where you were when…

We all have those moments. Moments that we can recall where were and what we were doing when something big was happening…something horribly tragic…something big happening in what would be of historical significance…

  • when President Reagan was shot
  • when the Challenger exploded
  • when the Berlin Wall was coming down
  • when Princess Diana died
  • the morning of September 11, 2001
  • the first time we heard planes above us AFTER September 11, 2001

All of these and more…moments of significance that we shall always recall and likely will share with the generations that come after us. Perhaps they will sit quietly listening because these are moments that are history to them…or perhaps they will sigh heavily, roll their eyes as they think to themselves “here she goes rambling on again.” Your mileage may vary.

Last night was such a night with a friend. I’m not sure how and why we talked about moments like these and where we were…in bed…home sick from school…at a dinner meeting…helping a foreign exchange student pack for her trip home…getting the kids off to school…hiking in the Almaden foothills…separated while living our daily, routine lives yet connected on those days we will always remember.

I imagine years from now for some of us we shall recall the days when Pope Francis came, saw, captivated and challenged so many here in the United States whether we were Catholic or not. Regardless of what we might believe (or not believe), it’s hard not to find yourself listening to this man as he speaks and as he challenges us all the more to live simply, walk humbly, share compassion and serve our fellow human beings remembering the importance of kindness in every day little gestures:

They get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children and siblings. Like a warm supper, a blessing before bed, a hug after a long day. These things are signs of tenderness, affection and compassion.

The bitter, jaded and cynical ones might cluck their tongues but it’s hard not to give pause to listen to someone who seems to walk the talk that he speaks. For me the most compelling moment was his words during the Interfaith meeting at the 9-11 Memorial. The entire meeting seemed to reinforce that this memorial site truly is hallowed ground. His brief invocation followed reflections from Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of the Park Avenue Synagogue, and Imam Khalid Latif, a chaplain at New York University, and came before additional meditations and prayers from the Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions.

This is a place where we shed tears, we weep out of a sense of helplessness in the face of injustice, murder, and the failure to settle conflicts through dialogue. Here we mourn the wrongful and senseless loss of innocent lives because of the inability to find solutions which respect the common good…This place of death became a place of life too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.

No, I’m not Catholic and perhaps I am not nearly as religious as I might have been in the past. But I am a human being and I do believe life is so much more fruitful to live with kindness, compassion and a willingness to reach out and share such things with others. Pope Francis’ visit to the Untied States and seeing it through the eyes and ears of the media, social media and my friends who were fortunate enough to be in his presence (along with a few hundred thousand other people) reminds me again to continue to try and live my life in this way…which will likely guarantee that much more happiness than the bitter, jaded and cynical ones.

very special eyes

In case you haven’t noticed, I have special eyes; which is a nice way of stating the obvious…I wear some pretty thick glasses so that I might be able to see. No, not correctable to 20/20. I don’t think my vision has ever been corrected to 20/20 vision. No, that does not make me “legally blind” like so many people claim that they are…as they seem to function just fine without their glasses and can read well below that top line of the Snellen Chart. Because I imagine that inquiring minds want to know, with glasses for my special eyes I can easily read line 6…line 7 if I squint and perhaps guess just a little. Of course that means that I am not “legally blind”. I’m not even a person living with low vision (yet) and thank goodness for that.

I saw my ophthalmologist last week for my usual eye exam. Good news! My vision is relatively stable with only minor changes in correction needed. Hurray for that! Of course the challenge is finding the right frames and trying not to faint from the sticker shock even with vision coverage…which doesn’t cover much for those of us with “special eyes”. If only someone like me could just order glasses from Coastal.com or Warby Parker or even Costco. Alas, no. Most discount opticians can only accept prescriptions of -12.0 and greater. Mine is -14.5 and -14.0. Again, I remind myself how lucky I am that my almost low vision is correctable and that I have vision coverage that pays for about half the cost of my eyeglasses.

And after I wrote that check for my new pair of glasses, Jodie shared with me her work with Delta Gamma Foundation and their Service for Sight Mission.

Watching this video I am reminded again how fortunate I am living with my special eyes.

