Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Curse is Broken!!!

So I was at my friend Amanda's house this morning.

Have I told you about Amanda yet?  She's one of my closest of my chosen sisters.  We met our freshman year at college.  We were roommates our junior year.  We moved to Boston together after graduation.  And now we live in the same neighborhood.  She is one of TJ's Godparents.  Our kids are in the same school district.  I am so, so lucky to have her in my everyday life.

Anyway, I was at her house sitting at her kitchen table and we were catching up.  Suddenly the light fixture fell from above our heads - a fan/lamp combo.  This glass orb fell - just dropped out of the sky.  Total slo-mo.  It missed my head by inches and landed on the table in front of me.  It didn't break.  Then it kind of bobbled around the table, while in my slo-mo mind I was wondering "Why aren't my arms working?  I should be grabbing this thing before it falls off the table!" Then, or course, it fell off the table and shattered into a gazillion pieces.

Amanda and I looked at each other, completely stunned.

Then she yelled "The curse is broken!  It didn't land on your head!!!"  Not only did it not land on my head, but I was uncut by the shards of glass!

WAHOO!!!  We had a small celebration as she swept the pieces up. THE LAUREN CURSE IS BROKEN!!!

That was my morning.  So what are you up to?

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Not My First Rodeo

I believe that who you are at 10 is basically who you are throughout your life.

Here's the proof:  at 10 I was sensitive.  I was emotional.  I was a good and loyal friend.  I overreacted sometimes and could see situations more clearly in hindsight.  I said what I felt.  I called it like I saw it and would call you out if you were being mean/unfair/obnoxious.

And at 42 I'm basically exactly the same.

The difference is that as I've grown, I've learned how to filter myself.  I've learned that not every situation is an appropriate one to "call someone out".  I've learned to sit with how I feel about something before I react, in case my reaction is an over-reaction.  But I've also learned that people often mistake "sensitive" and "emotional" to mean "doormat".

Make no mistake - I am NO ONE'S doormat.

Why is this important to state here?  Because I have a son with autism.

My amazing son with autism, TJ, has a really hard time figuring out these nuances of human relationships.  Those statements with underlying meaning go right over his head.  His interpretation of things is very literal.

If I say "It's not my first rodeo", he pictures me going to a rodeo, and asks when I've ever been to one before.

Over the years he has learned that there is a lot of slang out there - that a lot of what comes out of people's mouths can not be taken literally.  He's gotten really good at this!  But it's a continuous process - Sean and I interpret people's statements to him all the time, in hopes that he will pick it up in the future.  It's working!  He now says "Do me a solid!" and "Gimme some sugar!" knowing that he won't be given an handful of sugar if he makes this statement.

(He's also learning that it's not appropriate to go up to his friends and say "Gimme some sugar!"  They are so good with him that they laugh, but it's harder for him to understand who he can say these things to and who he can't.)

But, like his Mama, he is sensitive and emotional.  And the LAST thing I want him to be is any one's doormat because of it.

So I am trying to set a good example for my kiddo.  You can be sensitive, emotional, thoughtful, and a good friend, without getting stepped on or taken advantage of by anyone.  It's OK to stand up for what you believe in.

Do you have an issue with a family member or a friend?  Address it.  Are you confused by the way someone is treating you?  Ask them about it.

Actually, this is a good example for my other son, too.  We are not mind readers.  It's OK to ask questions and address issues.  You learn who you can openly address issues with, and who you can't.  Not everyone can "talk things out", and that's OK.  The key is learning who can and who can't, and form your relationships accordingly.  Everyone has limits, including us.

So if you are chatting with TJ and say something like "I've been around the block once or twice" and he looks a little baffled, you may want to explain what you mean.

His "baffled" face is really cute, by the way, so before you explain yourself, enjoy if for a little bit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Real Fabulous in the EJ

My girlfriends and I here in the EJ always say that there should be a "Real Housewives of the EJ" series.  We think it's time that Housewives are shown as a majority of us really are - not wealthy, not living in mansions, not wearing Gucci strapless dresses to a cocktail party then never wearing it again.  Just living day to day with our families, our friendships, our simple lives. 

