Monday, December 31, 2012

GOODBYE, 2012!

So here we are, loveys, nearly at 2013.

We've survived like 3 different 2012 Doomsday predictions, yes? We made it! Whew!

This was a good year for me, I'd say. Can't complain when I have a family that is still healthy, still here, and still intact.

*quick head count, just to be sure*

Yep, all here. Welp, nothing more for us here to do to ring in the new year, except: 1) Make our resolutions, (and resolve not to break them in the 1st week), 2) Get our tax-crap together for Uncle Sam, and, oh yes - 3) Get chocolate wasted.

I don't know about you loveys, but in my household, we're pretty hardcore:


Here's to 2013!



Is there any other way to ring in a fresh, optimistic, shiny new year?


Cheers, my ninja!


Of course not! But that also means there's only one way to ring out the old, see-ya, way-over-it last year:



Porcelain prayers and promises...

Yikes!
Be safe out there, all you revelers.
Don't drink and drive.
And if you must break curfew, call your mother. Well, unless she's asleep at that hour. In that case, the decent thing to do is just sneak in before she has time to panic.

Happy New Year, loveys!! May 2013 be your very best yet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

HOW I WRITE

          Here I sit, de-stressing by way of my netbook. Sure, it’s a little cramped in the front seat of my Toyota, but the shortage of wiggle room is barely noticeable once I get going. I’m parked in a strip mall with the car idling and the heater blasting in defense of the freezing temperature outside.
          Confession: I’m playing hooky from work today. Just taking a “mental health” day. I needed a day to relax with my coffee, my computer and my words. A cherished, if stolen, block of time I need to write without being interrupted by my young children.
          Every night my sleep is disrupted by my son's cries for a toy that's fallen from his bed, or by my daughter’s fear of a shadow in her room, or even by my barking dog. Point is, I haven’t slept soundly in over six years, and I can’t punish my body even more by staying up any later at night or getting up any earlier in the morning. Not even for the therapeutic act of writing.
            I started working on a story last month, scribbling down snatches of ideas here and there, on any materials handy. That story has been transcribed from thoughts I hurriedly jotted down in crayon on a phone bill, and from memories I'd scrawled on a paper towel, and on a borrowed page from my toddler’s coloring book. Whatever tools I found nearby. You know how puny my attention span is, loveys. I can't--
          Ooh, look - something shiny!
          Never mind. It was just a gum wrapper. Anyhoo...
          I'm sorry. What were we talking about again? Oh, yes. My office.
          I don’t have the luxury of spending hours at a time concentrated on writing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My babies inspire and motivate me. I’m grateful to God for them. But I still have a dream and a relentless tug from my creative spirit that begs for nourishment. So I still write.
Sure, my husband shakes his head at me for the occasional day of hooky, but he would never dispute the healing power of my pen. And yes, my daughter may protest when I ask to tear a page from her coloring book to jot some lines on, but eventually she’ll appreciate the inheritance of detailed journals I’ve recorded for her. I write for my family as much as for myself, and in the end they’re my biggest motivation.
          Tomorrow I’ll rise early and trudge to the job that helps pay the mortgage.
          Tonight I’ll hit my pillow by eleven, and maybe, maybe, even get to sleep soundly.
          But right now, I will stay scrunched up in my car, hiding out in homespun tales on the page. Because that is how I write. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

