Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Me of a Year Ago...

First off, I want to welcome you to the new "look" of my blog. I was feeling like I needed something new and fresh...this is what I've landed on (for now). I hope you like it! :)

I was reading over some old FB statuses from last summer (and beyond) and I was truly struck with how far I've come (and X too) in a years time. I was transported back to the feelings of utter saddness, defeat, anger, disappointment and fear. Fear was one of the biggest emotions I remember from last year. I didn't fear getting through what I knew would be one of the hardest years of my life to date because I have an AMAZING support system. I knew I'd have a million shoulders to cry on, a million arms to pick me up & dust me off and a million homes open to us for hiding when we needed to hide away for a bit.

What I remember is I had a bigger fear of finding happiness again. The me of a year ago couldn't even fathom being truly happy again. Couldn't even fathom finding somone that would put his shoulder to the world along side of mine and soilder through it with me. I saw a broken and sad woman facing me in the mirror. I barely ate, rarely slept and drowned it all (or tried to numb it all) away.

But what I've learned...that all fades. The anger turns to forgiveness, the saddness turns to rememberance, the defeat turns to courage and the hurt just fades. I've learned many things about myself and what I want for me from this experience. I've become a more patient mother/friend/sister/daughter. I've also learned to laugh a whole lot more and not take life too serious...it can change in the blink of an eye (or the split second of a text). I've also learned that in order to find that happiness again, you have to open up and let it in. Staying afraid to feel the hurt again will never allow it to fade...staying afraid let's the fear win.

I know I have more fear to put aside, and as the months pass those fears continue to fade. I turn to my support system every step of the way and stand shoulder to shoulder with an amazing man [Hi babe!] who is willing to go the distance with me and X...all of us finding happiness in that journey. I'm not sure how I can ever truly express to my support system how much they've pulled me from the deep, dark valleys. I only hope that I can pay it forward in some way, some day to somone who needs it more than I did.

I have been fortunate in my situation, although I know I have more battles to wage in this war, but I want those who are still hurting, angry, sad and affraid to know...hold on. Hold on with every thread of your being. There will be a day when you can look back on your last year and be proud of where you are today...whenever today is for you.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Son, I Want You to Know...

I've discovered through my Pinterest habit (it's totally under control, I promise) that there are lots of mothers out there that want to leave more than a 1/2 finished baby album behind for their children. I'm definitely one of those moms (1/2 finished baby album and all)!

I've come across other blogs that moms have written that have wonderfully heartfelt messages to their sons (and daughters). I wanted to create my own for X so that one day, I can print it out and include it in his baby (hopefully complete) album.  Here is my list and even if you don't write your list via a blog, I encourage you to write it. It's terribly emotional, but forces you to REALLY look at your children for who they are today, who you see them as in the future and the person you hope the world will see them as. {Tissue warning}

My son, I want you to know...

#1 I will always LOVE you...no matter what. I might not like you at times, but you will always be loved fully and unconditionally by me. You are a giant piece of my heart walking around in the world!

#2 Tell the truth. The truth may hurt, but nothing hurts more than knowing someone wasn't worthy of the truth. Plus, I'll be madder if I ever find out you've lied (and the punishment is more harsh - I promise).

#3 Be true to yourself. Be who you are because who you are is amazing! It's scary to be yourself, truly yourself, but take that fear and turn it into strength and amaze the world!

#4 Always use your manners. There are few things that are more attractive than a man with impeccable manners.

#5 Rules are rules.* They are there to keep you from killing yourself (and me from killing you) and to keep order in the world. There are limits that can be pushed, but keep on the legal side of the limits.

#6 The world is your oyster. You are capable of anything! Seek adventure. Your spirit is bright and wild. Follow that, see the world and explore new and wonderful lands!

#7 We are all human. It's easy to judge people based on the way they look on the outside, but we all have lives within that we protect and keep private. You are a sensitive soul, use that to be kind and accepting of people.

#8 Share your heart. Be open and real with your emotions. You have an enormous heart and love like no other. All emotions are valid, so it's OK to be mad, angry, happy, sad and to cry - even if you are a "guy".

#9 Your body is a temple. Get your exercise, eat right, enjoy pushing yourself to limits you didn't think you could achieve. HOWEVER, remember: ink and holes are permanent, your privates are private, pull your pants up and replacing your teeth is expensive. Play smart!

