Archive for the ‘Exhusband’ Category


On Mama’s Day, I woke up at 6am and gathered my clothes and started to sneak out my bedroom door. You see, I’ve been training the girls to not leave their room until the first number on the clock read “7”.

So, it being 6, I figured I could get a shower, have some coffee, and maybe get some work done in my studio before the girls came down to start the day.

But then I realized their bedroom door was open and their room was empty. I heard voices downstairs in the kitchen and thought “I’M SUPPOSED TO STILL BE ASLEEP!” and I dove back into bed.

I browsed the internet on my iphone under the covers until I heard the girls coming back upstairs. Sure enough, they plowed into my room yelling “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!”  

Red carried the largest tray I own (which is twice the size of a normal tray) filled with yesterday’s coffee cake, water, juice, straws, and a very full bowl of milk with what seemed to be half a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  Apparently, that had been sitting around for a few minutes…or perhaps twenty.

Soggy cereal. Mmmmmhmmmm. Oh, what we’ll do for our kids. (even gag down soaked cereal)

They were beaming and I was thrilled at their independence (and more thrilled when I went downstairs later to find that the entire kitchen was clean!) and the joy they took in celebrating a day for their mum.  We spent an hour reading and talking and snuggling in my bed. 

I am truly blessed by these little ones. No matter how big they get, they will always be the little ones.

Soon, they were off to play in their room and I went downstairs to shower and have my coffee. 

They took off for Sunday School with my mother (because I refuse to step into church, but they like to go sometimes) and J and I had a coffee date on Skype.

Then I went to the market and with the needed groceries, stocked up on candy bars for the day. A Twix. 1000 Grand. A mongo Peppermint Patty.

I called my stepmom.

I swept the kitchen floor.

The girls came home and my mom came in and I gave her the gift my sister and I had for her…she hung out for a while (refused to go out to Mother’s Day brunch, because as usual, she is on a diet and “isn’t eating anything”) 

The girls and I went outside and rode scooters and jump roped (they did, I sat on my ass on the stoop).

Their dad came at 3 to pick them up for their Sunday night overnight. He gave me a portrait of the girls in a frame.  

I ate chili con queso and guacamole with chips. I got heartburn. Happy Mother’s Day to me!!!!

I did some work.

J called as it was getting dark here and he was in bed, since he’s six hours ahead.

We talked about how in a week he’ll be on a plane home.

And then we just sat there and looked at each other.

“Show me your dimples,” I said.

The next thing I knew, he’d moved his computer so that the video cam was pointing directly as his bare chest.

“Show me your DIMPLES!” I repeated.

His face appeared on screen again and he smiled, showing his dimples.

And then he laughed, “I thought you said “nipples”!

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p1010008Here is a bird nest painting with graphite I have done, part of a series I worked on last month.

In my last post of randomness, I mentioned my talking to my lawyer. No, exhusband isn’t going for custody or anything like that. In fact, I am just doing some preventative research…and I am a little nervous but more calm today after more emails with my attorney. (imagine Bernadette Peters, miniature) 

I spent Friday and Saturday preparing for my Open Studio on Sunday.

With the economy and lack of exposure in the winter and rain and feeling all “bah” about things right now, I decided to mark everything down 30% for the month of May and have a Sunday afternoon party.

It turned out on the slow side due to the rain, but those who came, bought work. One who came, bought work and called the next day to come back and commission me to do a companion piece to the one she bought. 

I’ve had and am continuing to have, more browsers and hopefully buyers, this week.

A photo of my small studio with piles of watercolors from my files.


J starts work in two weeks at our local piano bar. It’s where we met. It’s a magical place (even before I met him, it was a magical place) and I am so proud of him and so excited for the summer, our nights at the piano bar, with friends, with him shining the best way he knows how. It is the perfect and only real venue for him, where he is completely in his comfort zone.

He said to me tonight, “I can’t wait to play there again. These last six months have done nothing for me, compared to (insert name of piano bar here).”

The girls are excited for him to come home. They don’t undertsand what “a week and a half” means. They kind of understand “a week and four days.”

I totally understand it. Down to the minute!

I’m in a funkiness with food lately. Chili Con Queso. Huh? Seriously. Every day. A little bit every day.

