Monday, December 31, 2012

Obligatory Post 2012

Yup, end-of-year post--the obligatory blog post that talks about the review of the last year & what the hopes (resolutions) are for the New Year.  The events of 2012 for me & my family (both blood & blended) have been quite tumultuous to say the least.  From getting a house ready to sell, to selling, to moving in together--2012 was a very big year for all of us.  Adjustments all around--we are still figuring this thing out.  But over all it has been a good decision & as my son said, he is used to his "step" sisters being at the house & that when they aren't, it feels weird.  Good--that is what we're working towards.  

winter at the beach
A good example is what all of us did a few days ago (yikes, this vaycay has flown!).  We went to the beach for a few days.  Not so big a deal when written like this but we had 11 people at the beach!  BFF(J) & family, us (blended, less one skid), & two friends of skids.  I think it was a good time for everyone & we managed to fit all 11 of us around the table for a "family" meal.  And we all experienced the beach in the winter--some of us a little more than others--BFF(J)'s hubby decided that he had to wade up to his knees in the water---brrrr!  Like I said--this is an example when things work in the new family--there are many other examples when things don't quite, but hopefully there will be less & less of that into 2013....

So 2013....

My hope for us is that we continue to grow together as a family & that the bumps along the way get less & less bumpy....

A Happy & Healthy New Year to ALL!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Watching From the Sidelines

It's actually come to this--who'd a thought it?  I'm sidelined watching my recently separated friend, K-Lily play the singles game!  Ah, grasshopper, we've come full circle!  How zen, how funny!  She sent me a text today asking for sex advice.... I'm flattered that she is seeking me out--I'm such a wanton hussy!  Or I guess that my earlier life as the mistress of 50 first dates assumes that I'd had a lot of sex....idk, but here I am the zen master with my own little grasshopper.  Just makes me giggle a bit.  And as she is regaling me about her new exploits with a guy she met online, I just have to sigh a little wistfully because I remember those times when my married friends sat transfixed by my very own exploits with the likes of the Bull...remember him? Her remark to me was the following, "Married sex wasn't as much fun!"  OK, there is something to said for that as I did have a lot of fun playing Samantha from SATC for a while but after having been on both sides of the fence I would disagree with her.  The excitement is certainly an aspect---but it does get tiresome. Yeah, case for the grass is always greener, etc., etc.  But given the choice, I like things just the way they are. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Community Comes Together

“It was a fine cry - loud and long - but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”
― Toni Morrison, Sula


 After the horror at Sandy Hook, it hard to even imagine how people up there can even come to terms with what happened at this elementary school.  And I am compelled to write about it with a little frisson of hope.  It hits very close to home for me, as I work in a small, community elementary school in Baltimore City that is often an open & welcoming place for everyone.  We grieve for these children & staff at the school & think about the "what ifs" at our own little school.  The thought of something like that happening makes my heart leap into my throat & my eyes fill.  It shakes me to the core.  

But the hope comes from what my little school did on Saturday for the kids & parents in our community.  Saturday was our Winterfest.  I thought as I got ready to go over to the school that there is some trepidation in opening the doors wide to allow folks in after the tragedy up north--fleeting but the worry was there. 

Instead, my "blended" family all jumped in to participate.  We all manned craft booths & games--Xing Fu was in charge of the bean bag toss & my son was setting up the snowman bowling pins.  My stepdaughters helped with crafts.  It was a wonderful & joyous sight to see--the community out & enjoying being at our school and even Santa made an appearance. I think we all had an amazing time--it felt good to give back & even though we grieve alongside the folk in Connecticut, we also realize that we must push on & demonstrate that overall people are kind & generous.  Thank you to everyone who sent toys to my school so that the kids could all take home a new toy & to those who came & made our little slice of Baltimore City Public Schools a joyous & festive place to be. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


