When Is A Friend Not A Friend?

Let me ask you a question about friendships…is there a line that can’t be crossed?

What would you do if a friend acted in manner so egregious, so counter to your own value system?

Have you ever said to yourself, I can’t be friends with someone like that, and end the friendship?

It happened to me.

I met her at the gym; she overheard me talking about my obsession with all things Chanel and we became friendly.

My tugboat man coined the phrase “friend not friend” because all we did was shop together. We never went out for dinner as couples and we never socialized together with our husbands. She had been to our house, but had never invited me to hers.

She was a “shopping friend.”

That means we’d meet every couple of weeks or so and drive in one car to a mall, either Fashion Valley in San Diego, or South Coast Plaza in Orange County.

Whoever didn’t drive bought lunch for two; that was a fair trade.

That was the only thing we had in common, even though we learned that our kids attended the same elementary school at the same time.

She’d been a working mom throughout their entire childhood; I’m an ardent advocate for the stay-at-home-mom situation.

She had a tough childhood: was unwanted, abused by a stepfather, and forced to travel around the country with her migrant worker family.

She managed to graduate from college and has been married to the same man for about forty years, the only man she’s ever slept with.

He just happens to be a millionaire, which is an amazing rags to riches tale.

Her inner fortitude and drive to extricate herself from poverty are admirable qualities and I’m sure that somewhere in there is an explanation for the way she acted the last time we spent the day together.

On this particular day, it was her turn to drive. Since she never had new clothes when she was growing up, she became a compulsive shopper, and always bought something, no matter what the cost. I’m more of a browser, and fairly thrifty except for that one (or two) Chanels.

After six hours at South Coast Plaza, we were on the highway heading home.

Looking out of the passenger window, I spotted a little puppy walking in the weeds parallel to the freeway.

I pointed and said, “Oh my gosh, do you see that? Pull over, pull over, there’s a puppy right there. You stop and I’ll run out and get it before something terrible happens.”

She wouldn’t stop.

She would not stop.

She flailed a hand about —  you know, in that way, that universal sign of blasé dismissal — and said, “Oh, someone will help. It’ll be fine.”

“No it won’t. We have to help. We HAVE to. Get off the next exit and let’s go back. “

She refused to stop the car, no matter what I said.

“How could you say you love animals but you won’t stop to help a creature in dire need of assistance?”

I was powerless. I hate feeling ineffectual, useless, helpless.

I’m sure she endured all that and more growing up with her dysfunctional family but it would seem that she might have felt more of a kinship toward another helpless creature, not apathetic indifference and total lack of compassion.

I was silent for the remainder of the ride.

By the time we got back, it was getting dark. I thought about jumping in my car and driving back to where I saw the puppy but I didn’t even know the exactly where we had been, which is the reason why I hadn’t called CHP or animal rescue. It would have been impossible to locate. All I know is that it was somewhere on the 405 South from Newport Beach.

That was the last time I saw this friend not friend. She went on a vacation soon after that and when she returned, I heard she started going to another gym.

I’m haunted by the vision of that puppy that I couldn’t help.

Of course I couldn’t be friends with someone like that.

Everything I needed to know about her true character was revealed, and for me, that’s a non-negotiable area.

A deal breaker. A heart breaker.

Have you ever had to end a friendship?

I Just Want to Pee Alone… A Must-Read Book Review

I Just Want To Pee Alone

Trust me, this is one of the best (and most irreverent) guides to the real world of mothering you’ll ever read.

It brought me back with laughter to the days when the bathroom was a place to hide for a few brief moments of precious solititude — where I’d hide a book to attempt to read and eke out a few sentences before the scratching and whining at the door would start to let me know I’d been discovered.

Ahhh, the good old days!

Way back when my son was a baby, we didn’t have blogging or the opportunity to use humor as an outlet to the rewarding — but unrelenting — job of being a mommy.

Raising kids properly is hard work. Every mom can relate to  “I just want to pee alone!”

I Just Want to Pee Alone is a collection of hilarious essays from thirty-seven of the most kick ass mom bloggers on the web. “Grown Up Words in a Pint-Sized Mouth” by Momaical (Tracy Winslow) is laugh-out-loud funny and is a must-read. She’s in great company with the rest of the bloggers, including People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Insane in the Mom-Brain, The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, Baby Sideburns, Let Me Start By Saying, and Rants From Mommyland.

