Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Another Person's Treasure

Help Bag

I don't know why, but I have this thing about trial-sized stuff. I don't go anywhere I'd need it, like vacation. I just like it. I always buy it. Or I used to take it, from hotels. The shampoo, soap, mini sewing kit. I think everyone takes that stuff, or I assume people do. The weird thing is that I'm very brand loyal. So would I even use a different toothpaste or soap? As evidenced by the cabinet full of this type of thing, I'm going to say I haven't used them. I kept them though, thinking one day I might have a use for them.

In March 2011, I watched the reality show Secret Millionaire on ABC. A millionaire would go into some depressed area, meet people there, then decide how they wanted to disperse around $100,000. Every episode was a tear jerker, as it was meant to be, so I'd get hooked when I saw it on. Only one really stuck with me though. It was this guy, John Ferber (the millionaire). There wasn't anything especially memorable about him. It was who he helped. There was this hat designer guy, Amin Moinzadeh, who sells hats to famous people on Melrose Avenue (not "Place") in LA in the front of his store, but then had a back area where he assembled bags of necessities for homeless people. He'd assemble these toiletry bags (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo), and extra clothing, then bring them to Skid Row and hand them out. The millionaire guy gave Amin money for more supplies.

Of course I was crying at the end. And in theory, I thought- what a great idea. But I still didn't get around to it. My mom had died, my kid was just two, I was going back to work. There's a lot of stuff I mean to get to and don't. B literally just walked up to my desk and asked me why we have a step-stool in the kitchen now. "Just to get to the pots and pans?", he asked. Yeah. So the wood floors don't get scraped moving the chairs over there. I've always meant to get one, but never have. "You've always wanted one, but it took ten years...". Yes. Did you just meet me?

Last school year, E swam in Lodi twice a week. Just about every single ride there, we'd see the same homeless people along our ride, in the same spots. One guy, E and I nicknamed Thor because he reminded me of the mechanic guy in the original Adventures in Babysitting. He also has long flowing blond hair. He would be waiting at the light on this one stretch of road that was the exit between two highways. He walks around with a sign asking for food or money. It felt weird to just drive by and not give anything. I started bringing granola bars for him in case I was stopped where he was walking. It was always a crapshoot whether I'd be stopped close enough to the light. This was a quick exchange kind of thing. There wasn't even anywhere to stop or pull over.

Once, I filled a duffel bag I got on our honeymoon with a bunch of B's clothes, toilet paper, paper towels, plastic utensils, an umbrella, toiletries, and more, and handed that to Thor out the window. I practically had to throw it before the light turned green. I told B and he was like- "How was he supposed to carry that around??" I did not think of that. Thor still seemed appreciative. I asked what else he needed and he asked if I could get some pants or leggings for his wife. So I did.

After that, I thought- I really should just clean out that cabinet of toiletries and make those smaller toiletry bags. I googled "bags for homeless" or something like that. Of course, I was taken to Pinterest and saw "Blessing Bags". I guess someone or more than one person call them this and put a blessing in the bag with the toiletries. However, to me, that's proselytizing, and definitely not my thing, so I'm just calling them "help bags".

I had shampoo & conditioner, travel toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand lotion, body lotion, soaps, sewing kits, wet naps (like individual ones from bbq, seafood, or hibachi), Q-tips, pens, lip balm, body wash, tissue packs, face wash, you name it. Make-up- I had tons of brand new make-up I'd never use from gifts, gifts with purchase, etc. I had remembered also reading somewhere that one of the best things to give is a handbag filled with feminine needs. Because those items aren't donated as much.

I took everything out of the cabinet and put it on my bedroom floor. I made an assembly line of sorts, making sure I had one of everything for as many bags as I could. I also had all these random plastic carrying cases from when I worked at John Abate International. They held tanning products to give to tanning salons. I also had them from gift sets - like the cosmetic bags they give you as a free gift with purchase. Some were big, like handbag size too. I think I filled about twenty bags. Then of course, in my OCD way, I started scavenging around my house for more things. I have this giant box of scarves I never wear. In my head, I picture myself wearing a trendy scarf, in a trendy way, until I realize I hate scarves and they itch me. Or they just don't look right on me. Bye-bye scarves. I also had knit hats and baseball type caps I'd gotten in swag bags or I don't know where. Bye hats. I went to the dollar store and ended up buying socks and gloves.

I buy all kinds of granola and breakfast bars for E that he then tells me he doesn't like. Healthy stuff that sounds good, but he just decides aren't going to work for him. I HATE to throw it away because it's a waste so then I had somewhere for those to go too. I put two or three in every bag. No, this is not like giving muffin stumps. I could've given the bars unwanted by my child to my husband, but he didn't NEED them. He'd just eat them out of boredom. Some other adult, who did need them, would be perfectly happy with healthy bars.

In someone's blog about the blessing bags, she wrote about giving five dollars, but in change, in the bags. In change, they could use it at a laundromat or somewhere change is necessary. Now, of course a lot of these machines take dollar bills and there are no phone booths left, but you never know when someone might need change. It just gives more options.

I'm not writing about this to pat myself on the back or anything. I'm not doing anything special. It wasn't some original idea. I'm certainly not giving away $100,000. I'm writing this because I don't know when it became December 21st already. Time just seems to FLY. I feel like "the giving season" is almost over. Around Thanksgiving, people are all about replenishing food banks, and doing acts of kindness. It extends to Christmas, but I don't know how long after people are thinking about those who don't have much. Most people are going to get gifts they can't return and that they aren't going to use. Secret Santa hats, scarves, socks, and gloves. Instead of just throwing them in a closet, put them to better use.

Last Sunday, I tried to go to Radio Shack (don't ask, but they *are* still in business), but it was closed. It looked like lights were on there so I took a chance and stopped. They weren't open but there was a dollar store next door. It was raining, I stepped in a puddle and was so annoyed. Both bottoms of my pants were soaked and it was freezing. Then I saw this guy sitting on the wet ground outside the dollar store holding Rosary beads. He just looked sad and tired. I keep these help bags in my car all the time, all year round. I went back to my car, got him a bag, and just handed it to him. I didn't say anything because what is there to say? I didn't want to embarrass him or anything. I just wanted him to have it. I made a mental note that maybe I can get cheap umbrellas to add to the bags. I saw him eating one of the granola bars right away so I was happy it didn't go in the garbage.

So, if this entry gives you that kick in the pants over school break to clean out the toiletries you're never going to use and other useful items for someone on the street, then that's what I'm here for. Remember, it's cold here, in NJ, until around the end of March, sometimes longer. That's a long time past "holiday season". There is plenty of time and plenty of need to give. We don't live in a special bubble. There are homeless people like a mile away. For me, it's just a personal preference, I like to give where I can actually see it go to where it's supposed to go, so this works for me.

