Welcome to Snarkfest

Welcome to my snarky corner of the web. Join me as I discuss everything from wine to chocolate. There may be a few other topics mixed in there too. I talk a bunch about my amazing offspring, 24 and 21. I sometimes go on and on about my secret crush on the amazing Mike Rowe. I talk about things that irritate me or things that make me happy. Sometimes I just talk to hear myself talk. Feedback is always appreciated but please make sure it's respectable. No nudity or profanity. I'm the only one allowed to be profane. But any and all snark is welcome and appreciated!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hit By a Mack Truck of a Memory....

Have you ever been hit by a freight train? A Mack truck? It happened to me last weekend.

I went out for a run because I'm training for what originally was supposed to be a half marathon. However, due to lack of proper training and a nagging knee injury, I'm only training for a 10k now. Totally not the point, but let's just say I was out there getting it done.  While I was out schlepping along, I was thinking that this time last year I was winding down my training for the Freedom's Run full marathon. Thoughts began to wander and I ended up thinking about the day after last year's marathon when I got the call that my mom had been found in her apartment after a fall.

That call and the ensuing week that followed left me reeling. I literally packed and hauled ass to New Jersey and spent the week either with my mom at the nursing home, at city hall cutting through bureaucratic bullshit or cleaning out her apartment. I was literally running on adrenaline and had little time to think about anything but making sure my mom was cared for, both at the time and for the future. She could no longer live on her own, so we needed to make sure her Medicaid application was complete and submitted so that she could remain at the nursing home which was providing her with amazing care.

While at her apartment, my brother and I boxed up all non-perishable foods and donated them to the little food bank her apartment building had. We bagged up most of her clothes and donated those to the mission or Goodwill. We got rid of a lot of stuff that didn't have sentimental meaning and kept more that did. And I cleaned out her linen closet.

Flash forward to last weekend. I was finished my run and ready to grab a shower. It had been a really busy week at Casa Snarkfest with little time for house cleaning or laundry, and so we were running low on towels in our linen closet. I reached the top of the closet, way in the back and found a towel that really didn't look familiar. But it was a towel and I was really smelly, so I brought it into the bathroom and started the shower. It was then that the Mack truck blazed through the bathroom and hit me at 80 mph.

I held that towel up to my face and breathed in the smell of my mom's apartment and I began to cry hard, ugly tears. I never liked the smell of that apartment. Technically, it wasn't the apartment, it was her whole floor that had a distinctive smell, a smell I hadn't taken in in a year, but one that brought me right back to her apartment, sitting in her living room with her watching the Phillies lose. Eating pizza with her. Listening to her coughing the awful, heartbreaking cough that COPD brings. And laughing. There was always so much joy and laughter with my mom. She was hilarious and had no filter. God I miss her. And until that moment in my bathroom I didn't realize just how much I missed that apartment and those memories.

I called my girls upstairs and told them to smell the towel and tell me the first thing that came to mind. Both looked at me like I had 6 heads but they did as I asked and both immediately said "MOM-MOM'S APARTMENT".

That towel is now in the hamper, ready to be washed. Part of me can't wait for it to be clean, but there's a little part of me, way down deep inside, that really hopes that smell doesn't get washed away. Maybe some day. But not yet.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Water Ice and Gravy....

Mmmm that sounds tasty, doesn't it? I'm guessing that unless you're from Philly or South Jersey you're looking at this blog post and wondering what the hell that crazy Snarkfest chick is talking about. And that's exactly how some of my closest friends look at me (all the time). 

Last weekend I met up with a good friend in the grocery store while I was buying a frozen dessert. We went back to my house (where her son was hanging out with my 17) and as I was unpacking said frozen dessert I said (in my most hospitable way) "would you guys like some water ice?"

Water ice. Not ice water. Never ice water.
Both mother and son looked at me 'that way' and slowly cocked their heads to the side like confused puppies. Mom said "I'll have some ice with water if that's what you're talking about" to which I replied "ok but do you want some water ice too?"