All the stepmom articles, books, etc., love to point out how difficult the holidays are for blended families & I guess I'll get my real taste of that this year pretty soon.  Right now, I was thinking about how a smooshed family such as ours looks at the various celebrations out there.  My son & I are Jewish & light a Menorah, which we are currently doing in or window that looks out on all of the Xmas lights that I discussed in the last blog post.  But Xing Fu's kids are Christian so do we put up a tree, hang tinsel around the house & sing Christmas carols?  My ex is Christian & we never had a tree, deciding that his parents' house was enough tree & Xmas for the kid. I always bought a wreath--not one that was decidedly Xmassy, but one that sorta said, "Happy Holidays."  We did the latkes & Hanukkah at our house.  So at least he had both traditions.  Now, in our new family dynamic, we discussed the tree possibility & decided that since his kids weren't going to be around for Christmas, who would appreciate it anyway?  And, we don't have decorations for it either. I still hang the wreath, though.  I like how it feels celebratory. So, the decision was no tree & no decorations.  But, conundrum!  When do we pass out the presents?  And are they Christmas presents, Hanukkah presents, or some other variant like Kwanzaa? Hence, Christmakwanzakkah.

What will be our celebration?  There's Yule.  Which I just learned about at a Paula Poundstone show last Saturday.  Couldn't have planted a better person in the audience than this dude! He celebrates Yule.  Not the yule log but the celebration created by the Germanic peoples & apparently celebrated by neopagans.  It falls on the 21st (the end of days if you're a Mayan) & runs through January 1st. Of course Yule was integrated into Christianity so there are remnants of course--the yule log, e.g.  Yule is really a celebration of the solstice so that could be a fun time to have our family celebration....

Then there's "Festivus...for the rest of us." Created by the Seinfeld folk--Festivus is generally celebrated on December 23rd. There's the aluminum pole as an direct opposite to holiday commercialism, the airing of grievances, the Festivus Dinner, & the feats of strength. So here are a few other celebratory options.  Now we just have to choose a day to exchange our gifts & have a feast.... 

If I see one more potato latke I'm gonna brechen...made 60 latkes for my son's Christian school so they could experience a little Jewish culture.  Not a bad thing--there are about 10 of us making them so all of the boys can try.  Oy, the smell in my house!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Lights or Chanukah House, You Decide

Chanukah House on Greenspring Ave
I'll start this post with the disclaimer that I'm not a "Bah! Humbug!" kinda gal.  OK, now that I've said this, I want to have a discussion about Baltimore.  Or rather, suburban Baltimore County.  For many years, 11 to be precise, I lived near Pikesville--a decidedly non-Christian area of town for those in the know. It is often referred to as the shtetl Pikesville if that helps you see what I mean--lots of schuls & Saturday walking Jews. In fact there's a very real enclosure that surrounds a great deal of Pikesville if you know where to look.  There is actually, a line, or cable that outlines the area connected via telephone & electrical poles that is part of the "enclosure" or eruv in a Jewish community.  See this link for more information on eruvim And this post is all about dividing lines as you will see.....In my old neighborhood it was a rarity to see Christmas lights.  Yeah, there were a few scattered hither & yon, & it was fun to see the neighbor up the street really do it up big with all of the blown-up Xmas carousels, Frosties, & Santas all over his front lawn & very out of place, but generally, it was pretty quiet in that neck of over the river & through the woods.  Except Hanukkah House--now that place is spectacular!! On Greenspring Ave, close to Smith, there is a sight to see--the Jews' answer to extreme Christmas lights display.  But, other than that, well, not much except the Hanukkah car that is on Northwest Citizens' Patrol with the menorah lit on top.  Either way, Christmas is just not that big in my old stomping grounds.   Which brings me to my big move almost 7 months ago.  Yikes!  It's been that long already!  Anyway, there is an invisible line right about at I-83 that seems to divide my old neighborhood with my new one--Towson/Lutherville-Timonium. One side is Jewish & the other is Christian.  OK, that is a GROSS overstatement but when you've moved from one side to the other as I have recently, well it is kinda glaringly obvious.  And I do mean glaringly--those Christmas lights all over my new neighborhood burn!  My eyes!  They are burning the Jew outta me!!!!  I have counted the lit reindeer along Bellona Ave & Thorton Rd & I gotta say, they are multiplying like electricity through a cable---little Christmas rats!  ACK!  Now if it would just snow then the
Xmas Reindeer in Timonium
lights would be very nice.  The reflection on the snow, the time of year---you get my snow drift...
But I live on the Christian side now--I'm a (deer) Jew caught in the Xmas lights....but I insist, I'm no Bah! Humbug! I swear! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Police Action

As is often the case, Xing Fu & I went to Annapolis last night. To see music--specifically, Graham Parker & the Rumour.  Good show--been a while since I listened to his stuff--like mid-80's.  We had a very nice evening & even Duke pulled out a win from Ohio State.  But that is only a very small fraction of this story....