Happy holidays and Happy New Year. I'm saying it early because I don't know how much time I'll have to write once E gets out of school Friday for the break!

Episode of Secret Millionaire:

H.A.T. charity:

If you live in Bergen County and want to do *something* but aren't sure what, here's a good starting point for information: 

Bergen County Volunteers-

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chanukah Fun 2016

Hanukkah/Chanukah Fun this season! 

Menorah Lighting
Mon, December 26, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Memorial Park at Van Neste Square, E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood, NJ
Event Description

Lighting of the Menorah at 5:30pm
for families and friends.

Monday, December 19, 2016

ATNY Summer Cruise

Plan Now.  End of Summer Memories.

Young Actor's Cruise to New England & Canada!
Out of NYC.  6-Days.
Combine the Amazing Activities of Cruising' with the High Seas Education
of Great Acting Workshops with Final Presentations to the Cruise!

Cruise Open to Kids, Teens, Families, Friends
Inner Cabins or Request Upgraded Cabin.
Questions?  917.763.1777

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Need A Do-Over Day

You know when you're in the throws of one of those days. A day you just really would like a do-over on. Mine is today. I guess one could say in light of all the terrible news, it's been a day of #firstworldproblems, but whatever. Pretty much anything outside of war, death, and disease is a #firstworldproblem kind of day. Since this is my blog and I can say whatever the hell I want, today is going to be the day for a complaint entry.

I got up at 5:45a so I could try to get on the treadmill for at least a little while before I had to go bring my car in for service. As an aside, my car is only a year and few months old, at least to me. It was leased new in September 2015. THERE SHOULD BE NOTHING WRONG WITH IT! Yet, as usual, there is plenty wrong with it. But I'll get to that.

I got up early, but in doing so, I also knew I was going to have to make sure there were no cat smells emitting from the basement, where the cat sleeps. Oh, calm down. It's a finished basement. With plenty of couch and chair space, toys, and classical music playing for the cat. B doesn't want any whiffs of cat excrement though so I make sure to empty my Litter Robot drawer every morning. FYI- most people empty that thing somewhere between five and seven days with that thing, but even I think that would be waiting too long. By the time I was done dealing with the drawer, it was like 6:15a. I jumped on that treadmill and instead of my normal hour and a half, I got in like thirty minutes.

I ran to the shower to wash my hair, because of course, it was a hair wash day. It kind of felt like I could fry eggs on head, so I couldn't just let it go. And again, calm down. Not everyone washes their hair every day. I'd be bald. Already my eyelashes are falling out with empty patches I have to do a comb-over on. I don't need to have to deal with some version of Rogaine on my head too. I had to leave the house by 7:30a-7:45a.

I started driving at 7:41a. I was impressed with myself because I was able to dry my hair in the short amount of time I had. Thanks to my new Sam Villa hair dryer though. #WorthEveryPenny

I got to the dealership by 7:58a. I was extra impressed with myself. I told them what was wrong with my car. It's loud. Loud like, it's diesel. It didn't start out loud. The passenger side vent doesn't work. If I was to listen to the navigation, I'd be driving THROUGH people's homes. Now, I don't know if it's like this at every dealership but they like to talk to you in the service department like they're covering their asses. Like whatever is wrong with the car must be your fault. Or like you should know what's going on. "Loud how, Ma'am?" Well, I don't fcuking know, Sir. I don't know anything about cars. When you come into my store, I'm not going to ask you what you think is wrong with your lamp that it doesn't light. BECAUSE WHY WOULD YOU KNOW?

When I mentioned the navigation problems, such as driving on roads that don't exist and through people's houses, he said, "Oh, well you need an update...", like I was a schmuck. Ok, well, I'm thinking, the car is a year old. It's actually been updated when I came in the last time because none of the doors would lock. Why should a car that's a year old need ANY updates?? Good question, me.

I went to the waiting room to wait. At 10:00a, I went to change the channel to Wendy Williams. Mock all you want but I don't want to watch cooking and I like Wendy's show, most of the time. I don't know if she's the brightest bulb, but she can be funny, and I enjoy the first fifteen minutes when she does her Hot Topics segment. I didn't really think about it. I asked the two women in there if they minded me changing the channel and they both said no.

I was half listening when there was a picture of Kanye with Trump from NYC yesterday. Wendy was saying something about not knowing why they were meeting but it's probably to ask him to play at the inauguration. But that if it's to appoint him some kind of Ambassador of the Arts, that can wait. Kanye needs to rest. He doesn't need to rush with stuff like that. How about Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, etc.

WELL. This lady, I'm going to call her "Trump Lady", gets loud. She's saying, "What?! Is this woman the dumbest woman alive? So stupid! He's doing his JOB. He's doing what he's supposed to do! She's half laughing, half tsk-ing, looking around for someone to agree with her. I'm sitting there wondering if this is what hell is supposed to be. Because now the other lady, "Old lady" is saying to Trump Lady, "You know, that's that...rapper. Is he appointing him anything? Is he? It's that rapper. Is he appointing him? Because I really need Trump to do something about the Estate Tax. I'm having a really hard time with that...." Trump Lady: :::snaps::: No he isn't appointing him anything. You need an Estate lawyer. #CalgonTakeMeAway.

*Service guy came and told me that my car needs like everything updated. The computer didn't crash, so that's a good sign. It needs to finish updating. We're just going to leave it alone while it updates. Ok. No time frame on that? Of course not. But how could it be much longer? My whole laptop from 2009 updates in less time. Time at this point: 10:15a. Two hours and fifteen minutes have elapsed.

In the meantime, some old white men have arrived. Goody! Old White Man #1 is sitting to my right. He looks kind of Trumpy. I realize I guessed correctly because he's clucking under his breath at some other stuff going on during the show. Then, he just got up, and CHANGED THE CHANNEL. I *know* I didn't say WTF out loud, even though I was thinking it. He turned around, looked at me and said, "You weren't watching that". He said it more as a statement than a question though. Like, what could a normal, hair washed, white girl want with a black program like that. I said, "Well, yes, yes I was. I TURNED IT ON". He mumbled something under his breath, turned it back, and then walked out of the room, making a big statement by sitting OUTSIDE the waiting room. I'm so uncomfortable with these people. Some other older white men have peeked in, looked in, and walked out. My chest was tight and I just wanted out.

It was 11:20a when my original guy came into the room to tell someone else how long their car would be. I was like- "hey, what about me??". He said he'd go check. He came back with a not so happy look on his face. He said that my car needed to continue to update and it would be a few more hours. HOURS?? Was he joking? He said- "Can I take you somewhere?", as in, drive me somewhere. Where are you driving me? Bergen county? The car place is west of Bergen somewhere. Somewhere I now know as Trump country. Not to mention, it's not next door. No, you can't take me anywhere. I asked if I could get a loaner. He said "SURE!", as if I should've known that. How about telling me hours ago that it was going to BE like six or seven hours total and I should get a loaner? No?

