100 Posts Later

On this, my 100th post, I decided to revisit the 99 that came before.  Here follows excerpts from Finding Joy cum Tara Versus. Or, you can just skip over them all for a really boring final reflection at the bottom.

I feel like the captain of some strange aircraft I have no idea how to fly.  And all week long I wanted to run screaming from the cockpit.  ~ New Adventures

…..prone to all those puppy-isms that get him in trouble, like gnawing on the wood trim halfway up the staircase, wedging bones and balls in impossibly tight spaces,  and clawing the hell out of them to retrieve it. ~ What I Learned in Kindergarten

 I felt like a mental patient, volleying back and forth between rage, tears and hysterical laughter. Life goes on.  ~ Salt for the Wound

They may not be gaping wounds anymore, but they do linger. ~ Priorities and Doubts

At some point they told me they were starting insulin and I wanted to scream “no!” – “no! no! no!” ….this meant there was no turning back, and I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it.  ~ How We Got Here, Part 1

All with the windows open, for the whole neighborhood -were they listening – to bear witness to what must’ve sounded like a murder in progress. ~ Throw Me A Life Raft

Then Owen let out a blood-curdling scream that would rival a roomful of girls at a slumber party and I all but dropped the shoe. ~ Don’t Look Now

Deep breath.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.  What was I thinking?  In.  Out.  I can’t teach this child.  ~ Say What??
Those first moments I had alone with him were the moments that would bind us to each other for a lifetime.  …the first time you really see each other, where you stare into those tiny eyes studying the face he will never forget.  ~ First Born

Really, I’m not easily daunted, but that first week I felt like I was trying to tame the world’s first wild animal armed with nothing more than a pencil. ~ Trials and Tribulations

Blog Post # 11 was deleted for inappropriate material.
 …the soundtrack of screaming, whining children who have the nerve to remind me that I’m 41, not 21, and a mother now to boot! ~ Changes

Awakening… to a new day. And Authority, to live life on my terms.  ~ The A-B-Cs of J-O-Y

The first few runs began with enthusiasm, followed by searing pain in my calves.  It is liberating and exhilarating… out there, there’s no diabetes, fighting children, clogged toilets or bored dog chewing up carpets….. the moments are all mine.  ~ My New Drug

Guess what?  she whispered to me earlier tonight.  I have a boyfriend.    Intrigued, I took the bait.  You do? I whispered coyly back.  Yes, she said, his name is Jack Poopie. ~ Did She Really Say THAT??

Don’t let drunk people do your dishes.  ~ What I Learned This Christmas

I just deserve a break too, like everybody else.  This year, I take my life back. ~ Resolutions

One night she shoved him hard enough to fall backwards into the coffee table, causing a physical altercation whereby she was pinned to the floor by her neck, squealing like a pig stuck in a fence.  ~ What’s All the Fighting About?

Instead she cried in my arms for two solid hours, repeating his name and pleading with me to please, mommy, drive her to heaven so she can see him again… until she finally fell asleep, less than an hour before the ball dropped.  ~ A Time For Goodbye

I liken home-schooling my daughter a little to childbirth… it is an exhilarating joy-ride laced with moments of incomprehensible pain.  ~ 100 Days
Some days feel like immense failures, others I remember the optimist I am and smile through the tantrums and the food wars. It is my job to take care of her, to teach her how to do the things I do, how to live with a positive, I-can-do-anything attitude. ~ Will She Grow Out of It?

7:05am– Check messages online for 10 minutes, get shower, wake up Owen, take dog out, put morning drug on to brew, feed dog, call pediatrician’s office for a CHOP referral, make breakfast for Owen, get him on the bus, run out to store for milk, put last two cakes in oven, get kicked, punched and screamed at while attempting to drag Ava out of bed, empty dishwasher, clean up last night’s dishes, test Ava and give breakfast bolus, take dog out, clean up the “landmines” from last night, drag trash cans back up driveway, finish breakfast, get Ava dressed. ~ A Day in the Life

Our large family gathered around the big kitchen table – my uncles “hiking” dinner rolls across the table after someone said grace, my aunt unbuttoning her pants halfway through the meal, the year Nana dropped the turkey and it skidded across the linoleum floor. ~ What I Didn’t Say

I stand jealously by the door to my prison – where the inmates relentlessly pester me over lost tennis balls and chew toys, refuse to work up to potential and forever invade my personal space with constant demands for attention – watching my oldest child hop the bus to the promised land. ~ Is it?  Is it?  Could It Be… Will I Find… Shangri-La?