#10 I'm NOT your friend. I'm your mom. It's my job to teach you right from wrong. To teach you to be respectful and use your manners. To punish you when you've broken the rules and to teach you there are consequences to your actions. But I do all of this out of love for you!

#11 Money doesn't solve problems, but it can help. Be responsible with your money. Learn to take care of your responsibilities in life first. Take care of your family and provide for them. Please...work to live, not live to work.

#12 Never keep a lady (or anyone for that matter) waiting. If you are on time, you're late! Respect the time of others and they will in turn respect yours.

#13 Keep your word. Integrity is, above all, everything. Do what you say and say what you do. An honorable man is nothing to be ashamed of and it will earn you far more respect than trying to have "swag".

#14 Get an education. It doesn't have to be a formal education, but learn and NEVER stop learning. Your potential is limitless if you seek knowledge (and use it wisely)!

#15 Say I'm sorry (and mean it when you are apologizing). It's not a sign of weakness to apologize, you are not any less of a man if you do. If anything, it will get you much farther than not.

#16 Know when to be selfish. Putting others first is a trait that is admirable, but so is knowing when you need to take care of you.

#17 Violence doesn't solve anything. Hitting is NEVER EVER EVER OK, especially women. But please defend yourself - don't be a punching bag for someone else. Don't be a bully. Stand up for the little guys.

#18 Be grateful. One day you may not have much, be grateful for what you DO have. Seeking happiness in "things" will only make you lonely in a house full of stuff. 

#19 Listen to your intuition. It's more than "just a feeling". It's part of who you are, to keep you safe and out of harms way (whether harm be physical, mental or emotional).

#20 Be handy. Learn to use tools, what they're called and which is best for the job. It will be a skill and asset you'll never wish you didn't know. And don't ever complain when you are asked to help!

#21 Religion is personal. Choose what is right for you. No one can tell you what you believe is right or wrong. You also have every right to change the way you view your religion and faith whenever you should so choose.

#22 Treat women like princesses. Telling a woman they are beautiful everyday (even on their worst days) will take you farther than any gift ever will (although thoughtful gifts - purchased or homemade - can't hurt)!

#23 Laughter is healing. You are funny and witty! You can hold a crowd on a single word. Be proud of your ability to make others laugh - it's a talent few people have.

#24 A broken heart isn't the end. Someday someone will break your heart. It will feel like the world has stopped rotating and your walls are crashing in.  It's temporary, I promise. Take the time you need to heal. When that is over, pick yourself up and solider on. There are greater loves to be had awaiting you!

#25 You'll ALWAYS have a place with me. I know that times can get hard and we need a safe place to go to work out life. No matter what hand life deals you, you'll always have a safe place to be. I'll listen without talking, I'll never judge and I'll be there to dry your tears and remind you how much you are loved.


*This is clearly a "do as I say, not as I do" item. Many of you know I'm NOT the best rule follower! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Just Call Me Carrie

I basically grew up with Sex and The City, the first season aired in 1998 and in 1998 I was 21.  Ok, "grew up" isn't quite right, let's say "matured" with it. :) The show was edgy, sexy, risky, fashionable, trendy and as I'm learning now in my 30's...relateable.  I loved the show in my 20's! I wouldn't miss an episode...my girlfriends and I would huddle around our TV's just to soak it up every Sunday night. I always fantasized that is how my life would be after college...living in a big city, surrounded by close girlfriends, drinking cosmos and falling in and out of relationships - seeking my own "Mr. Big".

Obviously, my life didn't quite turn out that way. Or did it? ;)

As I curled up on the couch recently with my coffee and my laptop pondering my next blog post, I saw SATC was on TV. Now, the TV version doesn't hold a candle to the HBO version, but I just have to watch whenever it's on.  I was thrilled to see that I caught the beginning of a 4 episode run. Sitting on the couch, becoming engrossed in the first episode, I found my chest getting tight, my blood pressure rising and I could hear my own heartbeat in my ears. OMG! Am I having a heart attack!?!?  No, not a heart attack, but a full blown physical response to how strongly I was relating to the show.

I took a step back for a moment and reflected on my life currently...I'm in my 30's, living in a city (not big, but it will do), surrounded by close girlfriends, drinking wine (sorta our thing here in Pinot country) and falling in and out of relationships - maybe even found my own "Mr. Big" [Hey baby!] (or Harry or Smith or Steve).

