough holiday weekend.  

I apologize for the vulgarity and didn't mean to make your eyes bleed.  But I must admit it is a little bit fun to picture some of you shocked and turning away from your screen, but then turning back to read more.  So hope you turned back to read more.

But people, you don't have to wait for a stressful holiday, completely sad and overwhelming hospital experience or 10 years of pregnancies to swear and play the hash tag game.  Some people believe in meditation everyday and that's great.  I believe in swearing once a day at least and laughing, a lot.

This past weekend, there were some moments with much-needed laughter that didn't involve me swearing.

Like when I was terrorizing kids on a good old-fashioned f-ing merry-go-round.
Wade loved locking himself in the f-ing dog crate.  I promise we did not put him there, but we didn't rush to get him out either.
Say the word "fart" as many times as you can and you will ALWAYS make the kindergarten crowd f-ing laugh

Funny hash tag game:  

And sometimes when things, or holidays, don't go just right...swearing helps.  

Dave Chappelle does a much better impression of Samuel Jackson.  (Again, be prepared for some intense language and laughter.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Have A Bad Feeling About This

"I knew that was going to happen, I had a dream," my mother used to tell me before she went crazy and became a drug addict.  "You know I get premonitions."

Sometimes she would call me and tell me not to drive that night because she had a vision of something bad happening.  "Oh, ok Ma, I get it one of your visions, I promise I won't drive tonight.  No worries, " I told her one time she called.   I promptly hung up the phone, grabbed my keys and hit the road.  Wouldn't you know it, my car died that night?  I was left stranded.  Broke.  And cursing my mother, again.

But it turns out, I might have the crazy lady gift.  You see I too had a vision.  A vision of darkness and dread.  I thought it was my usual holiday anxiety---knowing there would be tears with my turkey.  

Against my gut feeling, vision, premonition, fear, anxiety or whatever you want to call it, I went.  I went for Thanksgiving with my mother this year.  

My big sister hosted.  She cooked, prepped and worried.  
My mother was there.  Or the woman that used to be our mother.  She was cranky when we got there, insecure, out of her element.  That usually means she will be on the attack and this time her target was my sister.  Even though my sister is the one that still invites her into her home (I created the "mother you aren't allowed in my house or alone with my children" rule six years ago), she was the one my mother wouldn't leave alone.  Most of the time we are immune to the cruel jabs she hurls because we know she is sick and broken. But sometimes they still hurt.  

As my sister prepped for the meal that was to be served at 4:30, our kids ran around playing happily together.  The husbands watched football.  It was almost normal.  Minus the sad, broken woman ridiculing the host and stumbling around the house slurring her words.  

The kids were playing hair salon and tattoo shop.  I was annoyed because my kids' hair was slicked back and they had drawn marker tattoos all over their arms.  "There goes my cutesy family photo," was the thought running through my head.

My sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and my mother almost tripped over the burning hot oven door.  "Mom!," we screamed and saved her from falling.

She straightened up and rubbed her head.   We all breathed a sigh of relief knowing we dodged a huge bullet.  Whew, it was going to be okay.  My vision was wrong....nothing bad was going to happen, just normal holiday anxiety. It was going to be ok.  We just saved her from falling.

We went about our business of setting up more of the dishes getting ready to call the kids up from their new business ventures.  "Where's mom?" I asked my sister.

At that very god damn moment my sister and I turned to look at the back staircase leading into the kitchen.  At that very god damn moment we screamed and couldn't save her from falling.

It all happened as if in slow motion.  Her body was flat as a board and she was falling backwards down four steep stairs.  "Mom, NOOOOO!," my sister screamed.  "Oh my god!," I screamed.

We watched her fall.  We watched everything change in that moment.  In that moment her life flashed before our eyes.  Every bad decision.  Every bit of bad luck.  We screamed out for the mother we knew before the drugs and mental illness.  The mother with the never-ending energy.  The mother who made the best brownies.  The mother who danced in our kitchen. The mother who had an amazing love story with our father.  The mother who loved us.  The mother we loved.