My two little angels challenge me virtually every day not to be Mommy Dearest on crack. ~ Resolutions Update:  How Am I Doing?

Weeding the gardens
And seeding bare patches
Picking up garbage 
And things the stray catches
Dodging the dog poo
And treasures he brings
These are a few of my favorite things…  ~ A Few Of My Favorite Things

She is silly, loud and boisterous, singing little songs she’s either learned or made up, doing her best Beyonce butt-shake and getting up in your face.  She is not above fearlessly boycotting food just minutes after an insulin bolus for such ridiculous infringements like Owen smiling at her, or my refusal to let her eat dessert first.  ~ Baby Girl

Although we believe ourselves to be slovenly civilized, most of us are really fleas at heart, because we still believe in pasty superstitions that began while humans still lived in cheese. ~ Mad Lib Monday

I experience tons of emotions, many of them plenty raw, but I deal with them in good time and remember where my focus has to be.  She is such a warrior princess, Ava. She is stronger than I am. ~ How We Got Here:  Part 2

Both of them trailing me, but the door hadn’t closed behind us when Owen said to me, “what’s WRONG with you?” within earshot of the man behind the counter. ~ The Joy of… Negotiation?

“It’s coming folks, brace yourselves …” ~ Pokeback Mountain

 I spoke my truth. Some didn’t like it. Many more did.  Very few choices come without consequences – good or bad – but I made mine and I am NOT sorry. ~ Resolutions Update:  How Am I Doing Now?

One day you wake up and the revelation hits you like lightning.   It doesn’t matter whether you have any money – and – at some point, it will no longer matter whether you have anywhere to go. You will look at the beautiful faces of your children, and you will know they deserve more than a decade of watching a toxic marriage slowly destroy itself. ~ Who Broke You?

5.   Karma Chameleon – Culture Club ~ 20 Worst Songs To “—” To
I don’t remember which song it was, or how many minutes into the drive, but I snapped back into reality and I thought my heart would explode….hearing my daughter’s voice crying to me and feeling so far away from my children, knowing I can’t just “go home” where they are…………. About three minutes later, a noxious odor fills the car.  I’m having immediate flashbacks to last week’s elevator ride with Mom-mom to the first floor of her apartment building.  ~ Coming Out of the Dark
And now we had a puppy thrown in the middle of all the chaos, who could not be left alone for a second and needed to go out first thing in the morning to sniff every blade of grass on a quarter acre of land.  ~ My Golden Love
First and foremost, he has been my friend, a source of comfort and joy, laughter and strength, my shoulder to cry on and my “candle in the window.”  ~ Attitude of Gratitude
He was quiet and deeply thoughtful, mysterious and temperamental.  It was intense.  I loved him more than I’d ever loved anyone – ever – at the tender age of sixteen. It took me years to smell leather and not think of him.  He was my first love, that first boy who steals your heart in an irretrievable way, the one you will never forget.  ~ First, and Last
I fell off the nutrition wagon BIG time this year, and hit my head on a nice big wedge of cheese fries chased by beer. When food came my way, it resembled more of a deep-fried stew of vitamin-deficient salts and sugars. ~ New Year, New Goals – Part 1
I’m lacking color, substance.  I’m lacking food, period.  I promise to eat.  Nobody and no thing is worth starving yourself for. ~ New Year, New Goals – Part 2
I knew it would be the challenge of a lifetime and that one week of teaching her would make chasing her around the house with an insulin-filled syringe look like a stroll in the park. ~ Letting Go