I had completely baffled them both. You see, I'm from Philly. And in Philly, the term 'water ice' actually means 'Italian ice' (which is stupid and a little racist if you ask me. Why do Italians get the credit for this amazing frozen deliciousness? Anyway I digress).  By water ice, they thought I meant a glass of ice water. What I actually meant was dessert. I ended up serving one ice water and one water ice. Go figure.

Later that weekend I had the same exchange with 19's boyfriend who thought I had completely lost the plot. It was only after I pulled out the Urban Dictionary that he REALLY found my argument invalid.  It was only after I hit up The Google that he relented and admitted that (maybe, possibly) I wasn't crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm from Philly. There's a difference. 

Another bone of contention comes between my husband and me. While he did have my back about water ice (because we lived for a long time in South Jersey and he ate more than his fair share of water ice), he can't wrap his brain around what I call the stuff you put over spaghetti. In Philly we call it 'gravy'.  Apparently everywhere else that sane people live, they call it 'sauce'. Bah. Whatever. To we who eat spaghetti in Philly it's gravy and when I make a pot of spaghetti, I always make a big pot of "spaghetti gravy" and he always mocks me for it. (Make no mistake, he'll eat the hell out of it).

I can't help what I know. I know gravy and that's what I grew up calling it. I know water ice. I know hoagies (not sliders, not grinders and while I did get used to calling them subs because that's the South Jersey term for them, they'll always be hoagies to me). I know Jimmies (not sprinkles, that's just stupid).  I know MAC machines. I mentioned to 17 that I had to go hit MAC the other day and she gave me that very same "I have no idea what you're talking about" look that I get a lot. 

Jimmies. Always Jimmies. Never sprinkles.
I know Mummers. Mummers, so I've learned, aren't the same everywhere. In Philly they are New Year's Day costumed revelers. In other places, they are not. Don't ask me what they ARE in other places because I don't care enough to find out.

I know scrapple. Yeah, I'm well aware what's in scrapple. It's the stuff that is just too disgusting to put in hot dogs, but you can bet your ass I'd beat up a nun for a plate of scrapple. No lie. 

So I know what I know because I was raised to know these things. Just because I call things something different than you do, it doesn't make me wrong. It doesn't make you wrong either. That's the beauty of who we are. We are all different and that's completely fine. It would be pretty boring if we all called everything the same thing. If we did that, life would be mundane and I would not have material to mock others (you know, those sauce eating Italian ice connoisseurs). 

What are some things that are differently named from where you live?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Been A Long Time.....

.....since I wrote a blog. Actually it's been ages since I've had an original thought. I'm sure that's become obvious to you folks, since you keep getting older blog posts showing up in your email if you're subscribed. If you're not, I promise, I'll work on having an original thought or two before the end of this year.

My friend Phil from The Regular Guy NYC actually asked me if I was still blogging, as did my friend Mike from Papa Does Preach. Yeah, in my head I do still blog. It's getting words from my brain to this page that has proven difficult,  but I'm going to give it my best shot.

Things have been kind of crazy in my corner of the world lately. 19 has gone back to WVU for the start of her junior year. JUNIOR. What the hell? One of my most read pieces, Roots and Wings, still resonates with me and with many other parents, and I'll be going through this process not once but twice next year when 17 turns 18 and goes off to college.

God help me.

Anyway, we've had some highs and some lows at Casa Snarkfest over the past year. I'm not going to lie, my mom's death has had a tremendous impact on pretty much everything.  In the 9 months since she died, the blog has pretty much gone by the wayside. I'm hoping to turn that around but I'm going to need help. What do you want to read from me?  You're probably sick of me going on and on about my pretend boyfriend Mike Rowe.  I don't want to cry the blues about both my girls going off to college next year. I could just post pictures of puppies and kittens but that's been done. Recipes? Beauty and fashion? (hold on a sec....


Ok I'm back now.

So you tell me, what would you like to see on the blog. I'm taking requests. Suggest some ideas and maybe it will knock something loose in my noggin. Until then, here's a kitten for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I Cried This Morning...