Then in a matter of seconds that felt like eternity she was on the floor.  Alert, but moaning.  No blood, but my premonition was back.  This was bad.  This was going to get worse.

After a quick ambulance ride to the hospital, a million tests, screams for more and more and more pain meds, and hours of waiting we found out she broke her neck. 

She is not paralyzed.  She will not need surgery.  But to say she is a complicated case is an understatement.

What's next?  A complicated, messy road to...not recovery, more like a road to stable drug addiction in hopefully an assisted living facility.  And of course keeping a neck brace on for six months so the bone doesn't shift and paralyze her or cause a stroke.

"This time I really did it," my mother told my my sister while she waited for the ambulance.  "This is different, it's bad."

I am not doubting her premonition this time.  It's bad.

So my sister and I are jumping into this with our fingers crossed.  Hoping that we can get her the help she needs without losing ourselves or our marriages in the process. Here we go...

I used to listen to this song, "All at Once," years ago when I would fight with my mother and wonder what was going to happen to her.  Best line..."why the angels turn their backs on someone, is a mystery to me."  Bonnie Rait is a goddess.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am thankful for:

Kids that sometimes love each other.
A daughter that is so beautiful, funny, smart and almost sometimes nice to me.

That my daughter knows how to make the world her own.

And that she uses a Steelers' Terrible Towel as a baby doll blanket.

For spontaneous group hugs at the breakfast table.

The fact that my kids can make anything fun and a game...even a for sale sign.
A most serious, thoughtful, smart and caring oldest son.
A complicated, sweet, uber-talented and adorable middle son.
A cute, nutty, funny and completely lovable baby Wade.

A grandpa that comes into town for birthdays and special occasions.

A husband who is the ultimate good sport and the best dad ever.  

My sense of I need to explain why?  Life is funny.  It is good to laugh.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some Big News

For a minute, I felt like the Duggar family on the "Today" show.  Because I bet a couple people were getting all revved up to be mad that we were announcing, that yes, we were once again having a baby.  Because we just love having babies.  It's what we do!  

Honestly, even my kids think that is what we will announce anytime we call a family meeting.  "It's time," Lucy told us.  "It's been a couple years."

But who is she kidding?  She would only like it if we told her we were having a baby girl.  The day we found out we were having baby Wade she cried giant crocodile tears and wouldn't speak to us for hours (which felt like days to a 5 year-old).

Okay, enough with the friggin baby talk.  We are so not having another baby.  Relax people.

My big news is the birth of a new blog.  Because that's right, one wasn't enough.  The new blog is devoted to being gluten free and raising awareness of Celiac disease.  It is called:
A Gluten-Free Family.

It is here you can read stuff like this:

Last Friday, JT got off the bus and said, "Mommy, I had gluten today."  At his kindergarten Thanksgiving feast.  My heart sunk.  I had taken every precaution, I had spoken with the teacher, emailed reminders, sent in safe foods for him to eat, sat with him and had the talk, making sure I made the ever-important eye contact.  But JT felt left out.  He asked a buddy for a cookie and he ate it.

Within hours he was crying from stomach pain and then came the vomiting.  

He is so young to get this whole eating-this-will-make-you-sick idea.  He just wants to be normal and fit in.  It doesn't help that he still is a bit speech delayed and has trouble with numbers.  Poor kid just wanted a damn cookie.

I had a page on this blog, but gluten/celiac is too huge for one page. Please check it out.  Become a follower (you could be the first one!).  Pass it along to anyone you know that is suffering from Celiac or gluten intolerance.  Because I promise to help inform them and at 
the very least make them laugh sometimes.

Oh no worries though, I won't be abandoning this blog.  You will still be able to read about how much I am screwing things up on a daily basis!  
Click here to check out the new blog.

On a Thanksgiving-y note, I am very thankful to you, yeah that's right, you for reading this here blog.  Thank you. 

Is it ridiculous that I am beyond excited about my Thanksgiving weekend Muppet Movie experience?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The fall of 1986 I was selling magazines for a school fundraiser, back in the days of going door to door.  Like the usual sucker, I thought I was so cool to be selling magazines.  I was in sixth grade.  Selling magazines was a kind of rite of passage.  It was the big leagues.  It was middle school.  And I was big league, or at least trying to be.

