Tag Archives: friends

Go thank yourself

So I’ve been having an issue with accountability lately. Seems that a whole lot of the things that I had regularly engaged in as part of an effort to keep myself sane have just gone out the window.

Food — I eat it all, who needs moderation? Not me, I’ll tell ya.

School — why check backpacks, Jimmy will do it.

Television — Okay, okay, not exactly a priority, but as far as down time that I frankly owe myself, well, I have yet to watch a single episode of The Closer.

This space — if there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s the sound of my own voice, which translates in these here internets to my blog. More than a month! I’ve skipped five weeks of doing something I enjoy. Bummer.

This month on the facepage, people have been doing something obscenely annoying totally introspective: The Month of Thanksgiving. Folks from all walks of life are taking time normally set aside for stalking ex-boyfriends and playing mafia wars to list one thing each day for which they are thankful. You know, for Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving in America is all about saying, “Hey Indians, thanks for the food, now step aside while we rape and pillage your land. Oh,  don’t worry, we’ll give you “reservations” where the earth is bruised and rocky and the water is completely non-potable but the Bingo far exceeds any expectation you saw in your latest hot sweat vision quest!” And nothing celebrates that sentiment quite like two sentence quips each day on an addictive website built by a millionaire teenage dork.

Well, I have NOT participated in the Month of Thanksgiving. But I am. Thankful, I mean, For all sorts of stuff. So I present to you, 30 days of thanks, all in one convenient package:

1 – Health. Food might be on my list of things I have been bad about, but at least Zumba Stacey keeps me in check. It’s nice to be able to move like you’re one big sass machine.

2 – Beer. How can anyone dislike a food that will trigger you to vomit if you’ve had too much? It’s barley and hops sponsored bulimia at its best.

3 – Teachers. Without them, I’d have to parent 24 hours a day. No thank you. I didn’t have kids so I could watch them.

4 – Naps. Did you ever notice the way children freak the hell out at even the suggestion that they settle down, let alone lie down, let alone close their eyes? Can you imagine if every single day someone said to you, go sleep for no less than 45 minites. Sweet mercy, I would be in heaven.

5 – Pooping. I’m sorry, that just feels great.

6 – Chocolate. I am not a sweet fiend, but even I can appreciate this one.

7 – Chicago. Everyone has their big city, even if they don’t live there. This one is mine.

8 – Aruba. I’ve never met you, but we have a date. January 4, 2014.

9 – The never-ending saga that is Law and Order. Man was I ever pissed when they canceled your flagship show. IT NEVER GETS OLD. bum-BUM!!

10 -Lady Gaga. Self explanatory.

11 -Selena Gomez.. Your songs are so catchy and my sons are deeply in love with you. Sure, I am totally afraid that the day will come when the very magazines I bought featuring you will become my son’s first stroke material. At which point I will want you banished from all things Disney. Just please don’t Lohan on me.

12 – Smart phones. THEY ARE SO SMART!!

13 – The First Amendment. Totally working for me.

14 – Divorce. Also totally working for me.

15 – Pitbull. Possibly the worst artist ever. But I have never in my life wanted so bad to find somebody sexy and tell them hey.

16 – The Omaha Morning Blend. Making my kids stars at least twice a year.

17 – The facepage SO. Don’t ask, it’s secret!!

18 – Makeup. Zits + splotchiness + 38-year-old woman = your eternal customer

19 – The Winchester Brothers. Damn you’re fine.

20 – Central air. Now hear me out. I despise manufactured cold air. I love few things in life the way I love to sweat in July. But with my love comes fear that the rest of the free world disagrees. And no one, especially me, wants to deal with my husband Sybil when the oppressive heat of summer refuses to let go. Even I know when it’s time to flip the switch.

21 – The oppressive heat of summer. That’s why I have both a front and a back porch.

22 – The Chicago Cubs. Because the only way to stay sane is to deal with eternal heartbreak.

23 – Boobs. They’re right there and even these old gals come in handy.