LOVE AT ARM'S LENGTH

      I was eleven years old. It was Friday, the day before Halloween, and I’d come home from school wearing the store bought Power Rangers costume I'd begged my mom for two weeks prior. She refused to buy it at first, because she took great pride in making our costumes by hand each year. But I was eleven – in sixth grade! I was certain it was going to be my last year dressing up for Halloween, so I didn’t want to be another homemade angel rocking a tinfoil halo and a dress made from an old bed sheet. I wanted the plastic mask and costume all the other kids had. A character costume people could recognize without me having to explain that I was not a fairy, or worse, an insect.
     I got off the school bus wearing the Power Rangers mask pushed on top of my head. (Who knew those made your face sweat so much?) I already had two small rips in the flimsy plastic outfit, and I reeked of vinyl. I hated to admit it, but Mom was right about my crappy costume choice. 
     On my way inside, I glanced at the two suitcases sitting on the porch. In the living room, my mom sat on the couch cradling my three year-old brother, Emile. She was dressed in her church clothes, which was odd considering we never went to church.
       “Mommy’s just going to go away for a little while, baby,” she said as she kissed Emile on his forehead and wiped tears from his cheeks.
       I looked at Dad. He sat hunched over in the old recliner Mom had proudly plucked from someone’s curb on trash day. Dad's elbows rested on his knees and his thumbs propped up his quivering chin so that his hands were positioned as if he was praying. His red-rimmed eyes stared straight ahead at nothing. 
       “Mom, what’s going on?” I dropped my bag of candy on the ground. My stomach filled with a ball of nerves so intense I felt nauseous. “Mom, where are you going?”
       My mother lifted my brother from her lap, handed him to my dad, and came to hug me. “I’m just going to go away for a while, sweetie.” She gave me a quick peck on the cheek and walked toward the door. 
       Emile began to cry harder. “Mama!” He struggled to break free from our dad.
       “Mom, wait! What about trick-or-treating? And our cupcake ghosts?”  I snatched the stupid mask from the top of my head and threw it to the ground. “Mom, I’m sorry about the costume!”
       She went outside, grabbed her suitcases and hurried to our station wagon.
       My heart beat savagely inside my chest. “Dad, why are you just sitting there? Don’t let her go!”
       My dad wiped his eyes and carried my wailing baby brother back to his room. I heard him sit in the creaky rocking chair that had soothed Emile since he was born, and then the rough, loud cough of the station wagon’s engine roaring to life. 
      I ran out the front door. Mom had already started backing down the driveway. Her face was crumpled.
      “Mom!” I ran to the car and smacked at the side with my open hand.
      She refused to look at me, and continued backing out of the driveway.
      “Mom!” I screamed. “Please don’t go! What did I do? Why are you doing this?" I tried my best to keep up with the car. "Are you coming back?”
      I barely heard her repeating, “I love you, baby. Mama loves you,” as she backed out, put the car in Drive and started down the street. 
      I chased her for two blocks with my plastic costume flapping behind me, but she never turned to look at me or even slowed down. “Please, take me with you!” I begged her to stop. I apologized for ever wanting that stupid costume. But still, she never looked back.
      It is fifteen years later, and I have heard from my mother exactly two times since the day she left. I received a birthday card from her two weeks after my fifteenth birthday. All it said was ‘Happy 14th Birthday!’ That was it. Despite the late arrival and the wrong age, I was thrilled. Certainly it meant Mom was coming home. I was fifteen years old, and I’d grown so much, changed so drastically. I was anxious to share my life with her and have her there, finally, to guide me through my teenage angst. Dad was great, and Lord knows he tried – waiting patiently while I tried on my first bras, doing his best to help when I got my period, buying me everything from maxi pads to “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.” But now, I thought, my mom’s coming home.
      Another four years went by before I heard from her again. That time it was a short hand-written note passed on to me from my Grammy. In the note she asked how I was doing, said she was doing fine, she missed me, she’d try to visit sometime soon. It wasn’t more than a paragraph long. Just enough to rip my heart again.
      I wanted her to be sorry for destroying our family. I wanted her to explain why she left us without warning.
      I also still wanted her to come back.
      My mother’s absence left such a gaping hole in my heart – if it had been filled with anything at all in all those years, it was only with fear of abandonment, a little guilt for her leaving, and always an unwavering, if tiny, bit of hope. Hope that she would someday come back and make things right.
    Tonight I blew out the candles on my twenty-sixth birthday cake without bothering to make the same wish.This year, I decided it is okay to forgive. I've given myself permission to heal. Now I know that I am okay to love my mom. Even if I can only love her from a distance.
~ The End
Disclaimer:
This is total fiction, loveys. My own mom is super-loving, and never left us even for an afternoon, much less a lifetime. She rocks my face off, for serious.

Monday, October 22, 2012

FAMILY

Hello and happy Monday, blog fam. Thanks for stopping by.

Had a good weekend? I'm still trying to shake off Sunday and move into desk jockey mode myself.

*stretch...yawn...reach for more coffee*

Mmm...that's better, loveys.

I can confide in you guys, right? (You may want to think it over. You never know what I'll sound off on.)

May I proceed then? Yes? Okay then, I shall.

I have a dysfunctional family. Yep, I sure do. Nothing out of the norm about that though, right? I mean, in these days of step families, half families, broken families, combined families, reality tv families...it's really not all that normal to have a "normal" family. Agreed?

Truth is, my sibs and I couldn't be more different - heck, I'm even a different race than all six of them - but please don't get it twisted; any one of us would kill for the other. No joke. Take a look at Twin, killing for me without question:

Clearly, she's terrified. But no matter. She'll still kill for me.


But here's the thing:

I have about one hundred brothers and sisters. We're not blood-related, obvs. We're not a family of rabbits! But the people I'm talking about aren't just friends anymore. I consider them to be my family. We didn't grow up together, but we have grown and expanded together in some way or another. And I couldn't love them more, even if we were kin.



A few of my surrogate sisters.

As I go through life, my family constantly changes and evolves, because I continue to make my own family.

That's right, loveys. I make my own. Not in a creepy, cult-like fashion. No, friends.

It goes like this: I love you, I bring you in, and I make you family.

You don't need to come from the same womb to be my sister. I don't need legal papers to show you are my brother. If I come to love you, I will always love you. And in my eyes, and in my heart, my surrogate family is an integral part of my spirit. You peeps know who you are. I thank you and I appreciate you for all you have done for me through the years.

Sure, we may disagree or fight:

Ahh, just feel all that love...
But I have your back.

I know you have mine.

Sometimes that's all we really need. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES

Happy Friday, lovebugs!

You crazy kids all set for the next 2 days of chillaxin'? Yeah, me too.

You guys know me by now, right? (If you're new here, let me recap. I dig books, nerds are royalty to me, and I love, love, love a good laugh - most particularly when it is at someone else's expense. Like when you scare the pee out of an unsuspecting loved one. Loves it! Now that you're all caught up, let's press on.)