Somehow, I have lost weight and not sure where it is going because I am eating somewhat normally (but healthier) and walking every day. The bummer is that my new bras don’t fit so great. I can stuff them, right?

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Piano lessons


Last night I drove my girls to their dad’s for their weekend. He was flying back from a business trip and ended up delayed, not only in the air, but on the ground because some bonehead was late for their flight at Logan and ran through security. So they shut everything down. I was sitting in front of exhusband’s house when he called to say he was trapped at Logan.

Red has been home sick this entire week, she had what I had and the poor little thing has been pretty miserable about 90 percent of the time. The rest of the time, she was fairly comfortable and unfortunately it was never at night. So, we didn’t get much sleep this week. So, I am sitting there in the pouring rain outside his house, with a sick kid and Blue complaining in the back about how hungry she was, despite the fact that she just ate half a can of Pringles. And I had plans back at home with some other artist friends to have dinner at 7. There was no way I was going to make it.

Exhusband called again and said he called his parents and I could bring the kids there, he had ordered them dinner and he would be along within the hour. I was relieved because a) Red would be more comfortable b) Blue would no longer be whining in the back seat and c) I would make my dinner function.

We got to my ex-inlaw’s house, I have seen them often enough over the years and things are fairly comfortable, as comfortable as they can be between people who used to be close and then all of us disappointed each other in the end. There’s a grand piano in the entryway and the girls went right to it and started playing. Red can play by ear and Blue remembers all the exercises that J taught them before he left in November. 

My ex-mother-in-law looked at me and goes, “have they been taking lessons?”

I stammered and stuttered a little bit because how do you get into a comfortable conversation with your ex’s  parents about your boyfriend being a piano player and teaching them to play?

Well, I just did.

“The man I am seeing is a professional piano player and he’s been giving them lessons.”

And my mother-in-law’s eyes got wide and she goes (impressed) “oooooh, wow, like, a CONCERT pianist?”  

And I laughed and said, “oh, no. like NIGHTCLUBS and stuff.”

Granted, he plays classical and specializes in 40’s and 50’s music believe it or not. The old people love him. And his last yacht gig was merely hours of classical music, French and Italian classics interspersed. 

But then, I go for the shock value with the ex and his family. They think I have sinned. They think I am rotten and cheap. They think I am below them.

A few days ago, exhusband called and asked, “Is he moving in with you? The girls told me that he was going to be ‘home’ soon, for good. Does that mean he’s moving in with you? Are you sleeping in the same bed with the girls in the house?”

I confirmed his questions and he was silent. 

Now, I know that a father’s worst nightmare is likely another man coming into their kids’ life, living with them, stepping in. But J is the least likely man to go ahead and “replace” their dad. But ultimately, due to the amount of time J will be here compared to the amount of time the girls are with their dad, he will be filling a place in time for them that had their dad and I stayed married, he would have filled.

I said to him, “well, I know it probably makes you uncomfortable, you’ve only met him a few times in passing, but when he comes home for good, perhaps you can get to know him a little, see him with the kids. We can meet at a playground or say hello at their dance recital coming up.”

This was a stretch for me, a challenge to offer this, because exhusband is such a jackass and I can hardly stand him. J actually suggested it, being sensitive to exhusband’s feelings and wanting to somehow help him feel like he can know a little bit about J, who was spending time with his children.

Exhusband’s response? 

“I have NO respect for the guy. Moving in and sleeping in the same bed with you with the girls under the same roof without being married? I can’t believe you would let them SEE THAT!”

I was appalled. “Gosh, it’s not like we’re having sex in front of them!”

Our discussion went downhill from there. He said that I was surrounding myself with people here in my town (which he thinks is filled with the low-class) who set bad examples for the kids. “You surround yourself with all these sorts of people who live together without being married.”

To which I replied, “Well, they seem to be more functional and stable than most of the married people I know. You know, what works for people, works for them and you have to see it as that. Look at your children and see if they are happy. Are they happy? Be glad for that. ”

Exhusband spat into the phone, “You know what? I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOU.”

Then I calmly hung up.

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I think Ann Coulter is an asshole.

Who needs illustration for that?

I love this single mama and what she has to say about it.  

You can read her blog here at Ms. Single Mama.

Something I appreciate about blogging is connecting with other single mothers. Some of us have dated a bit. Some don’t want to. Some are remarried now. Some have new loves like mine.  

