Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Codependent Relationship

I never thought I'd be this woman.  But, I guess no one plans to be codependent.  It just happens.  Slowly.  When we first got together, things were so good.  Effortless even.  I couldn't stop myself from falling hard and fast for his charms.  He knew just what to do.  Looking back now, it's probably because he'd done it before.  To someone else.  I'm ashamed of myself.  I want to be a better example to my daughters.  But, I love him.  I love him so much, I'll take whatever he gives me.  Or nothing at all.

I started to see the signs a couple weeks after he moved in.  He didn't respect my things.  I'd find them thrown in a corner.  And his shit?  He spread it all over the house. And yeah, I cleaned it up. He was establishing his dominance and control over me.   After the first couple times, I finally got the courage to confront him about it.  But, he didn't listen.  And it didn't change anything. So, I cleaned it up.  Again.

Then things took a turn for the worse.  I started to see his jealous side.  He didn't want me to leave the house, especially not in my workout clothes.   Without him.  He whined, carried on and guilted me.  I knew something wasn't right.  But, I ignored it.  Justifying that he loves me so much he just didn't want to share me.  Truth be told, it felt good to be so needed by someone.

But, soon thereafter his eyes began to wander. I wasn't the only object of his affection anymore.  Even so, he had become even more enraged when any man so much as looked at me.   Until one day it turned physical.  It took everything I had to try to pull him off of the garbage man, who had merely graciously offered to walk my empty can back up our steep driveway.

He knew he had me the moment he first kissed me after deftly licking his penis when I didn't turn away in disgust.   No boundary would be left intact.  Any transgression or misdeed can be righted with just one look from those beautiful soulful eyes of his.   That's what it's come to.

I know we need help to break the cycle.  A professional.  I want us to be healthy.  But, he's got to want to change.  But in the end, I love him.  I love him so much, I'll take whatever he gives me.  Or nothing at all.

No matter what happens, I love Clyde.  Now and forever.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm a Horrible Person

It was a regional jet with 4 seats across from Salt Lake City direct to Colorado Springs. As I approached my seat,  the sweaty man next to mine didn't make eye contact.  So, I didn't pursue any pleasantries. He was transfixed by the animated show on his laptop and consumed every inch of his seat. I settled in 32C,  deftly arching my body toward the aisle in a crescent, careful not to graze my elbow on the shared armrest and make accidental contact.  Then, I opened my book and completely escaped.

On Friday, I met Lori at a local eatery near my house, for lunch, anxious to catch up on the events of the last month. We had a lot of ground to cover, so we jumped right in. While perusing the menu, she asked about my trip. So I quickly recapped my weekend in Salt Lake. She decided on the salmon salad. Which reminded me of the chocolate balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing that my sister and I made for lunch right before she dropped me off at the airport return home.  (My conversations frequently turn to food.)   It's so delicious, in a very decadent garlicky-minimum-of-three-days-on-your-breath-because-you-can't-brush-it-nor-mouth-wash-it-off-your-breath-kinda-way.  So, I told her that I sympathized with the man who had to sit next to me on the plane.  Briefly.  Before I rescinded my empathy and announced, "But, he was diiiiiisguuuuuuuusting", with a long drawn out drawl in the middle of the restaurant.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar black and yellow hockey jersey. The same one I saw on Sunday. On the plane. Oh. My. God. What are the chances that the guy from the plane is sitting right behind me at the restaurant? And I said he was disgusting.  Maybe he didn't hear it.  But, not only did I said it loud, I enunciated every syllable with my mouth, so even the hearing impaired could  read my lips and know the heinous thing that came out of it.  He definitely heard me.  Because he looked directly at me to acknowledge my offense.  I was too mortified to meet his gaze. And I was searching my memory to see if I could remember if he had luggage or not. Because exactly what are the chances he's wearing the same shirt?  Which I would argue helps support the argument that he is in fact disgusting. That is, if I didn't feel like the most horrible, hurtful person on earth. Which I did. And still do.

I was preoccupied for the rest of the meal wondering if he was going to say anything to me when he left. He didn't. Nor did I apologize to him. Which made me further ashamed of myself. When I confessed to Lori, she tried to console me.  "Maybe he's a child molester."  Come on.  What are the chances?  Then, she tried a different approach.  What if  he thought disgusting is like "phat" used to be.  You know, slang for cool.  Maybe he interpreted it that way.   He didn't.   Lori and I are now trying to establish "disgusting" as the new "phat".   ie:  "Did you see Adam Levine take off his shirt on Saturday Night Live last night? Dude,  that was so diiiisssgguuuutttting!"  And while doing that is fun, I still feel awful.  And need to redeem myself.