I wanted to share with you my Friday Faves - this week focusing on the funny.

Have you seen these pics? They're shots of unsuspecting haunted house-goers, snapped in mid-fright. Take a good look, loveys. They will make you smile, they will relax you better than a Xanax ever could, and - perhaps most important - it's not us looking all crazy here. So please enjoy.

Let's start with these little luvs:


My dad can whoop your dad.
No, wait.
 My dad puts me in a choke-hold and uses me as a shield when he's scared.
Oh, parents. Aren't they so cute?

Wow. So much going on here.
Boob grab? Check!
Leg-lock that'd put wrestlers to shame? Check!
Blonde hair inflation? Check!
Mouth tripled in size? Check!
Little to no eyeball-iris showing? Check!






Not sure whether they're scared, rocking out, or trying to look sexy.
"Must...keep...duck lips..."


I hope these brought a smile to your face, loveys. Have a great weekend, and for more pics of silly ridiculosity, please do go here.

xoxoxo


 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

HELENA CONFIDENTIAL

Hello and happy Thursday, loveys!
Let me ask you guys something. Does the truth really set you free?
'Cause I've gotta say, I don't feel very free lately.

Just the opposite, actually. I feel heavy. I mean, literally weighed down. Between my commitments to family, work, friends and writing, I just don't feel very free at all.
Hmm...

*rubs chin*
What to do?...What to do?

Well, I do have a couple of secrets stashed away that I guess I could spill. So, in an effort to feel lighter; to be "set free," I'm totally gonna spill 'em.

First confession: I have a skeleton in my closet. No, I really do have a skeleton in my closet. Go ahead and peek inside.
Go on. I'll wait.



"Helena's closet should be bigger. I recommend her husband build her a walk-in."
 Whew!

 You know what? I do actually feel a little lighter. Glad to get that off my chest.

Okay, lemme think of another one...

*snaps fingers*

Got one! I am willing to share my top secret flawless skin secret. I hope you're sitting, because this one's pretty profound.

It's also super embarrassing. Don't judge.

Umm, guys? I wipe my face with toilet seat covers.


Supermodel secret of the stars. For reals.

Yeah, I totally do. Not used ones or anything, mind you. No, don't laugh! It's just that my skin is way crappy. And of course I've tried the little oil blotters. Me and Sephora are likethis, so please don't tell her that I prefer blotting papers in the public toilets over the ones on her shelves.

I must say, this whole spilling-my-guts thing is completely therapeutic. I feel 10 pounds lighter already. I'm on a roll, why stop now? Okay, loveys, I'm going to trust you with my top-secret, super-high clearance level Hush-hush:


Yep. I'm a superhero. I have a certificate and everything.
And there you have it. No more secrets, guys. Freedom is my bitch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

HELLO!

*pokes head into blogosphere*

Hello, loveys! Miss me? Please do forgive my absence. I'll be back tomorrow, promise.

Hugs and smooches!

Monday, October 15, 2012

CAREER DAY

Hello and happy Monday, loveys! Weekend went well? And are you recharged and renewed for the work week ahead?

(Yeah, me either, but let's just fake it 'til we make it to Friday evening.)

Speaking of work, let's talk careers. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Well my son, at age 3, has decided on his future job, and I've gotta tell you guys, I'm not feelin' it.

Picture it: Last weekend my kids and I are minding our own business in the Halloween store. My daughter found the exact Disney pirate-girl costume she'd been wanting within 5 minutes. Yay!

My son was a bit more time-consuming. (Who says girls take longer to get ready? Psh!) Anyhoo...He walked slowly, scanning the aisles and disregarding one costume after another. Any suggestions I made were ignored entirely.

I couldn't rush him. This was likely the biggest choice he's had to make in all of his 3 years.

So I waited.

Checked my watch.

I walked a few steps away to look at other stuff.

Checked my watch again.

Finally, he said, "I want to be this for Halloween!"

I rushed over to see his choice, and I froze.



"Stop! Or my mom will shout!"
 A cop. My son, my baby, wants to be a freaking cop.

I know, I know. They'll change their minds 500 times during their lives, but it still makes me nervous, loveys. I mean, being a police officer, while noble and courageous, is freaking dangerous!

Can I be real with you guys? I'm kinda hoping my babies choose jobs that A) keep them near me, B) keep them afloat financially, and C) keep them safe. Something like, oh, I don't know...Writing? Accounting? Knitting?

But no.

My son tells me every day that he's a policeman.

(Kinda slick really, when I'm telling him to brush his teeth, or go to bed, or stop biting the dog's tail, and he hits me with, "No, I don't have to, because I'm a policeman, so I'm the boss.")


Okay! Okay! No nap for you.

I guess it would be a great source of pride to raise some kind of hero though. I mean, it takes a special kind of person to take such huge risks for such small reward. Lord knows I'm not brave enough to patrol anything darker than my own pantry, so I'm glad they are.