Having literally picked my town out on the map on a whim, because it was on the coast and I liked how it felt, I moved here alone, with my 2 and 4 year old a few years ago. Now, they are 6 and 8 and we’ve become accustomed to the community, we have friends, my work is here now, my mom moved nearby to be involved in the kids’ lives. 

What I do lack is single mother friends here. I mean, I met my first one this year. We’re friendly but we aren’t hanging out or anything.

The few close friends that I do have are supportive. Either because they’ve been there or close to it.  I have a friend across the country who recently became a single mom. Her recent email to me said, “You have no idea what it’s like to be a single mom until you are one.” And then she apologized for not being more in tune with what was going on with me, while I was being introduced to the world of “being completely alone.”

Honestly, for me, being a single mother is so much easier than being in the marriage I was in. The few dating experiences I had after that ended up adding similar chaos and trouble to my mothering as my marriage did. Which is why I left it. The example my husband at the time and I were setting for the kids, was not a good one. And it wasn’t until a therapy session together  (our first and last) that I realized it would never be different. I still mourned it. I still mourned the fact that we didn’t have “that”. That we couldn’t make it work the way we all want it to work. It’s still sad, no matter who the jerk is, or what happens.

I feel a lack of connection with many mothers because I feel they see me as a disappointment or a threat to what they consider “family”. This is just my experience here, where I am, with certain individuals. I am not saying it is the norm. But it is what I feel from some who I interact with. Obviously, people feel that way, but really, what options do we have? Stay in a marriage that’s unhealthy not only for us but for the kids too? Staying is not going to keep that “family” feeling necessarily, nor will it keep all parties feeling safe and secure in their lives.

At the end of the day, I am grateful for the moms I am close with. We manage to go out, walk, have coffee, and connect.  As women. As moms. As human beings.  I don’t feel like such a single mom on those days.

I ran into a woman I know from the school. She had her two young sons with her who were sick, at the market, coughing and weezing and miserable. Her husband was working that night, filling oil for people who let their furnaces die on one of the biggest snow storm nights ever, and she needed food and drink and popsicles for the kids.

In my head, I suddenly relived moments in my life where I have felt most alone with my girls. Times  like when we’re all three throwing up with some sort of stomach thing, I am also changing sheets and airing out rooms and running to the market with sick kids in tow and gallon sized ziplock baggies in my pocket in case one of us can’t keep it down in the deli aisle…because really, in the end, I am alone.

Being a mom is hard, no matter who you are. I think being a married mom can be super hard, as it was for me. Folks are also maintaining a relationship, a marriage, with expectations and disappointments and hurrahs and triumphs. Regardless of good or bad, it is work. Some of the lucky ones are in marriages where there is extreme mutual respect, support and love and I truly celebrate that two people can find each other and have that. If you are one of them, don’t ever take it for granted.

It hasn’t been until my meeting J, that I actually feel true acceptance of my being accompanied by the preciousness of Red and Blue. Or felt any sort of support.  I’ve heard so many times, “if they don’t love your children, they can’t love you.” But I never really knew what that meant until it happened.  And I truly believe that my experience with J is blessed with an ease and collaboration that makes my life easier as a mom, even if he isn’t here with us every day. 

Recently, I shared with him that I have learned alot from him concerning “attitude” in parenting.  He’s not a father, but when he is with us, he exudes patience and creativity, along with firmness and authority, lovingly. (where when I am at my wits end on a Thursday at 7pm, I don’t come across as “loving” when I’m untying one child from the toilet tank and the other is dancing circles and pointing and laughing because she put her sister there)  

I watch J and in simple ways, managed difficult situations, break up fights, reason with the girls when they’re being unreasonable, with ease. More often now, after I take a breath, I find that place in myself and can handle conflict as a parent, differently than I used to.

I call it “what I’m learning about parenting from my childless boyfriend.”

When I mentioned this to him, he said, “yeah, but it’s easy for me. YOU’RE with them 24-7, so of course your patience will wane. Most mothers have their husbands to step in at the end of the day or get up with them in the middle of the night. YOU do not.”

And then he said, “When I get home and we’re together, I can take some of that off you, you know. I can help you with that.”


