Losing a Best Friend

This is probably one of the hardest blog-posts I will ever write. It’s a year in the making. Why do it now? Since I consider writing/blogging to be therapeutic, I think that “putting it out there” might help me heal.  I find blogging to be my community therapy session. I’m not looking for sympathy…..just trying to heal and move forward.

A little over a year ago, I lost my best friend.  We had known each other for just over 10 years. We had many things in common–both of us have Polish backgrounds, we both worked in banks as college students, both drove Ford Tempos, we each gave birth to twins in 2001–she had identical girls, I have fraternal boys–  our husbands are pretty successful and very career-oriented…..the similarities and shared-experiences are numerous.  She was the one person I could ALWAYS call for ANYTHING. And vice versa.  We had scheduled “Tuesday Morning Chats”….the one morning that we both were free to just….chat….catch-up….bitch….laugh…..cry.  Of course we talked to each other on other days if something spontaneous came up that we had to share. But we both looked forward to the Tuesday Morning Chat.

The year 2012 turned out to be complicated for both us….for our own unique reasons. Unfortunately, for BF, she *really* struggled with her issues. She went into a black hole. Very few people knew of her situation. I was one of them. I tried SO HARD to help her–to have her see her situation in not a dark and grim light. I called her every day. Despite our crazy hectic scheduled lives, and the hour or so to drive out to visit her…..I went out as much as possible. I even visited her in the hospital after her parents thought it best she receive care by professionals.  I keep replaying conversations. Is there anything I could have said differently? Could I have offered an alternative scenario? Should I have tried “tough love” rather than sympathy and empathy and a shoulder to cry on?

Sadly, I know the answers to those questions. There is nothing that I….or anyone else….could have done.  BF couldn’t see beyond her pain. Some people called her actions selfish. For those who really knew BF, she didn’t have a selfish bone in her body. She was so giving and thoughtful….to friends, family, and even strangers. BF was struggling with  a deep, dark pain. A pain she couldn’t bear to live with.

Since the loss of BF, I have been struggling. I think of her EVERY DAY. Tuesday mornings are especially hard. The body-clock won’t forget. I feel sadness, an emptiness….and even anger. I am MAD at her. WHY? WHY? WHY? And WHY couldn’t anyone help her? WHY did she not want to help herself?  Then the anger turns to guilt…..because I “shouldn’t” be angry at her, right?

I’ve had many people reach out to me, trying to console me, be a friend. All very nice people, and I truly do appreciate the effort. But it is hard to find the same connection that BF and I had.  I realize that friendships don’t “just happen”…they need to grow and be nurtured. But I’m looking to replace something that I desperately need….a best friend…someone to talk to….laugh with….cry to….without being judged…someone who wears similar shoes….someone who has similar feelings and opinions.  Ironically, there are a couple of people in my life that I could see fitting the job description, but they all seem to live thousands of miles away….kinda hard to drop in or even call with time changes and kids schedules. So then I end up feeling so alone….and it becomes a nasty circle….alone…angry…guilty….sad.

It’s a grieving process–my grieving process–one that will probably last a long time. It’s hard to replace a 10 year friendship.

Miss you, BFF.



The Winter that Wasn’t

Looks like we’re heading to another beautiful spring-like winter week here in Suburban Boston.  By the end of the week, it’s reported to be in the 50’s (again).  I almost wished I hadn’t put my feet in hibernation for the winter season, because I’m thinking sandals or flip-flops might be in order!

Sad, of course, for Hubby who is taking T-Man and Little Guy for a short ski-vacation at the end of the week. Granted, it won’t be 50 deg in New Hampshire (I think), but it will probably be like skiing in mashed potatoes.  I’ve heard from lots of people that the only place to find snow in New England is on the ski slopes themselves. The areas just outside of the ski resorts are as barren as my front yard.

Remember last winter? Record snowfalls?…..a snow storm every three days?

Here is the snow pile from January 13, 2011

2 weeks later....Jan 27, 2011

In comparison, here are this year’s TWO snowfalls….

January 10, 2012

Our second snowfall this year…..

Enough to make foot prints in

And now, it is February 20th, and here is my front yard…….

Pretty……barren, huh?  Being a life-long New England Girl….this is strange to say the least. Perhaps Mother Nature is just trying to even things out after last year?  But I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind one good dumping….just to go sledding, have a snowball fights, stay home from school…..isn’t that what winter is supposed to be like?

