Siblings

This is one of my favorite pictures ever…a moment. My kids, siblings, a blip in time that only the two people in that very hug understand. I like to think it’s about letting go of annoyances…and just experiencing one emotion…love.

Happy National Siblings Day.

Siblings, a loaded subject, there is just so much there. Bonding, joyous memories, and tons of baggage. Siblings are the people who know you better than anyone else, and…who don’t know you at all. There was one moment in my twenties, on the deck at Fire Island, when I realized my family only knew me in the role I played in our family pod. I no longer only identified as the middle child, the peacemaker, the fixer…and had no desire to go back there for family weekends. I was strong, I had opinions. It used to drive my husband crazy to watch me go back to being a pleaser in order to avoid conflict. The beauty was my siblings and I spent many weekends at the beach…and were willing to embrace the grown versions of each other. Swoon.

I watched my husband go through the same thing during visits back to Iowa. Because trips back were only once or twice a year, it was even harder to bust out of family roles. The calm smart one, the snarky artist, the sweet jock, the good girl, and the imp who disliked art. It was hysterical for me to watch these people I knew as individuals go back to their roles in the family. I mean really, the “non-artist” teaches 400 or more kids art each week and does stained glass in her spare time. In their 40s and 50s they are all who they are meant to be…complex multi-faceted people who share a common time period…and parents.

This picture. It gives me hope. I always worried about only having two children. I love having both a brother and a sister. People always say three is a dangerous number…but as a kid, watching other families, having two kids always seemed to cause conflict. Why didn’t they like each other, why were they so competitive? I repeatedly told my kids you have a choice…be careful with your feelings, be careful with jealousy. You have one sibling, one person who gets what you have been through, one person who was raised by the same flawed people.

Siblings…so so complicated.

I adore the ones we made, and I adore the ones I have. It’s good to think about this stuff. Have a lovely day.

Being Ridiculous

A few months ago I was interviewed about my blog, then the story got pushed back and I kind of forgot about it. I found out it was in print when my phone exploded with well wishes. As I said to a friend, it was both lovely and horrific to be in the spotlight. My fifteen minutes of “fame” have passed and that is just fine with me.

I do so appreciate those who took time to share kind words about the story…people like that are of another era, I bet they write thank you notes too. The most touching nod came on my husband’s fb post…he did a wife brag…which was super delicious because he saves them up. The comment was: Awesome! I love your line, “People who are willing to be ridiculous…are gifts to the universe.” Brilliant!

I read this comment and I cried. I cried because of who it came from. This woman knows ridiculous from playing many nutty roles on tv…and because her extremely fun husband passed away before all of his talents could be shared. He embraced ridiculous, he taught joy, he lived his life to the fullest…he was a gift to the universe.

I only know of Mark Ritts because I know his daughter. His daughter is my daughter from another mother…that isn’t as catchy as sister from another mister, or brother from another mother…but you get the point. Google Mark Ritts. Did you find a picture of him dressed as the large rat…that is only a small part of his brilliance. There are many people I wish I could have met and he is one of them. I did not know Mark Ritts, but I know his essence…because every time I am with his talented, funny, brilliant, and full of life daughter…I am with part of him. People live on.

Being Ridiculous.

My kids had some super fun birthday parties. The event planner that I never became… came out in full force about 6 months prior to each celebration. A dinosaur dig, teenie tiny party, dance extravaganza, horror makeup with Dr. Blood, Silly Billy and an evening of being wacky. It was go big or go home, and we always went big. Tiny hamburgers and 3 foot playing cards, kids leaving with oversized nails through their heads or dressed like they were at a 1950s photoshoot. It was ridiculous.

