It’s my gosh darn New Year. Get your own.

There is something wonderfully symmetrical about having a New Year’s birthday.  (Mine’s NYE, but whatevs.  Still counts.)

My new year really is the New Year.

So get your own.

Really…

People with late December birthdays deal with enough combo bullshit.  Deal with too many people being too busy doing their own holiday thing to acknowledge the anniversary of our births.  So…  I take ownership.

Yes…  It’s my New Year.  You had yours.

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Dance of the Dark

I am terrified, ice-cold, and doing my best to breathe deeply and get my heart to slow down.  If not, it just might burst. I refuse to open my eyes, sure that I’ll plummet to the ground if I do so.  I am shaking, shivering, practically vibrating.

“Chill, Annie, chill.” Courtney whispers into my hair.  She is holding me tight like a child woken by a nightmare, cradling my head and stroking my hair, my face buried in that gentle slope of neck and shoulder.  I wrap my arms more tightly around her waist as we fly.

We have been soaring above the trees, the highways, the fields and towns for what seems like an hour.  Finally, Courtney carries me down back to the Earth.  I can sense the descent in the sinking of my gut, but also in the way the smells of a city invade my nostrils.  Dirty water dogs, soft pretzels, bus exhaust, sweat, and that hot, base, human smell from the subway.  New York.  We are in New York.

My eyes pop open and I break from Courtney’s embrace, nearly stumbling backwards on the sidewalk.  I am stunned.  How?

“I’m fast.  I know.”  She brushes her shoulders, shakes that glorious burgundy mane, and smiles proudly.

I shake my head, and resist the urge to ask a passerby to pinch me.  I must still be dreaming.  There is no need, however, because a big muscled Guido barrels past me, spinning me around, and yeah, I felt that.  I think I might have a bruise.  I look up and see the sign on the building before us.  Cielo.

“Um?”  I gesture to the sign, and raise my eyebrows at her.

“We’re going dancing!” Seeing a vampire giggle is off-putting to say the least.

“I’m in yoga pants and a hoodie.”

“No you’re not.” She grabs my hand and squeezes.  Suddenly my arms feel colder and, hold on, am I taller?

I look down at myself and the sneakers and running clothes are gone.  I’m dressed in a dark pair of jeans, flared slightly from the knee, 2 inch heeled black boots, and a sleek silver tank top with a deep scooped cowl neck.  Wait.  These are my clothes.  Well, they were anyway.  From the freaking 90s.  I don’t even own these anymore, nevertheless FIT in them.  What the…?

She takes my other hand as well, leans in close so we’re forehead to forehead and whispers, “Born witch. Made vampire.  Got skills.  Let’s dance.”

Courtney spins me around and gives me a once over. “I like the way you work it!”  She starts humming No Diggity.  I have to force myself not to hum along.  I am resolute.  I stifle my smile.  This is not the 90s.  This is barely reality.

“Court-”  I start.  This is great and all, but my mind is seriously fucked up.   My heightened senses are exhausting me.  I feel like I’m on drugs.  And I really feel like sleeping it off.

She winks and I sense some shift in gravity, some movement and suddenly we’re inside, and Courtney is pulling me through the crowd towards the bar.  The bartender’s gaze zeroes in on her, like a moth to a flame, and he shouts, “Hey Stranger… Usual?”  She nods and holds up two fingers, “Two!” She shouts back. “One with a twist!”

Within a minute, he’s handing her two shot glasses.  One, a caramel color, the other the color of wet rust.  She hands me the second shot and downs her own.

“It’ll make you feel good….”  She teases as I tentatively sniff my drink.  It smells of vanilla, orange, and something else…  I take a small sip. Yes.  Pennies.  “Bottoms up, bitch!” she takes the glass from me and goes to pour it in my mouth.  I take it from her and slug it down.  It’s sweet and rich and fills my mouth and throat with something more than warmth.

That thick velvet feeling spreads from my core to my arms and legs and soon my hands and feet feel luscious.  What’s more, I’m energized and calmed all at once.  My senses are smooth.  I feel fantastic.

“What was that?” I shout at the back of her head.  She’s pulling me now to the sunken dance floor of gleaming, shiny hardwood.  I am dazzled by the multitudes of disco balls of all sizes above us.  We’ve found a spot in the center, and Courtney begins to dance.  I can’t help myself.  I dance too.