Shopping Blahs

I’ve been suffering from some major blahs lately (more on that in a future post).  Being female, I decided to try the Best Known Cure All for the Female Blahs…….SHOPPING.

And can I tell you, people, it did NOTHING for me.  And it wasn’t just one trip….not two….but THREE. (maybe four?)

WHY??? you ask.

Well, I have spent the last week or so trying to figure it out.

Yes, I analyze my shopping trips.

I am so woefully disappointed……frusterated, even……with what’s “out there.”

I am a quasi-stylish 40-year old SAHM.  I don’t like wearing work-out/gym clothes on a daily basis. Maybe cuz I don’t like going to the gym. I don’t need dressy “career” clothes (yet).  And there’s not much in the middle.

(Yes, I know there is….but let me explain my dilemma)

From my “analysis” and hours of wandering around stores and the female clothing sections, I have realized that in the US there is a very clear distinctions between the “Ladies” and “Junior” sections.  In the “Ladies” section, there are a lot of mono-chromatic Tshirts, long sleeve shirts, crew neck sweaters in dull, boring colors and textures……black, brown, various shades of tan, a couple of dark purples (color of the year) thrown in.  All in even sizes (6, 8, 10, 12). The “Junior” section has lots of fun, colorful clothes (blues, greens, yellows, etc) with patterns and texture. And they are all sized in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, etc) and made for petite, small-waisted, narrow girls, aged 13-25.  I actually do like many of the tops in the “junior” section, but even if I do try on a larger size (and my, isn’t that just bad for self-esteem?) it still looks funny because it is not cut for my “wider” womanly body. (in case you don’t know,  pregnancy causes most women’s bodies  to widen and find a new shape).

Probably one of the reasons I like shopping in the UK (damn, I wish I could afford annual shopping trips there!) is because there is no distinction between “juniors” and “ladies.” Every store/retailer sizes everything the same (6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16).  Anyone can walk into any store and find something that suits them–in color, texture, size.  Yes, there are definitely clothes/section that are “younger and trendier,” but it’s not as segregated as it is in the US.  I also think that because the weather is pretty gray and shitty year round, they love the “POP” of color year round—it is MUCH easier to find vibrant/happy colors any time of the year (unlike in the US, where when the cooler temperatures arrive so do the BLAH colors). The down-side of shopping in the UK is that my size goes up from a US size 8 to a UK size 12 (damn, it just doesn’t help the self-esteem!)

My next “issue” with clothes shopping (and I think I’ve blogged about this before) is the CHEAP quality of the stuff out there!!! It doesn’t matter if I pick up a $20 long sleeve top at H&M or a $50 top at Macy’s…Gap, Kohl’s, Express, Lord & Taylor…it doesn’t matter…you can see through the darn thing!!!!

Ok, some of you (including Hubby) are saying “LAYER.”  Being a New England girl, this should be second nature to me.  But I hate layering.  I feel confined. Bulky. Worried that something is sticking out. Or untucked. Twice the laundry.  The need for additional storage space. Whatever….I’m not a huge fan. (although I do like a turtleneck under a sweater/sweatshirt…..go figure).  Maybe it’s cuz I don’t like tank-tops. (I will admit, though, that I have been integrating tank tops more into my wardrobe selections).  Or I can’t understand why someone would wear 2 long sleeve tshirts? (and for those of you who do…..you do a FINE job of pulling it off….it’s a gift…..I just can’t). And FWIW, I totally detested when my mom made me wear undershirts in the fall and winter.  But I digress…..my point is that I am frustrated with the lack of quality and/or material in clothing these days.  And unless I am shopping for winter sweaters too early in the season (but all the Christmas stuff is out), the sweaters out there wouldn’t keep my dog warm….and she already has a full length fur coat.

Another quasi-pet-peeve I discovered on my shopping trips……short sleeve sweaters.  YEARS AGO, when I first met hubby, I remember owning some short-sleeve sweaters.  And then one day, he asked me “what is the point of a short-sleeve sweater?  Isn’t a sweater supposed to keep you warm? If so, why the short-sleeves?”  Humph. I never thought of it that way.  And clearly, I stopped buying/wearing short-sleeve sweaters. Weird how I can be influenced like that.   But the short-sleeve sweater or CARDIGAN seem to be all the rage now. Some are REALLY CUTE, but I can’t get myself to buy one, because will I wear it in the middle of a New England winter when it’s 20 deg. outside?