The men that the women of SATC have relationships with are also very relateable. I don't think I could say I'd pick one of the men over the other, but would want someone who embodies many characteristics of each [..and I think I have!]

While the final episode was wrapping up, I found myself relating to each of the characters in some way. I wouldn't say I'm one character more than another, I'm bits and pieces of each rolled into one.

Charlotte: Traditional, romantic and straightforward about relationships
Samantha: Proud, confident and highly sexual woman
Miranda: Type A, career-minded and voice of reason
Carrie: Led by emotions, seeks acceptance, selfish and a writer

I think all women have a bit of these characters in them and each one warrants appropriate times to be channeled and used in life. I am thankful to SATC for giving me a show that will be timeless and relevant in my life. I truly do love how relateable it is right now. I am going to need to get all the seasons from my sister again and just dive back into it!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Caution! Detour Ahead.

There's this quote I stumbled across recently online (Pinterest, I'm quite sure...again, hello, my name is Tara and I'm an Pinterest addict) and it went something like this: 

"When you are comparing your life to the lives of others, you have to remember, you are comparing your back stage to their on stage."

As I read it, I'm pretty sure I had a physical, guttural reaction. It spoke to me in a way that literally made me stop in my track and think.  We all put on a brilliant "act" for public consumption and viewing. We don't get to see the trials and tribulations of those around us because they are scared just as shitless as I am to let anyone know what they are really going through. I don't know if it's fear of failure, fear of seeming out of control, or something else entirely; but I do know that we all have stuff going on in our lives that only we can see, yet we continue to hold it up to what we think is comparable in the lives of those around. It's crazy, really it is.

As I've been going about my life lately, which in all honestly hasn't been that bad, thanks to a number of people in it, I still find myself thinking, "My life is a mess! I don't know what I'm doing, what a wreck! I don't blame anyone for running. As a matter of fact, there is a 'get out of jail free card' at the ready if/when this is just too much to handle, isn't what they've signed on for or can't be around the circus any longer. Feel free to run at any time." 

I shared this sentiment with a very dear friend of mine the other night and she called me on it. She said (in a nutshell), "Wrong and shame on you! You are amazing and anyone that gets to share their life with you is a lucky person. If you keep telling them that, you are keeping them at an arms distance and not letting them in. They will run, even if you don't want them to, because you haven't let them in. Do you want them to run?" Well, no, of course not! I don't want them to go anywhere. But everyday I wake up, I seem to want something different. One thing I want that never changes, is to be the best mom I can be for X. So I pull up my big girl panties, wipe my nose and solider on...being mom. :)

I suppose as a single mom dealing with a pretty crappy situation and trying to make the best of it, I feel like I walk around with a neon, blinking sign over my head that reads:


This is my "back stage." I know that the ones I love and love me don't see this. It's hard to put aside these insecurities, open up and let happiness and love flow in. 

I know that all that I'm going through is only the tip of the iceberg. I know that there is always going to be a constant "ABRUPT TURN" sign over my head (in my mind) considering who I have to deal with for the rest of my life. But, every moment is worth it. Worth it because I know there is an end in sight and a bright future waiting for me...if I'll allow it. 

Lots of love!

Not a One Way Street

When I have moments in my days that I can just think (i.e. I'm home alone, driving in the car without music playing or taking a shower) I often think of ways to be successful in my relationships.  I know my marriage failed for a number of reasons (one really big glaring one...but we won't go there), but I often wonder if there were things I could have done differently, more/less of, or if I could have really made a difference at all.  Because of these thoughts I started looking online (I know, the internet is like a bathroom wall - anyone can post there...hey, I'm here posting...LOL) for tips for making relationships successful.  What I've found is something I already knew...love isn't a one way street. Both adults (please make note of this word ADULTS) need to be willing participants in the relationship. 