Next month, the Gamma Phi chapter of Delta Gamma at Arizona State University will be holding their second annual Anchor Splash® to benefit the Delta Gamma Foundation. It will be held on October 17th, 2015 at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex Pool.
Anchor Splash® is a swimming competition involving men’s and women’s fraternities, service and social clubs, sports clubs, dormitories, and campus interest groups. Multiple chapters across the United States and Canada have sponsored this type of event, which enable the Delta Gamma Foundation to give grants locally and nationally to those who share their Service for Sight Mission.

Yes, this means that I am now a sorority mom. I’m proud that my daughter has chosen to participate with an organization that emphasizes service and the desire to Do Good along with everything else she must juggle with life at Arizona State so of course I am sharing here the opportunity for us to join them in doing a little bit of good for those with very special eyes.

The Delta Gamma Foundation is, by law, a 501C3 entity and your gift is tax deductible. The Delta Gamma Foundation also accepts matching gifts for your tax deductible contribution. Thank You and together we will Do Good.

conversation starters

Working on interpersonal interactions, Daniel had homework to do; homework that was basically conversation starters.

Was I willing to do this exercise with him, he wondered?

But of course! I’m his mom. I’m his super nerdy-homework-is-fun-as-long-as-it-isn’t-math mom.

So we sit down together and work on our conversation starters exercise. I am to start and he is to continue answering back with two to three sentences. We’re working on interpersonal interactions here because it has been proven on occasion that not everyone wants to talk about Hot Wheels cars and Lego sets and video games.

Crazy, I know!

Glancing at the ten conversation starters, I’m thinking this is going to be easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. Daniel sighs because mom is saying easy-peasy, lemon squeezy again.

First one: So I heard that there was a fire on your street…

There was a fire? Oh my god! Where?

No, son. There wasn’t really a fire. It’s the conversation starter. I say, “So I heard that there was a fire on your street..” And you answer back…

So there wasn’t a fire on our street.

No son. How about you answer back something like, “Yes, last night in front of my neighbor Don’s house…”

Don’s house?! Don’s house was on fire? But you said there was no fire.

There was no fire. We’re just pretending while we practice conversing. Pretend that there was a fire.

Why would I pretend something so bad like Don’s house being on fire?

Don’s house isn’t really on fire.

Then why would we talk about something like that? It’s not even true! Oh my god, mom!


Do you have any math homework?

But what about my Speech homework?

5,6,7, fixed

So about Stitch Fix…

It’s been awhile and three boxes later, I have to confess that I came very close to thinking that perhaps the scrubs and t-shirts and shorts and jeans kind of girl that I am just might not be Fix-able.

Stitch #5:

Looked very cute packaged in the box and on paper. But nope times three. Sorry. Can’t lie. Bu-ut, there was two wins.

The London Times Sandra Maxi Dress

and the Bash Eaton Knit Top

Don’t judge, it was an incredibly bad hair day, no makeup and sleep deprived because I remain, always, Vampira the Night Shift Nurse.

Stitch Fix #6 came the following month.

And it proved to be a lot of nope because one can have too many maxi dresses…really. Also I was becoming weary of all the polyester. Being the scrubs and t-shirts and jeans kind of lady that I am, I was beginning to realize that I am also a natural fibers kind of girl too. Yes, I told my stylist that. I also included that one of the tops I actually did kind of like (in spite of the polyester) except it was missing a button. It was then that I learned that I could always request another. The fact that my stylist followed up apologizing for the product defect really pleased me. I’m all about good customer service and follow up. But there was one keeper because there was a wedding reception to attend.

The Le Lis Raven Dress

Then came Stitch Fix #7 and I was glad that I offered so much feedback and listened to my stylist.

It’s Fall y’all and it was all packed up in this Stitch Fix delivery. Too bad it was literally over 100º when it arrived because that, my friends is Fall in the Central Valley. Still…

The Urban Expressions Valerie Convertible Satchel doesn’t care what the temperature is.

Literally the most amazing bag that holds everything and looks good, so good. When your 13 year old son, your darling husband and your 21 year old daughter (who is pretty much never home because of school, work and 21 year old life is in the way) notice the bag and tell you what a great looking bag that is you know it is a keeper.