A popular song at the time was "Every Time You Go Away" from Paul Young.  My dad loved that song.  I am not sure why I remember that so clearly.  I remember two songs he has said he really loved, this song and "Rock Steady" by The Whispers.  But Paul Young's song hauntingly stuck with me over the years.

You see 1986 and 1987 blur together in my memories.  It is all foggy.  Because those are the years my parents' marriage fell apart.  Maybe that is why that song stuck with me, because ironically my dad did indeed go away.

My other memory from that time period, the fall of 1987, is going on a dance team competition in Chicago without either of my parents and again at age 12, feeling very big league.  Sitting on the bus, I remember pretending it was my tour bus and we were traveling from town to town.  And I remember it feeling good.  I was free from the fighting of my newly divorced parents.  Free of the sadness of my mother.  

As I daydreamed out my rainy window, I distinctly remember seeing a marquee with "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" on it.  

That night my mother who could barley get off the couch to see me off showed up, to pick me up with a strange man.  Strange at least to me because I had never seen him before.  We rode together in silence and I remember wishing I was back on my tour bus free of this feeling.  Free of this awkward not-wanting-to-be-there feeling.

I went straight to my room and shut the door.  I opened it hoping to share some dance stories, but I opened it just in time to see my mother kiss the strange man.  I quickly shut the door and didn't come out again.  Alone and confused,  I sat in my room. Alone.

Over the next four or so years, I met more of my mother's men.  Some were stranger than strange.  Some were nice...they usually didn't last too long.  Some were too nice and thank god only one made a pass at me.

My dad moved out of state a couple years after they divorced.  
Many holidays were spent flying back and forth, from my mom and my dad.  It was two extremely different worlds.  My father was positive, forward-thinking.  My mother was broken, living in the past. (We didn't grasp the fact that she was sinking into irreversible mental illness at the time of course.)  

My favorite memories of those years are with my brother and sister in Gate-B22 of Chicago O'Hare Airport.  It is there during layovers and flight delays as teenagers that we were able to relax and feel free.  We didn't have to feel guilty about enjoying our time with our dad or feel guilty about resenting our mom.  It was free to be you and me time.  We made up stories about people and told them to each other.  We knew the best pizza place in the airport.

On one particular Thanksgiving as we were flying home, our plane skidded off an icy runway in Nebraska.  The three of us got on a bus to the big city of Omaha and their fancy airport.  There we waited and thought a train was next, but we were spared when the de-icing was successful.  As the over-thinking parent that I am now, that experience would be a nightmare.  But to three teenagers on their own, it was a grand holiday adventure that provided great comic material for our friends.

So, as I prepare for my annual Thanksgiving viewing of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" I am full of emotion.  My husband laughs at me because of course it isn't just a movie, it is more.  Everything is always more with me.  This movie reminds me of some of my saddest childhood moments, but at the same time represents some of my happiest holiday moments with my brother and sister.  And ironically, my dad's favorite song from 1986 is in this movie.  It is the whole package. 

And it is damn funny.  It always has to come back to the funny. For real.

Best f*#@ing scene ever!

And just for fun if you are still reading/watching.

Monday, November 21, 2011

We Are So Not Cool

"Why do you wear your shirt like that?" I ask with a tone that said you look stupid.

"Don't you know how to settle these kids down?" I snapped.

I am not proud.  But today I was treating my husband Tim about as nicely as Kate Gosselin treated Jon on their reality show.  It was so not cool.

Funny enough all this snapping was happening after we returned from teaching a class about creating uplifting family traditions and taking care of yourself and your marriage.  Where did we teach this class you ask?  Wait for

Hello hypocrites?  Well not so much, usually we teach our classes from a book or study guide (so it's not like we write the material) and we are (not very surprisingly) very open and honest.  I usually start every class with "Please learn from all of our mistakes we are about to share with you.  And we have made and continue to make a lot of them."