If you've been following my blog for the past few weeks, you'll remember that I'm nuts. Well, technically not 'nuts' per se, but coming off of an anti-depressant addiction I wasn't aware of has left me with emotions scattered all over the place. Like, seriously.

For example, last night 17 was looking at a video on the Book of the Faces, and when I asked her what it was, she told me it was a deaf woman hearing her husband's voice for the first time.

MUSH. <--------- That's what I turned to upon viewing the video.

This morning I had my tunes playing while I was getting ready for work, and John Denver came on, crooning his beautiful ballad "Country Roads". Shut up, I like John Denver, don't you judge me.

Anyway, I'm not sure if it's because WVU was crushed last night by Kentucky and knocked out of March Madness, or the fact that my baby will be a freshman there this fall, but my eyes welled up with tears and I cried. I told myself through my tears that I was being an idiot. I didn't argue with myself, I know better. I'll lose, every time.

But I cried this morning. I cried because it's a pretty song. I cried because my baby is leaving home in less than 6 months. I cried because my emotions are completely fucked up because of the anti-depressants. Am I depressed? No, I don't think I am. Am I an emotional train wreck? No doubt in my mind that yes, I am. I have tears in my eyes just writing this.

Last week, we went to the state capitol  for our high school's symphonic honor band performance. Both of my girls  are in that band and they overwhelm me with their talents. During their last song of the performance, Angels in the Architecture, I cried like a freaking lunatic. I cried at the beauty of the music, the difficulty of the 15 minute piece, the solos that my trumpet playing senior had. I cried knowing that this is her last year playing in this award winning band, a band that changed who she is and contributed to making her a confident young adult. The difference from who she was 4 years ago to who she's become is startling (in a good way) and I cried at how proud of her I am, proud of both my daughters.

The band director asked if anyone had taken any pictures during that performance. I didn't even try, because I was such a mess that you'd need a Dramamine to view them, they'd be so badly out of focus from my ridiculous crying ass.

When I think about her graduation in just over 2 months, I cry. I can't even begin to imagine what I'm going to be like on that day, but here's a tip: BUY STOCK IN KLEENEX. Trust me, you won't regret it. My baby will be playing alongside her big sister in the symphonic band's final performance of the year, and it will be the last time both my girls will play together in the same band. And yes, I'm crying again as I am writing that sentence. DAMN YOU EFFEXOR!

Make no mistake, I was a crying fool long before the anti-depressants and probably a crying fool while on them. But now that I'm off, Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, I'm a thousand times more emotional than I've ever been.

I cried this morning. I will cry again soon, of that I have no doubt. It's gotta be normal, right? The emotional wreck that I've become is a side effect of leaving the meds behind, I know that. But I also know that I'm not alone. I received so many comments on my Mamalode piece letting me know that I am in good company, and for that company I am ever grateful. If you are trying to overcome an addiction, whether it's one you knew you had or you had no clue, YOU TOO are NOT ALONE. Come sit by me and we'll cry together. And we'll get through it. Together.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Things I found on The Google...

The Google is weird. Or, more likely, people who search stuff using The Google are downright scary. Every so often I like to type in leading questions to see exactly what The Google will bring up. I start with something innocuous, like "How many times do..." and The Google will fill in with the most common questions that start that way. And let me tell you. People be SICK and shit. Seriously.

And what poor gassy soul felt the need to ask this question? Who knows, but at least he/she is not alone. Apparently it's a popular question on The Google.

This one confused me (shut up, I know it's not hard to do). What will you have? Hmmm how about this:

And for the love of Pete, why can't people learn these things on their own. This was almost a NICE search of The Google, until the hookers showed up:

I know that it's hard out here for a pimp, but when you're a new pimp, it must be extremely difficult to know proper hygiene etiquette, thus the need for this search:

Then when I finished doing all of the Googling for the day, I actually had to get directions to the school where 14 will be playing a volleyball game tonight. This is what I found:

Aside from the fact that the name of the school is spelled wrong, let's focus on the features of the ELEMENTARY school, shall we?? Are we talking a salad bar? A fixins bar? Or a full service gimme a shot of tequila hold the lime cuz I'm no sissy liquid bar???