There are lots of tips and advice on making your relationships successful out there, so I'm only going to mention a couple of them here. I know I'm not alone in wanting to be one of those "disgustingly happy" couples, so I hope that this info will help someone as well who may be struggling in a relationship that they want to preserve.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm a hopeless romantic. I love to show love and affection. I know there are tons of ways to show it and knowing how your partner likes to be loved is part of the formula.  One resource in particular is "The 5 Love Languages" (there is a book and also this great website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/). I find this interesting because not everyone shows love/affection the same way or wants to receive it in the same way. Part of being a willing participant in a relationship is knowing what makes your partner happy and doing those things/showing it in their way is important. I took the quiz on the website and my primary love language is Physical Touch (this is not shocking news to me - I'm a hugger, kisser, and a firm believer in a good game of grab ass). There are quizzes for all phases of your life: single, wife, husband, parents, children. You can even identify your Apology Language (and the same for your partner). I took this quiz as well, because if you are going to be in a relationship, more than likely there is going to be a disagreement (or two or three or ten) and apologizing is part of being an adult and function within the relationship. My apology language is Accepting Responsibility (in that the way I want to be apologized to is for the other person to accept responsibility).

I highly recommend this site and book. I actually discovered I have a close second love language, Receiving Gifts. Now, please don’t mistake this for materialism; I thrive on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gifts. Learning how to apply this information to my relationships (intimate/family/friends) and how I can help those relationships be successful by being aware of my love and apology languages is a new added resolution for this year.

One of the other things I came across in my research is a list of "75 Ways to Show Love". I think that knowing your love language (and the love language of your partner) and being aware of many items on this list, you have a pretty damn good recipe for a happy and successful relationship. I love so many of the things on this list and you'll hopefully see that so many of them are FREE!

1. A kiss on the forehead
2. Uninterrupted quality time
3. A note under the pillow
4. Tell him when he looks masculine, sexy, or hot
5. Turn a regular day into an All-About-You day just for your mate
6. Breakfast served in bed
7. A romantic picnic indoors
8. An unexpected dinner cruise
9. Propose marriage on one knee
10. Don’t complain when he leaves the toilet seat up
11. A rose on the pillow
12. Tell her she’s beautiful
13. Pour on the chivalry (open doors, pull her chair out)
14. A bubble bath with rose petals and her favorite scented candles
15. Verbalize what your relationship means to you
16. Surprise her with her favorite flowers and candy
17. An “I love you because…” list
18. PDA (public displays of affection)
19. Heart shaped pancakes or cookies
20. A walk in the park together
21. Hold your beloved a little tighter and longer than usual
22. Do some of his/her chores
23. A handwritten card sprayed with your scent
24. Spoil each other
25. Renew your marriage vows
26. Be first to say “I’m sorry” after an argument
27. Personalize (i.e. engrave) gifts
28. Place an “I love you” flyer under the car’s windshield wiper
29. Send a surprise gift to his/her workplace
30. Support each others dreams
31. Make love slowly, passionately
32. Run his bath water
33. Give your spouse space when needed
34. Buy her feminine hygiene products (before she asks)
35. Bring him a cold beer while he watches football
36. Put a love note in her purse
37. Hold hands
38. Take showers together and wash each others back (or whole body)
39. Look deeply into your lover’s eyes
40. Always kiss goodbye and goodnight
41. Boast about your mate and your relationship to mutual friends
42. Arrange for a babysitter so you can have an unexpected date night
43. Say how much you love each other even if you think it’s known
44. Use cute pet names for each other
45. Rub your noses together
46. Remember to say thank you (often)
47. Excuse each others mistakes
48. Meditate together
49. Sleep in his t-shirt
50. Wash her hair
51. Step outside of traditional gender roles to help each other (Cook dinner for her; take the trash out for him)
52. Verbally reassure your lover
53. Take photographs as a couple
54. Give up the last piece of food on your plate
55. Write a short fairy tale using you and your mate as the characters (Once upon a time…”)
56. Listen more intently
57. Flirt with each other
58. Sing your significant other a love song
59. Get up early to help him/her get ready for work
60. Say “I adore you”
61. Watch a chic flick with her
62. Kiss your mate somewhere you never thought to kiss before (i.e. elbow, knee, toe)
63. Initiate affection (hugs, kisses, spooning)
64. Take good care of yourself so that you’re at your best for the one you love
65. A handmade gift or card
66. Write a sweet message on a fogged-up mirror so he/she will see it after exiting the shower
67. Cook your significant others' favorite meal
68. Feed each other chocolate covered strawberries
69. Cuddle by the fireplace
70. Laugh and have fun with each other
71. Rub his/her feet
72. Create a scrapbook together
73. Start a hobby together
74. Dance indoors to your favorite song
75. Ask about each others day


