Wildflower and Salvation

Wildflower and Salvation

Earlier this year when I read Drew Barrymore’s memoir “Wildflower” a few things struck me. I’ve liked Drew since E.T. Her signature lisp and flirty, messy hair make me feel like she’s just a regular gal instead of part of Hollywood royalty. And I admired her ability to strike a balance between fear and grace during the anthrax scare when she hosted the first Saturday Night Live after 9/11. Despite her good genes though, she had a rough go of it when she was younger and it affected her well into her adult years.

In her book, she shares the story of how trips to the local laundromat saved her. She was a rich kid who had been spoiled and all but neglected by her mother. She started drinking heavily at a very young age and, after years of battling with her mother, went out on her own as a young teenager, which must have been very scary.

She didn’t know how to do some of the simplest things many people take for granted — like doing her own laundry. Through a lot of trial and error, she eventually learned how to separate clothes, choose the right detergent and fabric softener, and operate the machine settings. These were like small little victories on her path to independence. Slowly, she began to figure things out and along the way she proved that she just might be able to take care of herself. In a way, the  laundromat was her salvation.

My “wildflower” era was in the days and years following the adoption placement. And my salvation was Disney. Specifically – moving to Florida to work for the mouse and start a new life.

Living on my own at such a young age was scary. I lived at college, too, for a short time, but that was more of a safe environment than it was exploratory or a picture of self-reliance. No, moving to Florida was perhaps the smartest thing I could have done back then, although I didn’t think of it that way at the time. I lived in the Disney apartments for a while and then eventually found roommates to share an apartment on the outskirts of Orlando.

I remember feeling lonely and alone. Two very different emotions. Both have the power to be transforming or debilitating. First came loneliness: in a strange new city with no one to lean on to make things right when they went wrong. But day by day and little by little I moved from feelings of loneliness to being okay with being alone.

Little things like getting promoted. Earning my own money. Buying my own furniture. Proving myself to be a leader among people that didn’t know me from anybody. Making new friends. Establishing myself in a different city and a different environment. Doing my own laundry. All of these things taught me that I was capable of caring for myself. (Of course, the huge irony now is that my husband does all of our laundry, but THAT IS IRRELEVANT.)

These years were a time of finding my footing. Steadying my own ship. And writing my own chapter on self-reliance. I like to think I gathered some measure of strength in those alone days.


This post is part of #MicroblogMondays – read more about it here.

Epic Shit-Disturbers and Standing (Or Sitting) For What You Believe In

Epic Shit-Disturbers and Standing (Or Sitting) For What You Believe In

There are lots of feathers ruffled lately about standing and sitting.

Why aren’t we equally outraged over the injustices that these peaceful and Constitutionally protected acts are protesting? Why aren’t more people angry about unarmed black people unfairly profiled, targeted and killed by some rogue officers on a seemingly Klan-induced power trip?

No, it’s not all police officers, but why aren’t we working to hold the bad ones accountable rather than just giving them paid administrative leave, light sentences, or worse – no sentence at all. It’s disgusting, outrageous and inhumane. But sure, let’s get our panties in a knot over Kaepernick not standing, shall we?

And why is there no equivalent outrage over domestic abuse and criminal activities – all of which continue to plague the NFL? Video evidence shows Ray Rice KNOCKING HIS WIFE UNCONSCIOUS. But you know what? His penalty was just a wee bit more harsh than the one given to my beloved Tom Brady for allegedly deflating a football. Is the hatred for the best team in the NFL the Patriots so all-encompassing that we’re willing to raise a supposedly deflated football to the same level of criminal behavior as domestic abuse? Seriously. How effed up is that? And yet, we don’t blink because money and advertising revenue and merchandise sales and football.

The irony in all of this is that forcing someone to stand is distinctly unpatriotic and so obviously THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the freedoms our veterans fought for.

For real. There’s a movement on social media with the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick. They don’t all agree with his act, but they support and defend his right to do so because otherwise what the hell are they fighting for?

I don’t want to live in a country that says I must stand during the National Anthem.

Mostly because I believe that country is called North Korea.

I want to live in a country where my patriotism is not defined, determined, or affirmed by whether I sit or stand when a song is played.

There’s patriotism and then there’s pageantry.

One is personal and reverent. One is just showing off. And if you don’t know this about me already, I don’t like show-offs.

I am an American, but I’m not always proud of the way many in our country (leaders and citizens) behave.

I enjoy watching fourth of July fireworks, parades, and celebrations, but if I choose to stay inside and watch reruns of the Golden Girls all day on the fourth of July, am I suddenly less of an American?

I salute the flag, but I don’t have one hanging in my front yard? Am I not American enough?

I vote in every single election – local, state, national – but if you don’t, does that make you any less of an American?

(actually, in my eyes, the answer is yes, yes it does. For the love of God there’s no reason to not vote. None. It’s your DUTY AS AN AMERICAN! Not registered? I got you: www.vote.org.)

Just because someone wears a flag pin doesn’t mean they always have the best interests of the country at heart. I submit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as Exhibit A.

Just because someone stands during the National Anthem doesn’t mean they’re any more patriotic than someone who sits.

Patriotism is still patriotism without all the pageantry attached to it.

Dissent is a form of patriotism as well. Any intelligent American knows this is true. May I call your attention to the epic shit-disturbers from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to civil rights to women’s rights to gay rights?

The bottom line is I will teach my girls to stand during the National Anthem.