I was talking to Owen when suddenly he bent over behind a clothing rack so fast at first I thought he’d fainted.  When I realized he was just adjusting his velco-closures on his Skechers, I glanced up and saw this really cute little girl about his age walking by.  I asked him if he knew her and my sweet boy’s eyes turned dark and narrow as he hissed, stop it mom!  ~ It’s Valentine’s Day
It would be fine if the other parents who sent food in actually considered the value of a healthy snack.  But these parties are swimming in cookies, cupcakes, potato chips and brownies. ~ What You Might Take For Granted

Then I go back to sleep  and dream of my lawyer in some alternate universe where he’s smiling behind his big mahogany desk like a big Jewish Willy Wonka high on Matzojuana handing out bags of chocolate balls, but I have no place to put them because I lost my purse.  Either way, if I’m Alice in Wonderland, then my lawyer must be the god-dammed March Hare. ~ La Vida Loca

A summons for Jury Duty!  Apparently the county thinks I haven’t spent enough time in the courthouse in the last nine months.  So, I sent them a letter:  a) let me off the hook b) advise my physician to prescribe just enough valium to take me to that relaxation level just above drooling and incoherent c)  come and we’ll serve you all-you-can-eat tamales and margaritas or, how about d) all of the above? ~ What’s In YOUR Mailbox?

INYB – I’m Not Your Bitch.  By the way, I would like to change my name to “Francis Union,” so that I can from now on sign my correspondence with my initials. ~ New Acronyms For the Newly Divorced
And finally, I regret that I actually missed being me.  A human being, a woman, an independent person with independent thoughts, ideas, and emotions that – if you can believe it – were and are different than yours.  ~ My (Final) Resignation
It didn’t take long before the real people we were, went to war against the two people we thought we were.  Ava’s diagnosis… The shock and subsequent period of adjusting to “the new normal” was like living on the edge of an active volcano – the subtle rumblings of disaster always underfoot, the constant threat of eruptions left me feeling like I was walking on eggshells all the time. ~ It’s Over:  Can I Help?

No amicability is born of heartbreak. ~ It’s Over:  Now What?

I step up to the gate, Ava leading the way, and see Todd – and Owen – waiting at the end of the longest walk I’ve ever taken, and pray I don’t trip, or faint (the sensations of both just tingling on the surface of my clammy skin.)  Everyone is there, but I don’t see anyone but those two boys I’d give my life for. ~ Wedding Joy

I felt bile searing the back of my throat, as I silently contemplated the idea of fighting the father of my children for longer than one more month. I found we were all ultimately the same.  And I felt this constant pressure from the dam behind my eyes.  I wanted to run from this room, I wanted to hug everyone in it. ~ It’s Over:  Our Children In The Middle

We have bombed the house twice, I vacuum every single God-forsaken day, I comb his fur every morning for the little bastards, I have applied Frontline monthly for the last 3 months on my indoor cat, and bathed him three times with flea shampoo – during which time I also learned that my cat can actually meow his own name. ~ Revelations, And What I Learned This Week
 I think this means I have supernatural powers, so if you suddenly find yourself in my living room and have no idea how you got there – you can be sure it’s because you’ve crossed my mind.  Hopefully it doesn’t happen while you’re in the shower.  That would be awkward.  ~ Revelations, and What I Learned This Week 8/20
I’ve had a couple of those – and all three of them owe my ex-husband a debt of gratitude for erasing any ill feelings I might have still been harboring over their misdeeds. ~ Bad Boys
The thought of people looking at me with lust and desire makes me extremely uncomfortable.   It’s one thing to suspect it, but a whole other thing when they are blatantly obvious about it – and when it’s not just a man, but a man and his wife.  It’s been four days and I’m still feeling a little queasy. ~ Revelations, and What I Learned This Week (9/11)
Every year we had to listen to the lock down procedures, how the kids are taught to evacuate the building, and how no one – absolutely no one – volunteers on school property without FBI and state clearances.  You know – just in case one of us is a rebel terrorist planning to blow up the manure field next door, and take all the chickens hostage. ~ A New Season
The man to my left was apparently three or four notes ahead of me into a coma and so his whole ENTIRE body jerked like he’d been hit with a defibrillator.  Oh shit It started in my shoulders, and then my face started to twitch.  ~ Revelations, and What I Learned This Week (9/24)
 Would I die?  She knows, I think.  While I didn’t exactly say no or yes, the tears in my eyes that I tried to hide told her more than I could. ~ My D- Diary

