Sleds and Dogs, But Not Sled Dogs

So, what does one do when they are snowed in, for 3 days, with 2 kids and 3 dogs? I am kidding, I mean 2 dogs and Fex (future ex husband) who has been likened to a dog, by some mutual friends, on several occasions. Truthfully speaking, FEX could never be as loyal and reliable as a dog anyway. OMgoodness, I just did it again. Perhaps it’s is the freezing cold that I was exposed to while sledding today. Or, rather, I am just in the mood to be cheeky (and honest).

The answer is – go sledding with a bunch of friends, and a gaggle of kids, of course! It’s that, or I could always sit home, drink wine, and let my children eat me out of house and home, in an attempt to pacify our cabin-fever, and the boredom which has begun to set in – the result of sitting in the house for 3 days, while Mother Nature has her way with us.

As a devout lover of summer, and all activities water-related, I have often wondered how it is that I have lived in New York for my entire life. While we do have the most beautiful weather in Spring and Fall, which are both moderate in temperature, and a delight to behold, for the senses, with them comes the complete extremes of the spectrum – brutally hot summers and bone-chilling winters.

The fact is, that I love New York! Just like the tourism commercials, theme song and slogan says. I really do love it, wholeheartedly. Many who have never visited this beautiful state do not realize that New York City is only a small portion of the offerings here. I actually live on Long Island, just east of the city, which is just that, a very long island of suburbs, boasting countless, stunning beaches spanning its length, and no more than a half an hour drive, north or south, from almost any given point. As if this isn’t enough, there is the mainland of NY, which stretches up to Canada, and is comprised of spectacualr mountains, with farmland and forest, mostly unsullied by man.

While I do love it here, I must say that the cold winters are really knawing at me, whispering in my ear, louder and louder, as each year passes, and another bout of cold passes through my beloved state. Today, standing on top of that snowy hill, with frozen nose and toes, delighting in the fun of the children sledding, I leaned in closely to decipher the whisper, and I distinctly heard it say, “Go back to the Caribbean Victoria. That is where you belong!” Who am I to argue with the wisdom of the winter winds?

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Enjoying some balcony time in sunny Jamaica, January 2015

For the Doubters, Haters and Naysayers

My life hasn’t been picture perfect. Yet, my blessings have been, and continue to be innumerable.

I’m what one might call a “late bloomer.” I dropped out of college right after High School and pursued acting, performing in local productions, and working with an improv troupe for several years. All the while, I was building my talents as a hairdressing waitress, with a penchant for mixing up delightful cocktails, and provoking endless amounts of fun. I parlayed that into a nice management position at a high-end steakhouse, with a regular clientele, and a close-knit staff. Very good times…

I began seriously dating my future ex-husband in 2000, (who I shall affectionately refer to as FEX from here on) and we eventually ventured off into our own business, in the home improvement field. The housing market was soaring in NY, (mind you this was around 2002) and FEX and I were living it up…vacations, parties, weekend getaways and the like. More good times…

We got the house in the middle-class neighborhood, got married, and had 2 healthy, beautiful babies. A boy then a girl. Picture perfect. Um. No.

Fast forward to 2008ish. The housing market was in a drastic, downward spiral and seemingly took our business and financial security with it, in what seemed like a blink. Eventually, our marriage was to follow suit.

Still trying to hold it all together, I returned to school, in 2010. Having already attained my Associates Degree while working at that fine Steakhouse, I began to chip away at my Bachelors in English (of course) in hopes of becoming a teacher. I was an excellent student, and the go-to editor, for my friends and family, whether they needed a letter, or a college paper written. I thought becoming a teacher would be the answer to our financial woes.

That is when FEX declared that he was unhappy and wanted out. Our children were 2 and 4, at the time. It unraveled quickly after that. 6 months later, FEX moved out and I really wasn’t sure if I could manage life, house, children and dogs, without him.

I made a decision, that no matter what challenges were to come, I was going to make my job as a parent paramount over everything else. FEX proved a disloyal husband, but certainly does still love and provide for our children. We do get along (mostly) and work together at parenting our offspring. I still do cut hair, and waitress and bartend, and I also continue to put parenting my little ones before all else. But now, I can see clearly that I have the need to fulfill my own passions, and purpose. Yes, it is an actual NEED, and I shall honor it.

Which brings me here. I realize that it was necessary for me to be brought to and through these challenges and struggles, so that I could learn of my own strength, and astounding ability to improve myself. Because when the material things, and the plans I had made for the future were abruptly stripped from me, I was left with myself.