I miss having little kids, the excuse for fun dulls as they mature…unless you are lucky enough to have my sister-in-law. Jodi is crazy fun…she is a blogger (check out supermakeit.com), crafter, curator of all things good. A million years ago, Jodi worked for Martha Stewart Living, and as a young hip New Yorker sans kids…she would use the lives of her niece and nephew for story ideas. After Olivia’s Wacky Birthday Party….she asked if I could get together a group of her peers for a Martha photoshoot. It became a thing, who do you choose, how do you not hurt feelings. Then it was suggested that all of girls should be Olivia’s height. Brilliant. We were sent a town car and into Manhattan this gaggle of peanut-sized girls went…their job…to be ridiculous. Clothing and hair were styled, the girls were given crafts to do between shoots, so professional and so well behaved. The girls reenacted the party they recently attended in our home…pink bouffant wigs and sticky mustaches, posing with pizza (cookies and icing) and cupcakes (mini meatloafs with mashed potato “frosting”)…experiencing so much joy.

Being ridiculous at a party…or for the camera. Being a ridiculous daddy…or remembering your daddy by being ridiculous.

Life. Is. Ridiculous! Embrace it…it’s a gift to the universe.

Beautiful little peanuts…all grown up now…embrace your ridiculous.

My Easter Peeps

Renew. Rebirth. Hope and light. Spring celebrations, bright colors and flowers…sheer joy. I love Easter. To be honest I love all holidays, but Easter is pretty delicious. Happiness galore, great music, flowers. What’s not to love?

This morning I was watching church while doing my exercises, the beauty of Zoourch. Feeling the need for some more music I put on the Apple Music Easter Mix. Good stuff. The classics, Ride On, Ride On In Majesty, Thine Be the Glory, then…The Old Rugged Cross. And with that…the waterworks came.

The Old Rugged Cross was one of my boyfriends favorite songs. My guy Lew had many girlfriends, basically every woman who knew him. Lew passed a few years ago, he was over 90. A WWII vet, brilliant, decent to the core, a man of conviction and honor. He was a collector of music, a collector of knowledge. He loved my Olivia and I loved him. Sigh. I think I loved Lew so much because he reminded me of another one of my loves…my Uncle Bill. Uncle Bill grew up in a two-family home in Queens with my dad. Note: did you know it is no longer politically correct to say two-family home, the correct terminology is now multi-unit home. Please also note I am ignoring that advice. Uncle Bill and my Dad grew up as brothers, both only children, they were more like siblings than many siblings. My Uncle Bill loved collecting music and knowledge just like Lew. Uncle Bill also served in WWII, liberating one of the camps. Uncle Bill loved music, walking into his home each Easter meant a mandatory lesson in classic hymns and wine. Men of a different generation. Really good men.

This is a ramble. Holidays are emotional for me.

I am both embracing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel…and mourning yet another holiday without my family. We are scattered and we miss. We wait, we wait to be together, to sing loud, to have egg hunts, to be one. My Easter Peeps.

Wishing you a beautiful day…no matter what renewal you are celebrating, embrace it and enjoy it. We have been given the gift of learning how to miss, and with that we will appreciate each other so much more.

Oh… and if you want to experience the goodness of Lew, just search his name…Lew McKinney and Veteran’s Day…at pctv76.org you will be blown away.

Easter Basket found in the pantry… black jelly beans rule.

Bathrooms

Last night on a book club Zoom I was joking that responses to my swoons can be pretty random…an entry about Post-its might get more comments than a gut-wrenching topic. I was kidding of course, there is no Post-it Swoon — yet. The point is, you just never know what will grab people. We shall see how “Bathrooms” goes…

I have joined a mid-century interiors FB page, a friend is the queen of reposting swoon-worthy older homes and I took the bait on this site. I now live for this FB page. No more trolls or politics for me…give me groovy bathrooms and kitchens. Pink, black, teal, yellow, bright and uplifting with a touch of ridiculous. Joy.

Bathrooms.