At certain times of the year, there always seems to be lots of roadkill… invoking a sense of what mass suicide in the animal kingdom would look like if one maniacal squirrel fed them all bad nuts and sent them to the promised land of tarmac. ~ Why Roadkill Is Funny

Somebody got it wrong, chivalry is dead – but schizophrenia is alive and well. However, off the record – hell has not frozen over and there’s always another “shoe.”  Because I’ve been hit by it too many times not to be poised to duck. ~ Lovers, Bloodsuckers, and Nonsense

I put my daughter on the bus this morning, because nothing can stop her.  Because the little girl who knows it all will forget for another day the injustice of a defective pancreas, and will remember that she also told me that “someday I won’t have a pump anymore.” ~ Rock Bottom Day

It was magical – like the gentle fall of snow around two lovers stealing a kiss in the moonlight… it was wonderful – like the first time you realize that he really does love you like that…. and it was awesome – like the rush of friends and family who came in like holiday shoppers to a Black Friday doorbuster, to witness the second chance sealed for eternity before God, a well-stocked bar, my mother’s buffet, and four dogs. ~ What I Learned This Year
I’ve taken enough medications in one month to stock a pharmacy.  I had enough “tests” to confidently report that I am NOT dying.  Of anything.  Though if I get sick one more time, I may just have to euthanize myself. ~ 10 Things That Piss Me Off
 A propane tank, roughly the size of a 747 fuel tank, nestled dead center in the yard under an oversized pine tree.  ~ Gas For the Soul
Both of my kids have a strength of character and a confidence in my presence that I find impressive, and yet I wonder – will this continue to manifest into stronger individuals in the face of bullshit, or will it crumble under the weight of self-doubt? ~ Just One More Thing to Worry About
Todd:  I wish I could make a living just lying in bed with you.
 Me:  You can, honey, it’s called porn. ~ Conversations With Todd – Episode 1
You don’t need a new shirt
Or some fancypants’ shoes,
Or a mouthful of teeth,
Or a pill for your blues.  ~ A Seussical Ode to Bowling
An unopened can of Play Doh.  No one in this house has played with Play Doh in 3 years. ~ Junior Junk Drawer
YOUR gut feeling that something just isn’t right  There’s no wrong in overreacting where your child’s illness is concerned.  Know the symptoms.  Share the symptoms.  You could just save a life. ~ Type 1 – Know The Signs!

I realized the gift that Julie left behind in all of us who attended her funeral that day… was the gift of knowing what true love is made of, but more than that… the motivation to live better, more completely, and never forget to acknowledge our many blessings on earth.  Our choices lie in how we use the time we have, and how we accept what is, and how we aspire for more. ~ Find Gratitude and LIVE
My 12-year-old actually set the table TWICE this week! (Uploading a photo as we speak!) And, I just know that my 7-year-old is destined to be a tv reporter… she questions me mercilessly about my activities during the day while she is in school, whether I’ve seen my husband in his underwear, and if I think Santa is a real person.  ~ How Facebook Made Me a Better
I say leopards never change their spots.  ~ Once Upon A Time
It’s almost intoxicating, to have even a glance through the window of your kid’s soul …. Like flicking through television channels and accidentally stumbling across a forbidden movie. 
 ~ Middle Schooler
We all need a Village – one that holds us up, carries us through, tells us like it is, laughs at our ridiculousness, cries for our heartaches, drives us crazy, supports our struggles, celebrates our achievements, no matter how small, never lets us feel alone, AND helps us raise our children. ~ What I Learned This Week

The voice you hear inside you, the one saying “I should,” or “I know,” is actually not schizophrenia but GOD himself talking to you.  Unless, of course, the voice is telling you to invite 100 people over for a Bar-B-Que and serve them Kool-Aid. ~ That Still, Small Voice