I get by, with a little help from my friends, and a lot of help from my family. I am quite Blessed, in both departments. But the point is, that I choose to be happy. I choose to chase my dreams. I am writing, which centers me, and makes me feel that all is right with the Universe. I am editing a wonderful book for my fabulous friend, mamalisa4, which excites me immeasurably. I am on the right path. I can feel it in my bones.

For those who have doubted or judged my decisions, I say, “Mind your own matters.” To my supporters, who have been there with an open heart, through it all, cheering me on, I say, “Thank you. You’ve made all the difference in the world to me.”

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Time Ceases When You’re Rocking Out in Paradise

Or does it? Maybe it’s the rum? Or the golden sun relentlessly pouring itself out over my pale skin. Perhaps nobody cares to be bound by the intrusive restraints of a schedule when in paradise. In any case, it’s wonderful to be without a watch imprisoning my wrist, nor a care in the world, for a brief span anyway.

The salted blue-green warmth lapping at my tired figure seems to wash it all away. The stress of the daily grind fades, time slows for a space, and I sit gracefully, um, ok, maybe not gracefully, but certainly gratefully, soaking in this Caribbean gift.

My fairy Godmother, aka, my Dad, took me to sunny Jamaica for the week, to bask by the sea and listen to one of our favorite bands, live, nightly, and on the Caribbean shore, no less…The incredibly talented, soulful, rock n’roll genius that is Gov’t Mule, and amazing friends, led by legendary guitarist and singer/songwriter, Warren Haynes, who some of you may know from the Allman Brothers Band. Mind-blowing! As if this wasn’t enough, Anders Osbourne’s band made appearances throughout, as well as the talented trio, London Souls. I have always bonded with my father over music. My Dad rocks! Literally.

Guilt. I’ve actually left it behind. I was overwhelmed by anxiety about leaving my children, right down to the pit of my stomach, for the entire week prior to leaving. But I magically recuperated from this malady upon stepping onto white sand, while sipping, ok, gulping down, my first frozen delight, aptly named, the “Bob Marley.” A Tri-colored frozen serving of rum-soaked goodness, in a plastic cup. So delightful.

Ya mon, no problems at all, in Jamaica.

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What treasures have you found among someone else’s “trash?”

One mans trash…You know how the old saying goes. What may no longer be useful to one person, may well turn out to be a cherished treasure for another. This rings true in numerous ways.

I was driving back and forth across my suburban town on a typical, putt-around Sunday, and several times passed by a house having a garage sale. The weather was a bit too frosty, in my opinion, to make that endeavor worthwhile. I was thinking this, as I passed the chilled figures working the sale. As a seasoned host of some rather lucrative garage sales, I have learned that you don’t rake in the customers, in temperatures too hot, or too cold. I have a great appreciation for the myriad of benefits that come along, from doing something as laborious and unglamorous as having a garage sale.

I had never shopped garage sales, and had certainly never hosted one, before my second child was born. I snubbed my nose at garage sales for the most part. Who would want to sift through someone else’s discards anyway? Or spend their day selling their own junk in their own driveway? What would the neighbors think?

Fast-forward to a 2-year-old son, and infant daughter later. “Oh no, all these baby clothes, and toys, and hoppy chairs, are designed for boys. What were we thinking? And what will we do with all of this boy stuff? And gee-wiz, replacing it with all girl stuff is costly? And wow, no baby shower for the second-born, to ease the financial bleeding a bit, that comes from baby-having, and subsequent child-rearing, kind of sucks…” And finally, “Heyyy, maybe those garage sale people are onto something…”

Needless to say, I have held my fair share of yard sales in the 6 years to follow that naive time in my life. It was amazing, I was decluttering my house, helping people attain some rather nice items, for which they had need or want, at a fabulous price, and I was making some extra cash to contribute to my family. And by-golly its a green thing to do, and in total compliance with the concept of reuse, repurpose and recycle. Amazing!

Let’s get back to the poor popsicles I saw running their chilly-day sale. On my last pass, at the end of the day, dropping off my daughter’s friend from a play-date, I see that they have shut down shop and carefully moved all that didn’t sell to the curb, for trash pick-up. Alas, the curious picker in my head forces me to stop the car and assess the situation. Well, my goodness, am I glad I did.

I am now the happy owner of a pristine and life-like porcelain doll, which my daughter was thrilled to receive (incidentally I priced it out and found it to be valued at around $85), an extra large, wooden-framed, backyard table-umbrella, in excellent working condition, and a perfect, unused, hardcover, copy of a book that one of my dearest friends, and cheer-leader for my writing, had been urging me for months to read, coincidentally (or not) written by a blogger-turned extremely successful author, writing about some sh*t his Dad says. Amazing!