But I will also teach them that patriotism means standing up (or sitting down) for what you believe in, especially when there are injustices, policies, or actions that harm our citizens and contradict our nation’s purported values. Kaerpernick (or anyone else) standing or sitting during the National Anthem doesn’t offend me at all. In fact, I think taking a stand is a very brave and noble thing to do.

What is incredibly sad is that this isn’t the first time someone has taken a stand for these very same issues.
The fact that this is still an issue after decades and decades of protests and calls for change is perhaps the saddest thing of all.

Ready, Steady, GO

Ready, Steady, GO

My littlest one started kindergarten last week and I am so very proud of her. If you had asked me a few days before she started if I was sad, like a few of my mom friends, I would have said (emphatically) no!


I guess I am a little sad. It’s a bittersweet feeling. This is my last first day of kindergarten and I guess I’m just trying to savor every little moment.

But I’m also really excited for her. She’s going to grow in so many ways. She’s kind and friendly and outgoing and although she gets a little bit nervous, I know she’s just going to thrive.

Two weeks ago was the last full week with no summer camp, no vacation and no plans before school starts. We had a “meet your bus driver” day, which we completely effed up. We overslept. I’d heard my husband’s alarm go off at 6 but promptly fell right back asleep.

My 12 year old’s bus comes at 6:55. She wanted to be out there to meet her bus driver and find out what bus number she had. We woke at 6:45am. Omg.

She quickly went to her assigned bus stop. I followed behind as soon as I could  get myself together (translation: put a bra on and grab my eyeglasses. #sexy). I leashed up the dog and headed out the door leaving my 5 year old still sleeping.

After she met her driver we went home and woke my 5 year old for breakfast. At 8:10 a.m. at the same bus stop, the three of us walked out to meet little one’s bus. She is SO EXCITED TO RIDE THE BUS. Ever since she saw her big sister get on a school bus four years ago, she’s been dying for her turn. 

When the bus pulled up on its trial run of the neighborhood, she ran right up the steps and greeted the driver with a big smile. She walked the aisle of the bus to check things out and then she stopped for a quick picture with the bus driver. The driver asked her name, her age, and if she was ready for kindergarten. My girl, with a smile that went from ear to ear said with her signature lisp, “Yeth!”


Later that day, we played a card game she created. It’s based on the game “War” but the cards are hot pink and instead of numbers, there are symbols which she created. I wasn’t privy to the hierarchy of the cards so I just let her call the shots. She told me that just like in War we flip our cards at the same time.

Every time she flipped a card she looked at me with those big greenish blueish eyes and said, “Ready? … Steady ….GO!”

I love how she said it with such conviction.

I know shes ready. I’m just not sure I am.

She’s going to do amazing things I just know it.

Here’s both my girls on their first day of school last week. Ready, Steady, Go 🙂





Sleepless … Always 

The first time I saw, “Sleepless In Seattle” was at the Pleasure Island AMC theatres at Disney World when it first came out in 1993. I was 23 years old and, although I wasn’t dating anyone at the time, I had my share of romantic hopes and dreams.

I saw the movie with a bunch of girlfriends and then watched An Affair To Remember a few weeks later with a girlfriend so we could be all caught up on the Cary Grant / Deborah Kerr thing. Is it Kerr or Carr? 🙂

There is nothing about this movie that I don’t love. Nothing.

Meg Ryan’s clothes – simple, understated, muted tones. Her hair – long, wavy, wispy, and perfect in every scene. Her singing in the car – PERFECT. #horsehorseshorses

Tom Hanks’ curly hair – adorable. The way you can see his whole face and body posture change … soften … as he comforts his son, who just told him he thinks he’s forgetting his deceased mother – makes me tear up every time.

The soundtrack is fantastic and timeless. 

And Nora Ephron was a complete and total genius director. 

This is without question my favorite movie of all time. Every line and every song is just imprinted on my little heart.

So what’s your favorite movie? What movie do you always have to watch when it pops up on your tv? 

Book Review: “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Review: “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

“A body doesn’t like being bought & sold like a basket of eggs even if the person who cracks the shells is kind.” – Isabel, “Chains”

“Chains” is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The setting is the northern states during the Revolutionary War. A young slave girl, Isabel, believes she and her sister Ruby will reap the promise of freedom when their owner dies. But instead, the two are sold to an evil couple whose loyalties lie with the British. The couple treat the girls horrendously, but of course, there is no such thing as “good slavery.”

Isabel meets a young boy, Curazon, who is involved in the fight for freedom from the British. He encourages her to spy on her owners. She’s reluctant at first, fearing the repercussions of being caught. But soon, she comes to realize that may be the only way to secure freedom for her and her sister. And that’s when the real danger begins as she attempts to break the physical and emotional chains and win her freedom.

I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t think much about slavery occurring in America other than around Civil War times. This book takes place a full century before the Civil War and is written with such precision that I could feel the starchiness of Isabel’s dress; the pinching of her too-small shoes; and the crack of the whip as it seared her unsuspecting cheek. I could smell the staleness of death in Lady Seymour’s room; the rosemary twigs at Christmas carefully positioned throughout the house to mask the foul odors of dirty soldiers; and the wretched conditions of Curazon’s prison cell with the grimy scent of death and decay all around him.

I’m also sort of fan-girling around the author, Laurie Halse Anderson. She’s an alumna of OCC and was one of the very first Alumni Faces Honorees selected by my former work place. I adore her writing and, although I don’t read the “Young Adult” genre often, I am carefully making my way through her brilliant collection.

Thrilled to know the story of Isabel and Curazon continues. I’ve just started the second book and can’t wait to see what happens.

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