Body self confidence


I’ve never had it.

Never being a strong word.

I remember being a child in New Jersey (age 5 to 12) and playing outside a lot. My dad would whistle us in for dinner.  I got a light blue ten speed for my 10th or 11th birthday and loved it. Rode it to school, to friends, to the store for Bazooka gum, and just for the Hell of it.

I also used to pretend I was a horse from the waist up, and a human from the waist down. My friends and I would hold “horseshows” and we’d jump over obstacles set up on our lawns and judge each other.

Yet I also remember being the last to be chosen for PE…Being hit with a ball when pitching in PE…Not being good at the 50 or 100 yard dashes because by 12 I was all legs and it took me awhile to get them out from under me.

I dimly remember ballet (an aqua leotard and white tutu) but didn’t get far.  I remember being TERRIFIED of gymnastics: always afraid I’d get hurt. My best friend had a trampoline in her yard and I was very cautious on it.  Our last year of living in that house, my dad had a vinyl bottomed in ground pool put in. I LOVED swimming. Didn’t scare me at all that I remember. I’d put on his much too big fins and cruise around the pool like a surfaced dolphin.  And horses: I loved to ride, but my instructors were frustrated by the fact that I always looked DOWN — at where I assumed I would fall.  At 9 I was already afraid I would get hurt.

We moved to Texas when I was 12, soon to be 13 and it was a huge culture shock.  I was a tomboy. Here all the girls wore make up (blue eyeshadow) and had feathered hair (thanks Farrah!) and my stick straight hair and green eyes meant I looked ridiculous in both.  I didn’t fit in. I never would. So I gave up and got fat.

Two years later we moved to a small town in Virginia.  A. Very. Small. Town.  My graduating class was 176 people.  Here I was fat. I did nothing athletic. I got fatter. My perception of myself was the fat introvert who wrote passionate poetry about a life I hated and who wanted to be beautiful for Just. One. Day.  I discovered Drama, where I could be someone else. It was a relief. There were no boyfriends. My grades were meh.

College: I lost some weight.  Met a boy. Lost more weight. Started perming my stick straight hair. Got a 3.5 GPA. Got jobs. Constantly compared myself to others. Had a ton of therapy (most if it spent weeping).

Leap to the age of 50.

  • I still wish I were stunning
  • I have severe body hatred despite the fact that I gave birth to two very large babies and my body didn’t let me down til 2009 when my gallbladder failed.
  • I no longer have a waist
  • I think I am fat (no one else sees this) because I’ve gained 15# in the last year due to back issues that won’t allow me to exercise.
  • I long to be physically comfortable with myself.  Can this be learned? I watch other adults play and wonder why I cannot do this with abandon. Why I care about HOW I LOOK WHEN I AM DOING SOMETHING?  I’m afraid I will look foolish so I avoid things.  Why do I care that others will think I am a klutz? Who cares?

Then I found this:

“The spotlight effect is an extension of several psychological phenomena. Among these is the phenomenon known as anchoring and adjustment, which suggests that individuals will use their own internal feelings of anxiety and the accompanying self-representation as an anchor, then insufficiently correct for the fact that others are less privy to those feelings than they are themselves. Consequently, they overestimate the extent to which their anxiety is obvious to onlookers. In fact, Clark and Wells (1995) suggest that socially phobic people enter social situations in a heightened self-focused state, namely, from a raised emotional anchor. This self-focused state makes it difficult for individuals to set aside public and private self-knowledge to focus on the task.”

And found out I am disturbed.



Coming Soon… to Amazon…

The second edition, and edited version of my first book: to both paperback and Kindle. 

And this summer:  The sequel to the above, also in paperback and on Kindle.  Image

Religion… Science…On the Edge of Solutions?



I am watching the horrific violence in Syria, Africa, South America, and now in Iraq (again) and it seems it’s all coming down to one reason:  a clash of religions.

The whole idea of religion is really starting to irk me. It seems to me that it’s at the center of all the violence in the world.  And it always has been. Even Christianity has a violent past.

I think religion existed because we needed a reason for things that happened when science didn’t exist. (Like the weather, locusts, famines, and droughts, floods, disease, etc.) Now we have science and have to figure out where religion goes in relation to that. 

I finally figured out what I think, and I’m not an atheist, I just don’t believe there is a guy with a white beard keeping a giant book, grading us all and sorting us into houses (heaven and hell). 

I believe in the Golden Rule (treating others as you would want to be treated).

I believe in helping others whenever we can even in small ways.