But today I was a little more fierce than normal.  Maybe it was because I am tired and still don't feel good with various dumb, still undetermined health issues.  Maybe it was because those happy holidays are fast approaching and my anxiety is rising.  Maybe it was because I feel like we have lost our edge, our coolness.

We actually went out on an extremely rare date the night before.  Sadly, we have become the cliche suburban couple that gets excited when they get a good table at a mediocre restaurant and clap their hands when the anxiously awaited meal arrives (I am sure Tim is cringing somewhere and wants me to clarify that I was the only one clapping).  The next thing you know, we'll get matching holiday sweaters. So not cool.

We have reached an age when we can say the following statement:  We used to be cool.

Don't get me wrong we were never that cool.  But we were cooler than how our date went the other night. After we, I mean I, clapped when the meal arrived, we did enjoy the food.  But halfway through we looked at each other through slitty eyes, sighed and complained of being exhausted.  Yup, we were wondering if we could stay awake for the movie we were supposed to see.  As it turned out we didn't have to worry about that because somebody (it was totally me) got the movie time wrong and we showed up 30 minutes late.  Are you kidding me?

We ended up going to Target and doing some Christmas shopping for the kids.  By the way, we are usually week-before-Christmas shoppers, so it was a very strange feeling.  We hopped (I mean sluggishly climbed) into the mini-van and headed for home.  It was 9:30 p.m.!  "I am not going home before the kids are in bed, no way," I shrieked.  "I am not putting those kids to bed." I grabbed Tim's arm and dug my nails in for emphasis, my eyes were crazy with fear and the veins in my neck were popping.

We drove around until 10 p.m.  Once we were home, I fell asleep on the couch.  That people, was our hot date.  We not only used to be cooler, I still have to believe that right now we are better than that.

But damn, life is kicking our ass lately.  I know Stephen Covey, whose book we happened to be teaching today, would not recommend snapping at or criticizing my husband to get our edge back.   Covey probably wouldn't recommend talking to your spouse about whether being so bloated makes you look fat and then lifting up your shirt.  Not a way to get your edge back (learn from my mistakes people).

It is obvious, we have to work on our coolness.  I need to work on being nicer.  And we need to get more sleep.

The one thing we have going for us is that we still love hanging out together (although Tim might not have agreed with this statement this afternoon) and we have hope.  Hope that falling asleep on the couch together after a good episode of "The Good Wife" (or a really good movie we didn't see) will be cool enough until we catch up on some sleep.

We are in need a moment like this movie clip after Tina Fey interview.

This is our path as far as coolness goes.  I love Phil.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Caving In and Moving On

I totally caved today.  It started to snow as I was driving JT to school and I couldn't help myself.  I listened to Christmas music and, I liked it.

Maybe it is because it is indeed very close to Thanksgiving or maybe it is because with the time change the world is just a little bit darker and colder now.  

Things are definitely changing.  For example,I used to make fun of Josh Groban.  Like I made fun of people, adults, that wore Disney characters on their clothes.  But  after I went to Disney World (as an adult), I got it and totally wanted to wallpaper my kitchen with Mickey Mouse paper.  Groban to me used to be annoying and sappy, but I think I love him now.  It could be that I think he is hilarious as a co-host on "Live with Regis and Kelly."  And damn that man can sing a Christmas song like nobody's business, especially "O Holy Night."  "I think I am going to cry," my sweet (well sort of sweet)5-year-old said as he listened to Groban; bewildered by his emotional reaction to the song.

And speaking of "Live with Regis and Kelly," more change.  Tomorrow is Reege's last show.  I teared up watching today's show.  I like Regis and have a girl crush on Kelly, but I didn't watch them everyday.  But like my beloved, dwindling soaps, I liked knowing that I could turn on the TV and he would be there.  He is someone that has been on my tv radar for most of my life.  I mean, c'mon,  I am just getting over Oprah's show being off the air.