Thursday, June 15, 2017

9 Things NOT to do at a Concert

Here are 9 rules to follow the next time you go to a rock concert (or country, or rap, whatever shit you listen to on the daily). Trust me on this. I’m almost 48 and have been to about a million concerts and have seen behavior that would make Pope Francis want to throw a punch.

    1.  Don’t get piss-eyed, falling-down drunk. I went to the Eagles Hell Freezes Over tour back in the nineties and there was a woman so drunk she threw up on the people in front of her and had to be carried out in the middle of the second song on the playlist. I don’t know about you but when I spend over $300 on concert tickets, I don’t want to get thrown up on, and I certainly don’t want to get so shit-faced drunk that I have to leave the show.

    2.    Don’t be an asshole to those around you. If you don’t like the opening act, don’t verbally abuse the singer (here’s a hint: you don’t have a mic, they can’t hear you complaining). Know who CAN hear your bitching? The folks sitting in front of you. Maybe they LIKE that opening act. Keep your negativity to yourself.

    3.     Don’t buy the pirate merchandise outside the theater. Don’t be a cheapskate. Pony up the $40 for an authorized and genuine concert t-shirt. My friend Karen and I went to see Def Leppard during the Hysteria tour in 1988 but I was too cheap to buy the official merchandise and instead bought a pirated t-shirt from some dude in the parking lot. It had an extra sleeve and it was from the Pyromania tour from 1983. Lesson learned. And if I ever grow an extra arm, that shirt will FINALLY be cool.

    4.    Don’t scream through the whole fucking show. Just don’t. You’re not 12, dude.  Screaming’s for 12 year old One Direction fans, not 40-something chicks who like their hearing. Trust me. Scream when your band comes on, then scream before the encore. But for crying out loud, not during the whole show. Some of us want to be able to actually HEAR what’s going on onstage.

    5.   DO. NOT. RUSH THE STAGE. Seriously, if you bought a ticket, that seat is YOURS. Do NOT try to squeeze your ass into my row. There is nothing that pisses me off more at a concert than some douchebag with a seat in row 19 coming up and trying to push me out of the way when I actually bought a front row seat. Just don’t do it. It’s cases like that where it should be legal to stab someone in the neck with a pencil. And I always bring pencils with me to concerts….just in case.

    6.    Don’t give me a contact high. I bought my ticket with my goddamn hard-earned money and the last thing I need is to get high off your smoke. It’s not cool. Do it in the parking lot before the show. But just know that if you do it anywhere near me, whether it’s pot, tobacco or crack, I will totally pour my beer on your joint, cigarette or pipe. Trust me on this. Nobody wants to smell like your smoke. And I really hate wasting my beer.

    7.    Don’t try to get on stage. It’s embarrassing. And if you get your ass thrown out, your friends will feel obligated to make sure you are okay, and that means they will probably leave the show early. If they do, then make no mistake, they are well within their rights to kick you in your stupid ass for being a dick. Do yourself and all your friends a favor and just stay put, okay?

    8.   Don’t fart. Just don’t. It makes everyone around you miserable. I don’t know which is worse, smelling a fart or smelling a cigarette while I’m trying to enjoy my jams.  You concert farters know who you are, don’t try to pretend it was the guy in front of you, own your smelly ass. Leave the seat, go into the aisle, do your thing and come back. Because damn.

     9.    I know this is probably a bit hypocritical, but don’t start a fight. Yes, I’ve been threatening in this post, I’ve come down pretty hard on the offenders, but trust me on this: I have been kicked out of a concert for laying hands on someone.  Ok it was a Dan Band concert but still, we were right at the stage and I did something dumb and had to eat the cost of the ticket. So keep your hands to yourself. 

