Monday, June 30, 2008

Gray skies are gonna clear up

Halleluja, we finally saw blue skies. Apparently, the jet stream is working in our favor and blowing all the smoke from the fires north to Oregon. If they didn't dislike Californians already, they will after they get our smoke.

I have about 25 minutes to burn (no pun intended) waiting for my hair color to process, so I thought I'd take advantage of this time and blog. What else could I be doing?

Wash the dishes
Empty the dishwasher
Read a good book
Make my lunch for work
Prep dinner

Hmmm, tough choices, but sitting and typing sounds better than all of the above, with the possible exception of reading a good book, but I can't lie down on the couch with all this goop in my hair.

My friend and I went to Macy's yesterday to get a makeup makeover at the MAC counter. My friend doesn't own any makeup (gasp!) and had no clue how to apply it even if she did. How did she manage to get through the first 50 years of her life??????????

My first experience with "makeovers" was at the Adrien Arpel studio in San Francisco's Macys. This was many, many, many years ago. Like more than 20. My friends and I decided that we needed a girl's day out and since my friends never used makeup (am I the only one who wears makeup?) we thought that getting done up would be fun and SF is a beautiful city, so what could go wrong?

Hookers, tramps, trollops. That's what could go wrong. My god, I never had more makeup applied to my face at one time. For me it was about a week's worth gobbed on my face. For my friends, well, a lifetime's worth. We looked at each other and gasped, laughed, wet our pants, and washed our faces off. It was horrible. Have you seen Adrien Arpel lately? She appears regularly on HSN and it's not a pretty sight - btw, this is just my personal opinion.

We were unrecognizable to ourselves and each other. It was as if the technicians were hell-bent on altering our looks so that we would be able to go home incognito. Our husbands would think they had hookers come visit and they wouldn't have to pay for their services.... Fat chance. We weren't leaving Macys looking like we could stand on the street corner and make some extra money.

My second 'makeover' was at the BareEscentuals makeup store at Pier 39, in San Francisco. I don't know what it is about makeup makeovers and SF. My sis was in town with her daughter, so we trekked down to the city with my kids in tow, too. Again, the heavy-handed technician was so good, neither my sister or I resembled our former selves. My daughter, who was about 13 at the time, cried. She didn't like her mom "altered" by all the makeup on her face. She would have screamed had she seen me after the Arpel debacle. I washed my face as soon as I could....

Yesterday I cautioned the saleslady that I did not want to go home and make my daughter cry again. She's 19 now, and I think she's over the trauma from the previous experience, but I'm not taking any chances. Anyway, this 'designer' makeup is expensive stuff. Two eye shadows, and a small tube of cover-up set me back almost 50 bucks. Isn't there a comparable drugstore brand the works as well????? I know there is, but the pampering of having someone apply the makeup is very seductive. Seductive enough to plunk down 50 smackeroos for glorified war paint.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Boy, does it seem like there are some weeks when Friday can't come soon enough? I don't know why exactly, but this seems to be one of those weeks. This week was a little "blue" around the edges; a week where an extra dose of my anti-depressant could have been a good thing.

The skies about our fair city are still choked with smoke. Breathing is not getting any easier and the gray pallor is downright depressing. I can only imagine how the people whose houses have burned to the ground are feeling.

Locally, another one of our city's young men has fallen in service to his country. This is the second young man in as many months; both went to my kids' high school and both were in their early twenties. Don't even ask me how I feel about our current administration (GWB) and this lousy, crappy, unwarranted, disastrous, deadly, incomprehensible war. Enough, already. Bring 'em home. This is like Vietnam, or deja vu all over again. What a waste of lives.

Even more depressing, adding to my sense of foreboding and "blue"-ness, is news that fuel prices are expected to hit $7 per gallon within the next 18 months. I am thankful that my commute to work is about 2 miles each way, but there are things I do regularly - go to the gym, attend Al-Anon meetings, see my therapist - that take me across town and eat into my fuel budget. Fear can get the better of me if I let it, trying to figure out today how I'm going to survive financially tomorrow. I've heard in my Al-Anon meetings the following: "If you have resentments you are living in the past. If you have fears, you are living in the future. The only day we have is the present." No hard guess to figure out exactly where my head's at.


I married my first husband in August, 1982. The wedding was planned from California, but took place in my childhood town of Elmont, New York. I had the pre-wedding jitters, but still plowed ahead with my plans to get hitched.

It turns out my jitters weren't really from nerves. They were from the strong desire to scream and run away from the commitment. While standing on the altar, when the priest asked if anyone objected to the wedding, I so desperately wanted someone to stand up and be my voice. The voice I couldn't muster up myself. I had delusions that the love of my life would walk through the doors of the church and declare his undying love for me and I would run off with him and live happily ever after. Yeah, well, that didn't happen and I went through with the wedding.