I saw us speeding along the backroads of our neighborhoods in his VW beetle, hand-in-hand through Valley Forge park, walking into the old Lakeside restaurant on prom night, and feeling the roomful of eyes taking in this Gunne Sax Victorian dress and his white tuxedo with tails.  ~ First Anniversary
I kept telling him like 100 times over and over every day that I loved him:  I love you!  I love you Dad!  I love you! And he started cracking up. ~ My Son Is Brilliant
I panicked, both because the car. Was. On. Fire. and because I forgot that AAA exists.  As for the girls, Sabra trembled from door to door in her usual way like we were driving her to the death chamber. ~ Dear Mom
Summer of ’69, a classic anthem I belted out many a time in my car , now annihilated by One Direction who have managed to dismantle the tempo that defines its classic-ness, into some sort of clubby boy band song that sounds like a bunch of drunken frat boys are singing it.  Bryan must’ve had a heart attack. ~ What I Learned This Summer
No longer dizzy, just a marching unit finishing off the final performance in my head, making me at once irritable and aching for the nearest couch to lie down on.  Which is the worst feeling in the world, feeling like somebody slipped me a valium and knowing my night hasn’t even begun yet. ~ This Is Why Nobody Likes a Hangover…
And so we walked out of OVES for the last time, Ava skipping down the sidewalk and me with a heavy heart, making one last ditch effort not to cry before all the busses pulled out.  I almost made it. ~ Changing Places – The Prequel
Ava and I were the last to leave – because only I can go in and out of my house a hundred times before I’m satisfied I have everything I need.  Did I leave a light on?  Is the heat running?  What important thing did I leave behind?  Where’s my cell phone? ~ Changing Places – Moving Day
The dishwasher’s control panel is malfunctioning… The internet is pretending to be possessed and refuses to remain  seamlessly connected, … And in true form, he sat there gazing at me and nonchalantly licking his paw like he’d done nothing to awaken the entire house at 3:30 a.m.  ~ Changing Places – We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

REALLY long, would-be-awkward-if-he-weren’t-my-husband lull in the conversation.  ~ Conversations With Todd – Episode 2

The bugs are trying to get in, people!  Because it’s going to be a bad winter, and they know it. ~ What I’ve Learned In Maryland So Far
Because you are the first man I truly fell in love with, cried so many tears for, and the one who saved me and made my heart whole again.  There is no other man who can do that.  Not now.  Not ever.  ~ How Do I Love Thee?
The tree is still standing
No thanks to the cat
And I’m hoping he won’t pee
On the guest bathroom mat.  ~ Twas the Day Before Christmas
It’s the day afterChristmas
And the house is a mess,
Littered with paper and dishes,
Cookie crumbs and a dress.  ~ Twas the Day AFTER Christmas
My baby boy, the little man who melted in my arms for the first 5 years of his life, who gave me his first kiss on Christmas eve 12 years ago and endured a thousand more of mine, turned 13 in October.  ~ 2013 – A Year in Review

But all I keep thinking about is when I can run again,  and … the cat lying on the floor over there staring dreamily at me like I have a halo around my head.  Hell, maybe I do.  That catnip is so fresh, he’ll be chewing the doors off the cabinet where we keep his treats before  Ava gets home.  ~ I’m Staging A Comeback

#100:  So there it is – all 99 of my previous blog posts, from the very first day I put pen to paper (because back then, I really did, in a little black marbled composition book) for no other reason than to entertain myself and let off some steam.  And what grew from that first day was an adventure a little less Leave it to Beaver and a little more Hobbit meets Alice in Wonderland.  I had no idea where I was going on that first day in 2010,  had no idea the Perfect Storm was brewing, or that I was embarking on an incredible – albeit painful –  journey, or that one day 3 years later I’d be still be blogging – about love and life, in Maryland, with…… Todd.  I am thankful for the experiences that have inspired me back to writing, that have reminded me that I am stronger than I ever thought I was, that have brought me to Faith in His plan, and taught me that Joy exists if you just open the door. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.  Here’s to 100 more.

I’m Staging A Comeback

I’m staging a comeback. 

I fell off the wagon.  I buried my head in the sand.  I healed.  I fought for change.  I found joy.  I fought against change.  I got caught speeding down the path of least resistance.  My engine quit.  I got distracted by the changes and lost my way on the path.