I believe in assuming the best in others until proven otherwise.

And I have seen, with my own eyes those who profess to be “Christian” who are the most UN Jesus like people I have ever met. (As well as atheists, but at least they have an excuse…).

I believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.

I believe we are energy and energy can never die. 

I believe at throwing love and help at people. Most of the time, when I do this after being the target of anger, they don’t know how to react.

I believe my dad sends me messages quite regularly in ways no one can explain away.  Coincidence?  Not this many.

And I also believe there’s a lot we humans have yet to figure out, and thus a lot that is inexplicable.

I also believe we have to answer to ourselves or something when we die physically. And that we see others who we know who died before us.

I guess this is good because I was never baptized, and, according to a few people, damns me to Hell regardless of anything I do other than that. 

I also feel like the human race is on the cusp of something major. And if we don’t “get it” or “tune into” it soon, we are doomed.  After all, how are we difference than a virus?  We take and take and replicate and put nothing back but a mess.  We leave the host worse than when we arrived.

This book pretty much wraps up what I think:



Retrograde Mercury Doesn’t Fool Around



Next time Mercury is retrograde, I think I will avoid doing much other than breathing, eating, sleeping and pooping.  I’ll hide under my covers for three weeks and have food delivered. My bathroom is three steps away. I will ignore the internet and not turn on the TV. Operating any device is asking for injury.  It’s pretty obvious.

Mercury went retro last night and he’s in a Hell of a mood this time.  Ugh!  Everything I touch goes wrong, everything is missing or lost, everything is broken… this planet seriously has it in for me.  The asshole.

Now I am crabby.  Fuck the world!  This is when I need a pool to dive into and swim: beating the water into submission.  I either need to DRINK or beat someone.

Instead my wrath is directed towards the company that shipped me a USED HEAD LIGHT for my car instead of a new one.  Poor Alan is getting scathing emails from a pissed off blond in CA.  Is this kick the dog syndrome?

I need to check my calendar and find out when this is over. Ugly rumor is three weeks.

And I have to drive from San Diego to LA and back Sunday to put my kids on a plane as space available UMs.

And my older son had finals… what a debacle for him.




Blended Family: A Lie Psychologists and the Media Spread

“In its most basic sense, a blended family is one where the parents have children from previous relationships, but all the members come together as one unit. “


Okay well that we DID do.

When we met: I was single with two boys, 6 and 9.  He was single with a girl, 14 and a boy, 12.

When we actually “combined units,”  (is that the technical term for “moved into the same house”?)  my kids were 8 and 11, and his 15 and 13.

Which meant:

  • My older son “J” went from oldest to middle child/middle boy.
  • J also went from being the “man of the house” to not.
  • My youngest, “K”, stayed the youngest (and now had a teenage girl to interact with)
  • His daughter, “M”, stayed oldest AND the only girl, which, in retrospect, was a GOOD thing. (Girls can be so mean to each other!)\
  • His son, “S”, stayed the oldest boy but suddenly had two younger brothers.

The logistics:

  • My sons and I moved from a 2600 sq foot house in Orlando (where they had their own rooms)  to a 1200 square food house in CA, where they shad to share a room until recently.
  • We had lived in that area for 9 years.
  • They had new schools.
  • No friends.
  • Didn’t know their way around here at all (new docs, new stores, new everything)
  • They visited their dad during school breaks and the entire summer and got used to flying alone
  • My husband’s son, “S” had to move into the smallest bedroom for 2.5 years, so that my two sons could share his larger room.
  • My husband had to move his office out of the house and rent office space to accommodate my kids.
  • We had six people in a 1200 square foot house 50% of the time.
  • I pared down my stuff from 18,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds and he had to figure out where it all went!

In the last four years, living in this extended/satellite family, I have realized that a “blended family” is a myth, at least in my experience, with kids ages 8, 11, 13, 15.   They were never heavily involved in each others’ lives. There wasn’t really any mean-ness. Not to each other’s faces, or through passive aggressive action. But my kids obviously had me as a mom, and his kids had their mom (they shuttled back and forth from our house to her house) and she and I had very different parenting styles.  Add to that the different dad parenting styles and you have four kids with four parents being subjected to FOUR parenting styles – although my parenting and my husband’s were pretty close.

Initially, I could tell that my husband’s kids were taken aback by my kids’ lack of interest in sports, academics, and their not-so-great self images. Then sprinkle in a teenage girl who didn’t get along well with her mother at all, who moved in with us full time at the middle of her junior year, and you have quite a hormonal, opinionated soup!