I went to a charity boxing match, cops vs. firefighters, not too long ago. The girls were just as tough as the guys, which still makes me smile. It was some extra-special kind of awesome to know these ladies and gents are badass enough to not only suit up and patrol every day, but they're also taking additional time from their lives to train for, then compete, in a sporting event to raise money for Backstoppers.


Guns 'N Hoses events will rock your face off.
Or knock your face off, depending on your level of participation.

I've known a few police officers, firefighters and military men and women, and I do feel incredibly grateful to have them watching my back.

Hmm...maybe having my son or daughter become cops wouldn't be so bad.

I took a long walk to gather my thoughts. I just needed to clear my head. First, I ran into this guy:


Thanks for watching my back, Officer. And my front.
 He actually made me feel a little better. He made it seem so damn appealing, I even thought about entering the police academy myself!

Picture it:

Somehow it looks less cool when I do it.
Okay, we'll scratch that idea.

But seriously, I've decided that no matter what career my kids choose, I'm behind them 100%. I guess I'll worry about them wherever they end up in life. And it truly does warm my heart to think that maybe I could raise a couple of hardcore, badass pillars of society.

So I'm a-okay now, loveys. Thanks for asking. And all it took was some serious thought, a bit of reflection, and a lingering conversation with this guy:

Thanks for the pep talk, Sir. Now I feel your point.
So what do you want to be when you grow up?

Friday, October 12, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES

Take a deep breath, guys. Inhale very deeply.

You smell that?

Yep. It's the weekend, baby!

Happy Friday, my lovey-doveys! Big plans for the weekend?

I don't know about everyone else, but I plan to cram about a week's worth of fun into my two days off.

Then, I'll cap my weekend with my typical Sunday evening relax-and-recharge routine: Blowout my hair, polish my fingernails and piggies, and scrub the top layer of my face off with whatever exfoliant I have nearby.
All in the name of starting the next shiny, fresh week off with a shiny, fresh me.

My closest loveys and BFFs know that I love cosmetics. My stash of lotions and potions is shamefully ginormous. But we all know it takes about 50 different products to achieve that "Maybe she's born with it," natural glow. Duh.

So this week I wanted to share with you some of the gorgeousness that I'm loving and/or coveting right now.

Let's first state the obvious: I definitely believe that beauty starts from the inside. I know women and men in their 50's who look 10 years younger than their birth certificates say. Not from surgery or creams or any gimmicks. No, loveys. These people take care of themselves, yes, but you know what I noticed they do different than most? They laugh. A lot. They smile through hardships, they joke through tears, and they have just refused to turn into bitter old Crusties. That's what.

I'm putting that out there, because someone told me today that I smile too much, seemingly "bopping" through life, and it makes me seem like an airhead. Umm, what? I thought about it for a minute - precisely one minute - then I brushed it off, laughed my loud, injured-seal-sounding laugh, and bopped my ass away from that toxic downer.

That's not to say the comment didn't sting, because it did. I hurt, just like everyone else. But I choose, deliberately, to project myself in a happy way. I've learned that makes me a happier Helena.
And I have learned I will be the youngest looking airhead in the nursing home when I'm 90. So there!

The only Airheads here are these candies.

Now, back to my faves:

First, take these vitamins. I insist. They are the best thing to happen to my mouth since sliced gum. And the best part, aside from the super-yum factor, is that you have to take four to get a serving. Yes, please!

Flintstones are so five days ago.
Next, give yourself a mani-pedi. Do it.
Why are you still sitting there?
Seriously, changing the color on the tips of your toes and fingers will brighten your whole outlook. (For dudes, I'd still recommend you go for it. If nothing else, you'll make other people laugh. See above: Laughter = Years of age erased from your face.)

This is my favorite line. The range of colors is never-ending, and the fast-dry formula is perfect for having to turn around minutes later and tap out your manuscript.

Look, Ma! No Chips!

Now, for my favorite:
Step aside, Channing Tatum, because these boots are my new object of lust. You guys know how hard I fall in love, yes? I saw these in a magazine yesterday, fell in lust and ran to conduct a thorough Google search, knowing full-well they'd be mine.


Well played, Michael Kors. Well played.
Then I saw the price tag.

It took me a second to regain my senses and pick my chin up from my keyboard.

$400?!

(It's okay. I'm still smiling, bopping through life.)

I did a quick search of the couch cushions. 36 cents.

The bottom of the washing machine was good for another dime.

My car floorboards yielded another 78 cents.

So you see, loveys? I'm nearly there! Glass half-full!

I hope you guys have an awesome weekend. See you here on Monday, to kick off our shiny, new week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WHATCHA READIN'?

Loveys, there is no better time to curl up with a good book than when it's getting chilly outside.

I read all the time: Books, magazines, internet, cereal boxes, street signs, my sister's diary - you know, just whatever's there.

If you know anything about me at all, it is that I am a full-blooded WordNerd.

Sidebar: If you're on Goodreads, congratulations! That's one of my favorite places to hide, but I'll come out of hiding just for you. You can find me here to see my virtual bookshelves, what I liked and didn't, and what is in my To-Be-Read stash. I'll also peek on your shelves, so make sure you dust, or I'll totally talk crap about you when I leave.