I spent so much time walking that I forgot to run.  I spent so much time feeling, that I forgot to feel.  I spent too much time writing words, but never saying anything.  Cleaning house and never wiping the dirt away.  My shoes got stuck in the mud, and I slipped on the ice.  I smiled so much, I forgot to laugh.  I numbed pain I didn’t feel. 

I spent too much money on groceries, and there’s nothing to eat.  The cupboards are filled with food that requires a mind to marry them.  And this mind has been sleepwalking through time and space.  When there’s too much to do, nothing at all gets done. 

But what is there to do, really?  What is required, and what is only desired?  I made a list one day but it grew and grew and grew and grew, until I no longer wanted to do anything.  So I sat and I sat, and I didn’t look back. 
I wrote my New Year’s Resolutions about 3 weeks ago but I didn’t finish them, and I haven’t gotten around to posting what I did come up with.  Wanna hear them?

I will procrastinate. 
I’m not cleaning the house, doing dishes, or laundry, or cleaning up cat vomit, or wiping dog-in-heat blood off the floors.  Oh – and forget cleaning the catbox too.
I’m not drying off wet dogs when they come in from the rain.  And they’re never getting a bath.  Like, EVER.
I’m not running.  Nope.  Never.
I’m not wasting my time trying to eat better.
I’m not worrying about paying bills.  They’ll take care of themselves.
I’m not writing anymore.  
And you know what? I feel SO much better now.  New Year’s resolutions are a recipe for failure.  So this year, I’ve decided to just aim really low.  With these resolutions, success is very nearly assured and …. are you ready for this?….. failure is a good thing.

Already I’m on the conveyor belt of life.  Last weekend I wanted to hang out and not leave the house, maybe cook something, maybe read a little, do some schoolwork, or take a long nap.  Instead, I spent the entire weekend cleaning the rec room and painting doors that looked like Pigpen’s pig wiped its body on them.  My daughter took on the role of ass-kicker/personal trainer/life coach this weekend, cracking the whip every time I dared place my ass on a chair.  Or took a smoochy break with the hubs. (Every time I get near him, she’d appear from out of nowhere to ask what I was doing. But this – this is a whole other topic for a whole other post.)

And it was like someone slipped me a meth cookie.  I was mopping, I was painting, I did dishes, I did laundry, I took out garbage, I cleaned the catbox, I reorganized the storage room, cleaned out the rec room, put “some” Christmas decorations away, vacuumed, made 3 square meals two days in a row, brushed the dogs, fed the animals, stayed up late watching television with Todd, and even … ran a mile with Ava.  And still remembered to shower, and took some time out to bitch about the tenant’s dogs in the garage.  It was exhilarating.  It was fun.  It was fucking ridiculous.   I even made a catnip toy for the damn cat.  The only thing I didn’t do was sew curtains for Ava’s dollhouse.

And Monday morning I felt accomplished and refreshed, right? 


I failed at 6 out of 7 resolutions in one weekend.  One weekend!  And I woke up with a motivation hangover.  6 a.m. came way too early for me, and apparently for Owen – who was obviously suffering from a Warcraft, or whatever the hell video game he’s discovered now, hangover. 

But at least I had clean floors to walk barefoot on..well, after I wiped up the blood droplets from the dog in heat.  (I could use this space to explain why we have a dog in heat, and that she used to be bred but isn’t anymore, and why we haven’t been able to afford spaying just yet, but I don’t feel like it).

But all I keep thinking about is when I can run again, and about this 7-day cleanse my other brother sent me, and … the cat lying on the floor over there staring dreamily at me like I have a halo around my head.  Hell, maybe I do.  That catnip is so fresh, he’ll be chewing the doors off the cabinet where we keep his treats before the buzzkill – I mean – his buddy Ava gets home. 

She carries him all over the place, puts Christmas jammies on him, and makes him dance on his hind legs.  And all the while he’ll be looking at me like, you aren’t really going to let her do this to me, are you?  Yet night after night, he sleeps on her bed by her side.  He can sleep anywhere in this huge house – he chooses to sleep with her.  The least I can do is make a couple of love toys for him.