*I started ranting to a lovely girl in the waiting room when Service Guy went to get the loaner. I'll call her Rebecca because I don't know her name but she looks like she could be a Rebecca. She was kind enough to listen to my lunatic rantings. Hi Rebecca. I told her I'd give her a shout-out when I wrote this. Thanks for listening and being a great audience.

He went to get me a loaner. Of course that took another fifteen minutes. After I signed my life away in blood and gave them some kind of two hundred dollar security deposit that they're going to put on my credit card but give back in anywhere from three to five days. What the actual fcuk? I never heard of such a thing at Mini Cooper. #YouGetWhatUPayFor

Lentil Loaner
I get outside to the lentil-colored shitbox, I mean loaner. I got in the car to leave. FOX NEWS IS ON THE RADIO. Yup. Of course it was left on that. Now, it's possible, having seen all my libtard magnets on the back of *MY* car, that was his little funny F-U to me. So the only thing I could think to do in return was change every preset to Howard Stern and every dance/electronica station I could find. #PassiveAggressive #ImAChild

The car also smells of smoke. If they think they're going to charge me for that, they've never gotten the wrath of Diamond before. The whole way home I had visions of old white men smoking cigarettes in there, listening to Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly, or whatever. I'm lucky I didn't just crash into a divider. Service Guy said to make sure I come back today. I guess so I don't get charged for realsies. Yeah, like I'm wishing I could cruise around in this fine luxury automobile forever.

*Another aside- wouldn't it behoove a dealership to give someone a better car as a loaner than they lease or own? Get inside something better as incentive to maybe get something better or more expensive next time? Just a thought. I have no idea what the rationale behind what cars they loan.

I got home at noon. I'd received my Ancestry DNA kit yesterday afternoon. You can't eat, drink, chew gum or smoke for thirty minutes before you collect your DNA (spit). I didn't do it last night because I didn't have time. I wanted to do it before going into work this afternoon so I could run it to the post office to send back to Ancestry. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get enough spit to be a quarter of a teaspoon? It ain't easy! It took me like a good fifteen minutes to do that. I tried spitting into a spoon first because you can't count "bubbles". I got it done, packaged it up and ordered my Starbucks coffee to pick up for after dropping the kit at the post office next door to the post office.

Of course the nicest post office lady in existence is working. I think she's the bees knees normally, but not so much when she's being so super nice to the lady in front of me that it's taking FOREVER for them to finish making small talk. 

I normally order an iced coffee, but like yesterday, I ordered hot coffee because it's cold out. I went in to get my coffee and it was iced. Because that's what the barista is used to instead of him reading my actual order. He said he'd make me a new one, but after three and a half hours in the car place, enduring moronic conversations, then spitting in a tube for fifteen minutes in my house, I just wanted to get to work. I grabbed the cold coffee and was on my way.

That's where I am now. At work. Waiting for the dealership to call me to tell me that my car is finally done "updating". You know they're going to call me at like 5:30p so I have to race there to get it before they close. Or better, they'll tell me it needs to update overnight.

I vote: do-over.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Vote! 2017 Readers' Choice: Bergen Health & Life

Oh how this voting stuff sneaks up on me. We need your help. If you could just throw us a vote for 2017 Reader's Choice Awards for Bergen Health & Life Magazine. That's the one that has Bergenfest in September.

Winning just gives us some free advertising and a pat on the back for doing what we do. So we'd really appreciate your help.

As usual there is no lighting category. So if you scroll down the bottom, there is a "Home & Personal Services" category, where you can put Shades of Soho in under Interior Design. But really, what we need you to do is write us in. You get three "write in" votes for any category. So you can do Shades of Soho for Lighting. I used all three of mine for us- in Lighting, Lighting Restoration, and Lampshades. But that's up to you. You might have another write in you want to do. The most important for us is for the Lighting category that doesn't exist. But, like I said, feel free to put us in for interior design in the Home & Personal Services section.

We need your help with voting. It just takes a minute and you don't have to fill the whole thing out. We appreciate it! And vote for your other hometown favorites also- for small businesses, this kind of thing can give a great boost.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Michelle's Story

I still haven't really watched the news since the election. I can't. Because every little snippet I hear about who has been appointed as this or that in the cabinet is more distressing than the last. I suppose I could just say the hell with it- why do I care? I'm fine, more or less. I don't think I'll be needing an abortion, or access to reproductive or general women's health without insurance. I don't have daughters that could potentially need that help. I'm white, I have a white son with a penis who seems like he will be straight, based on his two very strong crushes in preschool and now elementary school. By blood, we're Jews, so I do have to worry about being sent to the ovens, but for now, I can't help but focus on the rights currently in jeopardy. I can't help it. It's just my nature to care about rights for other people, as foreign as that may sound. 

This all, as I see that Bristol Palin, whose mother, was the poster child for conservatism & teaching abstinence, is pregnant for the third or forth time. And who the hell knows what baby daddy she's on. So...yeah. No need for that pesky Planned Parenthood, for people who don't have access to all the best care, best education, and other people's money, right?

In 2015, my friend Nicole had a heart wrenching late-term medical termination. She wrote her story for me to share- Sawyer's Story & then the follow-up, a year later, Sawyer's Story- Almost One Year Later

Unfortunately, I had another friend go through a similar thing around the same time, but who wasn't comfortable sharing anything publicly. But the circumstances were very similar, except she had to leave her state to terminate. I guess, lucky for her she had the funds to do so? She had to do it alone though, which sucked, because it's expensive to take off work for two people, fly two people, etc. I'm sure that wasn't emotional, scary, and awful in every way to have to do all that, all while mourning this unbelievable loss of a life that was wanted very much.

It's really unbelievable in this day and age, women are still not allowed to have autonomy over their bodies. That we'd have to go to great lengths just to have necessary medical procedures in a safe manner. And the fallacies perpetuated by people who know nothing about abortion, medical termination or whatever you want to call it, never end. I read people's comments on stories and I want to vomit from the high horse from which they sit, concerning this topic. Unless you have walked in someone's shoes who has needed termination at any point, I really wish they could be silenced. 

As I'm typing, I'm reminded of someone, who so ignorantly said to me, that the way abortion is, her thirteen year old can get an abortion as easy as getting a Big Mac, without her consent or knowledge. Really? Let me know how your thirteen year old is procuring around six hundred to fifteen hundred dollars, depending on how far along the pregnancy is, finding a place who will actually do this procedure, and then get there without your knowledge. If all that falls into place for her- I'd say that's a parenting problem, not an abortion problem. And she'd probably have an easier time getting her hands on a purple unicorn. 