When Xing Fu & I have stuff to do mid-week in the evening, I often take light rail to to meet him.  Saves me gas & the headache of the Baltimore Beltway & it is nice to sit & read my Nook uninterrupted instead of cursing out a bunch of stoopid drivers.  So I'm sitting there reading a good book, minding my own business, other than to hand the MTA transit police my ticket to show that yes, I did indeed purchase a light rail ticket.  All of a sudden I get a text from my son who is at home for the evening hopefully cooking himself dinner & doing his homework.  He is 15 & has been home by himself many, many times before.  The text reads, "Mom, I think we were just robbed."  OK, my heart just started beating out of my chest & I'm sure that my eyes were also bulging out of my head because what the flip can I do to help him stuck on the light rail at Lexington Mkt in the middle of downtown Baltimore??? I call him immediately & he proceeds to explain to me, rather calmly I might add, that he was downstairs in the house when he heard the front door crash open & a lot of running & someone (s)? clanging (his word) around upstairs making a lot of noise & then hearing them loudly run out, slamming the door behind them. He also explained that he yelled "HELLO!" numerous times & heard no response.  I immediately tell him to stay put downstairs because even though he thinks that they left, you never know.  I also told him to call the police & tell them to call him when they are outside the front door.  I then call Xing Fu to tell him what happened & thankfully he picks up right away. Xing Fu seemed far less concerned & asked me what could the police do if we were broken into?  I said, at least they could make sure that my kid was ok & that there wasn't anybody in the house & take a report of anything missing.  At this point I'm almost to my destination & say that I need to call back my kid & make sure he's ok.  He says that he's a little in shock & kinda upset but dealing.  I tell him to hang tight until the police arrive & then my call-waiting beeps.  All of this is happening on the light rail in front of about 20 other folk who I'm sure are enjoying the schadenfreude drama being played out in front of their eyes--poor mother with a house that was just robbed & a teenage son stuck in his room until the police arrive, which, since it's just a home invasion & they do not suspect that the perpetrators are still inside, so it is not considered a top of the list emergency & therefore they are not in any real hurry to get to our residence. And because my kid sounds like an adult man on the phone, the police don't know that he's still a kid & wouldn't be in any hurry anyway....

When I pick up the call, it is Xing Fu.  He tells me that he thinks it was his daughter who came in because she needed her work uniform.  She had apparently texted him earlier in the afternoon that she was dropping by.  Um, OK, that's fine, but HOW THE FREAK IS MY SON SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS???? Especially if he called upstairs & no one answered & that Xing Fu's daughter apparently made a hell of a lot of noise when she did come in.  I might be a bit alarmed myself....lesson learned in blended family how-to manual:

If someone is going to drop by unexpectedly or unplanned, and it is certainly fine to do so, please make sure that the folks who might be in the house already know that they are coming. We can then avoid calling the police to our door & otherwise setting the neighbors' tongues wagging....

Monday, November 26, 2012


not sure why this boat is keel-less
It was busy of course.  The holiday that is.  Sis in from Chi-town with her family & only a little time to see her--just her.  I wish sometimes that she'd secretly fly in & we'd have a few days together but that is just never the case. Holidays can be difficult that way but I'm thankful for the little time that we did actually have.  But the theme to this blog post is leftovers--and true to the word, I felt that our time together was kinda the leftovers--that's why I wish she'd sneak into Baltimore to visit--like earlier in the summer when we spent an ENTIRE day together in Hampden.  We had soooo much fun--just she & I.  

