last week and four years ago today


So last week my son in law was kind of a very big deal…

Because attending night school and then graduating with honors while working a full time job and, with your lovely bride, raising and caring for your 2 year old and 6 year old daughters is absolutely, positively a very big deal.

And this picture perfect family moment would not have happened last week were it not for this picture perfect moment that happened four years ago today.

Happy Anniversary Hollie and Ben!

And because I for one never, ever tire of the magic of that wonderful wedding…and I am a giver…

the sunshine peeking through the dark


The world continues to turn, life goes on even when you find yourself stuck in the muck and mire of depression and anxiety…which I have to say only adds to the isolation, loathing and fear, yes, fear.

August has been a month of suckage personally and globally, hasn’t it? Someone I know suggested perhaps someone should unplug August, wait a minute or two and plug it back in. Who knows? It just might work.

But in the midst of the fear, turmoil and shit-fuckery in and around our world right now there has been some good things too. We should try to focus on those things…with all our might. I know that I am…with all my might.

In perhaps one of my blackest of black moments yesterday I received the kindest comment from someone I know thanks to our children. She wrote:

The dark periods are always tough. Feels like the sun will never come out again. But it will. Hang in there and know that you are loved and appreciated. Have I told you how much I enjoy your blog? Even when you write about the rough times I somehow find it encouraging and inspiring. Maybe that’s the point. You write even when what you are writing is hard. I think that is the sunshine peeking through the dark.

And then I cried. Rest assured, friend, they were happy tears. These words came at just the right time, thank goodness. So did the call that I have an appointment in three weeks….yes, three weeks because that is how awesome and easily accessible mental health care is here in the Central Valley. We’ll muddle on that another time. We’re focusing on the sunshine peeking through right now. Truthfully, getting the appointment was another bit of encouragement and whisper in my head to just keep on hanging on because we will get through this. And so hang on I do.

I even smiled just a little because of this:

My little sister, who is taller than me, is ENGAGED!!! Even better, for the first time ever, I get to be a bridesmaid. 53 (my age when she and Matt will be wed) is most certainly NOT too old to be a bridesmaid! I’m kind of excited. Of course I’m excited for Ange because that smile of hers says it all. But I have to also say that I am excited to finally be a bridesmaid. No more Wedding Singer or Guestbook Girl for me…Kim Robbie, do you remember the conversation we had  some time ago with Jacquie Henry about “Guestbook Girl“? For those who might not know, Guestbook Girl is the job the bride gives to someone she is friends with or close to…but not THAT close to. Of course we concluded then that it was good to be Guestbook Girl…for so many reasons. But today, right now, I am pretty happy and more than honored to be one of my sister’s bridesmaids especially because the colors she has chosen are perfect for me.

And then today this:

Oh yeah.

The nanny-boo-boo haters may hate on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because they seem to have so much time to spend putting down something good happening right now rather than maybe all the crazy, shit-tastic things happening in the news right now but I still accepted the challenge put out there by Christy.

Ice cubes inside your underwear, so not good. But this, this was good.

But just in case one wonders if something like this viral giving movement that has raised to date over 31 million dollars since July 31 is really a good thing, check out THIS ice bucket challenge…watch the whole video too.

Oh and if you have yet to be challenged, I challenge you…yes, you. Do it and be sure to give if you can too. If you accept my challenge…you have 24 hours…please leave a comment so I can share with you the sunshine that having icy cold water dumped on you and giving brings.

what not to do on an empty stomach


In life we all learn, usually the hard way, what we shouldn’t do on an empty stomach. At least I have learned that a number of times. Of course I learned it the hard way because I’m me.

  • take a very important test
  • work…guaranteed it will be the 12 hour shift from hell with little or no opportunity for a meal break much less a potty break
  • attend a few C-sections
  • run a 10K
  • grocery shop
  • jury duty

I could go on because too many times I have undertaken adventures on an empty stomach in spite of the fact that I know too well what happens to me when my blood sugar plummets.

But there is one thing one should do on an empty stomach, or perhaps with just a light snack beforehand and that is to see The Hundred Foot Journey.

I had the opportunity to see this film a couple of weeks ago while at BlogHer.