Anyhoo, I have to tell you guys about this book I bought on release day this summer, called "Gone Girl." I rarely buy hardcover, especially not on release day.

*turns pockets out*

Too rich for my blood, loveys. But I remembered seeing a review for this one, and what I loved most was that it was set in small-town Missouri. That never happens! I was intrigued.

So I'm at Target, getting things I need and things I don't, just my typical what-have-you's, along with this book. I tossed it in my car and went on about my summer.

It sat in my car, forgotten, for days...weeks...months, until I cracked it open last Friday and finished it the next day.

Let me tell you, loveys, I'm still trying to catch my breath. That book is timed perfectly, will hook you immediately, and the author's story was simply brilliant. Abso-freakin-lutely brilliant. I'd highly recommend you check it out.

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn.

It will simultaneously rock your face off and make you swear off writing, because why bother when rockstar writers like this are out there; then strengthen your resolve to also write kickass stories, because women rule.

Yeah, it'll go down just like that. You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

MY MOMENT OF JEN

Get comfy, loveys. I'd like to tell you a story. It's the story of how I came to know and love my most-favorite, most I-want-to-be-her-when-I-grow-up author.

One day (many years ago) I strolled into work, minding my own business, when I saw my friend Ingy reading a book called "Good In Bed."
Wow. That's super-ballsy to just bring your porn to work and read it in the open, right?

*shifty eyes*

Not that I know anything about, or partake in, any such porny things, loveys.

*casually slides foot under the bed, shoving things a little further back*

Where was I? Oh, yes. So naturally, I did what any good friend would do, and called her out on it. She responded by loaning me that book, (totally not porn, by the way), thereby introducing me to Jennifer Weiner, and changing my life.

*cue coming-of-age music here*

I was hooked on Weiner!

(Time-out: The name is pronounced WY-ner, not WEE-ner. I know, I know. It'd be way funnier if I was hooked on WEE-ner. Well, I kind of am. I mean, I do love a good--Wait. Stop it, loveys! You know how easily I get sidetracked!)

Anyhoo. Back to Jennifer.

After "Good In Bed" came "In Her Shoes." Perhaps you recognize that one, since it became a movie starring Cameron Diaz? Hmm?

"The Guy Not Taken." "Goodnight Nobody." "Fly Away Home." "Best Friends Forever." "Certain Girls."

I gobbled her novels like candy. And in between, any article, blog post, Tweet, etc. that my idol wrote, I found, devoured, saved and re-read.

Then it happened, loveys. Jennifer Weiner had a St. Louis stop on one of her book tours. I was going to meet this chick, face-to-face. And I was going to try not to do the hysterical Bieber-fever crying when I did.

I didn't know what to expect, since I'd never met (or really even cared to meet) any other author before. I mean, she's whip-smart, she's uber-successful, and she has nerves of steel. (Step aside, Allred.) The kind of gal you're glad to have other girls looking up to. I was way nervous.


But Jennifer came, looking like the #1 chick-lit author that she is. She beamed from the stage, rocking the most beautiful, floral summer dress, wearing the most natural, soft makeup to complement her tan, and an absolutely gorgeous, shiny head of highlights...And then she spoke.

I think maybe the 3rd or 4th word out of her mouth was "cock." I sat 3 rows back, looking up at that eloquent Princeton grad at the podium, cracking penis jokes, telling drunk stories, and tossing out the "F" word like it's "the." She had her comedic timing down-pat, like a seasoned improv actor. She was charming and humble and gracious. She did the impossible, and made me love her even more.

I rubbed my eyes, just to be sure I hadn't accidentally wandered into a Chelsea Handler show.
But no, my eyes weren't deceiving me. This author, this bookworm, was no writer-nerdgirl. She was, in a word, cool. Rockstar, badass, and really, truly authorific. Just cool on a whole 'nother level.

So after she finished speaking, we all lined up for her to sign our books. When it was my turn, 2 things happened:

1) The stranger I'd asked to take our picture just couldn't figure out how to work that big, obvious button at the top of my camera, so I ended up lingering, leaning in extra-close and clutching my idol for a couple of super-awkward minutes, completely oblivious of how creepy I probably was to her until I saw the picture of her defensive stance later.


I'm not gonna go all "Swimfan," I swear.

2) I asked her if she'd ever thought of writing a "How I write" kind of book for writers. Kind of like Stephen King's "On Writing," but funny.
She asked if I was a writer.
I said I'm trying.
And she said - are you ready for this, loveys? She said, "Well, contact me when you're published, and I'll write you a blurb."
Guys, did you see that?
Jennifer Weiner, reigning queen of Author-Awesome, said "when."
Not "if." She said when.
In that moment, and with that one word, she made me believe, I mean really, truly believe, that I'll be a published author.

When.

And that, my loveys, was my own Moment of Jen.

For your own moments of Jen, I'd highly recommend you also stake out any appearances she may have. Also, buy her books. And any magazines she's featured in.
This month, Allure magazine (Blake Lively's on the cover.) features the most poignant, beautiful essay you will ever read about the "F" word. (No, not that "F" word, you pervs! What is it with you guys?)