True to our seemingly new tradition (3 years old), Xing Fu & I went geocaching on Thanksgiving day.  This year it was just splendid out & we went to Cromwell Valley Park & hiked up into the forest to find caches.  This time we found this guy guarding the hidden treasure:
 Xing Fu almost stepped on him as we dug out the hidden cache.  I'd never been to this park & I look forward to returning--there are a ton of geocaches in there & we only had time for three & it didn't help that my cell phone died just as we were trying to use the compass to locate the fourth. My only complaint with geocaching is that sometimes when there are lists of cool stuff inside, there's really just junky leftovers (heh, that theme) & nothing cool to trade for.  I wish folks would put good stuff inside--that's the whole point--to find treasure. But regardless, it was great getting out & traipsing around in the woods for a few hours with my best friend.

The last leftover, in keeping with the theme, was The Leftover Bowl.  Take a gander at the picture at the top of the post--that was us a few times during Saturday's race for the leftover CBYRA (Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association) prizes that were unclaimed at the end of the season--hence, the leftovers....heh! Crazy, windy, cold, race but exhilarating on many levels.  We were reefed in on main & with our number three jib & still we were way over-powered at some points during the race--kinda scary, cool when you look straight down into the water while hanging on for dear life as about a half a foot to a foot of the leeward side of the boat is gunwales in. And at one point we avoided a near collision as another boat tacked right on top of us--as I looked at that boat, which was seriously knocked down, I saw the crew beginning a scary slide toward the water & our rigging near missing theirs as their mast, etc., was almost parallel with the water.  Like I said, my heart was in my mouth for a few minutes at that point.  But we managed to keep our wits about us & finished the race with a few gray hairs more than we wanted, but enjoyed the ride nonetheless.  Of course the chili party after the race at the new EYC clubhouse certainly helped.  Yum!  It was great getting together with some good friends that I've enjoyed racing with for what could be my last race of the year.  But I could be speaking too soon as last year I raced on a J/80 in December so who knows!  As for this one being the last--what a way to finish the season--with a bang! Or almost bang....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Switching Shoes

Here I sit with about 5 different story lines for this post revving through my head.  It's nice to have ideas but I'm just not sure which one to go with.  I guess I can start with the cool stuff--I hadn't posted about this before but I was Top 5 in both of my categories for the Mobbies.  How cool is that?  Unless all two of my readers voted for me everyday & that's what I'm seeing.  Or, I actually have a little readership & that there are people out there who like what I have to say--or laugh uproariously at my stoopidity....regardless, thanks to everyone who did vote for this blog to catapult me from anonymity right up to Number 4 in Lifestyle out of 34 & 5th out of 36 in the Personal.  Awesome!! 

OK, so as usual, what started off as a step in the right direction invariably got flushed down the "terlit" by the end of the weekend.  Eventually, we need to figure this thing out--that it's tough to be on eggshells all weekend; afraid of making a squeak, let alone allowing some steam to be seen coming out my ears.  And that communication just breaks down because I get strident & he gets passive-aggressive & I end up looking like a dope; bad person in front of his youngest.  I so do not want her to have that kind of information to store away & share with sisters & BM so as to provide them with the appropriate schadenfreude.  It is embarrassing & by the time I realize that I've been played the ultimate in passive-aggressive non-communication, I'm in the thick of it.  All of this because I needed affirmation that I'm important to him even when his darlings are inhabiting our house for the weekend.  Don't ask why, please just appreciate that it is needed.  And so, I've done a little research & this is what I came up with:

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. By understanding their background (and baggage)you develop a sense of why they feel the way they feel. This understanding opens up the opportunity to validate your partner’s feelings by saying, “I understand why you feel that way. I understand why that would hurt or upset you, and I apologize.” Sometimes, oftentimes, our partners just want to be heard and/or understood. I think this is one of guys’ most common communication mistakes. Women want acknowledgement, guys want to prove their point – which makes men oblivious to the obvious – ladies want that emotional validation. (Marcus Osborne-Your Tango)

Putting yourself in the other's shoes is very difficult but perhaps eventually we will be able to do it.  All I can say is that in this instance I needed some affirmation & I didn't get it.  It happens a lot when the skids are around & it makes me less likely to be an understanding & more resilient GF--perhaps Xing Fu may want to put himself in my shoes in this particular circumstance & just do it. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

It All Started With The Who

I am a Who fan.  I have been for, like, ever.  On Tuesday one of the coolest things happened, besides having awesome seats to see The Who, was that I shared the experience with my boy, who I also turned into a huge Who fan & Xing Fu, who being another huge Who fan, was how we started it all.  But first things first.  I must give credit to my 6th grade best friend's uncle who turned me on to the Who when I was an impressionable lass of 12.  Way back in '79.....

