NEW New Year’s Eve is Jan 31st, just FYI.

I’m redoing NYE on Friday.
Do you want to know why?

In a nutshell, 2019 was mostly balls. Not like, juggling balls of excitement. More like, the hairy, sweaty, crusty balls of whatever mammalian species you choose to envision (little cute fluffy forest bunnies, probably not included in that list). Suffice it to say — the 2nd half of the year was pretty crappy, and ended on a spectacularly horrible note.

The months from June to December 2019 brought the following highlights:

* My beloved dog Sasha, 14, suddenly had heart, liver, and kidney failure, lingered in bouts of misery, and had to be put down the day before my first full-on no-kids airplane related vacation in literally 15 years. That was just lovely, excellent timing.

* My ex bf (now forever referred to as False Captain Wentworth) broke up with me for reasons still ambiguous — notably, the cliche of “it’s not you, it’s me” was cited. (Are you all gagging collectively? Yes? Thank you.)

* I broke bones for the 2nd time in my life — also since moving here to New England, but entirely not ice related this time. I managed to break 2 bones on the left side of my left foot. I didn’t realize I had broken it, I thought it was a bad sprain until I got an x-ray WEEKS later. My bedroom is on the 2nd floor BTW, and my office is in the basement. Stairs suddenly became MY ARCH NEMESIS for quite a while. I now intimately know why senior citizens with mobility issues need single story homes. (Or just those of us who don’t have larger adults to help them up and down stairs!)

* November brought INTENSE, and ENTIRELY RIDICULOUS family drama surrounding Thanksgiving that I will not even document here so as not to incriminate those (total nutjobs) involved. However, despite the reasons for the drama being baseless, illogical and toxic, the stress was still extreme, and not able to be ignored. Happy Holidays!!

* Speaking of Happy Holidays. December brought a great deal of freelance work for me (huzzah!) and a pretty decent Christmas after the horrors of November. Until, quite suddenly, my half sister was discovered dead in her apartment after Christmas from what the coroner suspects was a heart attack.

There was no will, no access to funds, and no pre-done funeral arrangements. I am on the opposite coast and arranged everything remotely for what ended up being 21 days of the most intense panic-attack inducing stress I have every had, aside from my divorce, but much more concentrated as time was of the essence. When you get a call on New Years Eve night that arrangements need to be made for your sister’s body to be sent SOMEWHERE (when you thought that was being handled) — you fully realize there is no downtime in that process. So I rang in the new year alternately weeping and panicking and wondering why this had all been thrust upon me all of a sudden.

The funeral (3 weeks and $9,000 later) brought little resolution as my older living sister (also on west coast) who was needed to attempt to finalize my deceased sister’s estate — RAN AWAY, the morning after the funeral. (You can’t even make this stuff up folks.) She checked out of her hotel, hopped a bus, and took off. Police in 2 cities were called. Hospitals in 2 cities were called. Her home phone appeared to be unplugged and no one at her home. Three days later, the police finally caught her — she had/has been hiding inside her home since the funeral. Hiding from all of us, including from police who made multiple welfare checks but had not broken the door to enter. She still hasn’t made contact with anyone, and thusly our deceased sister’s affairs are in disarray to the point that I guess her mail is even bouncing back to senders and bills are just compounding, etc. At the publication of this post, there is still not even a death certificate I can use to at least notify social security she has passed as the funeral home insists on handing them directly to my incommunicado west coast sister (next of kin) instead of the family friend who actually paid for the bulk of the funeral arrangements. It is a cluster F of the highest magnitude.

Please note: MAKE A WILL. CHOOSE RELIABLE EXECUTORS. And if at all humanly possible, have prepaid funeral plans or easily accessed money set aside for your funeral (I’m an expert on this now — for cremation — have about 10K, if you want embalming and all that you are really looking at closer to 20K!). One day (you know, 100 years from now when we pass on) we want our family to be able to grieve correctly, not be incurring PTSD or going socially catatonic from the stress of our departing. Sudden grief is horrible ENOUGH. Do not make your relatives make a gofundme page for you while grieving (I know 2 people who did this). Please leave your things in order if at all humanly possible.

Anyway! So since my shitty 2019 couldn’t even end on a clean note of refreshment and renewal and most of my bright new January was a flaming hot manic mess, I’m re-doing NYE this Friday January 31st 2019(+1), and my new year will begin February 1, 2020. Just FYI.

I sincerely pray for a stress-free year full of good things, including most of all excellent health for all of us and our loved ones, and a positive outlook on the days and years to come. Also, go hug your beloved and tell them they are friggin’ awesome. ❤

And with that,
it is most *definitely* time for a coffee,
perhaps in France. Something!