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You’d think I would have a category titled “boobs” on my site, here, you know, for easy browsing.

But I don’t.


Anyway, I was conversing with someone recently about flat ones. Flat boobs, that is.

I was always flat chested, and self conscious of it. I think I wore my first bra when I went to college, merely because it was cold in the midwest and I didn’t want to nip out…I was from Southern California and the warmer weather didn’t really cause that.

My mom always had awesome boobs. I remember when I was out of college, I finally gathered the nerve to ask her, after she made mention about how flat chested she was when she was a teenager, HOW ON EARTH DID YOU END UP WITH THOSE?

Turns out, she got big ones after having babies.

Now, listen here. My mother didn’t breast feed my sister or me, and we turned out pretty normal I think. And I have this theory that it is because of that, my mother has great boobs.

So I gave birth to Red. I HATED breast feeding. It hurt for the first six weeks, all fifty-four times a day I had to feed the  little sucker.  At five months, I had to leave her behind when there was a family emergency, and thankfully she would take a bottle. On the plane on a midnight flight, I was sitting there with this horrible pump up under my shirt, pumping away. Every few hours I had to “pump and dump”, since there was no way I was carrying the milk around in a cooler, in another time zone, and then back across the country on the plane home, days later.

I will backtrack to say that when I first had Red, I found myself in the hospital bed with a wailing redhead beside me, dying for milk. Seven nurses were grabbing my breasts and giving me advice on how to get her little mouth around my nipple properly. My co-workers who had come to visit and bring presents, were waiting in the hall for me. (because you just can’t let your Vice President Boss from a very corporate world, see you breast feed). I decided right there I was not going to breast feed.

Then in came the forces. THE MOTHER IN LAW gave me a lecture. As did the four sisters-in-law. As did my-husband-at-the-time. Lectures about a breast fed kid’s IQ compared to a non-breast fed kid’s IQ were thrown out. And statistics on MCAS scores, and reading comprehension. I do believe at some point, I heard “if she isn’t breast fed, she’ll get DIVORCED.”

So, I kept at it. I kept breast feeding until the pain finally went away. Until I stopped sweating and crying, every time she latched on.

But then, that trip, the trip where I was pumping and dumping. Well, I got home from that trip and she just felt she liked the bottle better than breast feeding.

So I gave it up.

And things were happy.

When Blue came along, I did start breast feeding her. Figuring that out was much easier, seeing that I had done it with Red for six months. The problem was that she never seemed to get enough, so I was feeding her every 45 minutes or so….but the bigger problem was that she had a very jealous-not-quite-two-year-old-redheaded-sister, who would stalk right up to us, coo and sigh and whisper sweet love in our ears and then reel back and wack her with all her might on the face.


That was the end of that.

And then we went right to the bottle with formula. I mean, I didn’t even stop at pumping. I was done with my breasts. Done, I say.

Even to this day, I can’t help but notice that every woman I know who has breast fed the hell out of their boobs, are sagging down to their crotch. If I see a saggy droopy out of shape-boobs woman, I bet I could ask her, “how many years did you breast feed?” And they would probably say they breast fed every one of their four children for two years…which means, they had a babe sucking on them for a cumulative of EIGHT YEARS.

That’s cause for some serious damage.

I’m not saying that breast feeding is the only cause for saggy boobs. But I am saying, if you breast fed, your boobs are likely to sag, say, more than someone who didn’t. Or someone who tried and didn’t do it for too long.  And perhaps, more than someone who started out flat in the first place. 

Thankfully, what rang true for my mom, rang true for me, despite my short bout with nursing my girls. When I’m eighty, I likely will not be gathering ’em up in a bra like a hammock before I start my day.

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I won’t lie and tell you I wasn’t sitting here eating a handful of M&Ms while watching Oprah’s recent episode about her weight gain..

This particular episode is not exactly about “weight loss” but more about joy, balance, self love, as well as embracing our own inner strength and finding the”weight” that we can carry within ourselves, to ultimately reflect on the outside. 

She said something along the lines of “When you love yourself enough, you take care of yourself.”

My entire life, my mother has been on a diet. She’d sit down at dinner every night after making a beautiful home made meal, complete with pie, and we’d eat while all she drank was diet soda. She ate melon in the mornings and snacked on diet cookies called “Figurines” and because we were so deprived and never had cookies in the house, we’d sneak them and hate them (because they tasted like crap, but hell, they were the only cookies we could get our hands on!)