Now, I also had a crush on him--he was only 15 himself (don't ask about the uncle thingy...but it's true, he was my 12 year old best friend's uncle).  And I definitely worshiped the ground he walked on, puka beads & all (it was the 70s, yeesh!).  He had this cool attic "tree house" that he'd rigged for stereo sound & it was there, in the throes of pre-teen lust, that I fell for the Who (and the uncle too). He played me Pinball Wizard in its entirety, & that was it...done.  I was a convert & from there, well, My Generation, I Can't Explain, Quadrophenia.....followed until I had amassed every single Who album known to man & some bootlegs too.  The uncle was soon out of the picture but my love for the band that he also loved remains.  To this day, I still think that The Who is my favorite band in the world, even if Pete & Roger are close to my mom's age & can't quite windmill as well, twirl the microphone 10 feet in the air, & don't destroy guitars what, their voices are surprisingly still pretty damn good. 

Cut to present time, or about 4 years ago.  I had just started sailing again & was bringing my son with me for Wednesday races on the West River.  If you go back in the blog archives there's a lot about getting back into racing down there. Anyway, after racing, the crew would have dinner together & one evening I sat near one of the guys who appeared to be around my age--turns out that it was Xing Fu but at the time, he was just another dude that I sailed with.  We got to talking & found out that we were around the same age & had kids & after a bit of that kind of exchange we also found out that we both loved The Who. We talked about which albums we liked & continued to have a great convo about music.  And from that point on, we would sit at the table together after racing & talk about music.  He became my "Music Buddy" & then, we are almost 3 years later going to see the band that started it all before we were an us.  WOO WHO!

Monday, November 12, 2012


As most of my two readers knows, I rarely write much about my work on this blog--this is a forum mostly about my personal trials & tribulations.  But I wanted to take the time to talk a little about where I work & the children I work for.  I work in a Baltimore City elementary school.  It is a small school & we often fly way under the radar (we actually like it that way) & rarely get noticed. Like most of the schools in the city, we are entirely a Title One school--many children come from poorer households & we do what we can to supplement the community.  For example, we have a food bank, & we have many organizations who volunteer their time to help our students in the classroom & outside in the community.  

Every year our school hosts a Winterfest for the students & their families & this year is no exception except that one of our major donors is unable to help in the manner that they used to.  In the past they donated toys, books, games, & craft kits so that every child would go home with a present.  In fact, they donated Santa Claus too.  But this year, with the economy the way it is, the organization is just unable to do as much.  A few of us on staff have posted on facebook the following:

"Hoping some of you may be able to help. I work in an amazing school in Baltimore City. Every year we have a Winterfest where kids have fun, food and games. Every child is given a gift to ensure they get at least one gift for the holidays. However, this year the agency that sponsors us is under financial constraints. If anyone is able to buy a gift or gifts please message me. Thank you." 

Within minutes I received numerous offers to help.  I am grateful that many of my friends & family are able to help the students in my school even when some of these folks are facing the same financial constraints.  Usually, I am rather disenfranchised with the whole holiday thingy which appears to begin these days the day after Halloween with ads already for Black Friday.  The consumerism just makes me quite ill.  This year, seeing the response that I have so far received, I am taken with most folks' generosity & willingness to step right up to the plate. Thank you to all of you who are willing to help my school's children receive a gift for the holidays.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Space Between

Take my hand
'cause we're walking out of here
Right out of here
Is all we need dear
The space between
What's wrong and right

Is where you'll find me hiding waiting for you

The space between your heart and mind
Is the space we'll fill with time
The space between
The tears we cry is the laughter keeps us coming back for more