–Maddy

Jane Austen with your Spawn

My child is finally old enough to understand the perfection which is Jane Austen. This is all very interesting because she’s echoing a lot of the same things I was thinking when I was young. #1 — that Pride and Prejudice is a masterpiece. And #2 — that Marianne getting BEYOND knocked down a peg, and marrying Colonel Brandon at the end of Sense and Sensibility is fairly depressing.

I love the 1995 Ang Lee Sense & Sensibility movie, despite the bittersweet turn of events for Marianne. My daughter was like (insert gag emoji here). We are now currently reading Persuasion but I’m pretty sure she’s going to stay staunchly a fan of P&P, and the 1995 BBC version bears no comparison in her mind to the 2005.

While re-watching S&S last night, I was reminded of my favorite Shakespearean sonnet (featured in the book) and figured I’d throw it out here to refresh those who also know it and maybe inspire those who don’t!

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

–William Shakespeare


You go, Will. (Dap.)
This varies radically from feelings contemporary — as most things contemporary seem rather transient in general. But even after 20+ years, what it does seem is still profoundly true, to me anyway.
Here’s to Jane Austen, good books, and all things that feel good, honest, and true.

And with that, time for (me to finish!) a Coffee,
M

Poetry Corner!

Ooh look! A new feature. I will sprinkle these in between blog posts for giggles…

By the way, I hope you all had a fabulous Summer and have an even more enchanting and lovely Autumn (my favorite season)!

Middle Aged Dating Limerick

There once was a gal from South Mass
Who wished for true love, not an ass,
But found every year
The beaus round grew more queer
And her true loves were friends, child, and sass.

Summer Ghosts

The ghosts of summer ’round me glide
They whisper half-truths at my side
And follow me into the Fall
Where wraiths are honored most of all.
Alas though specters thrill betimes
These are not welcome ghosts of mine
I wish them gone, I wish them fled,
That ease may haunt my halls instead.

Mea Maxima Culpa

“You give love, a bad name…”

Oh good Lord, yes, I know.
I haven’t posted since March! I have intended to many times, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Not that I’M doing anything nefarious. However I do have to note that things with the previously referred to “Captain Wentworth” did sadly go straight to hell over the summer.

Very NON Jane Austen hero-like behavior was noted — let’s just say if sincere and constant affection is a hallmark of Austen’s Wentworth — I mislabeled this fellow quite miserably! Mea culpa. I thought I’d done my due diligence in the first half of our (almost) year together, but it turns out you really have no idea what anyone is thinking in their heart of hearts — which is frankly, very scary, and yet also intrinsic to that intangible magic that keeps two people together. As well as, oh, you know, commitment, communication, and honesty — but let’s say it’s mostly ethereal shit! It’s a nice vague premise. False Captain Wentworth likes those!

Subsequently, what can you do when that delicate cord running between your two hearts has snapped irreparably? Nothing, really. But you can walk away, head held high, and perhaps with a pen ready in hand, to defame them in verse, ala Taylor Swift. That works for me! Also I recommend muting, or better yet, blocking them on your social media. It is well documented that staying “friends” with an ex is unhealthy, unless it was a completely mutual scenario or you have children between you and MUST see each other. Neither of these things applies here soooooo, ADIOS amigo!

In any case, no matter how things turned out — the relationship was not a total waste of time, and I have the Manhattan and European vacation photos to prove it. :-p So you know — lemons = lemonade! I’m not accustomed to pining for anyone. I am on a dating hiatus however — a cleansing sabbatical, if you well. However, I will be accepting applications for potential new beaus around Halloween, so you know, let me know if you know of any REAL Captain Wentworths! I haven’t given up hope. 😉

Time to drown my (transient) sorrows in coffee,
Maddy

Casper-itis: When Friends Ghost You Because They Are Now Regularly Getting Laid

This is a public service announcement.

I’m thinking this subject hits home for at least a few of you out there (am I right, @kaitlynabdou / Twitter). Of course, OF COURSE, when one falls in love, they can get swept away in it!  Finally, they have found the peanut butter, to their jelly.  The Sonny to their Cher…no wait, they got divorced. The Captain, to their Tennille. Shit, no, they got divorced too! OK the Barbara to their GHW Bush! Hah! Anyway!  People get stoked and they may get a little quieter in their communication, as these days, one’s thumbs can only type out a limited amount of text messages and fb tags a day. 

However, one should not DUMP their friends when they find love. I don’t mean, “I can’t hang every Friday night out now.”  I mean more like — “new phone — who dis?” Just poof, MIA! Our friends are not just place holders for romantic relationships.  Our friends, our truly good friends, the ones who love us and support us emotionally and sometimes even physically (hey can I get a ride, can you babysit, can you let me watch GoT at your house with you???) for no other reason than that they think we are cool and good humans — these people do not lose value just because you are now getting your cardio primarily in the bedroom.