When I was in third grade,  I could run and I could run fast. I competed in school track and field with sixth graders and kicking their asses. I loved it. The thing is, I was called “chicken legs” and “gazelle” because I was so skinny. Comments about my skinniness bothered me, mainly because I didn’t want the attention. Plus, I didn’t think about my body.  I wanted the attention on my ability to run, not how skinny I was when I was running.  I carried on through teenage years, just as skinny and as I filled out, my understanding is that I had the body (aside from the smaller chest size) that lots of women dreamed of.

I really didn’t think about it. I ate what I wanted. But usually, I just didn’t eat because I was busy doing other things, busy thinking of  what I wanted to accomplish. For lunch in highschool, I distinctly remember existing on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Gatorade, mainly because it barely took any time at all to consume it and then I could be on my way.

It wasn’t as if someone would put a pizza or a burger in front of me, I wouldn’t eat it. Because I would. But if I were left to my own devices to make breakfast or get myself some lunch, I just wouldn’t eat. Or if I were busy, I would sometimes lie and say I had eaten so I could keep on with what I was doing without interruption.

When I was married, I had two pregnancies that helped me gain 65 pounds, both times. That means I was 200 pounds. In the midst of those cumulative few years, I gained alot of weight.  I was at a miserable time in my life, dealing with post partum, lack of support from family and husband and just sort of lost.  I heard about the weight gain from my mom.  My sides were pinched by my husband at the time and eventually I made sure I changed in the closet or bathroom and wore clothes that hid what I hadn’t lost. The husband raised his eyebrow when I went to get something to eat and when I was eating, he’d take some food off my plate so I wouldn’t eat it all.

If and when we were driving and passed a fit woman who was running, it was inevitable that my husband would look in the rear view mirror as that runner got farther and farther away, and it wasn’t until they were no longer in view that he would look over at me and say, “wouldn’t it be great if you started running again?”

I’ll bet you are thinking, “Oh, she divorced him and lost weight and got happy again and is keeping the weight off.”

Well, no exactly. 

I divorced him and unconsciously, through stress and lack of thought to food, lost weight and got terribly thin.

And then I got happy.

Worked on loving myself (ongoing process, still happening now)

And then I gained some weight back, a normal healthy weight.

Sounds simple, it isn’t, but I am just keeping this post from being longer than it really has to be.

Basically, I found that when I am under stress or unhappy, I forget about food. I don’t eat. I just don’t. If I am having anxiety, I don’t eat. If I feel sad, I don’t eat.

When J was in town, I found that I ate super healthy with him around. We cooked. I made SALAD. We went out. We didn’t indulge in any one thing. It was balanced.

When he left town before the holidays, I was stressed out with my work and  art shows and feeling lonely and sad and wondering if he would change his mind and not come back. (I was wrong, he’s coming back! He hasn’t changed his mind!)

I lost ten pounds.

While I was on the island with him, I ate naturally again. We ate meals. Dessert. 

I dipped Oreos in PUDDING.

I ate Yoplait.

The last morning I was there, he took me back to a French bakery that I loved. We ordered omlettes and crepes and cappuccinos.

And I couldn’t eat it.

I had just spent the best week with J and I was leaving. And I couldn’t eat.

“You have no appetite?” he asked. 

And I shook my head.

“You feel sad?”

I nodded.

“Me too.”

I spoke as little as I ate that morning, but he knew why and he was okay with it. He held my hand and we lay down on his bed until it was time to go to the airport.

And in the end, I know a handful of M&Ms isn’t a healthy lunch, or many of the things I have mentioned in my blog that I have resorted to for a meal while hanging over the kitchen sink.

But what I do know is that a) I don’t have an eating disorder, even though I could have one based on my upbringing. b) I don’t take care of myself the way I could. 

On Saturday, a storm was coming. J Skyped me and I was thinking about staying in all day but mentioned perhaps a jaunt to the art supply store for some new paper. He nodded, “you should go, get out of the house before you’re stuck there.”

“Yeah, I probably should,” was my reply.

“And stop off at that Starbucks and get yourself something,” he said.  “Get it and have it while you browse through the art supplies.”