I'm sure there are a ton of other offending actions one can do when at a concert, but these are the 9 that spring to mind, that piss me off and that I will call you out on for doing. You have been warned. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Like many of you, my heart is broken for those killed or injured at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last night. 22 innocent lives lost. More than 50 hurt. Unbelievably senseless.

The thing that infuriates me the most is that many of those affected were children. They could be my children, or yours.

I've always loved going to concerts and have passed that love of live music on to my children. I've taken them to see Paul McCartney twice, The Police, Duran Duran, Billy Joel, and Adele. They've seen their favorite bands, 5SOS and One Direction several times. Some of those times I've been with them for those concerts, and as they've gotten older, I've dropped them off and then gone back to pick them up.

The terror those parents must be feeling right now is palpable. I feel that terror that they are going through. The fear, the unknown. Where are their children? God, it's sickening. I watched a mother on the Today Show this morning who still hadn't found her child more than 12 hours after the explosion. I was terrified FOR her.

We were in DC years ago during the DC Sniper era and at one point we had driven by the Home Depot where one of the victims was killed. There were SWAT guys on rooftops as my husband ran the Marine Corps Marathon that year. I had my daughters with me and I'm not going to lie, I was somewhat intimidated, but at the same time, we can't live our lives in fear. We can't NOT go out and live because there's a chance some fucknut wearing an IED will take out me or my loved ones.

Will I think twice before I take my girls to a concert in a big, vulnerable venue like the Verizon Center in DC, which is just above the DC Metro? A 'soft target'? Probably. But it won't stop me altogether. I can't teach my girls to live in fear. I can teach them to be careful, to be cautious, to be aware and alert. Just like those parents probably taught their children in Manchester. Innocent children who only wanted to see their favorite singer in concert.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Another Mother's Day post?

Gather round, Snarklings, I'm going to school you on what it is we moms TRULY want for Mothers Day. And every other day, for that matter. It's not rocket science, you don't need a degree, there's no deep, dark secret that you need Tom Hanks to help you unlock. It's fairly simple.

Now keep one thing in mind. I am NOT speaking for all mothers everywhere around the world, This is just MY opinion as a mom. We love our children with every fiber of our being. And we want to spend time with them, we want hugs and loving from them. But being their mother does not define who we are. We were women first, before we became mommies. We had lives, we had friends, we had interest that didn't include stuffed animals, bugs, drama and messy rooms. Sometimes we like reminders of that time, a time before we had a 24/7 responsibility to be the caretaker of another life. Perfume fades, flowers die but memories last a lifetime. Memories make us smile when we are down.

We want memories, both of time spent WITH our children AND without. Last year, I had the pleasure of spending Mothers Day weekend with some of my best girlfriends. We laid on the beach and watched dolphins swim just off the coast, we watched pelicans diving out of the sky and into the ocean and said "Nerrrrrmmmm" with each dive. We drank beer, we ate fattening foods, we laughed and most of all, we made memories. Do these memories take precedents over the memories I've made with my own babies? No, they do not. But what those memories DO for me is to remind me that I'm more than just a mom. I'm a girlfriend, a confident and a woman. I'm the band booster VP, and the PTO secretary, and the band banquet coordinator, and the office administrator, and the transportation to activities, and the money tree when my girls need spending money. I'm a lot of things to a lot of people.

But I'm also a source of support and strength for my girlfriends when they need me. I'm also a daughter to an ailing mother, I'm a person who sometimes needs the support and strength of others. Sometimes I need to be around people who DON'T depend on me 24/7 to remind me that I'm not alone in this motherhood gig. Being around others who share my struggles, my joys and my sorrows helps me to come back and appreciate the person I've become. The mother, the wife, the community member.

So what do I really want for Mothers Day? I want to be able to love my children, and have permission to love and spend time with my friends as well. I don't want guilt for being away. I don't want hurt feelings as a result of my choices. Being allowed to go and spend time with my friends, overall, makes me a better mom, a better person. It makes me appreciate what I have in my life. And when I come back home, and I wrap my arms around my babies, I know I'm a better person for having them in my life AND my girlfriends in my life. For having one without the other, I am not complete.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Kids: They cost. A LOT.....