*shoves things under the bed just a tad further*

The "F" word here is fat. I promise you will never look at it the same way again. You can read it here.

Check her out at: www.jenniferweiner.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenniferweiner



Monday, October 8, 2012

SO LONG, SUMMER!

It was 33 degrees when I woke up this morning, loveys. Almost to the freezing point, when it was 80 degrees here just the other day. *sigh*

I know, I know. We're knee-deep into October now, so I should get over it. Summer has left me. Even the calendar says so.

But you don't understand. Summer is not only my favorite season, she's like a BFF, waking me up with her warmth and sunshine and happy critter sounds every day.
*picture me doing a Mary Tyler Moore twirl here*
Her open skies, gentle breezes and blooming flowers all inspiring me, and encouraging me to do what I want, to go places I didn't think I could go, and to be anything I want to be. Gosh, I love you, Summer!

And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

See?

Summer says you're never too big for the kiddie pool.









Now let's further examine some super-scientific evidence. Shall we? Let's.

You see this?


Power-lifting
This is me, using my super-human Summer strength to lift my six-foot-something brother. No adrenaline or PCP needed or anything! Just the love and encouragement of my ol' pal Summer.

And now look at this:


Must...fight...back...
 Same me. Same brother. Totally different season.

Cold weather is my Kryptonite, guys.

Wintery temps render me immobile underneath my layers. My fingers can't write properly when they're cold. And my tan? Psh! I'm practically glow-in-the-dark pale when Summer isn't around.

Now that's not to say I haven't ever disagreed with my favorite season. Sure, we've had our fights, Summer and I. In fact, this year she brought temperatures so hot, my makeup melted right off. That stain on my shirt? That was my face, before I stepped outside. Thanks for noticing.

Along with that brutal heat came a myriad of critters, trying to seek refuge in my house.




Not cool, Summer. Not cool.

But still, absence does indeed make my heart grow fonder, loveys.
So as I pack away my swimwear and unearth my sweaters, I vow to myself that I will be brave this year.

*sniffle*

Winter brings a lot to look forward to too, you know.

There is no yardwork to be done, for one thing.



Also, I get to swap out my swim goggles for these sweet winter goggles:

"You look so much better through my beer goggles, Helena."

Also, on cold nights, the hubs and I can tuck the kids into their beds, go downstairs with our coffee and a blanket, and sit in front of the fire. You know what that means, right? You guessed it, loveys. We'll be roasting marshmallows, and not sharing with the kids! *naughty, naughty* So there's always that.

*casts around for legit reasons not to miss Summer...*

Well, any excuse to rock a Snuggie is halfway awesome. Yes?
And there's hot cocoa in colder months - extra marshmallows when I make it. That kinda rules.
No need to go out. Stay in and write. Hello, deadline. Fancy meeting you on time.
And the cinnamon rolls, hot and fresh from the oven.
Winter's perfect for feety jammies. For the kids, I mean. No self-respecting grown-up over the age of 35 would ever be caught wearing feety jammies. *yanks curtains closed*
Pumpkins are the rock stars of gourds, so I guess the pumpkin patch is cool.
Oh, and we always have the holidays to look forward to. I've been extra-good this year, so there's no telling what Santa will give me.
"Sit on Santa's lap and tell me what you want."

Uhhhhhhhhhhh..............I'm sorry, loveys. Lost my train of thought. What were we talking about again?

Friday, October 5, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES

You know what I love?
Stuff.
Pretty stuff, shiny stuff, free stuff, new stuff, borrowed stuff, pricey stuff, pictures of stuff, beautiful stuff - I love it all.
I'm no hoarder or anything, my loves. Nope. I get infatuated for a brief spell, forget what I was all excited about, then something else I really need catches my eye. I'm a love 'em and leave 'em type gal, so it works like this:

1. See random stuff.

Actual shot of me falling in love with random stuff.
2. Get a serious case of the warm and fuzzies. Squeal if appropriate.

3. Declare it the most awesome thing in the history of ever and insist that I have it.

A brief history of my spontaneous grabs for stuff includes, but certainly is not limited to:

  • Ashton Kutcher - my love for him spanned 1 year, 2 posters, 4 DVDs, a Twitter obsession, an email address of HelenaKutcher@ blah, blah, blah, and a serious addiction to "Punk'd."
  • Zumba - what can I say? I'm a sucker for infomercials. A quick peek at the crap stashed somewhere in my garage will attest to that.
  • Low-carb food - I have to laugh at myself for this one. Me? Go without sugar? *wipes tear*
  • Anything pink - I still struggle with this one. Especially if it's an object not typically found in pink. *hides pink pepper spray I bought after falling in love at the grocery store yesterday*
  • Paris Hilton - No, wait. Forget that last one. I'm not ready. The shame is simply too much.
Now that you've taken a glimpse into my house, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. No, for serious. You know I have the attention span of a fish. Let's get back to what I'm loving right now, because it could change the next time I blink.

Stuff I love right now:

This phone app and website will change your life. In a good way, I mean. Even if you don't have any weight to lose, it still monitors your intake of sugar, protein, etc, and it tracks water consumption and physical activity. Love, love, love it, and I think you will too.
It's like my own personal nutritionist, trainer, and nag - right in the convenience of my phone!