The Loveappella McGraw Two-Tone Stripe Knit Top

Fit like a dream with the perfect drape…and the cut-out in the back…perfect and kept.

Ignore the dirty mirror as I was ignoring the fact that it was 104º when I was wearing this and taking this picture. It’s better that way.

Next the Just Black Faye Skinny Jean and the RD Style Giana Open Drape Cardigan

With the bag too…we’re both ignoring the dirty mirror and the triple digits, right? Right. It might be hotter than balls but that sweater will be perfect come Winter…El Niño or no…please El Niño! Please, please, please! And the charcoal grey skinny jeans fit like a dream and definitely a keeper for Fall and Winter and Spring. Keep and keep!

Finally the Renee C Edmondo Stud Detailed Split-Back Blouse

LOVE! But this one pictured in the dirty mirror was too tight. But I wanted it…and with the 25% discount if I kept all five fixes it literally would be free because 25% off. I wanted it even more. But it didn’t fit. So I emailed my stylist with my dilemma asking if I could get the next size up? Of course, she answered back right away!  Oh happy day! I sent the too small blouse in the postage paid bag included in the shipment and three days later the right sized blouse arrived.

So the lesson learned for me is feedback is so important with fixes. So is taking advantage of social media so your stylist can see what interests you…that bag, those jeans, more natural fibers…pinned them all. I also learned that exchanges are just too easy. So is the follow up after the exchange to make sure that I was more than satisfied. Who knows what the next Fix will bring next month?

We shall see.

Want to know more? Check it out.

Want to get your own Fix? Use my referral link and go for it!

what kind of mother let’s her kid read Furiously Happy anyway?

Judge me.

I don’t care.

We’ll get to back to that in a minute.

But first can I tell you how Furiously Happy I am right now that this arrived here today under The Big Top?

I am.

I might be already more than halfway through the book too. Might have been done were it not for getting my eyes dilated. The eyes remain extra special…so special that Costco Optometry gets added to the list of places that can’t fill my prescription. Of course that means that I get to spend a ridiculous amount of money above what our vision plan covers. It’s a burden to have extra special eyes. You just can’t imagine.

But back to this book and being furiously happy…I can’t wait to finish reading it, and celebrating my own personal bizarre-ness and my weirdness and even the crazy way that I  was broken because in spite of the anxiety and depression and all around messed up-ness that is me being broken and the smile that tries to hide it all, it is who I am…and a lot of people seem to like and love the me that I am…even with all the messed up-ness…or in spite of it…or because of it.

I am broken. I am broken in so many ways, ways that I have written about before and ways that only a very small circle might know. Shit happens. Shit happens that should never happen to any person. It’s for real. It’s me. And it’s the me that I has been working on and accepting and forgiving and loving…whether I am smiling or not. It’s just me, broken but furiously happy me. And why not celebrate it?

I’m not alone.

Thank goodness I am not.

We are people who have been searching and continue to look for the light in spite of the dark, horrible and shitty things in our lives that weigh us down, that steal our joy, that lie to us.

So, what kind of mother let’s her kid read Furiously Happy?

Well, when your kid is 13…and your kid is with you at the optician that can fill the prescription for your extra special eyes and has homework to do including reading for twenty minutes that he has to get done before Tae Kwon Do and tutoring and dinner, you hand him your book opened to chapter 5 and tell him to read about Rory the Raccoon (see book cover).

I had already read the chapter and vetted it declaring it to be PG13 and okay for my kid to read…so don’t hate.


OMG! This is so inappropriate, Mom!

Take note he said that in between adolescent snickers and giggles.

His favorite part? Rory teasing Victor and riding Ferris Mewler because really what is there not to love about a dead raccoon in your bed or frolicking bareback on a cat?

He wrote about it in his reading journal. Yes, he included that he couldn’t believe that his mom let him read a chapter from this inappropriate book but it was okay because his mom is kind of crazy.

I am imagining that my meeting with his teacher next week is going to be, um, interesting…unless she too is a fan of Jenny Lawson.

Remember when I recommended Jenny’s first book?

Ditto! Ditto times infinity.