I had no idea how much these kids would end up costing me when I had them. Sure it was expensive to deliver them by C-section in the hospital. Insurance picked up the tab on that one. Thanks, Aetna! But these kids I have are bleeding me dry, one activity at a time. Allow me to sound like an old fart for a moment. When I was a kid, I was involved in NOTHING. I wasn't musically inclined (my school didn't have a band anyway), I wasn't athletically inclined, I had very few hobbies that required equipment. I read. I rode my bike. I wasn't a clothes horse, and when I turned 13, I started working.

I started as a set-up girl in a restaurant, and when I turned 14, I moved up to waitress. I always worked for my spending money. After my summer as a waitress, the restaurant where I worked burned to the ground (I grew up in Wildwood, the restaurant was on the Boardwalk, we called it Jewish lightning when a Boardwalk block burned down). For the next 4 summers I worked in an arcade on the Boardwalk where I made a little money, and met lots of cute boys. OH the cute boys! But I digress. I had a J O B. I don't ever remember nickel and diming my Mom for stuff.

Fast forward to today. These kids today. Two daughters. Two talented, athletic, musically gifted daughters. Oh my aching wallet.

Let's start with 14. Sax player. Sax lessons. We bought her a sax, reeds, nice neck strap, more reeds. She plays volleyball. She's on a team that travels. That's not cheap. Gas, snacks, dinner after her tournaments, sometimes hotel rooms. She plays basketball. She goes to basketball camp every summer. Thank goodness her grandparents pay for that. She also has ginormous feet. Did I mention those feet don't ever seem to stop growing? You know what's totally not fair? I went shopping for basketball shoes for her last year, and the biggest size I could find in women's was an 11. She needed a women's 11.5. So we had to go up to a men's size. And the men's basketball shoes were, no lie, $60 more expensive than the women's shoes were.

Moving on to 16. Trumpet player, trumpet lessons, sheet music, and now she tells me she needs a Harmon Mute. I don't know what that is but I have no doubt it's going to cost me more than a gallon of milk (or gas). She runs track and plays basketball. Thankfully her feet may have slowed down in the growth department because she has been in the same basketball shoes for 2 seasons (thank you baby Jesus). But she DOES need track spikes.


Track spikes, mom.

Can we get them at the running store in town?

No, mom, not cross country spikes, track spikes are different. We can order them from Dick's.

But I have a gift certificate for the store in town.

I laugh at your gift certificates! BAH!!

Sunday we went shopping for prom gowns. HO-LEEEEE SHIT. Can I just tell you that I think my prom gown for my junior prom may have cost a total of $89? And that was INCLUDING alterations.  The first dress store we went to scared the pee out of me. I didn't see a single prom gown in that store for under $289. And I know that she'd have to have a few alterations done so we were definitely going over $300. Next store we found was a little more reasonably priced but not by much. We STILL ended up going over $300. We said 'yes' to the dress. And my wallet died a little more.

Next year will be 16's senior year and 14's freshman year in high school. And the band is going to Disney. So that'll be two in the band going to Disney. And my wallet will die a little more. Then 16 will be 18 and go away to college. And my savings will die a lot.

At this rate, hubby and I will be working until we turn 128. But our daughters will be well-rounded, responsible, beautiful adults. And hopefully, they will take care of us in our old age. Hopefully they'll wipe our drool, or our butts, and they'll thank us for making them the well-rounded, responsible, beautiful adults that they become. Money is overrated, right? Retirement is going to be boring and who wants to be bored, right?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

We are killers.... No really

I killed Jimmy Stewart. I totally didn't mean to, it just happened.

Well, not literally KILLED killed. Let me explain:  In July of 1997 when I was very pregnant with 19, we were watching a Jimmy Stewart movie and I turned to my husband and innocently asked him if Jimmy Stewart was still alive or had he passed. My husband said that he thought he was still alive but wasn't sure.