I found this photo, fell in love, and am obsessed with looking at it. It makes me smile just seeing these two crazy kids, and you know how much I love to smile.

Adorablocity. 
Let's see Webster's definition for that:
uh-dor-uh-BLOSS-it-ee: the overload of cute that results when the level of adorable hits way over the customary scale of 1-10.

I got this fortune with my scrumptious (not low-carb) dinner, and I've hung onto it ever since:
You see that? Just let anyone try to mess with me. Little do any evil-doers know that my winsome smile will be my sure protection. (Clearly, I do not need to bother with conceal and carry.)

 Oh, and there's this:

I love your tie!


You see it too, loveys? Yes! Channing Tatum's tie is simply gorgeous! It really brings out his eyes. And his abs. And oh my gosh, are those muscles on his freaking shoulders?!?
Please excuse me while I go change my underwear.
And all of you, have a super-fab weekend!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

"The Girls"

Well, hello, and happy Thursday, loveys!

Question for you: What do all  of these have in common?

  • newborn babies' tummies
  • sports bras
  • Kim Kardashian's favorite dress
  • mammogram machine

Answer for you: They'd all be completely empty without BOOBS!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I encourage and implore you to do something, anything, that can further the funding for research and cure of my worst enemy, cancer. The cure for breast cancer could also mean the cure to lung cancer, skin cancer, leukemia. Join a walk for the cure or donate time or money.
You can go here to give to Susan G. Komen, or my personal fave, here to donate to St. Jude's.

We can cure cancer in our lifetime. Believe that, loveys. Believe that.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy Hump Day!

Well, hello, loveys! How has October been treating you so far?
Good? Good.
Oh, mine? Hmm...let's see.
Monday and Tuesday have been borderline craptacular and super-stressful, thanks for asking. (Invitations to my pity-party have been sent out - check your mail.)

So far, this week has drop-kicked me. Don't believe me? Well, take a look for yourself. As luck would have it, I got a snapshot of this week actually kicking my butt:

("Fight or go home," said the week to Helena.)
You ever have those days when you don't wanna write, or go to work? Don't wanna keep your obligations to people? Just don't wanna do much of anything?
It's okay, my little lovebugs. You can tell me. I'm in the trenches too.
So here we are at Wednesday.
Week 1/2 empty, or week 1/2 full? Hmm...one of life's great debates. *fist under chin, pondering*
Anyhoo, back to us. We're going to have a super-fab week, and an extra-awesome October, loveys. Just follow this foolproof plan with me, and I can guarantee (*allegedly) that all of the rest of our days will be filled to the brim with awesomesauce.
*Gotta say allegedly for legal reasons.
I think.
I'm no attorney, but I've never missed an episode of Law & Order, so I could more than likely pass the bar exam on my 1st try. I'd say that certainly qualifies me to throw around some legal jargon.
I object!
You see? I know exactly what I'm doing.

Step 1: Coffee + 1 pouch of hot cocoa = the most delicious concoction you'll ever sip.


Coffee? Check.
 Step 2: Go to the pharmacy for drugs:
(And by pharmacy, I mean Krispy Kreme. And by drugs, I mean these sinful little pops of diabetes-waiting-to-happen)

Poor babies. They never stood a chance.
Step 3: Rock out as often as possible.
You know what song I have on repeat? It's a little ditty called "The Fighter," by Gym Class Heroes. Perhaps you've heard of it.
As my Twin says, "Learn it. Know it."
Let it rock your face off.
Then, turn around and bitch-slap your day into submission. *karate-chop action here*
Hi-yah!!
Ah. Feels better already, huh? Just look at all of our bright, sunshiney smiles!

WWMD (What would Mary do?)

*nibbles drugs...sips the most delicious concoction you'll ever sip*
Alright, Wednesday. Let's do this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

AIN'T LUST GRAND?

You know, one good thing about my husband not reading this blog is the freedom I have to confess things he really doesn't need to know. But I can tell you guys anything, right?

*leans in closer*

Wanna know a secret?

*looks over shoulder*

I'm in love with someone else.

Oh, it feels so good just to say it! Let me tell you, loveys. It all happened so innocently the other day. I walked into the store and the most deliciously-scented man behind me said, (in the most delicious voice) "Can I help you find something?"

Picture it:
(Actually, picture it in slow-motion, if you don't mind. So you'll get the maximum effect.)
I turned to face The Voice, hair whipping around (in slow-mo, like a Pantene commercial), and that is when I saw HIM.

Now, when I say HIM, I don't mean some random guy. No, loveys. HIM stood about 6 feet tall; trim-yet-muscular build; eyes that penetrated (yeah, they penetrated, no drinks or dinner first or anything); and the most smooth, beautiful caramel brown skin I've ever seen.

I completely lost my senses! I asked for a lotion by Soap & Glory, but it came out kinda like, "I-E-I...A-duh-hee."

You don't understand. And words don't really do him justice, I'm afraid.

I was gonna whip out my camera and take a pic for you guys, but I was already stammering, staring and salivating. Didn't want to come off as creepy or anything.