--Dave Matthews The Space Between

I've read a lot of interpretations of this song but I always come back to the evening that Xing Fu & I were alone in the house, sitting on the couch listening to this song after we'd had a bit of a stubborn, line-in-the-sand struggle. And both of us are very stubborn people.  The lines that Xing Fu said to me were the most meaningful: "The space between your heart & mind is the space we'll fill with time."  Time--we talk about it a lot--how to get our families to a place where we are comfortable & have love for one another.  Anyone who tells you that they loved their stepfamily from the start is delusional at best.  And also, like a new marriage, we need time to fill our relationship with the laughter as we negotiate our differences.  Even if we have our stubborn differences, and the children will witness them, we are modeling how to resolve them as a couple.  We both have failed that before & the last thing we want to do is fail again.  We want our children to see that two adults can have a positive and lasting relationship--filling the space between with joy, love, & even tears & pain.  That's life. I came across this article on yahoo yesterday that has a lot of good pointers towards building a lasting marriage:

I showed it to Xing Fu & he liked them all but especially the part at the end regarding the little things: "What really matters is all the small stuff that adds up, such as being there for each other when one needs to vent, or noticing when he needs a hug, or making him his favorite meal just because. 'It's also giving up on the idea that you have to feel in love all the time. Marriage is about trust and commitment and knowing each other,' says Wilk. 'That's what love is.'" Time will get us there.

***Now, everyone take the time to exercise your right as a US citizen & go vote!  And if you are in Maryland (and I usually don't endorse any political viewpoint but I feel VERY strongly about this one) Vote for Question 6--let love marry!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rookie Mistake

“Stepfamilies, too, fall victim TO THEIR OWN VERSION OF PARTISAN POLITICS. By virtue of coming into a family once formed and since dissolved, a stepmother, in many ways, has the odds stacked against her.”  ~STACY SPENCER THOMPSON  Stepmom Magazine

Ok, so it seems that I’ve made a mistake.  Here’s the story:  My BFF(J) plays guitar with a few folks & is performing at a Woodhall Winery  tonight.  On Tuesday she asked if Xing Fu & I wanted to go see her performance at the winery.  I told her that I’d find out what was going on this weekend & get back to her—I knew that Xing Fu’s daughters would be there this weekend but one would be away & the other has a very active social life so I was pretty sure she’d be out with her friends too & we wouldn’t see her for a good portion of the weekend as usual.  I came home on Tuesday after picking my kid up with the skids already there & said to Xing Fu that BFF(J) wanted us to come see her play Friday night.  Somehow, that translated to one step daughter as, “Get lost, we don’t want you around on Friday!”  Not sure how that happened exactly because that certainly wasn’t my message or intent.  It was more like, “I know that usually everyone is doing something Friday night—out with friends, etc., so why don’t we go support my BFF(J) at a cool winery?”  So my assumption was incorrect, but usually it is true—most of the offspring have something planned & often Xing Fu & I are alone on Friday evenings. So now I feel like an evil stepmother & I guess they think that I don’t want them around—not true.  I suppose from now on I need to not make innocent announcements out loud in front of the skids in case they get offended & skew my intent.  If this were a normal family dynamic, it would never have mattered.  When will I learn?  It wasn’t intentional but I guess I’m punished now.  When you look outside in the backyard—that’s me in the doghouse.  Bad stepmother!  Bad!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

You Don't Look a Day Over 4

Boyfriend, Please! We've Been Together 4 Years!
How is it possible that I missed my "Blogoversary"? Could it have something to do with hurricane SANDY??? That's it--memorable!   Eh, mebbe except that thus far, fingers crossed, eyes crossed, toes crossed, we still have power here in our little space in Towson.  Instead, I was being domestic since I was off of work--baking bread; pumpkin beer bread (used Guiness)  & banana bread.  Wow! What a change from 4 years ago!  My life has done a complete 180 from the beginning of this blog which was inspired by a bad break-up, to living in a new house that I bought with my boyfriend! In fact, I haven't visited Ok Cupid, Match, eHarmony, J-date (NOT for sailors who want to date other J-boat sailors) etc., since the end of 2009.  Ok, I think I may have gone to OK Cupid to show Xing Fu since he had no need to try the online route & was online-dating curious. But since then, nuffin'. And I like not playing with the on-line stuff....generally, there is no longing to meet ex-preachers with 11 kids for a Telesma Solstice concert anymore.  Although, I wouldn't trade some of the whacked-out experiences I've had--just makes me appreciate my new domestic, blended family & the new adventures in stepmom-land and since I'm still not married....Boyfriend, Please! still works.  But if I continue to get, "So, (pregnant pause) when are you & Xing Fu going to get married?", I may have to go get business cards made that say:

             "No, we aren't getting married.
                 No, not anytime soon.
                 Yes, we like it this way.
                 Yes, many couples who don't marry do
                 Better Together."