Or this other woman who wrote it the comments section of an article I read the other night- "there is no excuse for unprotected sex or an unwanted pregnancy". If I answered her with all the correct information that would trounce her snap moronic judgment, it would've been pages and days long.

Then the necessity of medical termination happened recently to someone I feel I can say I know very well. A woman, a mom, who had been a virtual friend and then a real life friend for over ten years now. If I had to choose someone I could say absolutely revels in being a stay at home mom, it's Michelle. Not because she's sitting around eating Bon Bons and watching "Who's the Daddy?" on Maury Povich but because she really loves being around her kids. Doing things with them. For them. She'd be the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe if she could. Just piles of kids. And use the word devastated to describe what her losses have done to her- that word isn't even close to strong enough. 

She had announced to our little virtual group at twelve weeks that she was expecting. I read the announcement and just laughed to myself. "Of course she is...", I thought. Michelle wants more babies. I laughed because I can't even imagine having any more babies and I only have the one. My baby who is about to be eight years old. 

With Michelle, it was like, "OMG, I'm pregnant, yay!". She was over the moon, to say the least. One day she was looking to the future with a family of five, and literally just two days later, it was horrific news. It wasn't even me and I felt her nightmare. 

As soon as she could be at a place where re-reading Nicole's story could possibly help her heal, she did. She wanted to write a letter to Nicole, in support, in thanks, in solidarity. This is her letter (which her permission):

Hi Nicole, I'm a friend of Tara's. Last year at some point she shared your story about Sawyer. I remember crying and thinking of how strong you are to share your story, to bring a voice to something so incredibly tragic and hard. Ive always been quite vocal about my infertility and my journey, in hopes that my voice would be able to help someone. I want to thank you for helping me. 

Two weeks ago, I shared a similar experience to yours. I had medical termination in the second trimester. I went through IVF from Summer to Fall, and nearly fell over when we heard the words that we were pregnant. We are out-of-pocket for IVF. I've also been waiting for this day for five years. Five whole years. 

I was pregnant with twins in 2011. I lost one after the nine week ultrasound. I have a healthy daughter from that pregnancy. I spiraled into a deep hole. It was a dark sad time for me and I blamed myself for the loss. My husband, Seth, lost me during that time. He then felt he had to say that we were done at our two kids. My dreams were shattered. This year on my birthday he gave me the best gift. He was ready to try again. His heart was ready. He was just so scared something bad would happen and he'd lose me to depression again. We jumped back into IVF. 

**Just to give some background- Michelle was one of the youngest diagnosed cases of Ulcerative Colitis in the United States. She got sick when she was two years old and got the diagnosis at three years old. This was after they tried to diagnose her mother with Munchausen's by Proxy because they didn't know what was wrong with Michelle. UC is an autoimmune disease which lines the colon with ulcers. She wasn't supposed to live past the age of five. but obviously she did. She had years of feeding tubes and other problems and surgeries.  

By high school she only weighed seventy pounds. The ulcerations were turning into polyps and cancerous lesions. The doctor told her not to even apply for college because she'd either not make it or be on a continuous long road to recovery. She had her colon removed in 1996, and other advancements in medicine had been made for her to be in remission since then. However, as a result of over twenty hours of surgery, scar tissue mangled her tubes which is why IVF is her only option to get pregnant. Her health insurance has never covered anything related to infertility or the IVF procedures she's had to use to get pregnant.

Back to Michelle's letter:

This pregnancy was awful, my worst one yet. I was throwing up five to ten times a day. I was barely able to keep ice pops down. Everyone said this was a great sign. My goal was the nine week ultrasound. That nine week one was the one where we were told during the pregnancy before that our baby didn't have a heartbeat. This time, all seemed fine. We went and breathed a sigh of relief because everything looked perfect. My NT scan was scheduled for November 16th. We were cruising along. 

It truly was a horrible week though. My daughter had a hundred and four fever. Then, my car died in the school car line. My son got fever of a hundred and four that my daughter had. My dog found and ate rock salt, and was shitting blood everywhere. I said this week cannot get any worse. 

Oh, it could. We had our scan that Wednesday. The scan showed that our very wanted baby boy had Trisomy 18*. I knew as soon as the tech started, but didn't say much, that something was wrong. My husband said to her, "Make sure you get a good shot so we can make our fb announcement". She never printed anything out. 

The doctor came in, told us exactly how bad the situation was for us. They did a CVS test and confirmed on Friday that it was indeed as they thought. They told me Columbia Presbyterian in NYC didn't have immediate appointments available. I could wait for them, or wait for the baby to pass. I was unaware that hospitals in NJ didn't do medical terminations in these situations. I frantically called my obstetrician, not knowing what to do. She said she thought there was "a place" in Englewood

I called "the place" in Englewood, while choking on my tears and had an appointment set for the next morning. Call me naive, or sheltered but I was NOT prepared for what I encountered. Protesters. It felt like one of those nightmares where you scream but your voice never comes out. They immediately started yelling at me, chanting "baby killer" at me, over and over. I don't know why, but I kind of crouched down on the pavement. I covered my ears rocking, begging them to please stop. I said that they didn't know how hard I had worked to have this baby! That the last thing I wanted to do was say goodbye! They continued on calling me "fucking baby killer". They kept saying I would go to hell and God would never forgive me. They shoved photos of dismembered fetuses in my face. My husband basically shoved the loudest one up against a wall. I heard him say "you don't know what we've been through!" Then I just saw him crying. The protesters voices wake me up at night. I don't know if I'll ever un-hear them. Unsee them. But my heart knows I made the best decision for us. 
The security guard heard the yelling outside, from inside the building. Both he and escorts whisked us inside after that mess outside. I was just repeating myself over and over. They put us in a separate area behind bullet proof glass. The actual waiting area was full. We could hear the staff talking about patients, pricing. Calling people in one by one to pay. The doctor upstairs there was nice. He got the procedure started by doing an ultrasound first. My baby was a fighter. His heart was still strong. This killed me. They put some seaweed dilation medication in me and gave me some pills. The cramping was almost immediate and horrible. It brought on contraction pain. I was holding my belly knowing that all of this was the start of ending my dream. They escorted us back downstairs. I felt like cattle. 

Seth had to stay outside. I was given a bag for my clothes and hid behind a chair to put on my gown. Cots lined the walls. No curtains in between. Girls were on their phones, listening to music. They called my name. I walked in a tiny back room. They don't wait for you to fall asleep to strap you down. They strap you down before the medications are even put in your IV. My legs are still bruised. It was humiliating. After the medications are injected, the doctor comes in. I remember him touching my shoulder and saying that he was sorry. Then I was out. 