The very next day, Jimmy Stewart died. I felt awful. REALLY awful. I felt like I had killed an icon. I killed George Bailey.  I had killed Buttons A Clown. I was devastated. Who know I had so much power?

Flash forward to a few years ago. 19 and 17 were talking and the subject of Michael Jackson came up. 19 had innocently mentioned that she thought Michael Jackson had died. And guess what happened the next day. You guessed it. The King of Pop moon-walked his way to the other side. Yep, my daughter killed Michael Jackson. Who knew we had that much power??

Flash forward to this past weekend. Hubs texted the family group chat to let us know that Chuck Berry had died. Now, I'm not gonna lie. I honestly thought Chuck Berry died years ago. So for clarification, I said "Do you mean Chuck Barris? From the Gong Show??" to which my beloved husband said "No, Chuck Barris died years ago. I mean Chuck Berry from Rock and Roll."

Guess what happened today. Go on, guess.

If you guessed that my husband killed Chuck Barris, you'd be correct.

I believe that we, as a family, need to NOT be allowed to mention the names of anyone in Hollywood because we just have so much power. The only one of us who has yet to murder anyone famous is 17. She's the family's only redeeming quality, our little non-murdering offspring.

If you see us on the street, don't fear us, we don't just go around killing anyone, all willy nilly. You are only in danger if you are a celebrity. Apparently.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dreams of My Mother....

I had another dream about my Mom this morning just before my alarm went off. I did what I always do when I'm having a dream and I don't want to wake up: I hit the snooze and tried to fall back asleep and pick up the dream where it left off.

May 19, 1995, She gave me away at my wedding.
In the dream, I was in the band room at 17's high school and I was chaperoning a band trip (as one does). The band director surprised me by telling me that my Mom was also going on the trip with us. I was so excited! I hadn't seen her in awhile and when I saw her in the room, wearing her black coat and looking very much alive I went to give her a hug and my alarm went off.

Stupid alarm clock. And no matter how hard I tried, I could not fall back to sleep and see how the dream ended. But I already know. She was alive and happy in the dream. She was looking forward to hearing hear granddaughter perform.

Sadly, she never did get to see either of my children perform in their respective ensembles. The closest she ever got was watching a video of them from the comfort of her apartment in Atlantic City. She didn't travel much, she gave up her drivers license several years back when she was diagnosed with Complex Partial Seizure Disorder. Taking the bus was too hard because in her later years she was on oxygen 24/7. One of my biggest regrets was not trying harder to convince her to come to WV to spend time with us and see her girls perform. But again, she was in her 70's and pretty much set in her ways, so really there was no 'convincing' her of anything.

This isn't the first dream I've had of my Mom since she died in November. There have been a few others but they aren't enough. My Mom is just out of reach, and I guess that's normal, but God it's hard. I used to call her every day from the car on my way here or there. I get in the car now and I feel like something is missing. It's hard to explain, but it's like a hole that I can't fill. An emptiness.

When I think back on her life, I don't want to remember the struggles to breathe, the time she spent in the nursing home. I want to remember her as she was when she was younger and the COPD hadn't ravaged her lungs and taken away her freedom. I want my girls to remember how vibrant and funny she was. There is nothing that makes me happier than sitting with my girls and reacting to something one of them says and hearing "Mom, that face you just made, that's TOTALLY a Mom-mom face". That makes me smile. I want them to see the "Mom-mom" in things. I want them to remember how life was with her, how she made people feel, how sarcastic she was, and I want them to emulate her.

She was my role model, our role model and I wish she'd come to me in my dreams every night.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mom's always with me...

I've been seeing a lot of signs from my dearly departed Mother lately. All good, of course. I know she's letting me know that she's doing okay over there on the other side. She's also making her presence known to my Brother as well. He had a dream a few weeks ago where he was at her funeral (we didn't actually have a funeral with a casket, we had a funeral mass with her ashes). Anyhow, in his dream she was lying in a casket in a funeral parlor, and when he went to say goodbye, Mom opened her eyes and yelled "SURPRISE!!" then she was gone again.