24 – The Happy Place. Where happiness takes place, 365 days a year. I know there is supposed to be some natural rivalry and lifelong disdain between the cheeseheads and the FIBS, but there are few things in this world as truly beautiful as rural Wisconsin. Just so long as we don’t have to collectively bargain to keep it that way.

25 – Kayla and Nancy. A girl ain’t nothin’ without some girls of her own.

26 – Three sisters and one brother, all of whom are in their 40’s. I am in my 30’s. Suck it hags.

27 – My Mom and Dad. I NEVER tell them how much I love and appreciate them. Because clearly, I am a shit.

28  – Jimmy. Seriously, what were the chances of that ever happening?

29 – My boys, Hank and George. If you’d asked me when I was younger if I’d have sons or daughters or a combination, I would have told you sons. It’s pretty much the one thing I was ever THAT right about. I love those kiddos. They are the best thing I have ever done.

30 – Peace, love and happiness. I have it. I should take the time to notice it a little more often.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Philadelphia freedom

I love you.

Yes I do!

Yes, it was difficult. But I got on a plane. And after sitting through a few moments where tears of complete and utter fear enveloped me like, well, an envelope, I made it through the obnoxiously long flight (one hour and 45 minutes!!) and settled safely on the ground in Pennsylvania, where the land is somehow so bizarrely curvy that  just flying over it made me motion sick. But, Nancy had only a few days left on her babymoon, and what better way to spend them than with the girls who knew you back when stretch marks were something you laughed at other, older women for having: Me and Kayla!

Upon arrival, Kayla, Nancy and I engaged in one of the cornerstones of democracy that one can only truly appreciate while in the birthplace of American Americanism: Historical re-enactment!

Here we are acting out the famous “let’s smile in front of this 2,000 pound bell that we paid a jizillion dollars for and it cracked upon the first clapping of the clapper” scene from the days just past the Revolutionary War. The scene is slightly less famous than the Washington crossing the Delaware snapshot, but one of great significance anyway. This is important because it is the first time in recorded U.S. history that the government took tax dollars, basically set them on fire, then didn’t do anything about it, only to somehow make it sound like that’s how it was supposed to be in the first place.

Did you know that in the angry letter written to the guys who cast the bell about how their lackluster craftsmanship made the thing crack the very first time is was rung, the word “Pennsylvania” was misspelled? The founding fathers couldn’t spell Pennsylvania correctly! Seems the second “n” in Billy Penn’s name got away from them. Suck on that GleN Beck. Kayla and Nancy were not as interested in reading the copies of the historical documents on display near the big cracked bell. Somehow, I am the geek in this scenario.

I’d also like to point out that maybe when commissioning a huge bell to mark our freedom from the tyranny and unfair taxation of England, maybe the founding fathers could have found someone OTHER than a bell maker in LONDON. Seriously, people.

Back to modern-day Philly.

After the big cracked bell, we moved on to another famous piece of history. One made famous by Philly’s most notable southpaw,  Mr. Rocky Balboa.

That’s Kayla in the yellow coat. That fatty next to her is me. Nancy parked her diesel Jetta in the taxi lane to get this picture, which I find absolutely hilarious. While there were several people at the top taking similar photos, we were the only ones who ran up ALL of the stairs humming “bum-bum-bu-bu-bum-bu-bu-bum-bum-bum…. gonna fly now!!!” Kayla took a short break from the song to tell the homeless guy halfway up that we couldn’t give him any change because we were in the middle of something important.

Here’s the obligatory cell phone self-portrait from the top:

Two things : Yes, Kayla is giving the thumbs up. And I need to get me one of those fancy phones. I think we are past the days when it is acceptable for cell phone photos to be grainy.

Finally, there was one more important re-enactment to participate in while visiting the home of cheesesteaks and downtown streets that no one thought to expand when bigger buildings went up. The historical birth of Ms. Lilah Jane in the ridiculously pretty orange bathroom:

That’s right, I told Nancy to take a picture with her child in the bathroom where she delivered her… and she complied. Now that’s mothering!

And that, my friends, is how you visit Philadelphia!

Thanks Kayla and Nancy, it was fun!


Filed under Uncategorized

No, no…. Thank YOU!