I woke up on a cot. They tossed my clothes at me. I was so dazed and dizzy but I got dressed. They handed me a grape Dum Dum lollipop and showed me to the door. When I woke up, my morning sickness was gone. Within 2 days my belly bump was gone. I cried for hours and hours and days on end. I went in with a pregnant belly and came out with nothing.

I found an amazing amount of support from online friends. Strangers on message boards. People I've never met became my village. Calling me. Sending me cards. An organization called Robby's Rabbits sent us stuffed animals for comfort. People reached out in all different ways. I was grateful. Still devastated and heartbroken, but grateful. As the calls and texts dwindled I had to pick myself up and face the world. The "untelling" people is so hard. I'm trying to focus on the part that my body did its job. Like a champ. I got pregnant, with IVF again, and my body nourished that baby to the last second of his life. This sadness and loss will give me strength I never thought I had left in me. But I'm a fighter. Ive been fighting for my whole life. For 16 years I fought for my own life, dealing with an extreme Ulcerative Colitis. I fought through infertility and then through the struggle of loss. Now, I will fight again to bring awareness to this cruel, devastating decision of medical termination. I will find my voice. And when I can, I will be heard. 


*Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a condition which is caused by a error in cell division, known as meiotic disjunction.  When this happens,  instead of the normal pair, an extra chromosome 18 results (a triple) in the developing baby and disrupts the normal pattern of development in significant ways that can be life-threatening, even before birth.  A Trisomy 18 error occurs in about 1 out of every 2500 pregnancies in the United States and 1 in 6000 live births.  The numbers of total births is much higher because it includes significant numbers of stillbirths that occur in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.

Unlike Down syndrome, which also is caused by an extra chromosome, the developmental issues caused by Trisomy 18 are associated with more medical complications that are more potentially life-threatening in the early months and years of life.  Studies have shown that only 50% of babies who are carried to term will be born alive, and baby girls will have higher rates of live birth than baby boys.

My last two cents:

Michelle was told that she could wait a week or so for an appointment at Columbia Presbyterian to have the termination there. She wouldn't have to deal with protesters. Because people wouldn't know whether she was having her tonsils out or an abortion. I guess protesters only want to spend their time on a sure thing.

Michelle's other "choice" was to let the fetus die inside her. Nevermind the emotional repercussions of walking around waiting for something alive, that you want very much, and had loved since the moment the pregnancy was first viable, to die inside you. Like any moment could be Jimmy Shaker Day. But there could also be extremely adverse health problems for Michelle, with or without her health history, to continue the pregnancy. At what point do you get to call seniority and save your physical and mental health?? Especially in her case as someone who is also a mother to and has a responsibility to two other children? Is it not insane for her to be expected to sacrifice herself and leave two other small children possibly motherless and/or unable to care for them due to the emotional effects of having to wait for their sibling to die inside her? It sure sounds insane and barbaric to me.

Just because we have a vagina and a womb, are we just vessels of birthing? The way some people want law to be written about abortion, that's sure as hell what it seems is our sole purpose as women. I saw a retweeted post by a disgusting anti-abortion twitter account- "If you see someone being attacked, do you call the police or stay out of it because it's "not your business"? #prolife" Uh, why is the life of a fetus prioritized over the life of the person carrying it? Where is the outrage at the protesters "attacking" the people having to make this agonizing decision? #hypocrisy


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Where Did I Come From?

Every few years in elementary or middle school, maybe even high school, some teacher would get the bright idea to want to do some kind of family tree assignment. Sounds harmless, or fun, right? Well, sure, if you know anything about your background. Some people have family crests, their lineage goes back to the Mayflower, and they know all this stuff. My parents seemed to know nothing.

It's not like I had this big, close, family experience. Or like we could really claim a country. Italians, Germans, French- they all seem to know where their ancestors are from. Down to the town. Seinfeldian Jews* like myself, not so much.

Even my friend A, whose family is Russian, but also Jewish, asked me how I identify myself as Jewish, even as an atheist*, when that's a religion, not an ethnicity. I know I've discussed this before somewhere, but I'm not searching my blog for it. What I'll say as succinctly as possible is that in America, Jewish is a culture. Because we don't identify with a country, and Jewish, while a religion, also has it's own food, music, traditions, etc, that don't identify with any one country. My friend, A, is Russian first- she speaks the language, identifies with the culture, knows the food and is Jewish second. If someone asks her, "What are you?", her answer, logically, is Russian. Because her Russian identity is stronger than her Jewish identity.

She asked me if my ancestors are most likely Eastern European, why I wouldn't say that. I told her because I don't identify with anything Eastern European, so if that ethnicity conversation went any further, I wouldn't be able to answer anything. I don't even know anything about Eastern Europe. And if I have Russian or Polish ancestry, there are plenty of Russians & Polish people who aren't Jewish. It's a lot easier to say I'm Jewish. For someone who doesn't even know what country their ancestors come from, we only have "American Jew" to have any kind of culture to associate with. By saying that I'm Jewish, I'm essentially saying that I'm not any kind of Christian and I don't have a country. That I'm most familiar with "New Yawk Jewish culture". Bagels, neuroses, pop culture, liberalism, loud talking, a lot of talking, therapy (psychology related), brisket, (attempted) guilt, kugel, & totally getting Seinfeld.

Just FYI, just because I'm Jewish does not make me Israeli. Most people asking you what you are are looking for some common ground. So saying I'm Eastern European without any knowledge of what that even entails isn't going to form any same-ethnicity bond.

My parents never seemed to have an answer where their grandparents were from. I don't know if they weren't interested, no one talked about it, or what. Not that I could trust Rita's answers anyway*, because she was known to make things up, by her own admission. My father probably wasn't interested or motivated in finding an answer. His parents weren't people I'd just call for information and my mom's parents lived in Florida. I don't remember ever talking about it. No one liked to talk about their childhood, the past, or much of anything. It was very different than B's upbringing where he heard tons of stories about his family's past.

It's weird though, being this forty-something age. I still feel young. I had pink hair not that long ago! I wear purple Uggs. I don't ever want to be called ma'am and I'm annoyed when it happens. Why would someone even think of me as a ma'am? Thank you to Chris, the cable guy, who called me "Miss" all evening the other night. Maybe it's like my bizzaro mirrors that never seem to tell me when I've gotten chubby, until I see a photo and am like, WTF? How did I not see that happening?? I'm seeing gray hairs now, like more than I can pluck, so I have to face that I'm sort of older. E is in second grade and I know he's going to have questions I can't answer. Some questions, I'll never be able to answer.