Since it's unlikely that I will run into that disgusting, phat guy again, or so I hope.  I'm seeking atonement for my gross indiscretion. By doing a public service, since I've already self flagellated.  So, I'm sharing the recipe for that  Chocolate Balsamic Salad Dressing that started all of this in the first place.

4 tsps cocoa powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, pressed
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil

Serve over spinach with blackberries, pears, feta cheese and walnuts.

You just might not want to eat it before you get on a plane.  But, it's so disgusting you probably won't be able to help yourself!

(Oh, I imagine this dressing would also taste great drizzled over Adam Levine.  Now that would be totally disgusting!)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Next Big Thing

One of my favorite authors, Leah Griffith, invited me to join this blog hop about books. So while, I don't normally do this type of thing, I couldn't resist Leah's request, she is my mentor after all. And it gives me a chance to plug her brilliant debut novel Cosette's Tribe, while I anxiously await the sequel. I promise you, you will fall in love with this book.  Go out and get it.  And check out her next big thing interview here.

I was asked the following questions about the book I'm currently writing:

1. What is the working title of your book or project?

My book, just like my blog, is called Rock The Kasbah. I think I originally picked it because the Clash's song Rock the Casbah is one of my all time favorite songs. But, when I researched the song it's about the ban on western music and culture in Iran, although some would argue Algeria, but they'd be wrong, because there is no such ban there. So, the song is actually about oppression, which turned out to be a perfect fit even though the song wasn't about Morocco. And come on? It rocks as a title!

2. Where did the idea come from for the book or project?

I started Rock The Kasbah, the blog, when we moved to Morocco as a way to share our experiences and photos with family and friends. I wrote whatever I wanted. Soon, people I'd never met starting reading. About the same time I started to realize I absolutely loved writing and was better at it than talking. It was therapy for the terminally shy girl in me. And now? While I'm still shy, I'm no longer convinced it's terminal.  Ok, that's bullshit.  I'm positive I'm going to die of shyness.  But,  I still do write whatever the hell I want.

3. What genre does it fall under, if any?

Memoir. Adventure. Humor. And a step-by-step-what-not-to-do-if-you're-traveling-guide. Is that a category?

4. If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

If Sarah Silverman, Kristen Wiig and Drew Barrymore had a menage a trois and somehow produced a love child together and she was a girl. Well, I'd pick her.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

Crazy, Stupid, True.

6. Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?

I would love to have an agency. But, I'm extremely lazy and haven't pursued that yet, so I'm just waiting for a publishing company to come pound down my door. I actually think I'm an indy girl at heart anyway. I stand alone. Kinda like Underdog. But with combat boots and a sword instead of energy pills. They make me jittery.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four months. I'm currently expounding, tweaking and editing my first draft. It's pretty rough, this may take a while.

8. What other book or stories would you compare this story to within the genre?

This is like a grittier Eat, Pray, Love, 20 years later with 4 kids, living in Morocco. Combine that with the tv shows Dirty Jobs, No Reservations and John and Kate Plus 8 and you kinda get the idea.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book or story?

I had already invested so much time and energy into writing the blog. I figured the next logical step was to make a book out of it, and so I could record my stupidity for my kids so they wouldn't forget our time in Morocco. Then I could embarrass them in print forever via the book sucked back behind the disheveled stacks in thrift stores.

10. What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?

I discovered a new energy source made from goat shit. Which I detail in the book and it revolutionizes Morocco. Kinda like in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, but with goats, not pigs. Which makes it totally different. Ok, so that's not true. But, I did take a shit at the US Ambassador's house in Rabat. The question is, did I make it to the bathroom in time?

Check out some of my friends' websites who have written or are currently writing books.

My friend Suzanne's book The Potty Boot Camp. Check it out here, especially if you hate potty training like I did.
Christopher will make you sleek and sculpted with Women's Fitness Beyond 40. Trust me,  click here, his kettle bells are effective. And heavy.
Janine's currently working on an e-book go here to find out how she's changing the world, one word at a time.
Mary Lauren is the mom I want to be.  She's beautifully reflective and she's writing a parenting book. I hope it's done soon, I need it! Visit her here .