BORING!!!  NO ONE wants to watch simple lives.

Which is fine with me, because when you think about it, how can one possibly act perfectly normal if you are miked and followed by cameras all the time?  Blocky mike box shoved in your back aside, there is NO WAY anyone can carry on a personal conversation in a perfectly normal manner.  Privacy is already difficult enough to have in a small town.  Just try to have privacy on camera.  It sounds like a nightmare.

Not to mention the fact that if there is a camera pointing at me, I am playing to it.  Can't help it.  Just ask anyone I went to college with.  If I'm on video I am ON, baby.  There is not much genuine about it.  I am a goofball who loves to make myself laugh (I usually say I love to make people laugh, but let's face it, if I'm goofing off for the camera I could care less who's laughing - I'm just cracking myself up). 

And how does one carry on a genuine relationship in front of the camera, anyway?  Especially if "in front of the camera" is the only time you see someone?  There are some Real Housewives on TV who make it look easy - they can't help but be genuine no matter what.  Please know that these women are the minority.  But they exist.  What you see is what you get.  Even after years on camera.  These women are clearly the most fabulous, secure women on TV and I want to know what flavor Kool-Aid they are drinking because I'll take 18,000 packs, please.

Then there are those who think they are the shit.  The world stops and starts with them.  Get out of the way and oh by the way drop rose petals at their feet before you do because they reek of fabulositude.  In their humble opinions.  These are the women who drive me crazy.  They have lost all sense of reality, no pun intended.  Their brains have been numbed by whatever camera waves zapped them, or maybe, like Narcissus before them, fell SO in love with their own images that they have been forever blinded to anyone else's thoughts, feelings, or even presence.  It's a gross phenomenon.  And sadly, these are the women who get the most attention so it perpetuates their awful behavior.  I'd LOVE to just, oh I don't know, trip one of them.  And not say "sorry".  HA!  That'll bring 'em back down to earth!!!  These She-Narcissi are what is wrong with women relationships these days and hopefully their 15 minutes will be up - soon.  Please God.

I think that once you see yourself on TV, judging how you interact with others, how you look, how you talk, how you stand, how you dress, how you hold your left arm, how you tilt your get the picture....that it's impossible not to constantly think "How am I doing?  Am I my very best right now?"  It just seems exhausting.  While it's fun to say with my girlfriends "We'd be the best Real Housewives ever!" it would totally mess everything up.  It's best to keep our simple lives simple.

And by "simple", I mean fabulous.  By EJ standards, anyway.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

These People need My Help

PLEASE NOTE:  The opinions expressed in this post are my own, and mine alone.  If you disagree, totally fine.  If you get snarky with your disagreement, don't bother.  These are my opinions and if you don't like it, go read a different blog, sucka!

Have you ever been to Burlington Vermont?  In the summer?  It's a different beast than in any other season.

Church Street is the center of Downtown.  It's closed off to traffic and has tons of restaurants, shops, and bars.  Well, tons for Vermont.  Please keep in mind that it's only 7 or 8 blocks long.  It's all relative, really. 

Anyway, in the summer, these restaurants and bars have lots and lots of outdoor seating.  It's one of my favorite things to sit out and people watch, day and night.  Now when I do this in the day time, which isn't often at all, the people watching is relatively tame.  At night, however, is a totally different story.  And when a typical "night out" is usually spent here in the EJ, and I come back to Church Street after a long absence, I'm surprised at what I see.  To say the least.

First of all, there are all walks of life in Burlington.  It's not surprising to see a bride walk down the street in full formal wear, followed by a bra-less dredlocked barefoot woman reeking of patchouli.  That's normal.

What is NOT normal, in my humble opinion, are the latest fashion choices of the youth of Burlington.

Now where do I begin?  There are so, so many things to say.

To start, my girlfriends and I were at a waterfront restaurant (Burlington is on the shore of Lake Champlain).  Right on the docks.  Meaning that when there are waves, your table and chairs are going up and down with the waves.  My friend got a little sea sick so we didn't stay for too long.  But we did stay long enough to see a boat docked right next to the restaurant, with a woman wearing a multi patterned strapless top with a giant circle around her right boob.  Her large right boob.  As if to say, "Don't look at the left one, look at this one!"  It was a little confusing as to why the right one was favored, but if that's her choice, more power to her. 