My mom's whole immediate family is gone. My mom's sister died at forty-four of a rare form of cancer in 1988. My maternal grandmother died when I was in college, in the early 90's. My mom died in 2009 and my maternal grandfather died in 2010. I have no one to ask any questions. It's weird when a whole immediate family is dead. It's like *poof*, no one. All their stories, answers, secrets, went into thin air. I have extended family but we've never been close so I wouldn't even feel comfortable asking questions. Nor do I even really know what I'd be asking. I don't even know if they know anything. Like I said, none of this history ever came up with any family member I've ever spoken with. I had a hard time even remembering last names of extended family I used to know the surnames. Babies steal your brains.

B found out some interesting stuff, this past year, when a family member did one of those Ancestry DNA kits. I saw a coupon for one, so I finally bit the bullet and bought a kit myself. A guy I knew from a class I took with E as a baby told me he did one, because he was adopted, and there were kind of shady circumstances of his adoption. His parents "were not the kind of people you ask questions of that nature" and now it's too late because his dad passed and his mom is not of sound mind. He did a very comprehensive DNA kit when they first came out and found out an amazing wealth of things. Like, his parents were fairly religious, Catholic, while he was growing up. He was an altar boy. But he is genetically Jewish. He was shocked. Then I saw a post on Facebook from a friend who did a kit and she found all kinds of extended relatives who told her stories she'd never heard about her grandparents. It all sounded so cool.

23 and me is way more expensive than Ancestry so I opted for Ancestry. Maybe if I want to go further, I'll try 23 and me. But for now, I think Ancestry will suffice. I'd gone to a Jewish Genealogy seminar that Hadassah put on recently, but I think you had to know more than I know. And to be honest, it seemed like a lot more work, and with my A.D.D coupled with what a condescending a-hole the woman doing the seminar acted like, this spitting in a vial or whatever seems like way more up my alley.

So many people, Jews included, have said :::suspiciously::: over the years- "You don't look Jewish"(whatever that means to them), including the Rabbi that B originally asked to marry us. That just makes me more curious what my DNA heritage is, because if I did all that work for my Bat Mitzvah for nothing, I'm going to be pissed. However, now that hate/antisemitic crimes have gone up since the 2016 presidential election, maybe I'd be better off finding out I'm actually as Irish as my name instead of Jewish....but I digress. I couldn't help myself.

So when I bought my kit, I got a referral coupon for anyone who wants one. It makes a great, unique, gift also for that person who has everything and you don't want to just give a gift card. I think there are so many people that would want to do it but don't feel like they can justify the cost for themselves. Ten percent off a DNA kit. Use my link and we both get a deal-

*All things I've written about before. Use the search function on the main page of the Desktop version.

Mom's side: Rita, Barbara. Me, Edna & Milty

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rainbow Life

I was walking into Starbucks this morning when a woman stopped me and made a comment about my boots. I'm wearing purple/plum colored Uggs today. She said something like- "I always see people with different colored Uggs on and I like the way they look. But I never do it....".

I was just surprised. Suprised she said something like it was a big deal to have purple shoes. You know how long it took me to pick out something to wear on my feet today? As short as opening the closet and grabbing these boots. I'm wearing black, which I don't usually do, so I didn't go for the black boots. They were right next to each other- black and purple. I always choose the "color". Actually, when I got the black, the only reason I did, was because back in the day, they only came in black, brown or sand. I don't ever want anything in the beige or brown family, but I wanted this particular style of Uggs, so black was my only choice.

My newest coat is a raspberry color, which I was wearing today, with my purple boots. I have a lot of coats- I never get rid of anything. I think only one is black and I never wear it. I got it at Burlington Coat Factory just after college maybe, for my first post-college job. I keep it in case of a funeral or something. Every other coat is in color- hot pink faux fur, blue-green wool, light blue, green, teal, red, purple satin shiny, and more. Colors pique my interest. Make me happy. Put a spring in my step.

I just find it interesting that there are people who are afraid of color. For anything. Like the fashion police are going to jail them or something. We have this problem at work when people assume they have to have all white, eggshell or beige lampshades "just in case I change my color scheme". Most people are never changing the colors they naturally gravitate towards. Like if you're a beige person, you're never having the light bulb moment to switch over to hot pink. Or jewel tones. If you love jewel tones, you're most likely not switching to pastels. If you did, I'd be very surprised.

A customer came in to get a lampshade. She looked way cooler than her worry about a beige lampshade. She is in her late forties, was wearing jeans and boots, and funky bracelets in colors. I thought she'd be a fun customer- just by looking at her. Instead, she told me she got paint colors to exactly match each color in her oriental rug to match with the lampshade, chairs, couch, etc. I just stared. I told her that no one is taking her lampshade off to match it to the carpet to see if the colors are exact matches. I couldn't even believe she went to the trouble of getting paint swatches. If it's in the same color family, you're good. But no. She couldn't make a decision, she had to call her husband to get his input, and then she opted for eggshell. It's like a non-color. It might as well be invisible. Yes, there is decorating where you want the shade to be invisible, I know. I just don't get it or why you'd come to me to do that. For her, my point is, she was too afraid of doing it "wrong" so she opted for safe.

Another woman was in my store when this all went down. We were talking about opting for safe over taking a risk, just with color. She said she thinks it's a confidence thing. I can get on board with that. I definitely know that people care what other people think. I just find it odd, when you're over thirty, that just wearing or buying something for your home, in a color other than neutral would rock your world so hard. These seem like such minor decisions. It's one thing to LIKE neutral colors like beige, brown, tan, gray, etc - I get when there is a certain look with neutrals that someone is going for. It's another thing to be afraid because you feel like it's a big risk somehow. I even understand not wanting to feel like you threw away a lot of money. Maybe you don't want to have to second guess on a teal couch because it's over a thousand dollars and you don't have that to waste. But I got my purple Uggs for fifty-six dollars when The Find first opened. I don't consider that a huge investment to try a color if you think you might like it.

Aren't we supposed to have barren fields of fcuks (thanks for that one LaurenPetro) by the time we pass thirty? Are plum covered feet really going to make that much of an adverse difference? They might make you really happy. If so, then why would you even care if someone else thought they looked weird or whatever you're afraid of people thinking. When I had pink hair, a lady came into my store and said- "I would love that but I could never pull it off!". Why not? You only live once, right? If it's not dangerous, you can't get fired from your job, or arrested, then buy the purple shoes. Or get the pink hair. You'll feel better. We think people think about what we're doing or wearing WAY more than they actually do. I'll never tell you to get the beige lampshade though.

**Speaking of hair- I just got the best hair dryer. Don, my hairdresser of like twenty years, told me to get a Sam Villa dryer. So that's why I did. Now, my hair is probably down to my bra strap, and I'm drying it with this dryer in four to five minutes. I'm not exaggerating. I always take Don's hair advice- especially since my last dryer lasted me eleven years. And I don't know if it's just my imagination but I feel my hair looks smoother after using it too. This is the one you want- - Read the reviews- they're all really good. I think I read it has the best rating of all the ionic hair dryers. It's really light too.