So, I’m staging a comeback.  I can’t take credit for the theme, though.  It belongs to Bitstrips… after I posted a Bitstrip cartoon Me on a running track captioned, “Tara’s staging a comeback.”  Because I am.   Just as soon as I get off this chair.  And after I have some lunch, and maybe just a teeny tiny nap before the kids get home.  Because there’s another Bitstrip Me on the track, with the caption, “Tara tripped at the starting line.”  And because I’ve stopped making sense. All the sensible people do.

Remember the resolutions, people. 

2013 – A Year In Review

I ran exactly no more times than I could count on one hand.

I gained about 5 more pounds, got what my sister-in-law sweetly referred to as a “muffin top,” and subsequently bought new jeans that don’t leave my ass crack less of a mystery to the public at large.  Probably because I stopped running.  Or love.  Yeah.  That’s what it is. Love.

Owen has grown a ridiculous amount of growing, as evidenced by my feverish shopping for the last boys’ size jeans I can buy before he moves up to young men’s.  No easy task – I am convinced he is in the majority of boys all wearing the exact same size – the size that is always sold out.   He now stands 5’ 5 ½ ” tall, nearly 4 inches taller than me, though I still outweigh him by almost 30 pounds. 

We survived the Science Project of 2013.  It wasn’t nearly as dramatic as I predicted – there were no tears, no screaming or yelling, and no angry foot stomping.  And even Owen handled the project well.

Ava got a brand new insulin pump in the beginning of the year, and exactly 11 months later the  actual case of the pump cracked.  We breathlessly waited 2 harrowing days from this New Year’s Eve until Animas Corp reopened so that it could be replaced.  She is now on her 4thinsulin pump since 2008, and her 3rd pink one.

The Ravens won the Superbowl!  It was an awesome game and an awesome win…witnessed at my brother-in-law’s townhouse party and afterward we drove downtown (Baltimore) to experience the rush of crazed fans celebrating the win.  This exciting experience crushed any future desire I might have for attending any Superbowl celebrations in the victor’s home city.  The helicopters circling overhead, crowds surpassing any New York street at Christmas, people falling down, and inimitable policemen on horseback made me feel like I’d been dropped into the middle of a bad sci-fi movie.

My Facebook page appeared on the local news station on a segment they call Facebook Flash.  Anyone with a Facebook page can submit, and I shamelessly told them how I reunited with my high school sweetheart because I knew they couldn’t possibly pass that up.  (Obviously, it worked.)

My baby brother turned 21 in February.  I wasn’t able to celebrate with him (I’m old now and not as “cool” as I was when he was 4) but I am proud he didn’t get arrested or injured.  He did, however, later break his back snowboarding in Colorado. (I’m going to assume he was not drinking at the time.)

I finally returned to New York, and took Ava with me for her birthday.  It was awesome, like going home, even though so much has changed (the towers are gone) so have things remained the same.  We had a great day – seeing my college, having lunch together, Ava’s first trip to New York and ride in a real yellow cab, walking more blocks than she has in her entire life, and visiting the American Girl store.  Most expensive day.   Ever.

Early in the summer, we found out that we were having a baby.  11 weeks later we would learn that it wasn’t meant to be.  I never in my life thought I would ever have to go through such an experience, and it was awful and painful and disappointing.  I am thankful for the love and support from the few who knew about it and especially C for being there and understanding like no one else could.

Meanwhile, an old dear friend of mine had her first baby!  It was very exciting, planning the baby shower and celebrating, and then the breath-holding wait for the arrival.  She gave birth to an adorable baby girl who has yet to realize just how cool her parents are. 

Todd and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Father’s Day at the restaurant with my dad and stepmom.  Despite the early interruptions to my inner peace (nasty and innumerable text messages), I was able to down a few shots of the finest, most expensive tequila and revel in the joy of another year living what once seemed like the impossible dream.

In July, after 6 months of nonpayment of rent, a district court ruling, two sheriffs and two animal control trucks – Todd’s renter, 4 kids, her 10 dogs, and an unauthorized squatter got the final boot, ending months of stress and anxiety for us.