Read it for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree with me.

This is a super gift for a baby shower or a new mom, as necessary as a stroller or a car seat!

Beginnings and endings: 1966 and 2007

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”–Coco Chanel

Two special dates: July 1966 and April 2007

Beginnings and endings.

July 1966 – Detroit, Michigan

I’m in the bathroom, calling out to my mom.

“MomMomMOM MOMMEEE!! Where ARE you? Guess what?”

You know what they say, a mom always knows.

“Honey, I bet you just started menstruating, am I right?” (She was a nurse and always always used a medical term instead of slang. Like we always said “urinate” instead of pee; vagina and penis instead of -well– instead of anything else.)

After a hug and a lengthy (yawn) tutorial about personal hygiene, my mom took me out for lunch and a shopping spree to commemorate this milestone towards womanhood. She told me that when she first began to menstruate, all she got was a slap in the face from her mother, some kind of archaic ritualistic symbolism that had something to do with the fact that her father (my grandfather) was a rabbi. She told me that she was horrified and never forgot it, and if she ever had a little girl, she’d mark the occasion with a celebration, not a punishment.

At school it was called “Aunt Flo” or “Secret Sam” (don’t ask me why.)

Back then everyone used cumbersome huge Kotex pads attached by a hellish contraption known as a “Kotex belt.” Made up of white elastic encompassing your waist along with two plastic clips that attached to each end of the pad, it took some getting used to — and felt very much like my biking shorts do now. It was a great day when I graduated to tampons.

That started years of worry. Worry about waiting to “start”. Worry about what to wear to avoid an accident, and later, worry about NOT starting, waiting every month with a silent prayer to the Period Goddess — please oh please let me start; I’ll be more careful next time. And then getting married and wanting to start a family; holding my breath every month and willing my body to NOT– becoming compulsively scientific, taking temperatures and  stressing over ovulation days and counting. Worry, worry, worry.

Worry about the baby I did become pregnant with…will he be healthy, will I be a good mom, will I produce enough milk, can I protect him from all harm and sadness–the what ifs drove me crazy.

April 2007 was the date of my last menses, my last period. At the risk of alienating my peers, I have to be honest and admit that I had no symptoms of menopause — I experienced none of the common complaints. Oh, I had an occasional hot flash–which I actually enjoyed since I’m always cold — for a few brief moments, it felt like I had my own personal heater. And once in a while, I’d feel a bit tingly which brought back awesome memories of a similar feeling when I was breastfeeding and my milk “let down”. I told my doctor all this and she nodded her head and said she had experienced the same sensations.

I am so happy to be done with all that worry.  I don’t have to check the calendar every month and worry about when or if I’m going to need to carry tampons with me.

It’s not that I’m not still kinda crazy, but my level of worry is diferent. Not that I don’t worry constantly about my son, but he’s a grown up thirty-two- year-old Yale professor and my worry for him is a bit less intense.

I feel freer. Tranquil. Confident. Satisfied. I can take a deep breath now and exhale.

Don’t get me wrong; I do believe Coco Chanel. I still work out like a fiend every day to fit in my size two skinny jeans; I fight the good fight with Botox and color my gray hair, but I’m a very happy fifty-eight-year-old, and proud to say it. Bring on the next chapter of my life. I’m ready!

This post is written for a Generation Fabulous BlogHop. Generation Fabulous is a new website for and about women who are rocking middle-age and beyond. Please click here to see more.

I REALLY don’t hate kids… but I’m kinda psssst off

kidindeptstoreHere comes one grubby little hand and then the other, followed by a head with tousled hair and giant eyes looking up at me; yellowish-green snot on its slow journey from nostril to mouth.

It’s almost like watching someone give birth.

Next comes the shoulders and the rest of the body…

“Psst.”

“Psst.”

PSSST.

“Go on. GO. Get outta here. Go back to your Mommy.”

GO!!!

I open the door.

“Who does this child belong to?”

“Would the owner of this child get it out of my dressing room? NOW!”

A changing room at the end of the hall opened and a head sticks out,

“Oh, Alex, there you are. Come to Mommy, OK?”

“No, it’s not OK, you need to control your child. It’s not right to let him wander away from you and bother people, and by people, I mean ME.”

Her response to me was a sound that sounded like a cross between a slight cough and a cat hacking up a hairball.