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dr. Scholl's Sasquatch Surprise

It was half way through the flight and half way through my book when the pilot came on over the intercom. "The weather has deteriorated. There is a 50% chance we might be diverted. To Idaho." Which with my travel curse means I'll be stuck in a hotel room in Boise watching That 70's Show reruns all weekend because the book store will be closed for inventory. Unless it's a water main break. It was clear to me that I wasn't going to end up in Salt Lake City for my sister Kathy's surprise 50th birthday party.

Except, surprise, I did! Which leads me to believe that I'm not the one who's travel cursed after all. It's definitely one of the kids or Craig. And clearly, I'll take a flight every Friday to prove that fact. So what if I almost got into the car of a total stranger, who was not my sister's friend, Debbie, at the airport. She seemed really friendly though. And as I tell the kids, almost doesn't count.

After spending a lovely day with Debbie, Kathy finally arrived for her party. Yes, she was surprised. I think all of us were all surprised how much she looked like Elton John circa 1975 in these glasses we made her wear. We did let her take them off, but we should have made her perform Crocodile Rock first. Or better yet, her and I could have done a duet to Don't Go Breaking My Heart singing into a hairbrush like we used to in our bedroom. Hairbrush duets usually occurred right after I gave her a make over and right before she promised me a back rub that she never gave me. My pet rock was a witness to all of this by the way.

I don't know if it was all the nostalgia about the good ole' days or if it was the champagne, but that night I had a dream. That I was in hand to hand combat with a Sasquatch. A dwarf Sasquatch. I couldn't wait to tell my sister the next morning the way you do when you have a crazy ass dream. She was still in disbelief that I was there in Salt Lake City, and that we could chat face to face about really important things like big foot and whether I could take him out with my right hook or not. (She believes I can. Did I mention she's a really optimistic person that she has these delusions I'm really much more talented than I am?)

We spent the rest of the weekend shopping at second hand stores, eating fried food, drinking Bourbon and talking about bell bottoms and earth shoes. Ok, I don't think earth shoes ever came up. I did have a pair back in the day, but what I really wanted was a pair of Dr. Scholl's like my sister had. My mom said I was too young for them and I was so jealous. Only now can I admit, I was also way too tomboyish and klutsy to pull them off the way my sister did. She would pair them with a cute halter top and shorts and walk to her job Friendly's in them. Of course, when she got there she had to wear a hideous polyester uniform and hairnet. Which to me was like sweet revenge. Because she'd also buy me a Reese's Pieces Sundae from time to time.

The day of my return flight home, we went snow shoeing. Thank god I didn't shave my legs so I had an extra layer of insulation because it was about 10 degrees outside. This is where I coined the phrase "snotcicle".

My feet looked really big in the equipment. Which reminded me that big foot does live in these parts and I never did finish him off. The dream simply ended too soon.

But, if you look, you can see the shadow of Sasquatch in this photo. Ok, so that's my brother-in-law Jim, not big foot. I think this picture just foreshadows me buying a pair of Dr. Scholl's. And Kathy's right, I can take a Sasquatch. So, if I ever have that dream again, I now know how to finish him off. All I have to do is ninja kick in his direction and those wooden shoes would fly right off and knock him right in the head and on his ass. But, the chances of a Sasquatch rematch are probably as good as getting those retro back rubs I'm due.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shared Interests

My kids all have shared interests. Not that they are all genuinely interested in Star Wars, Tintin comics, legos, skateboarding or crafting. But rather, they are interested in making sure that the simple pleasures of their siblings are thwarted. This makes daily life at our house quite complex.

When I was prodding the kids to pack their backpacks to carry on the plane to Costa Rica, the boys got an idea. Instead of each bringing a backpack of their own, they'd share one. That way, each of them would only have to carry it half the time. Oh my god, they've finally learned to share. This is so heartwarming. I should instagram this moment. Except I don't instagram and I know this isn't going to turn out well. Which it didn't. That stupid freakin' shared backpack was a source of contention the entire trip. Every time it was put down, a battle for whose turn it was to carry it next ensued. Every time. While I encourage the kids to work out their problems with each other, I'd much rather they do it in sign language. Silently. Because it's exhausting to listen to them and their faulty arguments. Not only that, the owner of the backpack didn't empty out his secret pocket pre-trip. So, his secrets were discovered. We all knew this "secret" anyhow. He was still mortified. I was smugly satisfied and wanted to gloat. I did a happy dance in my head. Ok, and when all the kids were at the pool and Craig and I were alone I locked the door, so he and I could revisit "the secret" for entertainment purposes. And we laughed our asses off. Does that make us bad parents? Don't answer that.