The kids finally got to go to Disney.  I wasn’t the lucky parent who got to take them though – so my most favorite place on earth remains untarnished by my whiney, demanding, ungrateful wonderful offspring.   They enjoyed their vacation, though dad and his contemptible girlfriend got to bear the brunt of the sniveling drone that often accompanies any trip lasting more than 3 hours.

I paid $6000 toward my attorney’s fees accumulated over a year and half, roughly 1/3 of the total owed.  Yay me.

We were blessed with 2 separate events planned by dear friends (with enormous talent and great big hearts) to raise money for Type 1 diabetes research and the JDRF – the 1st, a collaboration at Taylor Backes which mom catered, brought some 60 people out, and the 2nd,  a Caribbean carnival,  was held at the restaurant with over 70 in attendance.  Total funds raised were in excess of $5000.  It’s a start.

There has been a good deal of news around the internet and Facebook of new breakthroughs, technology, ongoing research and testing.  Unfortunately, 2013 was not the year.  We are still without a cure for Type 1 diabetes.  But each year brings us closer, and the promise and hope for that one day when my daughter can say, “I used to have Type 1 diabetes.”

We took the kids to Hershey Park – the first in a series of vacation mini-adventures.  Ava loved everything about it, except the height restrictions that kept her off some of the more terrifying coasters.  She and I rode the Sidewinder together, which pulled us up to a cold-sweat high, blew us through the track like lightening and back again, and the adrenaline I felt afterward shoved my grief front and center.  Now THAT’s a thrill ride.  Owen, on the other hand, rode NOTHING.  I could’ve left him at home and flushed the $60 down the toilet, but I would’ve missed him.

We drove to Washington, DC for the second leg of our mini-vacations on the hottest day of the summer, walked the manicured grounds of the monuments (before the government had their little shut down), stepped inside the Lincoln Memorial with about 200 other sweating tourists trying to cool off, and walked the Vietnam Veteran’s wall.  Owen found a “Keene,” which I photographed, though I don’t know who he is or whether we were related at all.  We also visited The Museum of American History and ate hot dogs for lunch in the café for $65. But hey – the museum was free.

Got my hair cut short for the first time in over 12 years last Fall.  I’ve been wanting to return to short hair, just didn’t want to give up the pony tail.  I am loving the time-saving and easy-breezy style.  However, like a true Gemini – I’d like to have long hair again too.

I now officially have a teenager in my house.  My baby boy, the little man who melted in my arms for the first 5 years of his life, who gave me his first kiss on Christmas eve 12 years ago and endured a thousand more of mine, turned 13 in October.  His hugs are little less melty, and more wham-bam-thank-you-maam, but I’ll take what I can get. 

We made a lot of new friends.  We have met many more people who have come into our lives via the restaurant, mutual friends, new schools, bowling, and even in our neighborhood.
And the biggest, most enduring news of the year….We moved.  We were finally able to move into Todd’s house in Maryland after much discussion, a few arguments, some nasty text messages, a court document, several lawyer meetings and would rather not mention undisclosed legal fees, and finally – an agreement to everyone’s satisfaction.  We couldn’t be happier.  We’re no longer living on top of each other in a tiny rental on busy road, the kids are happy in school, I get to see my husband every day, we live in a great neighborhood with kids knocking on our door, we have neighbors who socialize,  our expenses are no longer divided and we are now able to fully combine our resources.

My ex and I have raised our white flags.  I am grateful that he agreed to the move and I hope that he truly believes that I want our children to have a strong and solid connection with him, as I strive to give them all the time they need with him.  Todd and I invited him to stay for dinner on a day he’d come to visit the kids, coincidentally his birthday, and he humbly accepted and later thanked me for it.  We aren’t friends, but I hope – allies – in the journey of raising these children because, somehow, for some unknown reason, we ended up on this path together long ago.

All in all, it was a decent year – and I am a firm believer in, “it’s only uphill from here.”  I didn’t flip my car and camper on a family vacation in Florida, get caught in Boston during the Marathon bombing, dissect my arm with an exploding blender, or break my ankle, but I know one person who did.  It was still an eventful year, with many blessings that far outweighed the disappointments, and many friends and family who stand “for me” and for that I am forever grateful.