My Grandma Muench lived in a two family home in Glendale, Queens, a German neighborhood where you could eat off the front stoop of any home. Spotless. Her apartment was bright, beiges, pinks, mint greens, meticulous. Snack time meant Sara Lee pound cake and tea served on the blue and white china. We sat at the table under the gaze of the big black iron bull holding the “for show” pans. There was a lot of “for show” in her home. The elegantly shaped couch (the settee), the tall back chairs and drum tables…little sitting areas for polite conversation. Hummel dolls (“pre-war” which was noted every time Hummel dolls came up in conversation, which oddly was quite often, considering I was 6), porcelain dancing figures, and tiny tea cups, Depression era glass filled with tiny pastel colored stones. A little girly girl’s dream. It smelled of JOY Perfume and Clorox. Her bathroom was everything. Pink and black tile, bright window at the end, glistening, extra toilet paper protected by a plastic pink cover, towels you would never dare to touch. The closet just outside the hallway leading to it was filled with powders, perfumes, towels folded so tight and square. Structure, beauty, and not an inch of give.

By the time I was old enough to remember, my Grandma Bohjalian lived in an apartment in Washington Heights. Visiting her meant circling the block for parking, sometimes double parking leaving a note on the window that said “honk if you want us to move”, there was a lot of honking. Walking into the building, high ceilings, intricate tiled lobby, racing to push the black shiny elevator button. The smells…dinners being prepared by people from all over the world. The sounds…elevator clinking at each floor, nothing smooth about it, conversations and tvs from various apartments. Elevator door stalling, then opening, phew, turn left, turn right…Grandma. The long hallway, past the “back bedroom”, the bathroom, the kitchen, into the light filled living room. Dusty rose couches against each wall, intricate fringed rugs covering every inch of the floor, the old wooden radio with the backgammon set and Grandpa’s spittoon underneath…open, airy, perfect for a dance party. I was a bit late for the dance party days, when Grandpa played the oud and my mom belly danced. I would have loved it so.

Grandma Bohjalian’s apartment was all about warmth, the colors, the ability to do cartwheels across the living room, to bounce from bed to bed. The lack of a need to be “proper” meant my favorite painting of a cow was hung on the wall…off center and an inch from the ceiling. Bizarre and wonderful. Dinner around the tiny kitchen table…no room to fit us all until we actually sat, then the magic of a gracious host made it work. Before each meal was the best part of a visit to Grandma’s…the wash up. Her bathroom was black and white. Hexagon tiles, huge square-top pedestal sink, black tiles around the base of the room and 4 feet up to perfectly define the space, deep clawfoot tub, perfection. The only place in the apartment sans warm colors, but to me the warmest place in the world. It was where I had my special Grandma time. Hoisting me up, her belly leaning against my back, my belly against the sink, feet dangling…she turned on the water, once the perfect temperature she rolled the Ivory soap in her hands…then washed my hands in hers…around and around, bliss. Then she dried our hands together in the towel on the sink, and with a little tap, we went back to our lives.

I recently designed the bathroom of my dreams. Deep soaking tub, lots of storage for lovely smelling perfumes and creams, black and white with a bit of adorable in the floral tile pattern. Influenced by my two grandmas…memories…swoon.

On the bright side…

It was a pretty nutty week, my work load is increasing, we had numerous appointments for more X-rays, an MRI, and follow up visits for Olivia’s broken bones. Getting films from the ER visit proved to be like being part of the Hunger Games…and like Katness, I won. The work week ended with us getting takeout food and watching America’s Next Top Model, College Edition. I am not proud, but it is most fascinating. A perfect evening despite the crazy.

Beautiful girls, tall and thin, and competing in crazy challenges…we will dress you like a zombie and you need to look like a zombie but also like a model but not too much like a model or a zombie… go! There are all kinds of prompts and pushes from the producers to create drama, and drama comes out full force. The interesting thing is, watching this as a 54 year old woman I saw a pattern, people who consider themselves the victim, who believe things should be fair, who feel cheated… always lose and get sent home. Their mojo, their essence, gone…poof. The old Tom Brady thing, he doesn’t give a hoot how much people hate him, he is just going to focus on the game…and he ALWAYS wins.

The bright side… focus on the bright side.

I saw this post from my sister-in-law the other day “Has a bee ever landed on you, and instead of getting scared, you appreciate the possibility that you got confused for a flower.” OH MY GOSH I love this so much.