Don't for a second think it's just my boys who have difficulty keeping secrets and sharing.

This past weekend, the Christmas gift cards and the kids accrued allowance was burning a hole in their pockets. So, we headed to Target to let them invest it in the really big waste of money of their choosing. I say this from past experience. And I would prefer them to blow their wad now and learn their lesson so they don't do stupid things later their using their college loan money to invest in a delorean or an Amway start-up or something like that. Honestly, right now I'd be really happy if they can get into any college and acquire a loan in the first place. Anyway, the girls are giddy with excitement when they find a motorized scooter. And unfortunately, they figure out if they pool their resources, they can afford it. Dang it, I hate that. But, that's what they did. Sky offered to put it together for them, they rode it and shared it for about a half and hour. Before the fights about whose turn it is began. And who broke the kickstand. And who needs to get it from outside and bring it in so the battery doesn't freeze.

Then, last night, I'd had enough. Behind closed doors a verbal contract had taken place. And it went wrong. They shook hands on a trade for an entire earring collection for a broken ipod. But, someone reneged. And the teary parties came to me to right the terrible injustice of it all. I wasn't interested in the details. I don't enforce sketchy backroom deals, even if someone is an Indian giver. Which is probably politically incorrect the way sitting indian style has now gone pc and replaced with criss cross applesauce. Which doesn't even make any sense. So, last night, I decided from now on, there will be no backpack sharing. Ever. And all issues of money and or trading of properties will only be enforced if there is a written contract defining the terms and signed by both parties and a parent. I have to admit, I'm disappointed it's come to this. Then when I thought about it, nothing prepares you more for the real world than paperwork and contracts. Or compound interest.

Also, we're taking bets on how long the motorized scooter is going to last and the method of it's ultimate demise.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Belly Pole Revolution Resolution

It was one of my New Year's resolutions. Along with reducing facebook time and increasing face time with my friends. You see, I liked disconnecting from the cyber world so much on vacation, I decided I needed to do more of it everyday. It just makes me a happier person. What makes me a nervous wreck is the thought of standing up in front of a real live audience. It makes my hands sweaty. And sweaty hands are most treacherous when you're going to dance on a pole.

I vowed that I was going to conquer my stage fright in 2013. So what better time to start than first thing in January when my instructor scheduled a recital. Never mind that I just came back from vacation and have a million other things going on right now. This seemingly frivolous pole dance is a priority.

So last night, I did it. With people looking at me. And me looking right back at them. Well, sort of. The lights were dimmed. The fact that the audience was loobed with alcohol also helped. This is what it looked like.)

(Disclaimer: This is video of me at home practicing the day before. The video from the actual recital is dark and grainy and started late. Did I mention the cameraman was drinking? Note, I didn't wear my coin top during the recital. No. It wasn't at that kind of establishment. I did wear an athletic bra.)

My hands didn't slip. I didn't pee on the pole. And no one booed. Or hissed. Or threw their drinks at me. Box checked, I could watch the other amazing performers. And get inspiration for next time. When I'll do a more challenging routine with more spins and inversions.

When we got home, the kids wanted to see the video. Here's their comments:

"Did you get to CHOOSE the song?"

"Did you mess up right there?"

"Where other people better than you?"

And my favorite.

"That was weird."

This is why I didn't let them come. They are the toughest crowd out there and I'm pretty sure they would have booed, hissed or threw some Hawaiian Punch at me. Oh yeah, my other resolution for 2013 is to leave the kids home by themselves with candy bribes more. So I yell at them less.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hot and Steamy

It's our belated 20th anniversary gift to each other, a trip to Costa Rica. It's going to be hot. So I'll be packing light. A string bikini, a halter top or two, a pair of short, a skirt and some thongs. I'm talking about the kind that go on your feet. While I want to keep things steamy, I'm extremely partial to comfort. When I'm done, then, I pack for our 4 kids. Yeah, they're coming with us. Since we'd be terrible parents if we ditched them over the holidays. We got a guilt trip for Christmas.

