Friday, November 25, 2011


My grandmother passed away this evening. We've been preparing for this for quite some time. We even knew it would happen soon. But nothing prepares. Nothing makes the loss feel any easier.

I'm home alone tonight. I just got the news and I haven't anyone to talk to at the moment. I don't know what else to do with my time now but sit here and write about her.

She was a remarkable woman who lived. I mean, we all live...but she LIVED. She made music, and artwork, cookies, and babies and houses. She laughed, joked, danced and had quite a knack for using slang. She had three husbands. Yes, that's right, three.

Most importantly though, she taught me about the steadfast love of family.

Growing up around the corner from my grandparents was nothing short of heaven. My grandmother would walk me to Jean's for some "nourishment" (ice cream). We would play records, go to the mall to sample perfume or go to Vitalli's for dinner only because they had a child-sized sink in the ladies room. Later, during my tumultuous teen years, hers was the door I ran to when I had an argument with my Dad. She taught me about leadership. She ran the auxiliary of the Disabled American Veterans like a well-oiled ship.

Before I was born and two husbands in, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. They operated on her and removed it, but it left her in a vegetative state. They weren't sure she would ever fully recover. But through stubbornness, my grandfather's perseverance and a little bit of crocheting, she not only recovered but stood in line to catch the bouquet at my wedding.

Oh, how I loved my grandmom. She was always happiness, light and sweet smells. Sitting there, watching her fingers deftly create some new piece of artwork could occupy me for hours. Sadly, I did not inherit her gift for knitting and crocheting. But I did inherit her baking skills. I thought of her yesterday as I added my own touch to some pumpkin pie. I still have her famous cookie recipe. It's written on note paper in her typical scrawl. I think that if my house were on fire, that would be one of the things I would save.

Every time I left her house, she would stand at the door with her arms crossed across her chest. I would get to the bottom of the steps, turn to her and do the same. It was the sign for "I Love You'.

My grandfather passed away 10 years ago. They had a perfect marriage. I guess "third time's a charm" really was the case. He made her laugh. They traveled and cooked and played. She would make him put on a Santa suit every christmas.

Right now I'm clinging to the comforting notion of heaven. I imagine her this way: tall, thin, young. Her blonde hair impeccably curled. Walking into that local dance right after WWII. Seeing that handsome, cigar clutching Purple Heart winner. He leads her onto the dance floor and holds her for the first time/again. She is happy. She is at peace. She is home.

I miss you already, Grandmom. I'll forever be your sugarplum.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Such A Pretty Fat

I really, really mean it this time.

I'm finally having weight loss surgery. The insurance said YES and the date is set. September 1st.
On, September 1st, I will willingly say goodbye to 85% of my stomach.


I'm fat. Really fat. I've only been reeeeeally fat for about 3 years now. But, believe me, I've always been fat. Hell, I was fat back in 1988 with a poodle perm mullet thing. (Thanks for that, Mom)

Being fat is a very public affair. There's no hiding my size. Everyone knows I'm fat. You can see my fat from a mile away. Literally. No amount of Spanx will ever shrink what I'm sporting. There's this plus-sized store called Torrid and I'M EVEN TOO FAT FOR THAT STORE. It's only been since I had the baby where my weight has really started to restrict me. Sure, I can get down on the floor. But...I can't get back up without some serious acrobatics.

Gosh, writing about this is humiliating. Being fat is a humiliating, public affair. People always think they know what life is like for the morbidly obese. They think it's laziness or a lack of will-power. It's almost never because of that. I know some lazy-ass skinny people who eat nothing but junk. It's strenuous stuff carrying the equivalent of two garbage bags filled with rocks!

I may seem immune to it now. I make jokes about my weight and have learned to speak about it frankly. But it is no less humiliating. Here are some of the ways my weight has embarrassed me over the years.

1. I broke a beach chair. Last week....alone with the baby at one of Nick's concerts. There were, like, 30 people sitting around me.

2. Going to a restaurant is always a challenge. Can I fit in the booth?

3. I once went into The Limited to get a giftcard for a friend. A salesperson blocked my path and asked "Can I help you?" I responded; "No, thanks, I'm ok." She said "Are you sure? We don't carry clothes in YOUR size here." She replied with a shudder.

4. A friend once said "Why don't I have a boyfriend? I mean, obviously it isn't about looks. After all...YOU got a boyfriend."

5. I once broke a PICNIC TABLE. (Now, I'm not entirely sure I can add this one. The table was broken already and I was just coming off the Atkins diet and only weighed 150.) But still, years of embarrassment told me it broke because I was fat.