I first tried blue.

Then I did pink mixed with my highlights.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cat Tales

We got a cat! E had NO IDEA a cat was even a possibility. We totally surprised him.

B had been saying no for so long, I didn't really think it would happen. I don't think I ever wrote about it but he'd said yes, like two years ago, but then pulled back just as I was about to go meet a cat down in Philly. I had been hoping for a Russian Blue and they had one at a shelter down there. Then, B, E and me were all at Houston's where B dropped the bomb- "Sorry, I can't do it". And that was that. He was worried about the cat smelling, hair all over, and the expense. He also just isn't a cat person. He's always had dogs. 

Our lifestyle doesn't lend itself to having a dog. We never go away, but in the summer, we'd been spending our Saturday nights sleeping over my cousin's condo down the shore, to go to the beach on Sundays. You can leave a cat overnight without a problem, expense, etc. You can't do that with a dog. We also don't have a yard at home, really. Not one a dog could just run. It's just not fair to the dog. Because we also don't have the time to be going to dog parks or whatever. The dog would be alone way too much. I had a hamster, when I was in middle school or early high school, I think. I wasn't getting involved with a pet that I had to clean out a cage. That would bring me NO joy whatsoever. I had enough problems with that damned Betta fish and the tank. What a PAIN in the ass.

You might say, "yeah, but what about a litter box? You have to clean that!". A litter box is NOT a cage. A cage has to be washed out and it's trapping stink in there. I can't explain it but even with a regular litter box- just a plastic box with litter, it's still different than an enclosed cage of what hamsters and guinea pigs live in.

Especially because I got the Litter Robot III - Open Air. This thing is like the egg from Mork & Mindy. It's huge. It's so cool. Basically, the cat goes in, does it's business, then depending on the time set- mine is the factory setting of seven minutes- the globe rotates, sifting out the pee and poop, and the waste falls into a drawer that has a bag/liner. There's a light indicator when the waste area is full, but I've been emptying it every or every other day. You just open the drawer, close up the bag and throw it away. I asked my cleaning people if they smelled cat and they said no. They said they do go into houses that stink from cat. So I'll take their word for it. I also have a baking soda box thing near the Robot. And B of course filled the house with his Vanilla Plug-Ins. Litter Robot

Acorn took to the Robot immediately. She likes to watch it cycle.

**I do want to add that our power went out this past Sunday morning. I'm kind of glad it did, because I realized- Omg, what am I going to do about the litter stuff?? Apparently other people have considered this because the Litter Robot company makes a back-up batter for it. Of course it's like $70 but I just bought it. Better safe than sorry. I got my Litter Robot on eBay for like a hundred dollars less than it costs retail so I felt like I could buy the back-up battery without feeling totally taken on this expensive poop house. Litter Robot Back-up Battery

The cat- Acorn. She's four. The rescue lady told me she's three, but clearly in her paperwork, she's four. Also, looking in her paperwork, apparently her name was Baby until she was surrendered. Then she was named Acorn. E took to Acorn so it stuck. I was thinking her name should be Hillary. As in Clinton. Since the only reason B really relented was because we were shell-shocked by the election and I was in a full on Ativan-taking state of depression. We were at work the next day, and in my listless haze, I saw a different cat (that turned out not to be available) that he agreed to let me get. Anyhow, Acorn stuck.

Acorn and the D-K family had some early growing pains though. Acorn is front declawed. (WE DID NOT DO THIS. My friend Coley told me not to tell people she's declawed. But- we didn't do it, and wouldn't do it. When they're surrendered, especially not a kitten, they still need a home and have a hard time getting one. No reason not to take one that already had this horrific surgery. It's not their fault). I don't know if it's because she's declawed, but she bites. The animal hospital tech where I met and picked her up from told me she does "love bites". But overstimulate her or who knows why else, she had been hiss/biting. Not to me though. It was like a horror movie, like The Bad Seed, where all these awful things are happening behind the scenes, but the main character is not seeing it. She didn't hiss/bite me, but she did it to E and B. It was bad.

E's hand on top, B's on bottom
I read in her paperwork that she bit the original owner in aggressive play and she was hospitalized with cellulitis for five days. Okay, well, seniors get cellulitis, so that isn't the bad part. But I couldn't have my husband and son scared of the cat. Especially since we got the cat mostly for E. I wasn't sleeping or eating because I was so stressed out. If I finally fell asleep, I was waking up in the middle of the night traumatized by it. The biting was mostly unprovoked. Yes, it could partially be because it's a new place, new people, and E was basically Lenny from Of Mice And Men with her. In her face.

You don't realize how much you don't know about cats until you get one. While I was up all night, I'd be reading cat information and blogs. I didn't know you have to let a cat come to you first- so they think it's their choice. I've been around cats, plenty. I just never really thought about it. With Cohen's cat, Maximus, he just immediately comes to me. I don't have to go to him. Acorn is ours though, and a new focus, I guess, and we go to her because she's there and it's a new thing to have a pet there. She also seemed okay with us touching her belly, but then she also bit B and maybe E for doing that. I then read that belly touching, even if they turn over and show it, is a real no-no. Who knew?? She's showing her belly- so you assume, that like with a dog, she wants you to touch it. Not so.

*See blog post about the cat belly-

The above link is written by a friend, Dan, that I've known since I was in middle school. He was my best friend's brother's friend so I saw him at her house all the time. He's a cat behaviorist. I know that sounds funny- not because I think it's funny, but everyone I've said this to thinks it's funny. It's real profession and for people with cat problems it must be a necessity. He's out in San Francisco though. But I needed help. I contacted Dan and he was going to do a Facetime/Skype call with me to discuss these behavior things.

*Dan's main page with a blog and other useful cat information, including his services, fees, etc:
Go Cat Go!

I was at my wits end. I had picked Acorn up on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (November 23). She hid under this gross couch in the basement, that came with our house, for two days. We didn't even know if she was alive or if this was normal (It is.). Then when she did come out, she'd be loving, then bite. I started calling her Cujo.

From the jump, I'd thought the whole process was too easy. The first time around when I was looking at cats, and I'd contacted rescues, I had to fill out extensive paperwork, I would need references from friends, family, vets. I practically had to sign in blood. With Acorn, I asked if she was good with kids, good for a first time cat owner. Rescue lady said "the cat is very sweet and gentle. Seems unfazed by dogs and cats. Always friendly to anyone who meets her".

She wanted me to set up a visit to meet. I chose two days later on a Saturday. Rescue lady told me she was away, and it "gets busy" on Saturdays, but I could visit Acorn where she was staying. I didn't know what busy meant. Like, if someone else came before me and wanted her, would they get her? I left my house at 8:15a so I'd be the first person there when they opened. When I went to visit her, the people there thought I'd take her right then if I wanted her. I was surprised- I thought this was just to meet her and see her temperment. I told them I wasn't prepared yet, but I wanted to come back that Wednesday, which was four days after I met her.