“Ack” plus an eyeroll.

ACK yourself. And don’t roll your eyes at me. Kindly keep your Peeping Tom DNA out of my dressing room.”

capturedcustomerdressing room

This happened today at H&M. A child crawled under the door into a changing room where I was in panties and bra.

This is not the first time I’ve been spied on by strange children while trying on clothes.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Nordstrom or Target or Anthropologie or Bloomingdales or a restaurant.  I’ve even been interrupted in public bathrooms.

One time at Anthropologie, that bastion of successfully marketing high priced clothing and home goods to a specific demographic of women who aspire to a certain type of quasi-sophisticated worldliness, I witnessed an encounter between a very polite salesperson and the mother of an unsupervised child who had been systematically destroying the intricate and beautiful window display. (FYI, Anthro is known for its aesthetic window displays.)

She walked over to the mom who was engrossed in the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl dresses with birds and bows and said,

“I’m sorry, but could you ask your child not to play inside the window display?”

The mom’s attitude was one of entitlement and total abdication of responsibility for the actions of her offspring. I left the shop, shaking my head.

I’m a reasonable woman, really I am.

annoy-254x300I’m an empty nester; I don’t  have a young child 24/7/365. But I’m not to be dismissed as an old codger who’s just menopause-cranky from low estrogen levels.

I can say unequivocally that my son not only never ran around like a savage, he never once wandered away from me and became a voyeur.

Please moms, plan for your excursions. It’s not difficult. Bring a small toy, a book, a healthy snack, paper and crayons–that’s all it takes 90% of the time. They’ll be happily occupied and it’s a win-win for everyone. So simple, really.

Parenting Tip #1…Meet their needs before your own. 

I just don’t get it. What’s the theory behind the practice of going out in public with your kids, but pay no attention to them and ignore every damn thing they do?

What type of denial is that?

“Oh, my kid? I have a kid? Oh, I forgot.”

I’m not even talking about the poor babies who are screaming that signature tired scream– who only want to be at home in their familiar surroundings, fed, and put down for a nap.

I just don’t see how those kinds of moms justify pawing through the racks at TJ Maxx when they have a child who really needs some loving parenting–someone who isn’t selfishly shopping for things they don’t really need– and takes proper care of their child.

Come on! It’s not just that you’re ruining my blissful retail therapy experience–although you are–but what about stranger danger and all that? If you can’t see your kids, someone could harm them in some way.  What happened to holding their hand in public?

Sarah Jessica Parker does…sjpandkids

I could say things like why don’t you have fewer children if you can’t properly  care of the ones you have, but that’s never well received, I can tell you from personal experience.

And I don’t mean this. That’s definitely not the answer!kidonleashmoving

I hope I haven’t offended any readers or bloggers who still have kids at home, but I’m really perplexed!

What do you think is the cause and solution for unsupervised children in public?

(Worst of all, I didn’t come away with one single purchase. The Zen of my retail therapy day was destroyed.)

This is a a great article: Get Your Children Under Control In Public

kidleashsomecardPets-welcome.-Children-must-be-leashed.-6303-ab42ab45ab4662b2c7d1

 

Daily Prompt: Toot Your Horn

Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

I possess so many wonderful qualities that it’s nigh impossible to whittle the list down to just one, so I will ask my wonderful tugboat man to sum it up.

Hold on a minute, I have to run outside where he’s working on restoring a rowboat.

OK, I’m back.

After being married for so long, it was totes revealing to hear what he had to say, even though I know he just wanted me to go away so he could get back to his project.

Let’s compare:

Me:
Good shopper, baker, great housecleaner; a fierce and protective mom–even with a thirty-one year old son, I’ll still hurt anyone who hurts my baby boy.

Hubs:
You have an overall and unwavering determination to be a truth seeker while being nurturing–you’re a great caretaker and devoted to your son and me, and most of all you are the most compassionate person I’ve ever known–especially about loving and caring for animals–it’s tough to witness the tremendous pain you feel whenever you hear or read about animal cruelty.

Who wouldn’t love a guy like that?

I think I’ll keep him for a while longer, don’t you agree?

(As long as he keeps buying me Chanels)

Hairy Hannukah Harry and the story of Hannukah 2012

…or the continuing saga of my life. As my first husband’s mother said to my mom, “isn’t it such a shame you wasted so much money on her education. She doesn’t really seem to do much of anything, does she?”