6. I had a really serious car accident a few years ago. After the firefighters cut the door off I saw the paramedics with the stretcher. I thought for sure they wouldn't be able to hold me so I screamed and ranted until they let me try to walk. They didn't relent.....thank god. Again, Post-Atkins so I was relatively slim.

7. My obscenely hot OB whispering in my ear pre-c-section "Now, I don't want you to be embarrassed by this...but we may need to tape your belly up after we're done stitching." My self-deprecating response? "Oh, it's ok. I stopped being embarrassed by being fat ages ago."

8. Writing this post is humiliating.

9. A costumer told me I needed to get a corset so that everything could be "put in its rightful place" Whatever the hell that meant. This was done in a public email sent to the entire cast of the show.

10. I'm constantly underestimating the size of my ass. I'm always bumping into things.

11. Theaters of any kind are nerve-wracking. Will I fit in the seat? Will a stranger sit next to me? Will they feel the overflow of my sizable thighs?

12. My BFF's best man at her wedding; "I'm surprised to see you as a bridesmaid." Me; "What? Why?" "Well, I honestly didn't think they made bridesmaid dresses in such large sizes." (I had just met him.)

13. There are almost no pictures of me and my son. That's sad.

14. I know that I am described as "the fat girl" or "she's heavy" or "the big girl".

I think I'll stop there. Before I jump out a window or take too many advil.

I'm having weight-loss surgery in less than a week! I haven't eaten a morsel of solid food in three weeks. For anyone who thinks I am "taking the easy way out", I encourage you to contact me so that you may be schooled.

This post is dedicated to JKD who, in fact, did not break the dolphin. It was rusted already...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Dear John letter.

My Dearest MM,

We first met on November 26th 1997. I was home for my first holiday during my first semester away at college. I was 17 years old. I, timidly, reached out for you that first night. From that first touch, I knew you were trouble. I knew I was a goner. At first, it was sweet and easy. You introduced me to your other friends. What a spectacular "devil-may-care" group of people! Oh, I was in love! Addicted to that head rush! That tingle!

However, not long after those heady first days of new love, I began to have this nagging suspicion that you just weren't all beach days and camel rides. There was something bewilderingly sinister behind your smokey smile. My friends tried to warn me! "This is bad for you." "It's going to KILL you." "Stay away!"; they cried. So I did. I stayed away. Or at least that's what they thought. But, in reality, I was still seeing you. Stolen moments behind the pizza place when I worked at the neighborhood Hallmark store. An embrace during a "walk" around Pennypack park. It was scandalous! I fell deeper and deeper into your grasp.

I knew better, then. I've always known that being with you was not a positive life choice. But I was so tangled up with you that nothing could stop me. I even invited you too my wedding! There are pictures of me cavorting around with you on the dance floor! I've lied to my husband to be with you. My family, my friends, my students! I've behaved shamefully.

I did stop seeing you...for awhile. Do you remember? I had to leave. You see, I had found myself expecting a child. A son. And suddenly my love for him obliterated the love I had for you. Being with you wasn't good for him either. When I was with you I couldn't even breathe. You were literally breaking my heart. A heart that was now beating for two. So, I packed up and left. Did you miss me during that time? Did you feel sadness? Longing? I did.

That, the latest of my many breakup attempts, failed after 14 months. Over a year I managed to thrive without you. But, I ran into some of our mutual friends. They helped bring us together again and, just like in the beginning, I was hooked.

My darling. My companion. My relief. The time has come for me to leave for good. I'm sorry. I'd like to think that you'd miss me. It was 14 years together. I've grown from an unsure teenager to a determined woman. I've changed. You haven't. I have to start thinking of me. Take care of me. Oh, I'll never forget you. How could I? All those happy times. Seems like you were there for almost all of my happy moments. I know you think that I'll never get over you. I admit that it will be hard. Painful and full of anxiety. But believe me, I can do it. I know it's in me.

You are here with me. Right now. Right next to me, in fact. A storm is brewing and I know we must go inside soon. I am here with you now. In the morning...I'll be gone. Please don't try to find me.

My dearest. My love. My Marlboro menthol lights Man. Goodbye.


Your girl, Kathleen

Friday, June 17, 2011


It's Nick's first Father's Day.

I wish I could do something really spectacular for him. Give him anything and everything his little heart desires. He deserves so much.

I've been wanting to write about Nick's journey into fatherhood for a while now. I always knew he'd be a great dad. He's kind, sensitive and has an endless amount of energy and an unquenchable lust for life.