One of the first signs of impending trouble was the little conversation my husband and I had in the limo. I thought it was absolutely horrible that he had just sat on our marriage license and proceeded to make a big stink about it. You would've thought that he committed an act of heinous proportions. Not looking too good for a happily ever after life together....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Boss (mine) is Back in Town

The boss-man was out of town for a whole freakin' 3 days. He was supposed to be gone all week fishing and camping with his son. It's soooo much calmer around here with him gone - I believe that he suffers from some sort of ADD and is an alcoholic. I love him dearly. He's like a father to me and I've worked for him for almost 15 years. He drives me (us) nuts at times .........

The fires are still raging in Northern California and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Most fires are barely contained and will continue to spread like, well, wildfire. The temperature is supposed to heat up in the next 3 days, which will make the air quality more intolerable than it already is.


I moved to California in June, 1981. I moved here to live with a man that would become my first husband. I made a mistake, a big mistake. I have a lot of pride. I couldn't admit I had made an error in judgment. I didn't want to admit to failure or be a failure.........

First, I'd like to say, that although my marriage didn't work for a variety of reasons, he is genuinely, a good man and father. But, I digress.

I found myself - a former urban chick, suddenly in the former egg capital of the world, Petaluma, California. Talk about a culture shock. Cows and chickens were things we only
heard about on Long Island. Now they were grazing damn near where I was living. Another thing, the house I was living in, an old Victorian on the main drag, was firmly planted between a liquor store and a bar. Talk about convenience - especially for a not fully developed alcoholic.

Nine months after shacking up - er - moving in with my bf/xdh, we had to go back to NY for his grandfather's funeral. I don't know how it happened, or maybe I do, but can conveniently forget, we told the family that we wanted to get married. Maybe it was to make my mother feel less ashamed about her daughter "living in sin", but all of a sudden we're planning an August wedding eight months later. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now mind you, my bf and I had had several high energy fights regarding my lousy attitude about being "stuck" in California - far away from my family and everything that seemed familiar and normal to me. One time he actually dragged my suitcases out of the closet and told me to move. Stubborn person that I was, I said I wasn't going anywhere. So you see, it's really not HIS fault I got married. I was provided an out, which I was too proud to take advantage of....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The hills are on fire

If you watch tv or read the papers you know that natural disasters are abundant all across our vast country. Floods in the midwest, tornadoes in the south, and fires, fires, fires in the northwest.

California currently has 842 fires burning throughout the state. The skies are choking with smoke and the summer fire season is just starting. Very scary, knowing that our town could go up in smoke next. The hills are tinder dry and are prime for going up in flames from the slightest igniter, whether it's a carelessly discarded cigarette, hot exhaust pipes, or random strikes of lightning.

The sky is so dense with smoke the hills are completely obscured. Almost like LA. It's going to be a long, hot summer for our firefighters.

There are hills in the background of the picture. They have been replaced by smoke.


My first husband and I carried on a bi-coastal romance for about nine months. In the interim, I visited California twice, each time a little more wary of my actions, but seemingly unable to stop the progression of them, too.

My second visit was in February, 1981 - Valentine's Day. I was so caught up in going to California that I never sat with my feelings, evaluating them or wondering what the hell I was doing. I was 22 years old and not all that worldly in matters of long-term consequences. I had no prior experience in making life altering decisions. I never even went away to school. This was big stuff for me and I just plowed ahead.

When my plane landed in San Francisco, I had an uncontrollable urge to turn back around and get on the airplane back to NY, a place of all things safe and familiar. This was back when people were actually able to meet you at the gate (pre-terrorist attacks). I honestly think that if I knew that my bf wasn't going to be there, I might have turned tail and run. But, he was waiting for me with the largest smile I'd ever seen and once again, I swallowed my doubts and jumped him. Jumped into another major decision, too. It was during this trip that I decided to make the move to California. I can still get that creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach just thinking about having made that decision.....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday, Monday

Monday, Monday why do you have to follow Sunday?

I married my first husband, quite honestly, I don't know why. I mean at the time it seemed like a good thing to do. But, once caught up in the actual act of it, I wanted to run, run like the wind. Why didn't anyone (like my true love, my high school sweetheart) stand up and object. Why couldn't someone have the voice that I seemed to have lost. Why couldn't someone just say "no". Why couldn't that person be me?

My life, as it was, was going nowhere fast. I was working full-time in Manhattan, at a job that was given to me and not even remotely related to the Paralegal degree I had. Enter the cousin of my best friend. As an uptight NYer (gasp!), this strange, kinda hippie looking guy from California, piqued my interests. He was bizarre, irreverent and completely spontaneous. Just what a conservative, Catholic school upbringing, young thing found attractive in some perverse way.

Mind you, at the time I wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. As entertaining as he was, he was just a little too "off" for me. But, there was this underlying attraction brewing. Life went on and he returned to California to resume his non-materialistic life, while I, quite frankly, embraced all things money could buy, and did. My office was one block from Macy's in NYC and I could do a marathon scouting, shopping expedition in under one hour.