Top 10 things I am thankful for this year:

1. Coffee. You are so delicious and wonderful and you help me both wake up AND poop. Thank you.

2. Summer. Sure, you are gone. But I love your heat and your humidity and the way you make cold beer taste even BETTER than it already does. Thank you.

3. Health. I mean, I feel like a fatty and I’m not as young as I used to be. But I am in pretty good shape (considering). And my parts all still work and I have more energy then I had back when I was a 24-year-old skinny smoker. Thank you.

4. Karaoke. Self-explanatory. Thank you.

5. The Happy Place. No matter how often I go or what time of year it is, I feel a little empty and sad when I leave. There are only a few places in this world where I would love to be at any given moment, and the Happy Place is at the top of the list.  Thank you.

6. That doctor who cut out my mom’s colon cancer. Cancer sucks. Removing cancer is awesome. Thank you.

7. Kayla & Nancy. More than just friends, they are the sisters I never had (even though I actually have three sisters). I feel pretty confident that if I needed them, they would hop on a plane as soon as humanly possible. Kayla is the second most generous person I know (very closely behind my mother) and for God’s sake, Nancy delivered her own child all by herself. My mother always told me how important it was to have girlfriends, and she was right. I am lucky to have the two of them, and distance and time don’t seem to make a difference. I don’t tell them enough how much I really love them. Thank you.

8. Family. Who else can know what a pain in the ass you are on a regular basis, but still invite you over for turkey and beer? Thank you.

9. Jim. That man makes me laugh. Thank you.

10. My boys. Nothing says that you have a good life better than two little boys who love each other so very much:

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Filed under Uncategorized

February 4, 1972

Anything important happen that day? Well, THIS chick was born:

The bigger one, not the little one.


And I’m not suggesting Nan is old or anything, but she’s as old as my sister Amy… and Amy is a Grandmother. I’m just sayin’.


Filed under 1

It’s all about me!

Today is January 4. So, in case you are living in a hole and somehow forgot, that means….

IT IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I am 36 years old today — but don’t tell my mother. She once gave me a lovely birthday card, one of those mini books that goes on about all the headlines of the year you were born.

“All the Headlines from the year you were born, 1973,” it read.

“Mom, I born in 1974,” I said.

“Oh…. well, you were due in 1973,” was her response.

I love birthdays. I like to put on a ribbon and find a reason to go out in public. If I am out on my birthday, and say, someone asks for my ID, I do not give them a chance to say “Happy Birthday!” Because I tell them. Loudly. So everyone can hear. I am a birthday brat.

I think (though my mother would have to tell me if I am correct or not) that my Grandmother was also a birthday brat, so maybe I inherited it from her. You know, most folks LOVE their birthday when they are young. It’s all about presents and parties when you are little. Then the excitement of becoming a teenager, the eagerness to drive a car at 16, to be “an adult” at 18, to drink (for the first time ever, of course) when you are 21. A lot of people usually see 25 as a milestone too. You know you are still young, but it seems like a doorway to adulthood.

But something happens to a lot of people when they hit 30. They DREAD it. I believe it was my mother who dyed her hair platinum blonde on her 30th birthday to prove she was still young. People make lists of the things they want to accomplish by the time they are 30! Then, if they don’t achieve it, they bump it up to 40. Because suddenly you are 35, 36, 37… and 30 doesn’t seem so old anymore. And on and on.

But not me.

Throw a surprise party for my Mom, and she’ll throw a surprise punch at your face. My sister Amy is the same way, don’t even THINK about wishing her a Happy Birthday, lest you have to listen to why it’s nothing to be so damn happy about!

But not me.

I wonder if there will be a birthday when I DO dread it. I don’t necessarily think my Grandmother ever did. I suppose it won’t be when I turn 40 that bothers me, it’s when my kid turns 40 that I might feel it. Of course, hopefully by that time I will be getting ready to embarrass my grandchildren at karaoke night. I can hear it already — “Who is Lady Gaga, and why does Grandma keep singing about a disco stick? Make her stop dancing. We’re going to have to put her in a home sooner than we thought.”