The bright side…

Today we went for a walk on the paths overlooking the Hudson River. Jasmine spent her time sniffing and leaving her scent, I imagine the conversations between the dogs who never get to see each other something like this HI! I’m Jasmine! I just wanted to let you know I think you smell sooooo good and I wish we could have met, but I am leaving a bit of myself here so we can be forever friends, all the best! So sweet, like a pen pal but a pee pal. Towards the end of our hike we ran into another Havanese, they greeted each other, sniffing and wagging tails. Pure joy. Pure pure joy. Do you know what dogs do to me when they are happy I am in their presence? Mouths open with huge grins, tails wagging, they approach me, and they…pee on me. The owners were horrified, Greg and I immediately tried to make them feel better. Don’t worry, this is the third time, the first was a Newfoundland, then a German Shepherd, this is nothing, imagine how much a Newfoundland pees, like a shower, the German Shepherd christened my new Doc Martens, this is nothing…no worries.

The bright side? I appreciate the possibility that dogs confuse me for beings that they want to communicate with, connect with, be with…a forever friend.

Have a great day!

ER Stories

There are few memories from parenting that trump ER visits. We had the pleasure of another one yesterday. I say the pleasure because our “baby” is almost 23 and she is really spectacular when it comes to not complaining about the big things…the little things get to her…but the big ones, she is magic. Long story short, new bike, first time back on the trail after a long winter, freedom, speed, a moment of sheer bliss then…BOOM. Who knows what it was, a crack in the path, a stick, or a rock. What ever it was took her down and took her down hard. Weird thing is I was home working and watching Molly’s Game at the exact moment this happened. Molly was taken down by a frozen pine twig, ruining her skiing career. Weird connection. Anywho, Dad to the rescue retrieving her, getting her to the ER, and then calling me once things were a bit settled.

You know things are not fine when a phone call starts with Hi, it’s me, Olivia is fine.

I have had a lot of those calls. My favorite was from the principal of the elementary school, Hi Mrs Nemec, the kids are fine. Then she starts giggling, a nervous infectious giggling. Like I said, everything is really fine, but we have a little situation with Jacob...laughter in the background…he was on the playground and another child put a…pause to contain herself…another child put a…I am thinking what could another child have put on him? A tattoo? Ok, Jacob has a wiffle ball stuck on his index finger. We can not get it off, we all tried, the nurse had the custodian come up with industrial clippers but that did not work either, it is too thick. He needs to go to the ER. Now you might think a parent receiving this call would be shocked, but not I. Jacob had already been to the ER for (at different times) swallowing a penny, swallowing a magnet, and having emergency surgery to clear his lungs after aspirating chicken (tip, don’t let your child watch America’s Funniest Home Videos while eating chicken fingers). To the ER we went, and after hours waiting a cranky old doctor told us he was going to yank the ball off…then set the finger if he broke it. Jacob looked at me like is the man INSANE and decided to remove it himself, after numbing his finger by putting ice chips in the ball…he powered through it. Needless to say I did not pay that ER bill. Knowing when to retire from a good turn of service is a skill this doctor did not possess.

Olivia ended up in the ER as a baby, two trips to the pediatrician with repeated assurance of her being fine lead to a near disaster. Parents should trust their instincts. Thankfully grandma was watching her on day three of the illness…and doctors are no match for super grandma instincts. The pediatric ER in Greenwich Village was packed. She was so dehydrated, so tiny, they could not find her vein for an IV. They put her in a crib that looked like a cage. My baby in a cage. The nurse jumped to the sky when she came in for vitals and found me in the crib cage with my little peanut. Olivia needed cuddles…and if she had to be in there, I would be in there with her. Being 5 feet has its perks.

Being thrown from a horse, acute appendicitis, drilling into one’s leg on building crew… such such fun. The stories that get told and retold. I have my stories…climbing the tree to my bedroom window and the branch breaking two stories up. Walking around “the point” barefoot and having a huge chunk of glass removed by a woman so nasty she could have been wiffle ball doctor’s sister. Falling off the roof at Fire Island, then my mom doing the same 5 minutes later, a boat ride back to the mainland and a joint ER visit that left the triage crew calling their friends over to hear the story (the ladder leading to the roof was upside down…twice…my poor dad). Memories that get passed on because we were lucky…and the stories ended well.