Ah, co-habitating bliss! 

And last but not least, it is time for you to go vote for my blog.  You can do this everyday from yesterday to November 8th.  Here's the link:

That wonderful rag, The Baltimore Sun is sponsoring the Mobbies: Maryland's Outstanding Blogs. So go vote for me in the Lifestyle & Personal blog categories--no money but bragging rights! What a great blogoversary present--it's a gift that keeps giving!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baltimore Racing & Mobbies

Been a busy few weeks but I've managed to escape to Annapolis most weekends to sail.  The season in winding down & it is depressing--I have to accept that summer is over!  But, one more race this weekend & believe it or not, it's up in Baltimore!  I'm very excited by this because I NEVER get to race in Baltimore. See the link:

And even better both Xing Fu & my kid will be sailing with me!  The best of all worlds! What an awesome way to end my racing season.  Actually, there is one more race that I'll be in--it is the Left-over Bowl the Saturday after Thanksgiving--all of the left-over & unclaimed prizes from the summer are up for grabs depending upon how you finish the race--fun! But I am really looking forward to the regatta this Saturday & will enjoy racing in waters that I grew up on--I will be channeling my grandfather & hope he's looking down from the great ocean in the sky as I race towards the Key Bridge....

On to the fun--Sunday was a Spooky Wine tasting party at my friend C's house in Annapolis--it was great to see a lot of our sailing friends & the wines were very good--of course after a while they all kinda blended together--even I had to admit by that point that the Merlots even tasted good!  Me? Merlot? Bleh!!
But here is a picture of some of what we had:

 And today I found out that this blog was nominated for a "Mobbie"; the Baltimore Sun's contest for Maryland's outstanding blogs.  How cool is that?  So everyone vote for this blog starting October 29th.  All two of my readers!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Say Anything

Peter Gabriel @ the Patriot Center 10-14-2012
Love I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

All my instincts, they return

And the grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

In your eyes

The light the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
The heat I see in your eyes

Love, I don't like to see so much pain

So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

--Peter Gabriel In Your Eyes

Yeah, this song brings back huge memories from that movie right in the middle of my college years when good ole' Lloyd Dobler serenades his love Diane Court with this song with a huge boombox over his head:
 You gotta love that movie if you are of a certain age--and the quest to find that kind of love was a driving force behind many of us after we saw that movie--oh, how naive!  And of course real life comes crashing down, with marriage, kids, work, school, & for many of us DIVORCE when we realized that the men we married were no Lloyd Doblers.  But it's nice to think about how we were back then & perhaps some of us were lucky--we did meet the Lloyds of our dreams. 
 And now, 20 some-odd years later, when I've had a bit of life under my belt, it's interesting to look at the lyrics & realize how little they had to do with my life back then--love was so different when we were younger & to me the lyrics aside from the refrain, have nothing to do with Lloyd's love for Diane.  OK all you haters!!  Time to throw some daggers at me.  My interpretation is for mature audiences only!  This song is about a much more mature love.  It's the kind of love that you have after the kids, work, & marriage.  And, because it is such a good song, it could have just as much meaning to the Romeo & Juliet set as well, but I don't think so.  

"And you may ask yourself, 'Where does this highway lead to?'" (heh, Talking Heads--mixed metaphor)  well, I'll tell ya'.
Xing Fu & I saw Peter Gabriel in concert last night at the Patriot Center in Virgina for his So tour (25 years later). It was a great concert & it was great hearing the songs that helped define my college years.   Of course he played this song but when I really listened to the lyrics, I was moved in a way that I hadn't been before. Xing Fu & I often remark how hard we work at this relationship--more than we have for any other one we've been in--this song sorta tells that story & how we can get back to the Lloyd Dobler love if we want to.  Particularly the lines:

Love I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

Because sometimes we do get lost--and if we don't find the center together again, & work hard to reclaim our love, that is when it fails--letting days pass without communicating that things aren't as they should be.  And the second two lines could be interpreted as just working hard at a job (I don't think so) or working so hard on the relationship--which is how I look at it.  And perhaps looking to the future together & how a relationship is supposed to make the individuals in the relationship better people because of the other. Just my take on it--either way, I sent them to Xing Fu this morning & he got it--as I knew he would.  With the way things have been since we bought the house together, this song was a very good thing to hear last night.  Thanks Peter Gabriel!