As I think of all of this, I grow more certain that there are no coincidences. A dear childhood friend, whose first husband had told her on numerous occasions, that she was a piece of garbage, eventually remarried a man who absolutely adored her for the stunningly beautiful, kindhearted and imperfect woman she is. 10 years later, they remain madly in love. Amazing! Sometimes, what might appear to be “trash” in our lives, turns out to be a hidden treasure, waiting to fall into the hands or heart of just the right person.

In This Moment

“Lucky to be alive,” can oft’ be heard

in the whispers surrounding one whom

trauma or disease, accident or disaster

has befallen. Upon surviving

such misfortune or malaise, it is

spoken with conviction.

”Lucky to be alive!” they say.

Such circumstances

give cause for

reflection and gratitude,

or perhaps

a fleeting understanding

of the delicate strand

by which all

dangles precariously.

“Lucky to be alive!”

is proclaimed loudly

to survivor, and hero…

 

Yet isn’t it so, for one and all,

from mountains majestic,

to a grain on the shore,

each breath and thought,

through battles fought,

each win or loss,

and through remorse,

is “lucky.”

Each sunrise, a second chance…

 

Let us be thankful,

as sweet breath gives us life.

Let us be thankful

through challenge and strife.

Let us be thankful

during tasks mundane,

when the sun is shining,

as when God sends the rain.

Let us whisper from within

with certainty and grace,

“lucky to be alive,”

in this moment, in this space.

Thank God I Married the Wrong Man

As a self-proclaimed “scorned” woman, and you will come to see, I definitely fit within the parameters of such a title, I have learned that there is a pitifully negative connotation attached to this status. It’s societal and familial. It is the concept that we are not whole if our partner or spouse does us wrong, or worse yet…leaves all together.

I actually use the term “scorned” in a satirical nod to my ex, who, during those dark times in our relationship, following the initial break-up, used to throw the word around at me as if this was some valid explanation for my “irrational” resentment towards him. In fact, it was true. I was scorned. I was hurt, angry, broken. At times, I was like a crazy-women, pissed-off and reeling, especially during those first treacherous months, whilst trying to regain my balance. I had two little ones, a boy, age 4, and a girl, age 2, at the time. I believed wholeheartedly that someone had pulled the rug from beneath my unsteady feet, and my entire world shifted.

The reality is, it is not possible to force another person to hold true to their commitments, even after you’ve both proclaimed, in front of God, Church and family, “‘Till death do us part.” Though, with my vision becoming increasingly clearer, it is apparent that, even though our marriage didn’t go the distance, my relationship with this man who scorned me is interminable, for the simple fact that we were gifted with two awesome children, who now literally bind us in ways both obvious and imperceptible, till death and beyond.  And I wouldn’t change a thing.

There is a quote by Cynthia Occelli, about a seed, which resonates so deeply with my feelings on the failure of my marriage, and the ensuing chaos and subsequent calm to follow. “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

I am that seed, and my desire and ability for growth astounds me. Each of us is capable of this incredible blossoming, even after we are faced with a seeming destruction. For this, I am thankful. For our beautiful children, I am thankful.  And for marrying the “wrong man,” I am indeed thankful. From that scorn, I was reborn.

I Am Here

As I stare blankly, with wide eyes and a knotted stomach at my spanking new webpage, I am overwhelmed with emotions. Fear, of course, being one of the more prominent in the bunch, gnawing at my confidence, attempting valiantly to hold me back from the future possibilities of failure and pain (am I good enough?). Defiantly, and with conviction (for today at least), I banish this unwanted fun-stopper of an emotion from my psyche. Today I can, and I will push through it.

I have always had an affinity for writing, and Lord knows I enjoy the heck out of a good conversation too. So, perhaps my affection is for the whole process of communicating, and the power of the word, albeit written or spoken. OK, I confess. I am a bit of a chatterbox too.

For as long as I can remember, I have been the go-to-girl for those in my circle, in need of any type of writing or editing assistance. Starting back in High School, if a friend needed help with a paper, they called upon me. And the grades we got together were always good (maybe I was on to something).

But it wasn’t until the universe serendipitously brought a great friend into my life (hi Lisa!), with the same love of writing and talking (woo-hoo! I am not the only geek in town) that my need (yes darnit, NEED!) to nurture this part of myself came to the forefront of my consciousness. And with her encouragement (OK, she actually kicked me in the ass repeatedly), I am here!

I am a “scorned” woman, and mother of two awesome humans (well, awesome most of the time) with a passion for many things artistic, and especially for writing. I will share my thoughts and my story with you. It is not always pretty, but it has led me here, which is where I need to be.

I may be “scorned,” but more than that, I am thankful. Did I mention, I am HERE!?!