So basically, I am turning into a cranky middle aged woman going through some mid-life crisis because I am too old and wide to shop in the “junior” section and the “ladies” section bores me, and I refuse to buy things that will wear out after 4 washes.  Maybe I should look more closely into gym wear……..

This Sucks. (or does it?)

Language. It’s an interesting thing.  After the kidlets drove away in the big yellow school bus this morning, my neighbor and I discussed language–and how some words have different meanings in different languages, and how some English words have different interpretations as well. This conversation is actually an on-going conversation about kids/language/school….and the word SUCKS.

Several weeks ago, T-man got into some major trouble at school. apparently, he said “this sucks” out-loud during computer class. The teacher heard him, took him out to the hallway, lectured him on using PROFANITY in her classroom, took him to the principal’s office for another lecture on profanity, and sent a note home for both Hubby and I to sign.

As with everything that goes on with our kids, we ask questions. I ask lots of questions–to get the entire story, as well as to see if the story changes. According to T, the comment was not directed at the teacher (she was standing in another part of the classroom) nor at the assignment.  His computer was very slow to boot up (or some other technical glitch was occurring), and he said at the computer “this sucks.”  I totally believed his story.

I signed the note for the teacher, but I also sent her an email.  I wrote:

 I do not consider “this sucks” to be profanity.  I used the phrase as a kid, I use it as an adult, Hubby uses the phrase….even my proper mother says “this sucks” when something displeases her.  Maybe it was inappropriate–T-man could definitely have used better word choices, such as ” this stinks”, “bummer,” “my computer isn’t working”….or better yet, not said anything at all. But I disagree that it was profanity.  As a matter of fact, T-man (during the tongue-lashing he received) didn’t know what the word “profanity” meant!  However, I do know that my boys do know “profane” or “swear” words–and they definitely do know better than to use any of them in front of adults.

The day that this transpired, I posted the question of “Do you consider “this sucks” to be profanity?” on FB.  It started a very informative, lively, and frank discussion. I received 22 comments from friends–and they ranged from a few “Yes, that is not allowed to be said in my house” to “At least he didn’t drop the F-bomb”  to “You should hear how High School kids talk” to “No, that is part of everyday language.”

Sadly, in today’s society, so many “swear” words are being used so non-chalantly. Have you watched TV lately? I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard the word “Bitch” on TV…..during daytime or primetime.  Also, someone told me that “this sucks” is a common term on iCarly  (just shows you how much I pay attention).  But I did catch a Tide commercial the other day—a parent of triplets were folding clothes. At the end of the commercial, the mom (obviously tired of doing laundry) says “this sucks.”

But now let’s talk about another use of the word “sucks.”  What prompted my neighbor to re-visit the discussion on the word today was that a boy in her daughter’s 4th grade class told her (J-the daughter) to “suck this.”  And recently, I heard one of my boys say “suck me” as well.  Do these kids even know what they are saying? IMO, this is profane use of the word “suck.”  Interesting how “this sucks” doesn’t bother me, but “suck this” or “suck me” does bother me.  How do I explain to my kids why one is OK and the other isn’t? Why can they say “I”m going to take a poo”, but it irks me when they say “I’m going to take a crap”?  M-man has actually caught on to my modified-F-word.  Instead of dropping the F-bomb, I say “fudge.” And now M-man does too. But of course, I know what his intent is (because I see him catching himself before he drops an F-bomb in front of his mom).

Language…..what interesting dilemmas it poses for us parents.

Not a phone person

I’ve come to the conclusion that as I get older, and maybe…. JUST maybe it has something to do with email and texting, I am no longer a phone person.

Remember the days of chatting for hours with your BFF or BF/GF on the phone? Your parents knocking on your door, yelling for you to hang up the reciever. 

Ya, phone calls are so 10 years (or more) ago…..

It’s not that I don’t like people….I do.  I much prefer the face-to-face interaction. But so many of my phone calls as of late usually start off with an automated systems….the ones whose options never seem to suit my problem….and then I either get a ESL phone representative or a grumpy person who really doesn’t seem like they will go the extra mile to help me out. I’m not even asking for the “extra mile”…..just get off the the script in front of you!  And for the most part, I understand where the grumpiness comes from…..how many phone calls are complaints? Have you ever picked up the phone and called your health insurance company to THANK them for paying the entire doctor’s visit? Probably not. You’re probably like me, calling to ask why the vision screening for all 3 kids wasn’t paid, when it clearly says on the website and in the benefit guildelines book…that, YES, vision screenings are covered for children during a well-visit.