Sigh. My Olivia is banged up, she will be hurting for days, there will be therapy and it will be tedious, but broken bones heal. The little baby across the hall from us last night has a much tougher battle. He had surgery last week on his feet and was in two hard casts, he was admitted with a high fever. The doctor explained the casts need to come off, there might be an infection in the wound. The mom alone and scared agreed to call the surgeon to get their opinion. The on call service answered and tried to put her off, she was so calm and polite explaining “I understand what time it is, but my baby is in the ER, we need to speak with him right away, my baby is very sick, I need your help. I need you to wake him…now please, he is only a month old, my baby is only a month old.” The surgeon called back and spoke with the doctor, and they were going to move forward…I could hear the mom crying in relief.

When Olivia and I left at 4:30am I looked to put faces to the voices of the mom and baby. Mom was in the bed cuddling him, he would not be alone…and he had the first of his many ER stories under his belt, one month into his beautiful life.

Small Acts

The youth group leader who took the time to reach out for a chat after a group of friends dropped me like a hot potato. The woman who hired me to serve and clean up after her glorious parties…always giving me an extra twenty, that she called “only for fun money”. The college professor who pointed out my clavicles as I took my humiliating turn modeling for sculpture day, these, see these, these are beauty. A friend taking the time to create two wedding cake toppers (he wasn’t pleased with the first), and drive them to Queens from Philadelphia, and then stayed for the day making pastel colored almond pouch giveaways. A mom with two babies of her own cooking a weeks worth of food for us so we could enjoy our newborn. These are some of the people who quietly changed my life with their kindness…kindness that still touches my soul 20, 30, 40 years later. Swoon.

My kids were non-traditional learners, working hard for every grade, using tricks to do what came easily to others. People would make remarks like YOUR kids get services? Umm, yup, even the most talented artist might need glasses…there is nothing wrong with receiving help. Anyway. Anyone who has been to a 504 or IEP meeting knows it is like getting naked in Grand Central Station…at rush hour. The team (teachers, counselors, education advocates, and parents) sit together and review the child’s strengths and weaknesses, and make a plan. Raw. Greg and I would hold hands and listen…these people really knew our kids, they cared, they wanted them to succeeded. Then it would be our turn…and every single time it went like this…We. We. Um. Okay, I am going to cry, but it is not a sad cry, I am just so overwhelmed and grateful…thank you for caring about our kid…and the water works would begin. After the first few meetings the counselors would show up with “The Nemec Tissues”. Kindness.

Recently, on the last hill of my walk…I noticed a car slowing down. I have the glorious ability to turn as red as a tomato when exercising, strangers have pulled over in concern for my wellbeing. Ready to respond with No, thanks, I am fine, just trying to lower my BMI! Thank you!…my friend popped open her window. This rock of a woman, who it seems can not be ruffled, always a voice of reason and calm…started crying and launched into a “thank you for helping my kid soliloquy”…water streaming down her face. I stand listening, thankful for her words, grateful for our chance meeting, wishing I could offer her one of “The Nemec Tissues”, and thrilled that some very small acts of kindness mattered so much to her and her child.

This week has been rough, it seems like people are itching to be divided, using both the most ridiculous and most devastating reasons to stay on “their sides”. The lack of kindness people show when it is needed most saddens me…so I have been thinking back, back to those who have changed my life with gracious bits of goodness. To this day, they are proof, that small acts of kindness…really count.

Bitter Sweet

March 11, 1996 at 12:03 AM my water broke in our NYC apartment and my adventure in motherhood began. Just a year before on March 11, 1995 I was dangling my feet in a groovy mid-century modern hotel pool in Ft. Lauderdale, drink in hand…continuing the celebration of my bestie’s wedding. Great location, friends, lots of drink…and a bride and groom who were so lovely together you did not question the match for a minute. One of those weddings where everyone was happy and their beautiful life ahead was not in question.