And speaking of Oprah, here are a few things that I know for sure:

Change is good.  Ok, I am lying, I don't know that for sure.  But sometimes I know for sure that change can be exciting.  Who knows what new adventure is on the horizon...whatever! It was just reported that 1 in 4 women in our country is on antidepressants, I am obviously not one of those and physically,mentally cannot be that positive. Honestly change is hard, that I know for sure.

I know for sure that when I finally learn to do this, scarves will be way out of style. (It is a very cool video.)

Maybe it's because I am having digestive issues, but I know for sure that this commercial makes me laugh.  

I know for sure that I love this song. Absolutely my new favorite to run to or dance to in the kitchen.  I mean Etta James has always and forever been a favorite, but paired with Flo Rida? OMG.  Seriously, I am going to be turning this on next week on my way to Thanksgiving (or play it on my ipod when I go for a run to escape the holiday house).

Even though I caved in, I am moving on. I know for sure that I will not forget about Thanksgiving and I will not decorate my house for Christmas until November 25. (But I won't stop listening to Josh Groban's Christmas songs until January 1.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Escape of the Stay at Home Moms Part Deux

Is it bad that I enjoyed my minor surgical procedure yesterday?  But seriously, a getaway from the  kids, drugs and hanging with my best friend/safe all equals a good time.
Another Thelma and Louise type pic.
That's right, another Wednesday, another escape of the stay at home moms.   This time, I had directions to our final destination.  And sadly unlike our last adventure, this time we weren't meeting any cool national political mentors.  No, this time we were going to a surgery center so I could have my stomach and esophagus scoped.  Yup, an investigative digestion surgery. Whomp, whomp.   Nothing glamorous like the upper eye lift I so desperately want.

Even though it was minor and outpatient, I was a bit nervous.  Nervous that my kids were fighting too much for the sitter, worried they would miss the bus and throw the whole plan off, etc.  Maybe that was why were talking so loudly in the waiting room and I was laughing so much.  Nah, it is more likely that we are just loud and very amused with ourselves most of the time.

They ushered me back to the surgery area where I was a little unnerved.  It looked like a garage and all the patients were lined up to get their oil changed.  We were all just laying there waiting to be wheeled away, just staring at each other.  Even though it creeped me out a little, nothing could take the fun out of this day (except of course a complication during the procedure which for a worrier like me seems very real, but I just pushed it way in the back of my mind).  Once I was suited up with my nice blue hat, my pal Steph came back to keep me company.
I look like I am already on something, but nope, just life-tired.
"This is the first time in 10 years that I have been hooked up to an iv and not taken a baby home after," I laughingly shared.  "I am so glad I am not taking a baby home today!"  We laughed and thought we were hilarious, again.

We also laughed about how this scene is totally our future, keeping each other company at various medical procedures.  

The whole procedure didn't take very long and soon I was back in recovery chatting with Stephanie.  I was pretty out of it and worried that I would be that way most of the day.  I am that person that takes a few days to recover from the occasional Tylenol PM, so anesthesia hangover was worrisome.

We decided it would be a good idea to go out to lunch, especially since I hadn't eaten in forever in preparation for the scope.  So, we went to lunch where again we were talking too loudly and laughing at everything.
We decided dessert was of utmost importance after lunch and chocolate mousse was necessary to help soothe my sore throat.
"We are so much fun," Stephanie informed our waiter.  "People don't know how much fun we are."

"It should be out there," our waiter replied laughing along with us.  Maybe he went back and told his waiter buddies that those two old ladies in his section "are nuts and one of them seems totally whacked out on drugs."  Or just maybe he spread the word about how much fun we are.

After Stephanie dropped me off and my babysitter left, I slept for a few hours while baby Wade napped.  And then we had a nice peaceful evening while the other children asked if I needed help and showered me with love and care.  Whatever, that's not exactly how it went at all. Peyton did ask about it when he got off the bus. "Thanks for asking how it went," I told him appreciatively. "How'd what went?" the ever observant Lucy asked.

Escaping my house is a wonderful, freeing thing.  Even when I am being poked and prodded by doctors.  But coming home is good too.
A little extra TLC from JT.
Although to be completely honest, I did ask (beg) if I could stay overnight at the surgery center.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Am A Grown Ass Woman

You know how Oprah had that aha moment when someone said "Who do you think you are?" and she thought about it and told that someone who she indeed thought she was?  She told them with confidence, pride and self-love.