We started in the rain forest. A rustic farm far from civilization. Unless the mosquitoes count as a kind of prehistoric civilization of their own. Because, the rooms had no windows. Only screens. And I packed so light, I didn't think to include mosquito repellent.

People in these parts ride horses to get around the rough terrain, wielding machetes to combat the lush vegetation. Which also serves to defend them against the predators that also live in these parts. Like the puma tracks we saw hiking to swim in this waterfall. Not that the puma wasn't there. I just didn't look for it. Or the venomous jungle snakes. Denial has not failed me yet.

It was on the island of Tortuga on the Atlantic side where I found diarios. I had no need for a sanitary napkin, so I didn't buy them. I just thought it was hilarious, so I took a picture. A couple days later one of the kids had diarrhea. Then it didn't seem so funny, just really convenient. And I had non-buyers remorse.

We left the rain forest and headed for the volcano near the center of the country. It's an active volcano. Brimming with warning signs and danger.

But it didn't erupt. Only we did that when the kids wouldn't stop their incessant whining. If you study the above two pictures and the kids body language you can easily identify the culprits.

We took a long winding road trip to the beach to the Pacific coast. While it sounds quaint, with 4 exhausted kids it positively sucked. Not only was it hot in the car, but the kids were packed in like sardines with the luggage. But, they weren't nearly as exhausted as Craig and I were driving and navigating our way through a country without a map or street signs for their intensely potholed roads. When we finally did arrive at our destination. Alive. We hiked and traversed the rope bridges. But, we couldn't get them to stop arguing.

We needed the ocean. You can't talk under water. Or I guess you could, but no one would hear you. Or my subsequent yelling. Thank god.

So we surfed.

Paddle boarded.


And snorkeled while we slowly unintentionally roasted ourselves to a crisp.

(We also canopied through the tree tops on a zip line, but I didn't capture that on film because I left my camera battery recharger in the rain forest.)

By the end of the trip things were really hot and steamy between us, as you can tell from this picture. We were completely hot tempered with the kids, particularly the kid who took this photo. If you look closely maybe you can even see the steam coming out of our ears.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Where in the World...? (Part Trois)

This is the travel series where I give you bizarre clues and you guess where in the world we went on vacation. Thus the name. It's pretty self-explanatory, but just in case that illuded you.

It took us 3 flights and 17 hours of traveling to get there.

Utensils are kept sanitary in plastic bags for your protection.

The cats out of the bag that it's the place to get plastic surgery. Because doctors aren't required to be protected by malpractice insurance here it's relatively cheap. Did you really want your boobs big AND symmetrical anyway?

Drinks in restaurants come with ice. Although do you really want your bottled water poured into a glass with ice made from tap water? No matter how safe the server tells you it is.

Recycling is huge here. And by recycling I don't mean an old guy digging through the dumpster because he's a freegan.

Some of the locals have really leathery skin from sun exposure.

(Some tourists should remember to pack the good sunscreen from home so they don't fry their children when they buy and beach test the local water-resistant crap which turns out is doesn't resist anything. Slutty sunscreen.)

Oh, and it's illegal to swim with dolphins there.

It's also a hot bed for small pox.

Ok, this isn't actually small pox. Although, small pox might have been preferable to those *&^%$^ &^%$^&* mosquito bites.

Cause some dumbass forgot to pack that shit too.

While this peaceful country doesn't have a military.

Everyones got a machete.

The cuisine is bland, uninspired and constipating.

Unless you experience some Montezuma's revenge.

In which case, you'll spend a lot of time of the toilet inspired to investigate why you must put the toilet paper you wipe your ass with in the trash can next to the crapper. It's because the pipes throughout the entire country are too small to accomodate it. They obviously haven't had a constipated kid flush a titanic size poo down it.

Warning: Do not leave the states to become an apprentice plumber here.

You know how back in the 90's there was a TCBY in every strip mall and you used to go there all the time with your Rachel haircut and/or Chandler shirt? Then suddenly without warning they became extinct? You'll be happy to know that your favorite frozen yogurt chain is alive and well. It just went on vacation. To....

Quick, guess before you scroll down.


Oh, and if you're wondering why it took us 3 flights and 17 hours to get there. It's because I didn't know there was a two and a half hour direct flight from Colorado Springs to San Jose, Costa Rica. Until a week after I booked it. When my friend Judy told me. Luckily, I did not have a machete in my hand at the time.

You can read our first Where in the World...?

And Where in the World...? (Part Deux)


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