Oh - there was also a barefoot drunk bride in the really gross bathroom, but there's really nothing more to say about that.

So after we left the restaurant we decided to walk up the hill to Church Street.  Apparently a boat had just docked as there was a steady flow of people walking up the hill in front of us.  Among that group of people was a large group of young ladies, one wearing a sequined dress followed by 10 or so others wearing neon dresses and purple wigs.

First of all, who's the genius who said neon was back in?  It's one of the worst fashion choices I can imagine.  It wasn't ok in 1983 and it's not ok now.  It's like someone in the fashion industry said "This will be hilarious - I'm gonna fuck with the entire fashion world and say neon is back in!!!"  They are sitting somewhere in their gold plated chair laughing their ass off.

Second of all, WHY ARE YOUNG GIRLS' DRESSES SO SHORT???  Don't they know that they will most likely have to bend over or sit down at some point, at which time they will be flashing their junk to the world?  No one wants to see it.  Well, that's not true.  But the people who DO want to see it, I'm pretty sure your parents don't want you to show it to.

Which brings me to underwear.  I'm pretty sure no one under 30 wears it.  I've decided to call this phenomenon "None-derwear".

Next we were sitting at an outdoor restaurant with prime Church Street viewing.  Now this is where things got interesting. 

Many of the girls walking by are in need - desperate need - of a mirror.  I feel so badly for them that they don't have one.  If they did, why would they make the fashion choices they made?  No one would, right?  So clearly there is a mirror shortage in Burlington.  I'm thinking of starting a mirror-shelf for those in need.  I'll keep you posted on that project.

I'm no Stacy from "What Not to Wear", but there are a lot of people in Burlington who need my help.  I'm not sure how much detail to get into here, so maybe I'll just summarize with a few statements:

  • Just because a trend is cute on a 15 pound model doesn't mean it will be cute on you.  Dress to your body type, not to the trend.
  • Cowboy boots are cute once in a while, but not in 90 degree weather, and not with every girl in your posse wearing cowboy boots. 
  • Short shorts and sandals yes, short shorts and patent leather pumps no.
  • Bras, people.  Bras.  They do make strapless ones.   I almost took mine off to give to someone who clearly had none of her own.
  • If you can't walk in heels don't wear them.  It hurts to look at you.
  • If you have to keep tugging on your skirt to keep your naa-naa covered, it's too short.
  • If you feel like a sausage in your clothes, you most likely look like one. That may sound brutal, but it brings me back to the most important lesson of all...
  • Just because a trend is cute on a 15 pound model doesn't mean it will be cute on you.  Dress to your body type, not to the trend.  Can't say this one enough.

 So that, in a nutshell, is my advice/experience with Burlington summer fashion.

OH - there was also a bar fight, complete with running police officers, ambulance, guy on a stretcher with his hands cuffed behind his back, and handcuffed guy's friend talking to the cops for at least 40 minutes after.

My girlfriends and I decided that even the most ordinary looking guy is cute if he's wearing a uniform.  But I digress....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How Not to Lose Your Mind When Your Kid is Sick

So my 10 year old has been sick since Monday.  High fever and swimmers ear.  Totally separate things, before you even ask...we went to the doctor.  Anyway, I have been losing my mind in this house for the past few days and thought to myself "what a great opportunity to find ways to not lose my mind!"  So here are some ideas for you other stay-at-home Hot Mama O Ramas:

Do a make over.  On your children.  This really works best if one of your children does NOT have autism and sensory integration disorder - the neighbors may call the cops if they see you chasing your kid with a make-up brush.

Pedi on the dog.  Same concept as above, minus the autism.

Make over on yourself.  Try a new aqua blue smoky eye!  This works best if (1) you have a movie for your kids to watch - they don't need to see this - and (2) you have a ton of make-up remover.  You're gonna need it.

Show your kids your latest Zumba moves.  Close the curtains first - neighbors need not be involved.  Do NOT stop when your kids yell "Mom, stop!!!"