You don't know that story...well it's a good one.  Here is another good one.  Yesterday on the phone my older sister gave me some sage Oprah-like advice.  "As soon as we get off the phone, I want you to look yourself in the mirror and say 'I am a Grown Ass Woman,'" she boldly stated.

My sister and I are very different.  Sure we have similar features and mannerisms, but emotionally, politically we are about as different as they come.  Dana is composed, smart, put-together, calm.  A kind-hearted, critical thinker with a plan.  She is also a worrier, protector and enforcer.  

Legend goes that my quiet reserved older sister was just that on the playground, sweetly sticking by my mother's side.  Until I could walk.  I then would drag my reluctant sister up to the top of the biggest slide.  Knowing my sister she probably went with me to make sure I was ok.

Get it?  I am the reckless, dramatic, emotional one.  A kind-hearted, impulsive thinker mostly coming up with the plan as I go along.  

I said we were different from each other, not unique as far as sister stereotypes.  I am the Lori Petty to her Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own."  Constantly trying to prove myself to my big sister.  I am the Kate Winslet to her Emma Thompson in "Sense and Sensibility." Or the Laura to her Mary on "Little House on the Prairie."

As fate would have it, since our mother is riddled with mental instability and drug addiction, my stable, intelligent big sister, my Geena Davis, is now my mother figure too.  In fact she is the nominated matriarch to both my younger brother and me.  It sort of fits her just perfectly.  She always seemed older, more mature.  Dana was a typical bookworm smartypants growing up.  I tried and tried to get her to put her books down and hang out with me.  She usually relented after tactics such as me singing Janet Jackson's "Pleasure Principle" over and over in my most annoying high-pitched voice.

That sister/mother bond is a powerful, influential thing.  A mentor/friend once told me a story about how she had started smoking as a 20-something adult.  She was a little embarrassed, but this was a long time ago, before the evil stigma cigarettes have now (which I am glad they have it for obvious people-who-smoke-are-slowly-killing-themselves reasons).  She was a casual smoker, out with friends, after work, out to dinner.  But when it was time to go visit her big sister who lived in another state, she suddenly was ashamed, embarrassed, mortified.  She told me she left her pack of cigarettes on the plane and never smoked again.  That story resonates with me.  Surgeon general? Pishaw.  Big sister?  Scared straight.

My big sister Dana wields that kind of power over me.  And even though the whole mother role fits her, I do think the power makes her a bit uncomfortable.  Especially power or influence over a couple of emotional, sensitive loudmouths like my brother and me.  I always want to talk about everything, I mean everything.  I casually talk about, or write about, the past which makes Dana squirm.  I get angry and want to discuss the problem, which is like sticking needles in her eyes.  The more I push to talk, the more she clams up.  That is when the differences don't work so well.

So back to the other day on the phone, I was going on and on, as I usually do, about what this person said and how this person felt. And how sometimes I hate Facebook more than Fox News.  How I felt judged and stressed.  That is when my calm, quiet, non-swearing, conservative sister busted out with the grown ass woman advice.

We both laughed.  And I remembered why my big sister, my Geena Davis, wields so much power and influence...because she loves me.  And I love her.  And we are both grown ass women who make mistakes and own them.  I just talk about them more to her and the rest of the world or anyone that will listen/read.

So now, I am going to go out into the world chanting my sister's advice. I am going to live my life believing that I am a capable, intelligent person who yeah, deserves a little respect. (Starting to sound a little Stuart Smalley here, "I am good enough, smart enough and doggonit, people like me." But you get the idea.)  Armed with a reminder that not everyone will like what I choose to do with my life, and that it's ok because damn it, I am a grown ass woman.  

It is my new mantra- "I am a grown ass woman."  (Yes, a grown ass woman who needs her sister/mother's approval, I am working on that piece.  One step at a time.)

There's no crying in baseball. Montage moment.

God I love this movie, I bow down to Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.