Or what about when my phone rings? I pretty much dread it. Although I am on the “Do Not Call” List, I still get phone calls from chimney cleaning companies…..ooh, Hubby answered one of those and was talked into having the chimney cleaned…..now they call to remind me that I NEED to clean my chimney every year to avoid blockages.  Or the “local” fire department calling to raise money for the “local” fire department, but the Caller ID clearly shows the call is not coming from down the road, but a different area code.

And it’s also hard to have a decent phone conversation.  Having kids doesn’t help. (did I mention this started about 10 years ago?).  Sneaking in a phone call while the kids are napping, only to have to stop the conversation because someone woke up early?  Or you think the kids are playing nice, you pick up the phone, dial a number, and then all you hear is SCREAMS. Or your friend is driving to football practice, or dance class, or school pick-up, so there’s only “5 minutes” to catch up.  It’s hard to have a real conversation on the phone nowadays.

All these interactions (and a few more that I won’t get into) have turned me off the telephone.  If I have something quick to say or ask, an email or text is so much easier and convenient for me (and perhaps for the person on the recieving end). I do it on MY TIME, when I have that 2 minutes to spare or have just thought of something.  Even contacting my baby-sitter….all done by text messaging.

That’s not to say I don’t talk on the phone. Hubby loves to call and chat on his way home (yes, he uses a bluetooth). But I would much rather he pay attention to the road…..you know, like the other hundreds of people yapping while driving.

My BF and I have a weekly “catch-up.” During school, it would be on Tuesday mornings after the kids were off to school. Sometimes it would be a 10 minute chat, sometimes 45 minutes. And that was it….we were good for the week. Now, with school vacation, and schedules thrown out the window, we are having quick 5 minute “Hey, How’s it going?”  calls between pick-ups and kids activities.

Well, I gotta go….I think I have a phone call to make.  ;>)

Misc. Monday Musings

a.k.a. Random thoughts in my head.  I haven’t had one of these postings in a while (Nov 30, 2010 to be exact). Does that mean the head has been clear? Clearly not.

Today’s topic: Chicken and Pizza.

I feel like I missed the memo stating that Chicken and Pizza go together like PB&J, or Bagels and Cream Cheese, or Oreos and Milk, or Salsa and Chips. 

 I think I was in my early 20’s when I first heard of chicken on pizza…..Bertucci’s, maybe?   BBQ Chicken Pizza, I think.  Huh? To this day, I have never tried it. That’s not to say that I haven’t tried chicken on pizza…….Pizza Express in the UK has an amazing Chicken, Portobello, and bechamel sauce pizza!  (now…chicken and portobello…that’s a fab combo!)

Back t the purpose of this post…..the Pizza chains are promoting this “marriage” between chicken and pizza.  Domino’s has a new Chicken manager with his very own Chicken box.  Papa Gino’s is promoting a  “Perfect Pairing” where for $15 you get a large cheese pizza and a side of chicken tenders.  On our recent Birthday trip to Pizza Hut, the 2 prominent menu items were…..you guessed it….hot wings and pizza.

I have never, never, never made the cosmic connection between pizza and chicken (in any form….on the ‘za,  or more specifically tenders or wings on the side).  I am one of the world’s believers that Pizza is a complete meal unto itself (using the old 4-food group philosophy)–it has bread, dairy, veg, and a meat if you so choose.  When I crave pizza, the brain cells don’t start saying “Hey, how ’bout some poultry w/ the cheese, sauce, and crust.”  Nor do I start craving pizza when I think chicken.  (pepperoni or sausage, though, that’s a different story)

Can someone explain? Am I missing out on something sensational?  Or is this just the Fast Food industry’s underlying desire to promote unhealthy eating habits?  What is the ROI on this chicken-on-the-side investment? Is America buying it?

(and on a side note, since I did mention Pizza Hut……isn’t it amazing to the parents out there, that kids generally do NOT eat pizza crust, but gobble up those Pizza Hut bread sticks like they are the best thing since….sliced bread?!?)

My Life According to….

The Zimmer Zoo tagged me on FB the other day with this cute game. I thought it would make a great, light-hearted blog post (quite the contrast from recent activity, huh?)

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, answer these questions.   Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! And I am using my all time fave band…….