Bah. Birthdays are ALWAYS fun.



Filed under 1

My husband and my sister: The Affair

My husband and my sister are having an affair. That’s right, you read that correctly. My HUSBAND. And my SISTER. AN AFFAIR. And they’re all about rubbing it in my face. For theirs is an affair that I can only peek into, hard as I try to drive a wedge between them. Seems my husband and my sister are having an affair — over sports.

“Your sister sent me an e-mail,” he says to me. “She wants to come over Saturday to watch the Notre Dame game.”

“Ok,” I say.

A few hours later:

“Your sister will be here at 11 on Saturday.”

“But the game is at, like, 2:30,” I say.

“Yeah… but the Hawks are on at 11,” he says.

College football and hockey? I cannot compete with that.

While they were off in their affair-world, I went all Magnum PI on them and snapped this piece of photographic evidence:


Can you even believe the nerve of them, right there on my fine Value City Furniture sectional? Oh, the humanity! To make matters worse, I, for some reason, created a whole delicious snack tray for them to enjoy on their date:


Look at that! Fresh veggies chopped and sliced by my own little arthritic fingers. And yes, that’s pita chips AND pita bread. The fact that my homemade black bean humus actually looks like a soft-serve poop didn’t stop them from enjoying every little bite either. What did I do? It’s like I’m part of the problem. And if that wasn’t enough, they had to watch baseball, despite the fact that both their teams had been eliminated weeks ago.

There were rattled off stats and names of people I will never remember. There were memories of wins and losses gone by. There were discussions of the upcoming hockey season and the nonstop badmouthing of Blackhawk goalie Cristobal Huet, and all I could add to the conversation was “what a funny first name he has!” I don’t think they even heard my enormously funny wisecrack! If I’m not wrong, there were a handful of fistbumps.

It’s not just the games either. They send eachother text messages ALL THE FREAKING TIME about whatever team is playing whatever game at whatever time. And it’s not like I’m some sports novice. I pay attention. I can follow a baseball or football game better than a whole lot of other women I know. Hockey — meh, no one is perfect. But am I good enough? No. He has to go searching for companionship elsewhere… but he sticks to my own family tree. Like, two limbs over.

What do I do? How do I stop this?

I know this much. Kayla is no longer invited to my house during college football season. I cannot handle making another trayful of snacks so my husband can enter a three-way with my sister and one of my closest friends.


Filed under 1

My girls

So I have grey hair. Like, really grey. I noticed a few strands here and there over the years, but these days, I have a full-on streak of grey right in the front. I confess, I kind of like it. It’s not that weird, extra strong wire-like, possibly made of some sort of steel grey hair. It’s just my regular hair — gone grey.

This weekend I was discussing my grey streak with my good friend Nancy, who was in town for a visit. I joked with her that my hairdresser had tried to convince me that it was NOT grey hair. “It’s just a blonde streak,” the hairdresser said (and I use the term hairdresser loosely, as in, the lady who cuts my hair at the Snip-a-Roo inside WalMart is my “hairdresser.”).

Upon telling this story to Nan, I laughed and said, “Yeah, as if my hair is going prematurely BLONDE.”

“Marn, I hate to break it to you, but you’re 35,” Nan said. “There’s nothing premature about it.”

Ah, good old Nancy, the girl who you can always trust to explain to you a little thing more commonly known as REALITY.

This is what I miss most about my girlfriends. Over the past few months, I have been lucky enough, through the miracle of modern technology that my mother calls “The Face Page,” to get in touch with almost all the women who made ME the woman I am today. Somewhere in my mid-20’s, Nancy and our other friend Kayla came into the picture, and somehow, some way, I’ve never been able to shake them. I mean that in a good way (of course). But visiting with Nancy this weekend, and Kayla just a week earlier, made me appreciate how lucky I am to have them, and how a part of me still longs for the women I left behind. The same women who are back, even if just slightly so and over the Face Page, but back. How the hell do I get them to stay? I mean… I NEED them.