Basically, me, a Starbucks latte in an art supply store is the ultimate experience for me. Better than watching “Secret Millionaire” marathons on television in bed, on a snowy night.

(note, there is no Starbucks in our city, so the closest is way out of the way, but happens to be near the art supply store)

I kept saying to myself, “No, I don’t need that, I can do without that. I don’t need to spend money on that.” And then I thought, “I WANT that and that would be a good thing for me today.” Because ultimately, talking myself out of it was saying “I don’t deserve that.”

I haven’t been over my “comfortable weight” for about 5 years. This past summer, I gained a little due to sitting on the beach with the kids and snacking and eating donuts in the mornings from snack shacks. When my pants got tight, I cut back a little. When Fall rolled around, I ate healthier and moved more and then J left and I was busier and I lost ten pounds, which enabled me to fit into EVERY pair of jeans in my drawers instead of just half of them. 

I prefer that because I feel better that way than having a muffin top…I feel better that way because I don’t want to lose consciousness to a point where I have to go buy new clothes in a bigger size. 

After years of hearing things about my weight (lack or gain of) from those close to me, I find that J is the only one who has never made mention of it. I don’t talk about it really, except when I lost my recent weight and flew down to see him, I was happy to show him that my jeans were no longer like a tourniquet around my waist and that my bikini fit.  

But he just shook his head, because he couldn’t really tell, he didn’t notice before and if he did, it wasn’t important.

Because there are more important things, like how when I lose weight, I tend to lose it in my boobs.

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After my morning chat with J on Skype, THE INTERNET WENT OUT.


What’s a girl to do?

I was about to do some online bill paying.

I was in the middle of sending a sketch to a client for some work I am doing and the damn internet went out.

I tried calling her because the email wasn’t going to go through right then. 


So I touched base with her via cell phone.

And then I thought, well, damn, I’ll just see if there’s anything good on daytime T.V.


Our provider, (I have a bundled package, obviously) I am sure, had some upset customers. The outage was widespread in about 5 towns.

For 6 hours.

Anyway, with nothing to do (and no, I wasn’t really going to sit and watch TV), I opened up the big huge trunk of photos and started a project that is tedious, but must be done. Millions of photos. Half of them are organized. Other half isn’t. I went through a mess of photos and sorted them by “child”. Red got a box. Blue got a box. The photos of the two of them together, gets it’s own box.

What to do with their dad?

Well, it was easy, if he was in a picture with them, I saved it and put it in their boxes.

If I was in the picture with him, well, I have the wedding album that I will save for the girls. So I dumped the other “me and him” photos.

If it was “me and him and the girls” photos, I saved them in another envelope and hid it underneath everything for when they are adults. 

Or for when I am dead.

It was a hard decision, because really, for me, I wanted to toss him in the trash. But I know he doesn’t belong there because he’s their dad. He’s a good dad. He was a sucky husband. And he is a fairly sucky ex-husband, but I know that in relation to most divorced folks, I have it pretty good.

Keeping the photos for the girls is important. I put them somewhere where they won’t be dug up any time soon by one of them, but one day they will have them.

I DID, eliminate photos of ex boyfriends. I always kept one of each of the guys who hurt me physically. I did it in case one of them ever came back and hurt me again or killed me for that matter. But now, I decided to pitch them. They are gone forever.

The next task is to finish looking for them all on Facebook and blocking them. 

I’m tired now from just thinking about the bill paying and other things I can do here on the laptop, even if it isn’t related to internet access, now that I have it.

I got online, thinking I missed a bunch of news in the world and I went to Google News. 

I discovered that the porn industry is looking for a bailout.


I clicked on a link from an email a friend sent me and GOT TO THIS

After I dehydrated myself so much from bawling, I decided to go eat a barrel of hummus with Ritz Crackers, some gummy fruit snacks and fizzy water. I topped it off with Halloween Candy I stole from my kids’ treat bags. I didn’t have the heart to steal their Christmas candy because it’s so new and all. But those Smarties really keep well. Then I cleaned out last year’s Valentine’s Day, Easter, and the Halloween candy. (I didn’t eat it, I threw it all away, except the Smarties. THOSE I ate.)

So I am going to do something old fashioned and fill up the bath (get in it) and read a book. 

And then I will go to bed before midnight for once.

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