My Life According to Def Leppard


Pick your Artist: Def Leppard

1. Are you a male or female?   21st Century Sha La La Girl

 2. How do you feel?      Two Steps Behind

 3. Describe where you currently live:  Now

 4. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?    Drive-In Saturday

5. Your favorite form of transportation:  Rocket

6. Your best friend is:   Rock of Ages

 7. What’s the weather like?   Four Letter Word

8. Favorite time of day:  To Be Alive

9. If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?:  Hysteria

10. What is life to you?  Rock Rock ’til You Drop

 11. Your fear:  When Love and Hate Collide

 12. Best advice you have to give:  Let’s Get Rocked

13. Thought for the day:  Pour Some Sugar on Me

 14. How you’d like to die:   Miss You in a Heartbeat

 15. My soul’s present condition:  You’re So Beautiful

 16. My motto:  Love Don’t Lie



I am not a fan of Hoodies.  I just don’t “get” them. Why are they so popular? Why are they everywhere?  Kids hoodies, women’s hoodies, men’s hoodies, college hoodies, “souvenier” hoodies.

Whatever happened to the good ol’ fashioned crew-neck sweatshirt? I can’t find any.

I can’t go anywhere without seeing hoodies on the rack or on people.  There are the pullover hoodies, or the zip-front hoodies, or the casual top hoodie. And the funny part is–I rarely see anyone wearing the damn hoods!!!

Why do I  not like hoodies? Well, first off, I don’t wear the hood.  When I put on a jacket, it feels like I have a humpback. If I try to pull the hoodie out, I feel like I’m being choked.  My sons use the hoods as a means of “catching” each other while running around, and then I hear “MOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYYY, (insert kid name) CHOKED MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”  And I can’t forget to mention the extra drawer space the HOOD takes when folding it and putting it away (don’t even suggest hanging it up…..not going to work w/ my 3 boys).

I would much rather find a crew neck sweatshirt, and have the option of wearing a turtle neck (Have I mentioned I am a total turtleneck freak in the winter?), and just be comfy and cozy. But nope. Can’t do that cuz I can’t find any. I have one crewneck sweatshirt left in my drawer–probably about 15 years old–that I’m clinging to, because there is no suitable replacement.

That’s my rant for the day.

Bunny Ears

It is time to teach the almost-6 year old to tie his shoes.

The Big Debate at the VP household is on What side does the first bunny ear go–left or right?

Hubby claims that Mommy ties laces the wrong way, and as a result they always come untied. (and therefore HE should teach Little Guy how to tie)

My Bunny Ear starts on the right. And as Hubby as pointed out, when I am done w/ 2 bunny ears, they are twisted “vertical”, and hence easily come undone.  He makes a bunny ear on the left, and when his 2 bunny ears are done, they lay flat across horizontally.

That is what I am trying to do now. It is not easy for a (almost) 40 yr old to change her ways after 35 years of doing something a certain way. But I am willing to “play” and see who is right.

How do YOU tie your shoes?

Promise Yourself….

It feels like it’s been about/over a month since I’ve blogged. I’ve had a pretty busy Holiday–and I’m still coping with the “hang-over” (for lack of a better term).  I’ve had a lot of stuff in my head that I could have written about, but in all honestly, I didn’t want to bore you with it. (or maybe myself?).

Over the last 2 days, I have been tearing up my house, and hence, cleaning out the office, in search of a (ANY) copy of my resume. I know I had a couple printed out. Needless to say, my search has left me empty-handed.  (you wouldn’t happen to have a copy that I may have sent you 10 yrs ago?!?)  Anyway…..in my cleaning, I decided to start a box of “Anita Stuff” (momentos, stuff I’ve accomplished over the past 10 years, etc) and other misc STUFF that really doesn’t need to sit in the office. I came across a folder that I’ve been shuffling around with me–move after move–that has misc. “inspirational” quotes.  In the folder is “Promise Yourself” by Christian Larson, which my friend Lauren copied for me back in High School.  Every now and then, I take it out to read it. At one point, it was taped to my bedroom door in Peabody.  The tape is still on the piece of paper.  After reading it today, I realized that although it has been sitting in a folder for many, many years, the words are words that I (try to) live by.  THANK YOU, Lauren, for sharing it with me so many years ago!

So now I will try to inspire you……….

Promise Yourself…

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your piece of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

~Christian Larson


Have a Happy, Healthy, and Safe New Year, Everyone!