Last Valentine's Day, when I came out the bathroom to tell Nick I was pregnant he was standing unloading the dish washer. I said; "I'm pregnant." He said "Cool." and then proceeded to continue with his unloading. It was a strange reaction. But, Nick is a strange guy after all.

Not soon after that, he began to transform. He read books such as "My Boys Can Swim" and spent hours looking up all things pregnancy on the internet. He went to every appointment. He went to every class. He tested strollers in the Babies R' Us. Testing their handling and cornering in case he was ever in a high speed chase on foot....with a baby. He used to sing to me; "We're having a baby. A tropical baby" Before we knew Charlie was a boy I used to ask him if he wanted a boy or a girl. He always said "I don't care." Then, on the way to find out the sex, he said "You know, I think I want a boy." The joy and awe on his face when the ultrasound technician said "I think it's a very proud little boy" were incredible.

Then came the preparations. Nick sprang into action. Getting only the safest (read: most expensive) paint and spending the days putting together swings and bouncy seats.

When all the clothes were folded, and the paint was dry, we waited. Then Charlie came and they placed him into Nick's arms and he has never let him go.

I'm not afraid to admit that he took to fatherhood much faster and much more smoothly than I took to motherhood. For him, the bond was instantaneous. I knew our son was safe in his arms. That he would move heaven and earth to protect us both.

I didn't change a single diaper until Charlie was two weeks old.

They quickly became best friends. Nick researched all the ways to calm a newborn and could stop Charlie's frantic little cries in mere seconds. If swaddling newborns were an Olympic sport, he would have taken the gold.

He has patience that knows no bounds. He remains calm always. In those hazy, exhausting, confusing early days he got up with us every night. Brought me cold water and animal crackers during our countless 3 a.m. nursing sessions.

Now we've settled into a nice little routine. He's taken over a lot of the feeding since I no longer nurse. He plays many games of airplane with sweet potatoes and butternut squash puree. Bath time is "No Girls Allowed." He's still changing most of the diapers.

Charlie is 8 months old now. He thinks that his father is the funniest, most fascinating person that ever lived. Sometimes just the mere sight of him sends him into fits of tinkling baby giggles. He doesn't laugh like that for me. That's ok though. I'm happy they have something that special. It's like their own little boy's club.

Nick, each day you astonish me. Your love for me is unending and you make such efforts so that I know it. I am so grateful and lucky that Charlie and I have you. He's such a lucky boy. It makes me happy and calm to know that you will always support him and care for him and look out for him. Everything you've done...every decision you've made for him has been the right thing. I love watching you with him. It fills me with such joy and fulfillment. I look forward to watching you teach him how to walk, ride a bike, drive, tie a tie. I cannot wait to hear the advice you give him on his wedding day. He is a lucky boy. I am a lucky woman. The world is a lucky place...because you're in it.

Happy Father's Day, my love.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cutting with QWERTY

I have a confession. I spent a gross amount of time on the internet. Namely Facebook and a parenting message board called TheBump (stupid, STUPID, name). It's shameful and I am in dire need of a few days "unplugged".

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about the people (personas) I encounter on these sites.

First, let's take a look at TheBump. This board if chock full of SAHM's (stay-at-home-mom's) with seemingly nothing better to do than judge, criticize and wish harm upon their fellow mothers. I often wonder what their children are doing while they are doling out their sentences of colic, diaper rash and acid reflux. I rarely post. When I do, it's about actual baby stuff. What diapers are best, the best way to steam chicken....and whatnot. Because of that I am often greeted by "who the hell are you?" replies and labeled a LURKER. I hate that term. Lurker. Sounds an awful lot like PERVERT or PEDOPHILE to me. These women say things to each other online that I'm sure they would never even dream of saying in person. I once observed a fight between two moms where one said that she should have either put her child up for adoption or have had an abortion. The other mother responded that she deserved the painful infertility she was burdened with and that she should go DIAF. DIAF is a popular term on TheBump. It means......wait for it.....DIE IN A FIRE. Seriously! Women are telling other women, whom they've never met, to go die in a fire! Each week they have UO Fridays. UO stands for Unpopular Opinion. It's a thread where they post controversial things (that have nothing to do with babies) in order to start an internet riot. These ladies need a hobby!

A hobby. Like...Facebook.

Ah. Good ol' Facebook. Now FB isn't all bad. It has helped me to reconnect with some very important people. Like, my high school mentors. Or college friends from far away. It even lets me keep in touch with my friends Donna and Pete in Sydney. However, FB has it's own set of cliques, idiosyncrasies, mean girls, narcissism, bullies and snobs.