I still thought I had to be "chosen". I'd emailed the rescue lady that I wanted her but didn't hear from her for two days. I called the place Acorn was staying directly and they said I was set for Wednesday. My friend Alex and I went and picked Acorn up, got no information, and I was on my way with a cat. I didn't hear from the rescue lady again until Wednesday November 30th! I think that's a long time to check-in, when she knew this was our first cat ever. I've never had a dog either. I told her about the biting that day and she got back to me on December 2, in the afternoon.

She said, "Sorry for the delay". Yeah, me too Lady. She pretty much said that cats sometimes bite, she just needs to get acclimated. I sent her the pictures of E and B's hands. She said, (paraphrasing), that if it doesn't work out they take their animals back. I told her that I wasn't up to that yet- but I felt like I had no support, so I was going to a vet, have the behaviorist appointment set and I'd get back to her after. I didn't want to give Acorn up- when she's not biting, she's great. However, I was on the verge of tears every day and didn't know what to do. I'd point blank asked Rescue Lady if the cat was good with kids. I'd read in the paperwork after I took her, that the cat lived with a senior woman. How the hell would she even know if Acorn was good with kids?

I went to Dr. Dennis Sepulveda at Veterinary Wellness Center on Rock Road in Glen Rock. I can't rave enough about them all, especially the doctor. My appointment was for 4p. I'd had a difficult time getting Acorn in the carrier, and once I did, I ran out the door, with Acorn and E. It was 3:45p. I'd stopped at the bank across the street to activate my debit card because I didn't know how much it would cost. Of course my card wouldn't work. No time to fix it then. The vet's office told me the appointment would be about thirty minutes. I thought that was plenty of time to get E to swim practice in Ridgewood by five thirty. 

By the time I got to the vet at like 3:50p, I was already super emotional. This was a nightmare. I told them at the vet earlier, when I made the appointment for later, that I was just really upset and gave an overview of what was going on. When we got there at 4p, they took us in an exam room, and listened to my story, in depth. I went to show the pics of the bitten hands, but I couldn't find my phone. I thought maybe I left it at the bank or in the car, but I couldn't think about that at the moment.

The doctor came in, showed me all his bites and scratches, told me had six cats, and immediately put me at ease. Acorn was happily resting on the exam table, of course, not hissing, biting, or doing anything. The doc looked her over, said she has good teeth, and said she looked good all around. He told me about cats acclimating, gave me tips, printed some information out for me, answering questions I had that the rescue lady didn't bother to answer. Dumb questions, like do I leave lights or music on for her when we're not there. Is she going to eat my make-up if we let her all over the house? Then the techs cut her back nails and cleaned the wax out of her ears. Biting or hissing at no one. All in all, I was there until after five o'clock. The doctor spent a ton of time with us, making me feel like I didn't have to give Acorn back. That everything would be okay.

I went to pay and they said it was on them. IT WAS ON THEM. What? I've been to twenty doctors for E's tics, they spend very little time with him, and then charge me my fifty dollar copay, seeming like they don't give a crap. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and hopefulness, that I just started bawling. Literally. I couldn't stop. They definitely earned my trust, respect, love, gratitude, etc. I highly recommend them. You know they have you and your pet's best interest at heart. My friend Carolina happened to see me, clearly crying, through the window of the vet and waited until I came out. I couldn't even tell her what was going on because E was going to already be late for swim practice. *Sorry Carolina. I told you I'd call you, but clearly, I've had a lot going on. 

Veterinary Wellness Center

I ran the cat in the house, didn't even look around, then took off toward the Ridgewood YMCA. Normally I could get there in like seven minutes or so, even at the five o'clock hour. BUT EVERY ROAD WAS CLOSED ON THE WAY. It was Ridgewood's Tree Lighting. I still didn't know where I left my phone. I dropped E at swim, then without even telling him, I left, went to the bank, went back to the vet (who probably thought I totally lost my mind), and still no phone. I stopped home, went to the basement, where the cat was living, and there was my phone, on the chair, where I left it when I was trying to get the cat in the carrier. Yay for no lost new iPhone, but my nerves were shot, man. SHOT.

I cancelled my appointment with Dan because I felt like I got all the information I needed for the time being. But, like I said, his blog is a great resource too. Part of me wanted to keep the appointment just so I could write about it. I have a lot of curious friends who were waiting to hear about it. But I really couldn't justify the expense when I have the vet right here to help me. At least for now.

Update: Acorn is doing better. No more hiss-biting. She's still doing the love bite thing. She's still nipping. For instance, she likes to climb up on me, sniff in my face, maybe lick my face and lay on me like a baby, with her head above the crook of my arm. But then I put my hand near her face, which she normally loves, and she went to bite at me three times this morning. It didn't seem like it was mean or angry biting, and had she connected, it may not have hurt, but it seemed like more than the love bite thing, and biting is biting. It's scary! And she's the one crawling and laying on ME. I didn't just grab her and put her there, so it is definitely confusing.

The problem is the unpredictability factor. Like, I don't mind her in my face at all, but I can't say I'm not afraid she'll bite me in the face. But it's only been two weeks. We're taking our time to get acquainted.

She's ventured upstairs now. Today was the first day I gave her the run of the house while not there. Just not our bedrooms. The doors are shut. Yesterday was a complete clusterfcuk. The cleaning people were coming for the first time since she moved in. The cable guy was coming too. They both needed to get into the laundry room where we are not allowing her. Too many places to hide where we couldn't get to her. And that's where all the cleaning supplies are. I'd thrown out my back and I had to keep following both the cleaning people and the cable guy around every time they went to the basement to make sure while they did what they needed to do, she didn't run in there while no one saw and locked her in. I ended up locking the cable guy in there at one point because he was so quiet in there, but that's another story. And only for a few minutes.

She was strutting around like she owned the place this morning. When I left she was under the couch in the living room. I guess I will see if there was any mass destruction or anything when I get home. Just like with kids, it's always the stuff you don't think about.

**Update #2- I'm home, she was under the couch in the living room where I left her at 10a. But she must have gone down to the basement at some point. She came out when E and I came home. Then someone rang the doorbell and she booked downstairs. 

***Other cat accoutrements that have made my life easier***

Pet Feedster Plus-

I'm only feeding dry food which I got the okay for from the animal hospital she was staying at, and the vet here. I'm using Wysong Vitality which the doctor said was a really good choice. This feeder is programmable for up to 10 meals in a day, I think. I only use two meals but I guess if you have multiple pets? I don't know. It's easy to program and holds ten pounds of food. 

Pioneer Pet drinking fountain-