My best friend worked a few blocks from me for Hilton Hotels and her job came with some impressive perks. Like free hotel rooms at any HH. Our grand plan was to take full advantage of this perk on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Only, Oahu didn't want us, or any other hotel guests for that matter. The hotel workers were planning a strike and hotels were not going to confirm any reservations. Arriving in Hawaii without a place to sleep didn't sound like much fun, even if it meant being homeless in Paradise.

Enter California......

My friend's aunt and cousins (see strange guy, above) lived in sunny California, home to all the tanned, beach bunny babes, and we thought what the hell. So we packed our bags and headed to Beverly Hills, hills that is, movie stars. Seriously. One of the comped rooms was at the Beverly Hills Hilton. Very nice digs.

Our trip was to LA first, then a drive up the coast to Monterey, and finally San Francisco with visits to Petaluma to see the "strange" cousin. I don't remember the Monterey Hilton so much because we arrived in the middle of the night and I never did make it to the SF Hilton. Long story short, either my hormones were raging horny or "strange" cousin was really not so strange.

Three days later, I'm on my way back to NY with a "boyfriend" in California. How many NY girls could say that, huh? It seemed so cool at the time.....


I love to bake. I love to eat what I bake. I am a recovering anorexic so I don't eat as much as I'd like to. More about this later...

I made this recipe a few days ago. It's from
Baking Bites' website.
I think this is one of the easiest things you can put together in under 5 minutes, especially if you use fruit you don't have to cut up. I used fresh blueberries, but any fresh or frozen fruit would work.

Easy Cobbler (my name for the recipe not Baking Bites’)

cup flour
1 egg
cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp lemon extract or any other complementary flavoring (optional)
1 - 1 ½ cups fruit cut up if necessary

Preheat oven to 350', grease a 9 x 9 glass baking dish.
Combine all the ingredients except the fruit in a small mixing bowl. This will look like a whole lot of nothing. Don't worry, it works.

Pour the batter into 9 x 9 glass baking pan (this is what I've used but a pie plate was in the original recipe). This is a very thick batter, so you will have to spread it with a spatula to get it into the corners.

Sprinkle the top with the fruit of your choice. The original recipe called for rhubarb, which I have made with frozen strawberries and is very good.

Bake 350' for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top. This is delicious warm and has a crunchy top when fresh. After refrigerating (if it lasts that long) it becomes soft but just as good.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a girl who dreamed of her prince charming, who would come into her life and sweep her off of her feet. She didn't think he'd be an alcoholic.

Funny (not) how life throws people and things into your life, especially when it definitely does not conform to your dreams. I now know that my Higher Power had different things in mind for me besides living happily ever after with Prince Charming.

Welcome to my life, my blog.

Through two marriages, both alcoholics, I find myself working the wonderful, spiritual program of Al-Anon; a twelve step program for friends and families of alcoholics. The last four years of my life have been some of the worst and some of the best. Depends on what day we're talking about. Because, believe you me, there were some humdingers. Looking back, it seems almost surreal that I would find myself having to make the daily decisions I did and come through the other side, stronger and better than I could've imagined.

One of my favorite blogs to visit is The Pioneer Woman. The Pioneer Woman, Ree, seems to have the Prince Charming I was supposed to get, except she calls hers the Marlboro Man. My Prince Charming kinda fell short of the mark, but he was a wonderful man, with a very sick, insidious illness, alcoholism. I know there are many people, my kids included, who do not consider alcoholism a disease. God bless you and may you never find yourself in an alcoholic relationship. For those of you who are in alcoholic relationships, God bless you, too, for you know the daily struggles living with the disease whether the alcoholic is drinking or not. To be continued...............

Random Thoughts

On a lighter note (or not), I went shopping for a bathing suit today. There should be a law against mirrors being placed 12 inches from your nose in a dressing room. This does not enhance the experience (torment) of having to squeeze your body into an impossibly small, stretchy, piece of fabric that does not leave much to the imagination as to what body flaws you are trying to conceal. Droopy boobs and all.

I go to the gym about 5 to 6 times a week and have been for the past 10 years. I was a thin, 115 pound, 39 year old back then. Through some perverseness of nature, things don't stay where they're supposed to and despite my best efforts to keep everything up and in through vigorous exercise, mother nature has defied me. She's let me down. She's exacting her revenge on my poor body. Nothing is where it's supposed to be anymore and I DON'T LIKE IT!!!!!!

I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will have to exercise the rest of my life if I want to fight the battle and have a slim chance of winning. My young, nubile body is a thing of the past and I can only remember what it looked like when I see my 19 year old daughter in a bathing suit. She'll get hers in due time.

I'm not in bad shape, actually I'm in pretty good shape, just not the shape I want to be in. I want the body that has been lipoed, tucked and trimmed. Ain't gonna happen the clinical way, so I guess I'll keep going back to the gym, one day at a time.