Monday, January 23, 2012

SOA & Born to Raise a Boy

This post requires a bit of an intro, so please bear with me (but I'm sure if you are a return reader, you know I don't really get to the point quickly - and for that I'm sorry). LOL!! :)

Let me first start by saying this...if you haven't seen the TV show Sons of Anarchy I STRONGLY urge you to stop what you are doing (well of course after you finish reading this amazing blog entry) and subject yourself to the show ASAP! When I first heard about the show from J he was telling me about "Outlaw Tuesdays" and this show SOA. Guns, drugs, sex, violence, power-struggle, betrayal, family loyalty and motorcycle gangs. :| I thought, "Um, seriously!? Why would I want to watch a show like that?!? I'm a Sex and the City kind of gal."  But because it was early on when J and I were still just getting to know each other, I humored him and told him I'd watch an episode with him. [You're right babe - one of the best shows ever!]. We turned on OnDemand and watched an episode, I believe it was smack-dab in the middle of Season 4. I was lost and confused, but admittedly curious to see more. J hooked me up with NetFlix so I could start from Season 1. Immediately hooked is an understatement. I'm pretty sure I watched almost ALL of Season 1 in one sitting. I was up until the wee hours of the morning just to see what happens next (and this is exactly why I don't read to fall asleep - doesn't work). From a critic point of view, it has excellent acting, writing, great story line, superior cast, suspense and drama to keep you coming back for more.  From a female point of view - O.M.G. ...eye-candy galore!! It's sexy, dirty and sort of makes you feel wrong for watching, but like a train wreck...you can't look away...I love it!

J and I just finished catching up on Season 3, and (now please bear with me) there was a scene of the main character making out with - what he doesn't know is - his half sister. Well, both the moms walk in and catch them, walk out and decide they need to tell them they are related.  The scene cuts to the girl and her mom. The girl is shocked, crying and, being a girl myself I know, she was filling her mind with all the "what if's", "how could you's" and "what will everyone think's". She's crying and wanting to know why?  The scene cuts again to the guy and his mom and it's this hilarious moment of "dang mom, I almost did it with my sister!" He's kinda giggling and they share this funny mother/son moment. As I sat on the couch watching these two scenes I thought to myself, "This is exactly why I am thankful I'm raising a boy. I don't think I could deal with that other situation." Wrong, I know. Again, just how I'm wired. ;)

I knew from the moment I started thinking about having children I hoped I would have a boy. Now, don't get me wrong, I think just about every woman wants to have a little girl so you can do the cute hair, tu-tu's, dresses, shoes - all that girlie stuff (don't lie to yourselves ladies...you know you do... and that OK...I still do on some level). I would think about what it would be like to raise a version of ME and to try to help a girl get through all of what life holds as a girl and I knew there was NO WAY I'd be able to succeed at that.  When I found out I was having a boy, I was so relieved. Now, there was (and still are) moments of panic..."I don't know what to do with a boy! I don't want to raise a ninny! I don't know much about boy stuff! Am I doing this right?" But as the days/weeks/months/years pass, I learn new stuff about raising a boy daily. I'm becoming a master of Transformers, knowledgeable in all things dinosaurs, learning to cook/clean/go to the bathroom while dodging Nerf bullets and trying not to question what substance is on his hands - just insist he washes them, brushes his teeth, flushes the toilet and don't run with your pants around your ankles.

I think the Universe/God/Fate (you pick one, or add your own depending on your beliefs) knows what you are cut out to do and will give you just that. I believe I was born to raise a boy. 

I always say, "Everyday I don't kill him or let him kill himself is a successful day as a parent!"


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA & PIPA (No, not the yummy fried dessert at Mexican Resturants)

IMPORTANT - Please read!

I feel this is a good forum to post this information as these bills will affect those of use who blog and use the Internet for personal and business use. After this post, my blog will be silent during this protest as well as my Facebook page, my Pinterest activity and finally my Pandora radio. These are all the ways I use the Internet in my personal life - all of which will be affected by these bills.

On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill - PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House - to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. 

You can make your voice heard in a number of ways, here are some links to websites that are circulating online petitions for these bills: 


You can also email your local congressperson and voice your concern with them directly as well.  You can locate your local congressperson via this website too (can you now see how important the Internet is in our lives):


I hope you all will join me - you found me on the Internet, I'm sure you use it daily. Don't let your right to a free and open Internet be taken from you.