“Now that I have you Mr. Fuzzy, what need have I of silly friends?!”

Remember the golden rule — how would YOU feel if your friends did this to you?  Wouldn’t it feel shitty?  Wouldn’t you feel (literally) abandoned? Wouldn’t you also want to silly string “Give me back my Sex & the City DVD set” across their car?  No?  Only me?  OK fine.  But the point is, friendship is more than trading rides to the airport.  These platonic bonds are the stuff of life — they enrich us — just like a healthy and positive romantic relationship does (see also: Captain Wentworth).  To be well rounded people we should only cut out negative relationships, not ALL other relationships, and definitely not just glom onto our new s.o.

It has been noted many times that people who ditch their friends in favor of their new mate can become far less interesting to said mate and may even be seen as clingy because of it.  Keep your circle of friends!  For me these days it’s more like a semi-circle, or a very small arc, but damn it, my few besties are wonderful people, and I wouldn’t trade them for a flock of frenemies and hangers-on and muah-muah-see-you-at-the-next-event types for anything in the world!  And I think @Kaitlynabdou AND Captain Wentworth would back me up on this. 😉

Til Next time!

Time for a Coffee,

Maddy

V-day thoughts and Brow Love!

Hello to all my Internet (secret and not so) Admirers!

Probably not going to be you if you try to go to a nice restaurant on Feb 14.

It’s already February – how did this happen?? Next week is Valentine’s Day!  You either are like “woo” or “boo” although a few of you are “WOOHOO!!!!” – much like the house I passed on my way home from dinner with Captain Wentworth last night that had a full-on Christmas level lighting scheme and major heart shaped décor going on!!  I’m going to be sexist and assume that’s a female who decorated that house and by GOD her mate better deliver next week or she’s totally gonna craft them a noose with raffia and glitter, that’s all I’m sayin’.

My current thoughts on Valentine’s day are summed up thusly.  All is well with Captain Wentworth and we have exchanged those three little words (“You are cool.” No, wait. “Like your butt.”  No that wasn’t it either, hmmm…) so 2019 Valentine’s day by default is a big thumbs up.  It’s also fun when you have kids because you get to put together vday cards or bake cookies and make them little presents and they are super happy which is cute!  Last year I was single and I have to say – folks, if you are online dating right now – GET OFF THE GODFORSAKEN APPS!  It was like the proverbial singles club meat market of days of yore when people actually used to meet without electronics involved!  I’m talking you’d exchange 2 sentences with someone on an app and they were like “…this app sucks – GIVE ME YOUR NUMBER!!  Let’s be REAL – WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF????????”  You.  You sir.  You sir are *exactly* what I am afraid of!

So I repeat, shut those profiles *down* for the next two weeks people – It’s hell out there!

Speaking of hell – try going to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day!  You’ll be lucky if the you can get into Denny’s or the 99! Better to do dinner at home the night of then do dinner out a few days before or after – although the Saturday after will also be pretty slammed. In any case, whether you are in romantic love with only yourself (which you should be in any case, cuz you rooooock!) or also in love with a significant other, or even a wee one, I wish you a very lovely Valentine’s Day full of beauty, joy, and awesome take-out cuz I’m telling you the restaurants are fucked, don’t even do it. ❤😃

Product Review: L’oreal Paris, Unbelievea Brow Gel, Light Brunette = 5 stars

Joan Crawford. Terrifying.

Yes, yes, I know the name is ridiculous but guuuuuuuurl (and you 2 guys reading this part!!!) it is AWESOME.  This is hands down the most perfect eyebrow product I have used so far, and I’ve been filling in my brows at least a little bit for at least 12 years, I think. Why fill your brows?  Well see for yourself below.  I personally feel it lends a certain youthfulness to the face to have a fuller brow, as long as you don’t go crazy with it and look like Joan Crawford (who had completely normal eyebrows when she was younger if you go back and look at older pics!).

Left brow = before gel, Right brow = after.
Yes, this picture sucks, I know.

I love this product because it’s a doe foot applicator so it doesn’t drag on your eyebrows like a pencil or brush with wax, and then there is a little mascara brush AND little make-up brush so you can comb thru and set your brow with precision. Plus it’s more or less waterproof although I’d have to do a swim test to really know for sure as I’m not hopping in the shower then taking a selfie for you guys – my beauty blog dedication only goes so far!  But I will say after I wash my face it’s still halfway there, which is handy if you are on vacay and don’t have all the time needed for your normal toilette! 

I used the Light Brunette shade and it is absolutely perfect for my dark brown hair and again, fills smoothly without giving you the ubiquitous Joan Crawford-type look you see going around! I wholeheartedly recommend!