Totally freaked him out but in a good way. That was my Mom's sense of humor.

3 generations of us.
I actually had a dream of her around that same time. She was sitting crossed legged on the floor in her apartment, no oxygen tube, healthy as a horse. She and I were having a conversation as we always did when, in the dream, I remembered that she had died. "OMG, I just realized Mom, we thought you died!" "What?" dream-Mom replied, "well I'm here to tell you, I'm just fine." And I have to believe she is.

Yesterday morning I was listening to my Patsy Cline station on Pandora while I was at my desk, and Brenda Lee's version of "I'm Sorry" came on. Oh my God, you guys, I literally started cracking up! Here's why:

My Mom was seeing an alcoholic assbag for years, beginning in the mid-70's until my freshman year of high school. I could write a book on those years but that's a story for another time. I'm writing now about a specific time that he did some boneheaded dumbass thing that pissed off Mom in a major way. The following day after the offending incident, Mom was at work at the Wildwood Water Department back in New Jersey and she was in her office with 3 other women, her boss, some customers and about a dozen water department employees in the back of the shop.

In walked a middle aged woman who asked if my Mom was Jane. "Yes, I'm Jane, how can I help you?" she replied. All of a sudden, this woman, in front of God and everyone in the office, began belting out "I'm sorry, so sorry, that I was such a fool."  But she didn't stop there. She sang the entire song from start to finish.

The alcoholic assbag hired a singing telegram to go to my Mom's office and apologize for him in grand, musical fashion. This woman really laid it on thick with the most dramatic rendition of "I'm Sorry", complete with hand to heart motions and almost tears. My Mom nearly died of embarrassment that day. She said she was mortified. She wanted nothing more than to crawl under her desk until everyone left the building. I believe she was angrier at him for embarrassing her in front of so many people than she was for the actual infraction that originally inspired her ire.

It's funny how you forget things, and then when something is triggered, those things hit you like a Mack truck. I hadn't thought about that memory in ages, probably because it's been so long since I've actually heard that song but man, when I heard it, it really brought that memory back like it was yesterday, and I thought of Mom and smiled so hard. Yeah, I know she's with me. She reminds me often, and for that, I'm so very thankful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Amid the chaos that was October 2016, my girls and I took some time out to attend a concert in Washington DC. It wasn't just any concert. It was ADELE. Yes, that Adele.

It was kind of a crazy turn of events that led to the show.  The previous year, 19 had been off for Columbus Day as well as the day after, so when I saw that Adele tickets were available over Columbus Day weekend 2016, naturally I assumed the same school holiday would take effect. WRONG.

Poor thing did NOT have off that day, so she had to leave from her last class and drive 3 hours straight to the Metro station outside of DC. In a cool twist of fate, we exited I-270 at the exact same time so we didn't have to go looking or waiting for one another at the station. We parked side by side and rode in together.

The Metro goes directly to the Verizon Center in DC where the concert was held. Once we exited, we found a Chipotle and had a quick bite to eat before braving the long lines to get in to the venue. Once inside, we found our seats up really close to where I believe God lives, section 404. You could feel the excitement in the air.

When the lights went down I reached over and held both my girls' hands. As Adele began to sing "Hello" my eyes filled up with tears. When I looked over at both of my daughters, they also had tears in their eyes. That, my friends, is a special kind of magic.

Our view. Look at her eyes!

The special bond between a mother who is very close to her daughters is something to be cherished, and I'm lucky enough to share that bond with both my girls.  To experience this concert together, to see the tears in my girls' eyes, knowing that they felt how special this experience was, just as much as I felt it, was overwhelming.

I lost my mother 3 weeks after the Adele concert. My mom and I had that special bond, and I'm blessed to share that same close bond with both of my girls. I hope that they, too, will have a similar bond if they are fortunate enough to have daughters of their own.

From the beginning until the end of the Adele concert, we danced, we sang, we laughed and we cried together. It was one of those magical memories for us and I'm blessed that I have two amazing girls with whom I got to share it.