“Petit-maitre”  She answers smugly.  She thinks I don’t know what that means.  It’s French for Little Master.  But, I know, it also means blood.  I find the idea that I’d quite possibly just ingested blood less disgusting than I’m comfortable admitting.  Whose blood?  The bartender’s?  Courtney’s?  Does it matter?  I feel better than I have in years.  Quite possible better than ever before.

The DJ blends the song into another and I find myself, eyes closed,  getting lost in the dance.

I smell his cologne seconds before I feel the warmth of his hand slipping gently onto my hip.  He smells of spice, of cloves.  I like it.  I slide my hand up his arm and rest it on the curve of his neck.  I pull him close, the soft hair on the back of his head tickles my fingertips.  I like this too.

I open my eyes and see.  It can’t be.  Crystal blue eyes framed with thick fringes of gold.  My eyes search his face.  It can’t be, but it is.  It’s him.  Those full lips part, smiling his habitual half-smile, and he licks one corner of his mouth.  I can’t stop myself.  I’m drawn to him like a magnet.  We kiss.  Soft and slow, deep and hot.  We are oblivious to the music, although we somehow keep moving along with its rhythm.  Rocking together as our mouths melt.

I break the kiss and hold him closer, tighter.  I rest my chin on his shoulder and take a deep, long, breath.  He breathes out.  I take in his scent,  his body heat fills me.  We just seem to fit, like I always knew we would.  I breathe out, he breathes in.  I move my left hand from his waist, up his side, curling my arm under his and resting my hand there on his shoulder.  My wedding rings sparkle in the twinkling disco ball light.

Tony.

Thud.  My heart drops to my stomach and I push him away.  He says not a word, but reluctantly lets me go, keeping a tender hold of my hand as I walk off, touching me until the last graze of fingertips.  We smile sadly, but without regret.  We know we’ll meet again.

I find Courtney dancing alone near the bar.

“Home. Now.”  I plead.

“Not a chance.  I’m taking you to the ballet…”  She purrs, and in a flash, we are off.

 

 

 

Christmas Shopping Shenanigans

I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday (sorta).  The twins and I went out during the day for a few things, then after hubby came home, I went out on a Santa mission. I finished not just the kids, but everyone else we are giving to by Christmas.  Whew!  Let me tell ya, there are many crazy folks like me, and folks nuttier than I am out on Dec 19…

  • At Michael’s (a craft store, btw), a large lady with no bra and torpedo boobs that faced due southwest and southeast, argued with the cashier about having to provide proper identification in order to return two spools of wide gold ribbon for cash.  I couldn’t stop looking at her breasts.  It was embarrassing, and it reminded me to never skip wearing a bra.  Even to go get the mail.
  • Meanwhile, my daughters were touching everything in sight.  Craft stores are like nirvana for my little creative monkeys.  They wanted EVERYTHING.  If I wasn’t so fixated on Torpedo Boobs and her argument with the cashier, maybe I would’ve noted specifically what they wanted so that I could go back later.  Oh well.
  • In the Lalaloopsy aisle of Toys R Us, a frantic daddy phoned his child and said, “Well, honey, what if Santa can’t find the doll with the furry stuff that you wanted?  What other one would you want…”  Um.  I…  Um…  *sigh*
  • Speaking of dads in Toys R Us…  I don’t know if I’m just being a judgy-judgerson or jumping to conclusions, but it seems to me that Divorced Dads are really easy to spot.  They are usually wandering aimlessly in their leather bomber jackets and dark washed denim, picking up toys at random, with no list or idea what their kids have been asking for, and price checking.  One dad picked up a Butterscotch Pony (which my kids asked for, but there’s no way, Peeps).  I knew they were pretty pricey, and so I watched as Allegedly Divorced Dad scanned the price checker and made a “Oh hell to the no” face.  I couldn’t help but smirk. They are about $120.  I’d have to get two, so… yeah.  No.  But, see I’m a mom, and I researched this shit.
  • The shelf stocking staff at Walmart either a.) can’t keep up with crazy Walmart consumers, b.) quit yesterday, or c.) are seriously slackers.  Nothing was in a “section”.  I walked in, and walked right back out.  I don’t have time for this.  Although, I could’ve people watched there for hours if it wasn’t Christmas Crunch Time.
  • For some reason, all toy stores or toy departments I ventured into contained various and sundry dolls and furniture and other large bulky accessories, but no m-er effin’ CLOTHES for dolls!  I could’ve sworn there were tons of selections available a few mere weeks ago.  See, this is what my procrastination gets me.  Would it be okay if Santa gave my daughters gift cards to buy party dresses and pajamas for their Cabbage Patch Dolls?  Gah.
  • “You can have wine when you get home, you can have wine when you get home, you can have wine when you get home…”  My mantra as my back ached, my feet hurt, my hands cramped from carrying 4 shopping bags through White Marsh Mall at 9:45 pm.