And with that! Time for a coffee…  Maddy ❤

Hello 2019!

Holiday Wrap-up & Coconut Oil Fails

Dear Superior Subscribers and Righteous Random Readers,

You have survived the holidays! Have your credit card statements arrived from last month yet? (OUCH.) A local radio station here is giving away “4K a day” to help people pay for their Holiday spending bills. Is this really what the early Christians had in mind when they started celebrating the birth of Jesus? Everyone going into debt for the holidays? The utter commercialism of a holiday based on the birth of a man who really just wanted us all to be good to one another in the most basic, loving, and humble ways? Am I starting to whine like Charlie Brown? Maybe.

There is a store in California called Daiso (originating from Japan). Everything in Daiso is $1.50 an item. I shit you not — there are like 100 things at any given time in Daiso that I would be super psyched to get as a cute little gift. They are incredibly adorable things! Stationary/art things. Kitchen things. Little wacky doodads. Friggin’ wasabi peas, whatever! I’m not that picky! Just don’t give me a box of smashed secondhand candy like I received one time as an emergency gift back — I’m good, thanks.

I just don’t think we should all be going into debt when the true measure of your philia for each other, to me, is the following:

  1. How good were you to each other this year? Did you make a positive impact in the lives of those around you? Or an indifferent, or worse yet, a negative one?
  2. When you saw that your loved ones (or even just that old lady at CVS struggling to find the right sinus medication!) needed help — did you offer to help? Maybe not every time, but when you could?
  3. Did you smile and compliment someone randomly when you honestly felt they deserved a compliment, even though you were perhaps in an airport security line in the middle of the night because your ex husband is an asshat and booked your kid’s flight back from California for 5AM? Too specific? Just me???

Anyway! You know, stuff like that!
Let’s all be nicer, and more considerate to and understanding of one another for 2019. Let’s spend quality time together. Let that be a better measure of our love for each other over the things we can buy. Give it the inherent value it deserves.
Then go ahead buy me those $1.50 bunny shaped post-its and pens from Daiso, ‘cuz I got you the cute little sushi plates, and everyone’s happy! ;-p

*********

Gift-giving Note: Captain Wentworth got me some reeeeeeeally nice stuff for Christmas as noted in my last post. And I got him… a bottle of wine! ARGH!!! :-O However! I gave him my gift first and we hadn’t even discussed exchanging gifts, and blah blah, back pedal, back pedal anyway! I’m not saying I will match the expense level (‘cuz am pretty sure the expense level exceeded the entirety of my 2018 xmas budget, eek!), but next year, as a conscientious gift giver, I will certainly find something profoundly more meaningful than a tasty bottle of vino!!! However, at least I can say, that if my appreciation for him and his qualities as a person could be measured, boxed, and put under the tree, I’m pretty sure it’d take him at least a few hours to finish unwrapping it all.
🙂  

Coconut Oil: Use with Caution or Risk the 80’s “Wet Look” (which was only really ever sorta hot in a Robert Palmer video, let’s be real)

So recently at my Writer’s Group, a certain curly haired colleague of mine arrived and pointed out her new hairdo. (You said I could use this in my blog, P, haha!) I thought her hair was wet, like, freshly showered, still damp — wet. She told us how it was in fact, not wet, but it was a coconut oil conditioning treatment fail, and she had already washed her hair once or twice to remove, to no avail!

A similar look to leftover coconut oil!
https://www.pinterest.com/brttnyta/my-hair-experiments/

Yipes! I have put Argan oil in my hair and it was great, not greasy at all! But Argan oil is not quite the same as coconut oil as far as application as a conditioning treatment in your hair. Argan oil melts right in and does not have to be washed out. Coconut oil is a different animal (eeeer, plant. eeer, plant based derivative? whatever!). I discussed this with Katie Abdou
— author, friend, and beauty maven extraordinaire, as she had an excellent, and not 80’s at all experience with coconut oil conditioning.

Coconut oil saved my hair after a bleach disaster in my dreaded, and very brief, red hair phase. It’s extremely nourishing to the hair, but also extremely heavy. I usually soaked my hair in it, wrapped it in plastic, then a towel, and left it over night or for a few hours while cleaning the house. After, it took a good two to three, or sometimes even four shampoos to get it out. When it was at its worst, I did this treatment to my hair once a week. You definitely have to wash your hair VERY thoroughly after using it, especially if you have fine hair like me, but it can be hugely beneficial to dry or damaged hair.


— @KaitlynAbdou (Twitter)
This curly soft hair. YAS!

So P!
Keep on scrubbin’ that head, girl! You were on the right track, just a few more washes to go!

And with that, I wish you all a fabulous weekend ahead!

Time for a Coffee,

M!