March 11, 2021, early morning, feeling a bit blue about not seeing my son on his 25th birthday, but thankful for a Zoom celebration later in the day, I get to work. The morning explosion of texts from my girl friends started popping up. Happy Birthday to Jacob, Happy Birthing Day, miscellaneous stuff, then…then from my Lisette, today is our 26th wedding anniversary. I am not great about remembering other people’s wedding anniversaries, even if they had the best wedding ever, and there are no handy FB reminders. This wedding anniversary, this one really counted…because Lisette was taking care of John 24/7 as he neared the end of his life. He was at home and they were at the waiting stage. All that needed to be said, had been said…it has been six years since his late-stage cancer diagnosis. All therapies traditional and non had been tried. Now they were just waiting for his beautiful strong body to let go.

Lisette is my sister from another mister. Often mistaken for the same person when we lived together after college in Peter Cooper Village, we were known as “the one who bakes”, or “the one who chats with everyone”. I was the baker. I was on the verge of marriage. Lisette was in a relationship with a less than worthy gentlemen…who in the end moved on…to prefer gentlemen. Then she met John. He worked as a bellhop while looking for a creative job, living in a closet-sized apartment on the Lower East Side above a fish store. He did it the hard way…on his own…and he was a complete success. John was the salt of the earth and was head-over-heals in love with Lisette, and for that I loved him.

John. The nicest guy in the room, the best smile….the giggle. Always there to teach me about music or this weird new thing called the internet. Most of what he said went WAY over my head, he always saw it in my eyes and would giggle saying you have no idea what I am talking about do you? Then he would break it down.

John. My brother Fred had decided to enter a radio contest. The contestant who best promoted the station K-Rock would win $25,000. Greg filmed Fred all over Manhattan…parades, NYC Marathon, Morning TV shows, rush hour at Grand Central…they were everywhere. Fred dressed as “the K-Rock superhero” (wearing shorts, a cape, a curly wig, and a shaved K…of chest hair) greeting people as they went about life. After viewing the nightly footage my thought was, this needs a really good editor…you need John. And of course, John came through, he edited the hours of footage and put it to amazing music. He patiently taught my husband the magic of storytelling through editing. And in a shock to us all…largely due to John’s goodness and talents…they WON. Swoon.

March 11, 2021, early evening, Greg and I are chatting about Lisette and John and their situation when a bing comes in. John just passed away in my arms.

Full circle, full heart, full closed shape of your choice…their beginning as a married couple and him departing this earth in her arms…on the same day.

March 11th…their souls connected forever.

John, completely swoonie over his Lisette… I can just hear him saying “Isn’t she awesome”

Brave?

Recently a few people went out of their way to tell me how brave I am. I do not consider myself brave. According to many, admitting that my BMI is over thirty is an act of bravery. Well ok then, I guess I am brave…and fat. As of today, I am also vaccinated (Rd 1) because I had the “strength” to admit what anyone with eyes can see.

Being overweight causes many reactions in people. I know this because I have been itty bitty… and I have been chunky…right now according to a math equation developed in 1830 by a man…I am obese. Thanks Adolphe Jacques Quetelet…your chart is creating such self-hate that people are refusing to admit their BMI even if it means they can get a vaccine that will save their lives. Bravo.

When you have had the gift, yes, gift, of experiencing life at many different weights you see people as they really are. When you are fat…most people do not say you look beautiful as you enter a room, people don’t compliment your outfit, your picture is taken less, and you are not worthy of peoples kind words, or a desk job greeting people…you lost that right with your “lack of self control and gluttony”. The host asks if you would like a “little” cake, like it is a challenge. The thin person, on their third glass of wine, teeth stained purple, is offered drink after drink. No issue celebrating…as long as it is with alcohol. When you are heavy your workplace buys t-shirts with the definition of inclusion on them…for a celebratory Inclusion Day event…but does not order one in your size (true story, this just happened to someone I know). Everyone is included but you.