Ah, the holidays…  Comfort and joy, my ass.

No words

No words, Peeps, can describe how I’ve been feeling since Friday’s news.

I feel so many emotions, my mind races through so many thoughts, but no words are coming together.  But I have to try.

I’m fed up with the non-stop media blitz of these kinds of tragedy.  They fumble and bumble information in an effort to be the first.  It leaves us confused and dazed and even more unsure, more unable to wrap our minds around what happened.  Then they interviewed the children who escaped.  How parasitic, opportunistic, selfish?  This media sensation was a life-altering event.  For a first grader.  Give them and their families peace.  Shielding my own children from this horror wasn’t the only reason I avoided TV coverage.

The anger I felt on Friday just swirled and whirled all around my brain, and pushed aside the grief and sadness for a bit.  I was angry at the media, obviously, but I was angry at gun-enthusiasts, gun-control proponents, people asking for prayer, people saying that God isn’t in our schools, everyone on both sides of every debate.  It made no sense, but that’s how I felt.  I just wanted them to all shut the fuck up and focus.  Focus.

So Friday night, I did just that.  I put on some inspirational music, lit a candle, and I focused.

Saturday, my anger had ebbed, and it was a busy family day.  We were making our holiday trek up to Staten Island to visit family.  I focused.  On my husband, on my daughters, on not getting lost when we got off the Jersey Turnpike, on balancing engaging with my in-laws with supervising my kids, on keeping track of my twins and our 10-year-old niece in the swarms of drunk Santas and seasonal tourists in NYC.  It was madness, Peeps.  But whenever there was a quiet moment, a single thought would pop up, “I can’t imagine how scared they were.”  That one thought kept sneaking into my consciousness and trying to take hold.  “Their last moments on Earth were terrifying.”  I couldn’t avoid it.  I still cannot.

Sunday I spent a quiet day cuddling and watching holiday cartoons with my babies.  Just laughing and kissing and telling them a million times that I love them.  Lala told me that I am now limited to one hug a day, to which I told her that’s impossible and I cannot abide by that.  Loopsy told me that she KNOWS I love her, and I don’t have to tell her anymore.  But I still do.

Monday, I finally braved it.  I logged back online, and read the stories, saw the pictures of the victims.  I saw my daughters’ smiles in each of theirs.  I can’t help but put myself in their parent’s shoes.  I can’t begin to imagine how they are going on.  I want to help.  I want to stop this from ever happening anywhere again.  I want a solution, an answer to our prayers, our calls to action, our sobs and shouts of rage.

What can we do?  How do we honor these babies and their educators?

We can remember.  We can hold onto love and refuse to let go.  We’re living it all for them, for every soul who has gone on before us.  Life is a gift.  We owe it our best.

 

 

Goodbye Jersey Shore

I have not watched any of this final season of MTVs Jersey Shore, save last week’s penultimate episode in which Snooki & Deena hold Meatball Auditions and Mike pretends he used to have enough rhythm and coordination to have been a stripper.  I will most definitely watch this week’s finale and the crazy- ridiculous (TM Sherry Leggett) live reunion show, however.  Because, I mean…  “Aw yeah, live show, yeah…”

For those Peeps unfamiliar with the shenanigans of the Seaside Heights crew, consider yourself lucky, and quite a few braincells ahead of the game.  (I was so so tempted to put “ahead of the situation” there, but I didn’t want anyone to think I meant THE Situation, so…  yeah.)  For those of you who know, love, and often use the phrases “The shirt before the shirt” or “CABS A’ HERE!” or “I’m a blast in a glass!”, here are my goodbyes to our beloved Guidos and Guidettes:

  • Mike “The Situation”:  God Bless you, son…  You are just at the tail end of your 15 minutes of fame.  I pray that you find a support group as you GTL your way out of “celebrity” and into “irrelevance”.  Maybe Jonny Fairplay from Survivor could hook you up.  Needless to say, Peeps, Mike is my least favorite.  I need to go wash my hands now.  I feel germy.
  • Ronnie & Sami “Sweetheart”:  I lump you two together as one because you really had no “storyline” without one another.  Your courtship was the best of times, the worst of times.  But mostly the worst.  I am embarrassed to admit that I could see my own past relationship debacles reflected in yours.  I saw in the last episode that you plan on moving in together and see yourselves married with kids in 10 years.  *sigh*  Good luck.  Get therapy.  And invest in padded walls in that condo you’re looking for.
  • Deena: Aww, Meatball…  You look great, BTW.  Wow, Peeps, it’s obvs that I didn’t really like those first three, huh?  Anyway, thanks for introducing me to the Jersey Turnpike.  I used to joke that I’d do the Roger Rabbit at my kid’s weddings to embarrass them.  Now the plan is Jersey Turnpikin’ it all the way.  May you find your Gorilla Juice Head Prince Charming and live happily ever after and have many Mini-Meatballs.
  • Jenni “JWow”:  Hey girrrlll…  I’m not sure you and I would ever have been friends, but, I appreciate your fierceness.  You’re not afraid to stand up for yourself or tell it like it is, and sometimes you can be such a royal bitch, but mostly it’s out of love.  I wish you didn’t feel the need for so much cosmetic surgery, though, because otherwise, Chica, I’d say that out of all the Jersey Shorians, you have the most role model potential for little girls.  After all, you are a Bratz doll come to life.  😀
  • Pauly D:  I will miss you most of all, Scarecrow….  I hope you get to keep some of the money that is being made off t-shirt decals on the Jersey Shore.  Your catch phrases were money.  True story, bro.
  • Vinnie:  I have a secret crush on you, Vin…  I can’t explain it.  And no, it has nothing to do with what Snooki says about your… ya know… 😉  Staten Island in da house!
  • Snooki:  I don’t know what it is about you, but you’re just adorable.  I want to put you in my pocket.  Good luck with Jionni and Lorenzo and your business ventures.  I’m still totes jelly that you got a book deal.  I mean, what?  Anyway, keep on keepin’ on, sistah.

Oh my goodness, you guys… this show was crap.  Really.  But it was OUR crap.  And I will miss you.  (for a little bit anyway…  eventually I’ll get caught up with Downton Abbey).

Peace.

The return of Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my two lovely little ladies whom I affectionately refer to online as Lala and Loopsy.

They make me insane most of the time.  But sometimes… Well, sometimes they light up my world and I just can’t stand how much I love them.

Here are some reasons why:

  • They ask the best questions.  For example, Loopsy asked,  “Why does this (she waves) mean both Hello and Goodbye?  That doesn’t make sense.”  Lala pondered, “Your name is Mommy, right?  Then how come people don’t call you Lala & Loopsy’s Mommy?  I want them to.”
  • They love dancing and music.  At the BSO kids Nutcracker show, they spent the whole time “ballerina dancing” in front of their seats.  The only time they paid attention to the musicians or dancers on stage was when their favorite ballerina danced (the “sparkly one”- AKA the Sugar Plum Fairy).  Just today, we were in the car listening to Christmas music and an instrumental song came on.  Lala sighed and said, “Aah…  I love being able to just relax and listen to the music.”
  • They are brilliant, observant, and creative.  Lala noted that a character on a cartoon said he’d never had a pet before and wanted to take care of a hamster, but there was a snake in a cage in his room.  I hadn’t even noticed.  Loopsy realized that stars are other suns.  No idea where that came from.  Both of them play make-believe nearly all day long.  This was overheard yesterday when they were playing with Barbies, stuffed animals, and Lalaloopsy Minis: “Please give our talking animals a chance!  I promise they won’t let you down!”  Haha.  I need to set up a video camera.

They are handfuls, no mistake.  But I’m so grateful that my hands are never empty.