In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the
south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant
– the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, Maison
Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur,
a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory
(Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren), gets wind of it.
Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from
her own escalate into a heated battle between the two establishments
until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine – and for Madame
Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) – combine
with his mysteriously-delicious talent to weave magic between their
two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even
Madame Mallory cannot ignore. Madame Mallory eventually recognizes
her culinary rival’s gift as a chef and takes Hassan under her wing.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” abounds with flavors that burst across the tongue. A stimulating triumph over exile, blossoming with passion and heart, it is a portrayal of two worlds colliding and one young man’s drive to find the comfort of home, in every pot, wherever he may be.
Exactly!
The actual distance from Le Saule Pleureur Restaurant to the Maison Mumbai is not far: one-hundred feet, no more, no less. It’s a journey…albeit a small one…that both the Kadam family and Madame Mallory make numerous times throughout the film, but it represents more than just the distance between these two locations. It’s that point in our lives where we step out of our comfort zone and cross over into unfamiliar territory on a quest of self-discovery.
Oh, and it’s a love story and a love story with food…so much delicious, glorious food that you can almost smell and taste it all while watching this film.
A victory of passion over prejudice, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is the convergence of two worlds through the power of acceptance and understanding and the unifying nature of food. I love what Helen Mirren said  about this film, “Don’t go to dinner until after you’ve seen this movie. Then go to a really nice French or Indian restaurant.” I would wholeheartedly say yes.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is presented by DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment, directed by Academy Award® nominee Lasse Hallström and stars Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon. The film is produced by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, Academy Award
nominee Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. The executive producers are Caroline Hewitt, Carla Gardini, Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King. The screenplay is written by Academy Award nominee Steven Knight, based on the novel “The Hundred-Foot Journey” by Richard C. Morais.
I was invited to a special screening of this film and received no compensation other than admission for two to the film and a small popcorn and soda. What I wouldn’t have given for some Chicken Tikka…just saying…

spoiling the favorite


Here under The Big Top, it is no secret that we play favorites. “Experts” agree and opine all the time that parents, whether they want to admit it or not, do play favorites. Some parents write about it and become viral media sensations. There’s even a freaking how-to guide for us more indecisive parents. And of course growing up with four siblings, each one of my kids are always trying to figure out who is my favorite child…right now.

Well this week “the current favorite” received a little something from me.

Not because she wanted it…because they ALL wanted it. Not because I had the disposable income to buy it for her because I don’t and if I did that money would be going to stuff like bills that need to be paid. I won this sweet little iPad mini. Boys and girls sometimes you do win those social media contests that you must like or retweet or repost or share or whatever.

The more you know!

But I have an iPad. Gifted to me by my Dad…probably on a day where I was the favorite. My iPad is great.

Cue the sucking up and presentations from my circus act of why each individual clown should have an iPad from me.

Actually my clowns surprised me and did not do so much sucking up…or at least not as much as I expected which could have been a little bit disappointing kids. I’m just saying. No actually because I really didn’t talk too much about winning the iPad to them, or anyone else…well, except for my darling husband because I knew each and everyone of my darling clowns would LOVE for me to gift them with an iPad and OMG the dilemma of choosing…people the struggle is really real.

No!

Really!

It is real.

After much thought, consideration and discussion with my darling husband, the father of these clowns, the decision was made.

They all could use it.They all WANTED it. They all (in their minds) needed it. They all definitely deserved such a gift because, frankly, Bill and I have FIVE pretty damn awesome kids. Still, we both decided that the one who needed it the most RIGHT NOW should have it…the one who finds herself with no working computer. The one who has a phone that no longer connects to the Internet too. The one who recently moved from one part of Cali to another and needs to get settled back to work and (soon I hope) back to school. The one who is our favorite…today…this week.

This playing favorites thing as parents is hard! Still we are rewarded….with hugs, lots of hugs and thanks….

and iPad selfies of their gorgeous, happy smiles.

This week’s favorite child appropriately spoiled…check. Next week will likely be Daniel because Back to School and all that.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the Nursing Handbook app on my iPad. Thank you Wolters Kluwer Health.

 

 

 

subdued, simpler, smarter, selfiebration-ish


Back from BlogHer14, missing pretty much all the parties and the sessions yet my head and my heart are full.

For me, there was scarcely any time for pictures but plenty of time for meeting up with old friends; not all as life and commitments always are calling, but some…enough to fill me up with the love, inspiration and encouragement I have been missing…needing. And all together we were enjoying our time. Time to hug a lot. Time to network. Time to talk about our writing, our photography and what drives us to post and create on our spaces. Reflecting on the fact that, yes, we are the “veteran bloggers”. Time taken to realize that, OMG, our kids are growing (grown) up much too fast while we seem to be getting older, perhaps grayer, achier and a little creakier. No one really wants to talk about those hormonal hot flashes but thank goodness for the Yoplait Greek Yogurt fans one could pick up in the Expo hall along with some other swag.

side note: Today I learned that swag is actually an acronym for “stuff we always get”. So says my darling daughter, Abby….The more you know.

I do regret not planning to attend the full conference as it did seem to be getting back to the basics…the blogging, the writing, the putting ourselves out there because we are enough in everything that we do everyday.

Thank goodness for Twitter and BlogHer live blogging everything. I know it’s not the same but it’s almost enough.

Meanwhile there were still many opportunities to be engaged here networking, walking through the expo, screening a movie coming soon to a theater near you, enjoying delicious food while talking with incredibly smart people about that which they are passionate about, sitting together in a suite with an incredible view discussing women, health issues, politics, mid-term elections, changing the world, telling our stories, empowering and encouraging one another.

Meanwhile, Khloe Kardashian showed up in the Expo Hall.

Whatever.

This was a much more subdued, simpler BlogHer and I definitely liked it. I’ll write more about it later. For now it’s family circus time.