Smoking, vaping, drinking, drugs…choices…hardships for people with the unfortunate body chemistry that makes controlling their impulses crazy difficult, the pulls that trip them up…their addictions. Food, there is no choice…you must eat it…you are tempted daily, hourly, minute by minute. There is no cold turkey option with food. Think about that. No option.

In the past year I have been given the gift of time, less work hours and more hours to cook really lovely meals, stay on top of needs and wants of those I love, learn a few new crafts, read, and organize my spaces. After a year of this gentle and cozy life…and after finding out my BMI means I am obese…I decided that it was time to focus on me.

What I learned is…there are vitamins that help with the spectacular mid-sectional developments women go through after 50, there is a calorie reduction plan that suites every person, sleeping 8 hours a night matters, exercising 2 or more hours a day and drinking 64-80 ounces of water…will all help you to successfully lose weight. I am down 9.5 pounds in the last 3 weeks. I feel great and I am proud. I am also furious at the judgment towards heavy people. You know what? Losing weight is expensive. Buying fresh produce and low-fat proteins is a privilege. Losing weight takes a lot of time. Committing to daily exercise, food prep, and shopping takes hours and hours of time.

Time. You know what I used to do with my time before the pandemic? Worked full time including nights and weekends. Kept two children, a husband, and many animals alive and organized. Was the event/holiday planner for the extended family. Ran a household…and did between 15-30 hours of volunteering and free design work for those in need every week. During that insane period of my life I did not have the luxury of peeing twice a day, let alone 15 times due to the “correct” amount of water one must drink. There was no free two hours for exercise. My life, my choice…and for those who happily accepted my hospitality or benefitted from my volunteer work…think twice before judging my weight. Think twice before judging anyones weight. Please.

I do not like double standards…all addictions suck. So to you liberal, save the world, don’t be racist or sexist adults who sit back and laugh along with your kids when they make fun of a fat person walking by, not ok. To you people who insist being overweigh is due to laziness or gluttony, take a break from your judgement and go do some volunteering. To those who struggle…I am sorry…I see you, and you count.

If I lose 10 or 100 pounds…I am still me. I notice how you have treated me at each and every one of my weights. Me…I am a person who tries to make this world a better place…and you know what?

I AM BRAVE… brave enough to call you out next time you are a fatist.

Women

A friend posted a question in honor of International Women’s Day…name five women who have influenced your life. No relatives, nobody who is currently active in their pursuit of goodness…five women from the past. So I replied, hit return…and of course two seconds later I wanted to edit. How could I have left off Frida Kahlo? I stand firm on my Harriet Tubman declaration because she is everything. But if I really took my time thinking before writing…Frida would have been there instead of Jane Goodall. I mean the art, the attitude, the eyebrows. Frida, how on earth did I leave off Frida?

I am very fortunate to be surrounded by spectacular women. My first plan for the accompanying photo for this Swoon was to make a collage of the women who make my life better, possible, meaningful. I started collecting images, smiling from ear to ear…my ladies, my squad, my pod…my lifelines. Then I started to sweat. What if I left someone off…this was not Frida, these were people I did not want to risk hurting. I needed to cover family, 54.5 years of friendships, bosses, clients, teachers, my kids friends and my friends kids, the women I volunteer with, the little girls next-door…impossible. Stop. I used pictures of my ancestors (Armenian left and German right), and mom, me, and my baby girl in the center. My everything.

No offense to men, but this is not your day. There have been a few men in my life who have influenced my whole being. I can count them on my hands…and not use all fingers. The women…I can not count them, there are too many. That is a good too much to have.

Women…they run countries and actually stop the spread of pandemics. Women…they create life while still living a full life. Women…they are able to multi-task like no other. Women…their love is endless. Women…when you find the right ones, they only want the best for their friends. Women…really can do it all (even though they shouldn’t have to).

Women. Gotta love them. Women. Respect them. Women. Cherish them…because anyone who is reading this knows…life would be a shit show with out them.