But here's a pic of someone eerily similar to HIM:

"Can I help you find something, Helena? Perhaps your senses?"
Okay, loveys. Now back to me.

Anyhoo, I came home with a skip in my step and a glow on my face, happy as can be.

The next day, hubs came home from the same store, (after exchanging something for me, bless his heart), and I'll be damned if he didn't have the exact same skip in his step and glow on his face. He sets the shopping bag down, puffs out his chest, and goes, "The guy at the store liked my shirt. He said I have a really great look." 

I grabbed the receipt, scanned it for the clerk's name, and felt my heart drop to my butt.  I turned to my husband in utter shock, barely able to squeak out, "Oh my gosh. We have the same boyfriend."

He shrugged it off, said something like, "What can I say? I'm a hot commodity," and swaggered out of the room. Proud as a peacock.

Psh! I should have seen it coming, guys, yet I ignored all the signs.

HIM was way out of my league from the beginning. (But I'm a sucker for an underdog story. I thought maybe this was my own.)
HIM works at my own slice of heaven, Sephora, and his makeup looked more natural than mine ever could. (Still, I told myself, we can make it work!)
And one tiny detail I skimmed over - HIM doesn't like girls. (Okay, fine. *waves white flag*)

But let me tell you, blog fam. For that brief moment in my week (and in my imagination), I was happy and carefree and in lust with that beautiful man, HIM.

Legal disclaimer: Marital Law, Section 22, Code 7 forces me to tell you this: My husband totally reads my blogs, usually before anyone else. So it's totally okay that I'm sharing this with you. This was posted with his permission. Don't believe me? Here he is, reading this very post, days before you are:


"Just me at home with my wife, Helena. Approving of her blog posts."


Monday, October 1, 2012

HAPPY OCTOBER!

Today is October 1st. May I be the 1st to wish you a Happy October.
We're rounding 3rd base of 2012, lovey-doveys. Hooray for Fall!
And October in Missouri is absolutely beautiful: Autumn leaves, cool weather, and of course, the prep and decor for Halloween.


What's a spider gotta do to get some candy?
 Halloween is great; A candy stash that lasts until next year, pretending to be someone (or something) else for the night, and the opportunity to scare people to tears. Score!

Fact: People love fear.

Exibit A:
Speeding cars, extreme roller coasters, and Marilyn Manson horror movies all are terrifying to varying degrees, and yet they all have legions of fans.

Well, it's no wonder why. Fear, in small doses, feels good.

"Hi. I'm Adrenaline. I'll have you hooked in no time."
How many times have you seen a person almost crap their pants in fright, only to turn around and say, "What a rush!"
The flood of adrenaline hormones in that rush actually increases your strength and speed, and decreases the body's ability to feel pain. It's kinda like being Superman, just for a bit. Though temporary, this physiological fight-or-flight response is a natural high. A high so powerful, some people become adrenaline "junkies," chasing the next rush.

She totally feels like Superman right now.

I'm no junkie for speed or heights or any real danger, but I do still love a good scare.
Wait. Let me clarify.
I love to be the scarer, not the scaree.
My personal fave of frights are the scaring pranks. You can easily see why:

It's hilarious to me seeing someone terrified. The bulged eyes, the contorted mouth, and the jerking bodily movements will have me crumpled on the floor, laughing myself into hysterics every. single. time.

*pausing for a fit of giggles*

Disclaimer: (Here's where it gets totally serious, guys.)
You can be scared to death. You can scare someone else to death. Without laying a finger on another person, without ever wielding a weapon, and even without any real intent, you can for reals kill someone. You see, adrenaline in large doses can be toxic, and can cause sometimes-fatal damage to the internal organs.

That is fact, loveys. So true it should be printed under a Snapple cap, if it isn't already.

I arm you with this super-important PSA, not to tell you how to commit murder without leaving marks.

*solemnly shakes head*

No, friends. I'm telling you, because my 6 year-old nearly killed me in the Burger King drive-thru last weekend, and I'm only just now able to revisit the trauma.

Picture it: We pull into Burger King, both singing and rocking out to "Call Me Maybe." I turn off the radio, place our order, and pull around.
It's quiet in the car.
I may have sent a text or two.
We sat at the drive-thru window for several minutes, waiting patiently.
Finally, the lady hands our food through the window, and as I turn to hand my baby girl her veggie burger, I saw she was sound asleep, slumped over in her car seat. But the way she was positioned, I swear she looked like the scary girl-monster from the Naomi Watts movie, "The Ring."

Exhibit B:


"Boo!"
I've since recovered, but the heart damage from that particular rush could have been fatal. I'm old and feeble, after all. So if I happen to keel over with no apparent cause other than a contorted expression frozen on my corpse, please leave no stone unturned in looking for the culprit. I mean it. Interrogate toddlers. Search my husband's wallet. Frisk my dogs. Whatever it takes to avenge this crime.
And also, please mark my headstone with: "Here lies Helena. She always loved a good scare."

And now...


I leave you...


with this final thought...



...











Don't let her sweet smile fool you. This little girl could very well stop your heart at first glance.