Looky here, readers, you all need to stop whining right now. Right now, I say!

I’ve peeked inside your private lives. Here’s a typical scenario:

8:00 a.m. You’re home with your spouse before leaving the house to go to work or he goes to work while you “stay home to take care of the kids” which really means you’re going to Tweet and shop all day and change a diaper or two, only if necessary. Not all of you, but enough to make it true. And I know it’s true ‘cos who do you think I tweet with all day?

Spouse: “I’ll home home at six. See ya.”

{Smooch goodbye}

crzy cat lady bathrobe

This is awesome.

Wife pulls the ratty bathrobe a bit tighter and rebelts it because an important message is acoming…

“Now you come right home after work, don’t stop anywhere; no bars, no strip clubs, nothin’. You come right home, ya hear me?  I’m making something special for dinner tonight.”

Spouse: “OK”

He walks out to the car. Five seconds after leaving the house, before the car even backs out of the driveway, he totally forgot everything his wife said. Typical, right?

6:00 p.m.- no hubby

6:15 p.m – no hubby

6:30 p.m. Here it comes…the power texting, phoning, emailing commences.

{no response}

burned dinner in oven7:00 p.m. Dinner burns. wife drank all the wine, spends time sharpening knives. Candles burnt down to nubs, the smoke of one burnt out candle with its acrid scent floats through the air.

The scissors come out to make a few strategic alterations in his favorite t-shirt.

She opens another bottle of wine.

8:00 p.m. His car drives up, front door opens, “Hi honey, I’m home!”

“WHERE. WERE. YOU.”

‘Wha? Why is it so dark in here?”

Where. were. you. I called. I emailed. I texted.”

“Ohhh…didn’t I mention I’d be late today? I -uh- thought I did.”

-End scene-desperate housewives

OK, I could go on and on but the point is that when 99% of you get mad at your significant others when they’re late; when work or whatever–delays their arrival at the appointed hour–you all need to STOP WHINGING AND WHINING about it!!

Since the world revolves around me, take a walk around South Coast Plaza in my shoes (not the Gucci ones, tho. I wear a 5 1/2 and your feet’d stretch ‘em all out.) I was expecting the captain tomorrow, Thursday. I cleaned the house, washed the windows, planned and anticipated the whole homecoming–even made a new welcome home sign–and he called and said he’d be LATE.

HE’S GOING TO BE A MONTH AND A HALF LATE!

HE WON’T BE BACK UNTIL SOMETIME NEXT JANUARY 201THREE!!

I’m not saying not to be pissed at your inconsiderate spouse–I would never think to deprive you of that joy–just think about ME next time.

OKAY?

Your “late” and my “late” are two different things altogether.

Ahem. Now, to give equal time to my cultural background as a full blooded Jewish American Princess, may I formally present to you my Hannukah installation….with the one and only Hairy Hannukah Harry holding the torah. Eight candles represent the eight days that I had to wait before I could spend more of the captain’s hard earned money and buy a huge bottle of Chance by Coco Chanel (of course.)

Hannukah candles

Forget Elf Shaming, try Hannukah Harry!

Chance by Chanel

Of course I got the larger size. ‘Cos I’m worth it.

Daily Prompt: Audience of One

Picture the one person in the world you really wish were reading your blog. Write her or him a letter.

Dear Mommy,

Your little Princess Rosebud is very very mad at you. You are not here anymore and for that reason I understand that you can’t defend your actions, but I’m still super duper mad at you anyway!

Here’s why:

1. How could you be so stupid as to travel all the way to France, actually enter the original Chanel Store on Rue Cambon, and only buy a scarf. A pretty scarf to be sure, but just a SCARF, a worthless square of fabric!! What good does that do me? You went to France in the seventies; if only you had been a better mother, you would have known that your only daughter would one day be obsessed with Chanel. A good mommy–a better mommy than you were–would have known that and would have made sure I had all my wishes fulfilled. At this point, it would be a VINTAGE bag. I HATE YOU! [Cue sound of door slamming-- just like the good old days.]

2. And another thing, how dare you die before your grandson got his Ph.D. HOW DARE YOU! That was incredibly selfish of you. You know how much he loved you and how he called both of us “Mom” and both of us would answer, “Which one do you want, honey?” I’m the one that had to buy him an Hermes tie and write a note to him telling him that if you were still alive, this is what you would want him to have because you are so proud of him and what he had accomplished. [Again with the I hate you and door slam sound effect].