First there’s Jenny, my best bud from second through eighth grade. While all the other girls were signing their notes “BFF,” Jenny and I were far more gramatically correct. We signed ours “BOFF,” Best OF Friends Forever. We sometimes added “buddy” to the end of it, making us “BOFF Buddies.” I suppose these days, two women referring to themselves as “BOFF Buddies” would mean something else.

There’s also Jacki, the girl who transferred in at 5th grade or so. Man did she ever crack me up.

After that comes my High School soul mate, Chris. We were calling each other “man” waaaayyyy before Bud Light’s “I love you, Man” ad campaign. When she friended me on the Face Page, my first response was, “Hey, Man!” Chris got me through puberty and my first love, and once, crushed by a broken heart, I drove all the way across Illinois and halfway through Indiana just to see her. She was the only one who could make it better.

There’s also my two college roomates, Jen and Missy. They were the girls I spent my time with at 1218 Wetzel Hall at WIU, Jen freshman year, Missy sophomore year. These girls knew my deepest secrets, my hearbreak, my desires. Nothing was too personal to not share with them. If I knew it, they knew it. Jen and I did not, I repeat, did NOT, smoke anything other than regular cigarettes together. Ever. I swear it. And that crack in the windshield of my mother’s car… yeah, Missy’s head did that, while she was looking for a party and I hit the breaks. She didn’t bleed or anything. That girl had a head of steel.

There are a few girls missing. Tracy and Jill. Suha and Jackie. There’s also Jen from New Orleans, who I still keep in touch with, just not as much as I wish I did. And there’s Nikki, my WWIR co-anchor, who keeps in touch with the Face Page and Christmas cards.

All of these women had a profound impact on me. Jenny and Jacki helped to craft my sense of humor. Chris ushered me into adulthood, and from there, reality of heartbreak and happiness. Missy and Jen taught me the line between being serious and being a party girl. And sometimes we crossed those lines, but we throughly enjoyed the ride that got us there. Tracy and Jill were my first experience in how a duo becomes a trio, which then becomes a duo again. Suha and Jackie were my first friends at a new high school, the girls who laughed at my jokes and taught me not to judge. Nikki was planning her wedding when I couldn’t even plan my night. The result — she clearly has the three most beautiful children in the world. Nikki was my first peer to teach me what committment between two people really means, just by watching her and her husband. Plus, she taught me how to properly pronounce “W,” which is harder than it sounds and eventually came in pretty handy! Jen from New Orleans and her husband taught me a lot about love, mainly, it’s not as easy as it looks, even for people who truly love eachother.

Nancy and Kayla, though, came at a time when we were all on our own and first discovering what adulthood means. We shared a house that we lovingly referred to as “The Chick Shack.” There were tears and laughter. There was lots of booze. There was a bizarre amount of chicken schwarma and calzones the size of our heads. There was the water park and the Waffle House. There were fun parties and embarassing moments of seeing the others in compromising positions (or sometimes, just hearing it). There was work and there was play. There was Ivars and Zee Zees and Clicks and The Chimes and that bar we cannot remember the name of. There was Kayla’s reaction to sweets. There was The Zipper at the Baton Rouge State Fair. Friends became sisters. And it stuck, even after we split up and got married and had babies, not always in that order.

But while all those other girls came in and out of my life, they all played a role, they all held their own crucial chapter. On any given day, I can tell a story that starts with one of their names. I am just blessed enough that when I tell those stories about Kayla and Nan, it’s not a “used to  be” story. They are the girls I can trust to tell me the truth — like I sure am getting older.

Still, I miss those other girls. I wish I could hold on to all of them the way I’ve been able to hang on to Kayla and Nancy, and I shudder at the thought of Kayla and Nancy turning into friends-gone-by. I don’t think they ever will. While the other girls and I grew apart, Kayla and Nancy and I simply just ARE apart. But as much as I love and appreciate Kayla and Nan, it doesn’t make me miss Jenny or Jacki or Chris or Missy or Jen or Nikki or Jen any less. I don’t long for my youth back. But I sure do miss those girls, and I only wish they knew that I wouldn’t be right here, right today, if they hadn’t been there for me all those years ago.


Filed under 1