Post script:
I had to put my almost 16 year old dog to sleep on Friday, one of the hardest decisions I've ever made.  Buddy was a calm, sweet dog who always had his paw to give.  He is & will be missed.  R.I.P. Buddy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Second Generation Stepmom

I have been writing a lot recently about being a new stepmom & I’ve mentioned in the past, that I too, had a stepmom or two, actually.  I’d like to think that I have an idea about what it’s like to be a step-daughter & now I have understanding of being the step-parent as well.  But, it is so funny that being a step-anything never seems to go away—even after 20 + years!  Here’s a story about being an adult step-daughter & how relationships don’t seem to change.  
Back then:
So my dad remarried a woman only 9 years older than me when I was 12.  I’ll call her the Evil Queen or EQ (she was/is very beautiful, but oh, so COLD-hearted—like the queen in Snow White) & I’m not trying to perpetuate the myth of the wicked stepmom either—she just fit the caricature so well. She was not a very good stepmom (I really hope I’m better at it)—I’ve said that before & the trend continues—even after my dad is long gone from this earth—more on that in a bit. She was my first step-mom. My dad & she had a son (19 years my junior)--& then they got divorced.  I gotta say that after attempting to build a relationship with her & having a brother too, it makes it really hard when things go south on a second marriage.  But, then my dad married a third woman & this time, she & I seemed to have a very positive step-mom/daughter relationship.  I was an adult by then with a child of my own so maybe that had something to do with it, idk.  Let’s call her Miss S.  Then my dad died & left no will.  This is where things get icky.  My dad & Miss S were living together but EQ had a key for her then teenaged son.  She went in & took a bunch of stuff from the house—she claimed that it was for my brother’s future since he should have all of our father’s things.   OK, what are my sister & I, no longer our father’s children since the birth of the brother??  Don’t we have claim to our father’s things as well so that we have things to remember him by?  Apparently not, according to EQ.  But, Miss S called me & told me that I should come to my dad’s place immediately & take the things that I wanted before EQ came back & cleaned it all out.  Mind you, my dad lived 80 miles away & I had to take off work & hi-tail it up there.  Miss S was an angel though, because I was able to get some things that were big reminders of my life growing up with my dad, namely some furniture that actually belonged to my mom first.  What I didn’t get was an old Seth Thomas time-clock that belonged to my grandfather—my mom’s dad.  Because when EQ caught wind that I was up there gathering things, she stormed into the house & screamed at me to stop immediately—I was young, this being almost 15 years ago, & was very cowed by her threats.  

Cut to today:
My Mom will be 70 next month & she mentioned to my sister & me that the one thing that she really wanted was her dad’s factory clock back from EQ (who claims she’s saving it for our brother).  Why my brother wants an old clock is beyond me & it really doesn’t belong to either of them anyway.  So my sister called EQ to see if it were possible to have/buy the clock.  She offered a lot more than the thing is worth too.  But the response, even after almost 15 years was, “No. Your brother needs to have something to remember his father by.”  Um, my brother is an adult now!  If he wanted the DAMN clock, he would have it!!  She wants the clock—which is not hers! And he (she) has plenty of stuff (which isn’t his/hers) to remember our father by!!  So as stepmothers go—even after so many years, she still is mean & petty.   I just don’t get it—why is it so important?  We are linked forever by my father, who is long in the ground.  My mom is going to be 70 for god’s sake!  Let her have something of her beloved father’s.  He was very loved by all of us too—and deeply missed.  I guess that I expect that people will figure out that it is better to forge better bonds with one another than to continue old patterns of behavior & interaction—that is my plan for my step-daughters—continue to work hard to form a better bond with them.  Mebbe my expectations are too high.  I hope not.  Come on EQ & bro—do the right thing!  Karma’s a bitch afterall!