3. You would totes love the captain. He would totes love you too, but he’s only heard stories about how wonderful you were. He had kind of a crappy mom and you would have filled that hole in his heart.

How could you die and leave us all alone??

Love,
Your daughter, Princess Rosebud

 

“Mom, I’m hungry!”

That’s the rallying cry from the moment my son and daughter-in-law’s plane touched down (an hour late at 12:20 a.m.) until the moment they left Sunday on the red-eye.

And I had such a great story to tell until my words disappeared. I thought WordPress automatically saved drafts, but not this time. All the pithy, witty, funny, poignant commentary is gone-vanished-poof-a chimera that was. How could a draft be deleted? I went through…Oh well, it was an overview of my weekend in which I went back in time to when mom and maid were synonymous, they both start with“m” and who can tell the diff?

I cooked and cleaned, and cooked some more.  Our tradition is to bring a snack for the long (thirty-five minutes) drive home from the airport. Being late meant they were super hungry, not just hungry hungry. They gobbled up the cheese and crackers and grapes and ginger tea like they hadn’t eaten in days. My mom-ESP was on high alert so I had made a Zucchini Pie earlier in the day, as well as Zucchini Cupcakes and Brownies. This hot weather we’re having caused all the zukes to ripen at the same time, so I had to find recipes to accommodate the harvest.  After a 1am feeding, they went to bed. That was just the beginning…the next morning I drove them down to the beach to go surfing and waited and watched-it was a gorgeous day–after a couple hours we came home and while they were showering, I made Breakfast Burritos and a fruit salad. An hour or so after that, it was time for lunch of Tuna Melts and then a mid-afternoon snack of guacamole and chips, and then dinner (we went out for sushi), and an after dinner snack. Sunday was a repeat of Saturday except I washed, dried, and folded all of their clothes and removed a stubborn stain from a pair of my daughter-in-law’s white jeans. I’m the go-to gal for stain removal.  It’s a gift, what can I say. I used hydrogen peroxide and bleach and enzyme release and baking soda with an old toothbrush, and we were able to salvage the $200 jeans.

And just to be clear, they are 31 and 29 and both have their Ph.D.s in Germanic Languages and Literatures (my son) and Neuroscience(DIL) so it’s not like they’re totally helpless. It’s just a mom thing. And what can I say; it gives me great pleasure. I’ve observed that there are two types of Jewish moms: the ones who have maids and cooks and travel a lot and are removed from the daily deets of their childrens’ lives, and my kind of mom who lives and breathes for every breath and word that radiates from their being. Talk about unconditional maternal love! I take it to that uber-level. I still like to hear him say, “Mom, mom, did you see that wave I caught?” or “Mom, I’m hungry”, or “Mom, sew up the hole in my pants, (shirt, sweater, jacket…)” So, it’s just an extension of that uber-Jewish-momness to include his wife under my wings. It’s still nice to feel needed, no matter how old they are.

It was 3:00 Sunday afternoon when I had a moment to check my email. The kids were on the deck enjoying smoothies and cut-up fruit. I’m not exaggerating when I say my son eats from the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep. He’s a little over six-feet and weighs about 150. He’s not hypoglycemic or anything-no medical problems, just a highly functional metabolism  I’d hate him if I hadn’t given birth to him. He eats anything that 1. isn’t nailed down, and 2. isn’t breathing.

My eyes can’t believe what I’m reading, travel arrangements for the next day–MONDAY–for my captain. Are you kidding me? Tomorrow? Not only was he going to miss seeing the kids, but I was absolutely not at all prepared for a proper homecoming!!! He wasn’t supposed to be back until October, but when we finally talked a bit later,  he was coming home because there was another assignment they wanted him to take, so everything happened fast. Right.  There would be no perfumed and ironed sheets this time. I had loads and loads of sandy towels to wash, the house was a mess, and so was I.

After I returned from yet another drive to the airport, I was so exhausted I fell asleep on the sofa with a glass of proseco in my hand. I woke up around 1:00 a.m. without having spilled a drop (!) and went to bed, setting my alarm for 6:00 a.m. It was going to be a long, long day until my husband’s arrival at midnight…