Chase the dog.  Around the house.  Kids will take part in this one.

Bring out the garbage.  Family Circus style.  Return to the house 1/2 hour later.  Not the best activity if your kid with autism also has anxiety, unless he accompanies you on your jaunt.

Decide on new paint colors for your walls.  Do NOT actually paint - you'll regret it the very next day.

Look in your fridge 12,000 times.

Decide what gourmet meal you'd make, if you could only get to the store.

Do a fashion show.  For yourself.  Again this one requires a movie for the kids.

See how big you can get your hair.  Then add "more hairspray" to your gourmet shopping list.

Put your undies in the freezer.  Then put them on.  Surprisingly refreshing.

Decide to get rid of your skin tags with Compound W.  Burn the skin all around the tag.  Not on purpose.  No I will NOT post the picture.

Open all your windows.  Then close them.  Then open them again.  This is a last resort activity, if you've already tried everything else, because this one really makes you feel like you're losing your mind even more.  Actually, scrap this one.  Forget I mentioned it.

That's just a start - there are so many wonderful things you can do to prevent mind loss!  But please, ladies and gents, whatever you do, do NOT clean the house.  Totally unsatisfying to the Hot Mama O Rama mind and doesn't aid in creative development.

Any and all additional ideas are welcome.  That is all.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Coolest French Woman EVER

My grandmother, Nanny, was quite simply the coolest lady ever.

She was french.  Very strong accent.  I remember when we were little Susan and I would correct her pronunciation of some words, like Scope mouthwash.  We had a game called "Probe" and she called that Scope, and called the mouthwash "Probe".  That cracked me up.

One Christmas, Nanny was staying with us from Long Island, where she used to live before she moved to RI to be near us.  I was 5, I think.  Susan and I had made cookies for Santa, and lovingly placed them by the fireplace as our Christmas offering.  On Christmas morning Susan and I were overjoyed - Santa had eaten our cookies!  Only crumbs were left!  We were jumping up and down celebrating, when Nanny surprisingly exclaimed, "They were for Santa?!?!"

Oh my, did we cry.

Susan tells this story best, but I'll try to do it justice.  Nanny took our family to NYC to see the Nutcracker and stay at the Plaza.  We were walking through the lobby of the hotel when the elastic popped on Nanny's slip and Susan noticed it starting to fall below the hem of her skirt.  "Nanny, your slip!"  Susan said.  "Pay no attention," Nanny said, and kept walking.  It fell lower.  "Nanny!!!"  "Ignore it!"  Walking, walking, walking.  Finally it was down around her ankles.  Nanny stepped out of it, looking straight ahead, and kept walking.

Cool lady, right?

She used to take Susan and I to the movies all the time.  But not Disney movies, there was nothing to learn from those.  She took us to see Fame (there was a boob shot in there - otherwise I loved this one), All That Jazz, Watership Down, The Great Santini....I would leave these movies shuddering and have nightmares for weeks.  "Maybe that wasn't the best idea....." Nanny would say as we left.  Each time.

When I brought my boys to visit her, she would set our a whole bag of Milano cookies.  "One cookie each, boys" I would say.  Nanny would quickly dismiss me with, "They are my Great Grandchildren - if they want to eat the whole bag of cookies, they can."  And so it was.

There are so many stories of this wonderful lady....but I'll finish with her last one.

When Nanny got much older, she had to leave her beloved condo for a nursing home.  All she wanted to eat was chocolate and wine.  When she turned 97 I called her on the phone.

"Happy Birthday, Nanny!"

"I'm 100!"

"No, Nanny, you're 97."

"Oh.  Ok."

Then the following year.....

"Happy Birthday, Nanny!"

"I'm 100!"

"No, Nanny, you're 98!"

"Oh, really?  Ok."

Finally, 1 year later.....

"Happy Birthday Nanny!  We love you!!!"

"I'm 100!"

"Yea!!!  You are!  You made it!!!  Congratulations Nanny!!!!"

She died the next day.  That tough old bird...going out on her own terms.

I miss her every day.

 Nanny holding TJ, her first Great-Grandchild

Nanny, Susan holding Peter, and me holding TJ