I've always been interested in anthropology. I've always been very observant. A trait that I think my son has inherited. He's often content to just sit in his stroller or on my lap and I've used my keen observation skills on facebook.

I digress. Over the years that I've been a member of facebook. A few different kinds of people jump out at me. (Disclaimer: this is about no one in particular - or is it?)

The constant complainer: Their life sucks. It sucks worse than yours. Feel bad for them.

The Queens/Kings of Passive Agressiva: they post ambiguous status updates in response to another update they disagree with. Or they are angry with a specific person and post a thinly veiled update about the person without ever identifying them.

The Braggart: "I'm on a fabulous vacation! Look at my pictures! Be jealous" Honestly, I doubt your vacation is that fabulous or else you wouldn't have your nose buried in your smartphone. These people often post pictures of their boobs/pecs/clothes etc. I once saw a girl who had an entire photo album entitled "White Bikini". The entire album was dedicated to shots of her in said white bikini.

The Fabricator: This person just loves Photoshop. Their photos are all pouty-lipped closeups that don't actually show what they really look like. I almost always think their status updates are lies. They want you to believe that their life is so perfect and they are so popular/cool/trendy/beautiful. These people often have 300+ friends. Many of them are from their high school days.

The Over-Share-er: I'm going to the grocery store. Then to the gym. Then to get these warts removed from my crotchal area. Then I'm going to sit and pick my nose for 6 minutes and then I'm going to meet Susie at the bar for happy hour.

The Academic/Armchair Politician: These people post controversial content in order to incite FB fights. I can't stand these people. They are

The Private Jokesters: I am a member of this clique and we did/said this fabulous thing that you aren't a part of. You should envy me. This happens a lot with the theater people that makeup most of my friends list.

I admit it. I've been guilty of a few of these. Nothing is sacred these days. We are always plugged in, switched on, connected. It's good and bad. I really think I would go into cardiac arrest if I didn't have facebook. Yes, I've searched for every single one of my ex-boyfriends and check my ex-best friend's page daily to see if she put any new pictures up.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rise Up or The Birth Day

Disclaimer: This is not, nor will it ever be, a parenting blog. I can't deal with parenting blogs.

However, parenting is just about all I'm doing right now, so it's all I've got to work with.

Ok. I'm about to get all revolutionary and cool and edgy with you.


Motherhood ain't like you see on the TV. The early parts of it are a gruesome melee of emotion that are not always pretty.

My son, Charlie, was born on Wednesday, October 20th 2010. Charlie's mother, was also born that day. All that happy bullshit you hear people say about how "You are instantly changed" and stuff is real, man. When Charlie cried his first weak little cry ("Babies of mothers on anti-depressants are usually very quiet" - said the asshole nurse) I burst out with "Nothing else matters anymore!" So dramatic. There should have been more appropriate lighting design. But it was true! I suddenly got tunnel vision! I was like those poor Central Park horses with the blinders on! I compare it now to a tether, of sorts. Me to him. Right in the middle of our chests. Like that snaky iridescent thing in Donnie Darko. The farther I go from him the tighter and more uncomfortable it gets. I feel just as raw and new and red as he does. Sometimes all I can do to get my feelings out is cry and shake my fists, too. Now, just about the only time I feel whole and content is when I've got him in my arms, his hand wrapped around my finger, eyelids heavy, as I rock him to sleep. "Awwww, how nice!" , you say. Well, it's NOT nice. Nope. It's kinda....not so great. I love him so intensely and intensely that I think I will eventually collapse under the weight of all that emotion. You want to feel connected to our primal, animal roots? Become a mother. These feelings are so base, so fundamental. It's taking me, a person very sensitive to change, a while to adjust.

Motherhood, at it's best, is remarkable, astounding, amazing, enlightening, exciting, important, exclusive, and fun.

At it's worst it's confusing, isolating, competitive, painful, gut-wrenching, expensive and lonely.

So we're learning. Me and Charlie. We're learning to navigate this strange new place. We're growing. up...together.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It's February! Again! My last post was well over a year ago. Yikes. To say a lot has changed would be a huge understatement.

Well, here goes. I'll try to be brief.

I was all set to have my weight-loss surgery. I had jumped through more medical hoops then I'm proud to admit. On Saturday, February 13th, 2010 I took my last medical test.

Then, on February 14th 2010........this happened.

Usually, when one of those things a little while......this happens....

Apparently, those pesky things actually need to come out. This was the one that came out of me:

This is Charlie. He joined the world on 10.20.10. He is totally rad. I am unequivocally in love with him.

This is him now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011