And now?  We’ve gone through two major surgeries on “J”, that stuck him in a wheelchair or cast most of 6th and 7th grade, and his anger and sadness at being the new kid in harder schools; school and relationship issues with M; had two pets die; had me find and quit three jobs before finding the right one; had me have medical issues; had my husband’s business slow down; had money ups and downs; had EX issues; had daughter, M,  graduate and move away and not speak to us since (she is now 20, an abolitionist, feminist vegan, working a job and paying her way, at the age of 20, but done with school and all her family at this point); and the oldest boy, S, graduates next week and heads for college (YAY!) in August.  The last 18 months with just the three boys and us has been easier as they each have their own rooms, and are all established in their own lives. “J” is now a freshman in high school, six feet tall and academically stellar, while K is navigating the purgatory I call middle school.

I can’t say these two sets of kids were ever really friends, per se, because my kids are not kids that either of them would ever hang with.  They never figured out the girl (neither did I but I did the best I could).  S tutored both J and K few times in math (their weakness), and stood up for them when bullied.

I find myself wondering if later in life, they, as adults, will develop relationships with each, or if, when we see them at holidays and such, it will be as it has been:  a tolerance with moments of hysterics, helpfulness and camaraderie.

I tell my husband that the next ten years will mean:  M is 30, S is 28, J is 25 and K is 22.




My Perfect Word: Hiraeth

You see, I don’t have a “home town.” A friend told me my hometown is where I was born.  This was a small town in Massachusetts which we moved away from when I was 18 months old.  Um. No.   Okay then, another friend said it is where you lived the longest.  There’s trouble in that assessment too:   MA was 18 months. IL was 3.5 years. NJ was 8 years. TX was 2 years, VA was two years first time, and two the second time, MI was 8 years, ME was 18 months, NH was 9 years, FL was 9 years and CA will be 4 years this month.

I don’t consider FL my home town even though I was there for nine years. I lived there from the age of 37 to the age of 45 and still have fantastic friends I miss terribly. One of my sons was born in Orlando.

But,  I find myself loving BEING in New England when I visit.  If I won lotto I would rent a house in Maine and that, to me, is telling (a feeling of home?).  But I would also rent a house in Tuscany, so we can throw that solution out the window too.

So, I still don’t have a “home town.”

I found myself wondering today if a road that was being widened in my FL town, before I moved away four years ago this month, was, indeed finished and if my riding stable was gone, a casualty of progress. And I thought maybe Google Earth would tell me.

Why do I secretly believe that when I leave a place it stays frozen in time, perhaps waiting for my return before it continues?  It’s similar to the feeling I had when my dad passed away:  somehow the world kept moving, went on without little old me, and people went on with their own lives oblivious to my loss and my partial wish that things would freeze/stop long enough for me to either catch my breath, or jump on that treadmill of time again. A feeling of “how dare you go on without me” hit me in the face and my insignificance with it.

And thus, it was a shock to virtually pay a visit to my old town in Florida today.  The road is widened. No evidence of the destruction I saw in 2010.  Happily the barn is still there. I perused the town at street view and found myself… homesick?  Place.. sick?  What is that?

When I lived in Florida I didn’t care for the weather (thunderstorms and hurricanes and tornadoes and hail and HUMIDITY), the schools (my younger son had a teacher that was laughably incompetent), I went through a bad divorce, and yet I had friends, a good job, easy drives,  a big house and..was that home?

What exactly is this? I am missing something… but what? I am guessing the house (the one I am in now is half the size) and the friends. The familiarity of it all:  I mean I did live there for 9 years.

I remember closing the shutters that were on the inside of the sliding doors in my house in Florida for the last time and thinking right then, “you need to remember how this sounds”.  In that moment I really registers all my senses: the hardwood floors under my feet, the high ceilings above me and the echo of my voice in the house, the view of the pool, and the amazing big kitchen.  I did a good job of imprinting this place on myself because I can easily recall it now. I lived in that house with my kids for two and a half years.  I miss that house tremendously because it’s where many emotional things happened, some good, some really awful.

But as I listen now, to the sounds of this house, and try to again, be in the moment I am struck by a few things:  It’s possible to miss a place that didn’t feel like home at all when I lived there, and I wonder what comes next in my life?  I look up at my sleeping cats and out at the bright California sun and I am thankful for it all.

I miss certain things about every place I have lived. That’s how I carry those places and people with me.  And that’s okay. Even if sometimes it makes me want to weep with an odd aching sadness.