You'll have to forgive me if this post starts to ramble or is full of non-sequiturs...it's been one of those days. 

Yesterday I returned home from an amazing and wonderful week at sea with my whole family. We had a great time and ate too much food and visited countries that while beautiful really made you appreciate what you have at home. Driving through Cozumel I was struck by the beauty of the ocean and the bleakness of the interior. Gas was more than $4 a gallon. I saw moms and dads driving really small motorbikes while holding very small kids. We saw ramshackle houses where people clearly lived in poverty. I even said to my husband "this really makes you appreciate what we have at home."

Today I woke up to the news of the mass shooting in Orlando. I saw a post on Facebook first that said 20 people killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Then I turned on the news and watched the story  unfold. By early this afternoon that number had risen to 50.

50 people.
Shot dead.
50 people out for a night of fun who will never return home.

The headlines read: Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History.
There should probably be an asterisk after those words:*Until the next one.


I have to wonder what the people of those countries we visited - Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico - think when they see the news about today. I bet they appreciate what they have, even if it is just a little slice of paradise dependent on the tourists dumped on their shores by mega ships.

I bet they are thankful that they don't live in a place where 50 innocent people can be murdered by a madman wielding an assault rifle in a nightclub. I bet they are thankful that they don't live in a country where tomorrow the politicians and pundits will once again be debating "the right to bear arms" and arguing how it is a "Constitutional right" to buy an assault rifle. I bet they are thankful for their islands in the sun.

Me? I'm appalled and saddened about what happened in Orlando. I am repulsed by those who continue to argue that everyone should be able to buy guns. I'm sick of turning on the news and hearing about another mass shooting. And I'm quite certain that when the Second Amendment was written it was not meant to be interpreted as giving everyone the right to own an assault rifle because that is PURE INSANITY.

What happened in Orlando (and Sandy Hook, and Aurora, Colorado, and San Bernadino) should not happen. Ever.

It most certainly should not happen in a civilized country.
But there's the rub, isn't it?

I'm beginning to think that our country isn't so civilized after all. The amount of vitriol and hate and anger spouted on a daily basis by the presidential candidate who shall not be named and just about everyone else on the news and social media is astonishing. And sad. And exhausting. And I wonder where it will all end.

Here's hoping for peace, love, and understanding in this mad, mad world.


Life of a Dance Mom

I joke a lot about being a "dance mom" because honestly, sometimes - mostly when I'm backstage surrounded by shoes and makeup and drama - it does drive me just a little bit crazy.

But for the most part I love being a dance mom. Especially when good things happen to Olivia.

Let's talk about Olivia and dancing for a bit, shall we? Olivia started dancing about 4 years ago when she decided she wanted to take ballet. It became clear very quickly that this was something she LOVED.

I'm talking Olivia LOVES TO DANCE. She's always practicing her positions at home or ... well basically anywhere she can. Sometimes I have to ask her to please not spin so close to the stone fireplace. She rattles off ballet terms as if I'm supposed to know what she means...usually I just smile and nod.

Ballet is what makes Olivia happy.

Last fall we switched from a dance studio to the local ballet school so that Olivia could focus on the basics of ballet and work her way toward being en pointe. She started out in Advance Beginning Ballet based on her experience and age.

All year I've watched her work every week in two ballet classes and a pre-pointe class. She works hard every single week and today the hard work paid off.

Liv received her evaluation for the year and her teachers have recommended that she continues to take Advance Beginning AND also move up to Intermediate I for one class. Now that might sound like a whole lot of nothing to most of you but it's a big deal to a dancer. It means Olivia has made progress and her teachers recognize that and have promoted her up one level.

After all the health struggles Liv has dealt with this year I'm so happy that she has some really good news.

When she read her evaluation and saw the words Intermediate I she was beaming. Like literally smiling from ear-to-ear.

"Are you proud of me mommy?" she asked.

You have no idea how proud I am.


School's Out for Summer!

OK so this is just crazy.

Today is the last day of school.
What the what?!?

I think it seems so freaking WEIRD because this is the first time EVER that the girls will be done with school BEFORE June 1.

But as it is, I packed the last lunch this morning (until August that is) and I took the requisite "last day of school photos"...

And that's that.

It's crazy how much the girls have changed since August. And now we have a summer full of fun stuff planned, including the Chaos Party of 10 Cruise to the Caribbean.

Happy summer!!


Yes, I'm Still Here.

My mom sent me a private message today via Facebook. On the blog's Facebook page. She wanted to let me know that I haven't blogged since May 2 and she misses my posts.

In reality I HAVE blogged - twice - since May 2. I just haven't published the blog posts. They're currently in a 'holding pattern' until I decide to hit "publish."

Long story short: I'm dealing with some health issues and even though I have blogged about it (still in draft form) - and told a few people what is going on - I'm not quite ready to publish that draft. Sorry. #Vaguebooking again. [Friends: don't freak out....I'm not SICK sick...I'll live].

As it is I have too much shit going on right now to talk about my health.

The girls are done with the school year in TWO FREAKING DAYS.
What the what??!?!

How in the hell is the school year done already? I swear that Olivia JUST started 6th grade. And now in 48 hours I'm going to have a 7th grader and a 4th grader? #HoldMe

Also right now my home office looks like the closet and four suitcases purged themselves all over the floor. We leave next week for a 7-day cruise and EVERYTHING I'M PACKING has taken up residence in my office.

Thankfully the mess is behind my desk so I can ignore it for another few days while catching up with work.

On the upside - summer break means VACATION and more time to blog (haha...excuse me while I laugh out loud at the theory...we all know how wonderful I am about blogging lately).

Anyway...here's to the end of the school year and summer vacations and staying up late and sleeping and ice cream and all that stuff that summer brings with it.


So Tired.

I am so freaking tired today.

Being a backstage mom is hard work.

This past weekend was performance weekend for the 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.' Olivia was a resident of Emerald City in the cast and I volunteered as tribute signed up to be a backstage mom.

And so, beginning last Tuesday and ending yesterday I was a Backstage Mom. Yes, that IS an official title.

To give you an indication of what I lived through...last Tuesday we were at rehearsal from 5-9:30 p.m., Wednesday from 5-9:30 p.m., and Thursday from 5-9:30 p.m.. Then on Friday there was a "school day performance" so we were back at the theater from 9 a.m. until 1p.m. Saturday was the doozie of a day - from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. And yesterday I was finally able to see the show from the audience.

If you think being a backstage mom is all fun and game, it isn't. The second night of rehearsal was  rather, um, challenging and we had to be "mean moms." And then there is the hair and makeup and costume changes and making sure all dancers are where they need to be and the walking up and down the stairs to backstage.


Last night we went to dinner after the show and when I got home I couldn't bring myself to walk back downstairs for anything. Also, I was in bed asleep at 9 p.m.

And remember my on-going mysterious health issue? Yeah. I ache from my head to my toes and everywhere in between. That part is not fun.

However, I will say that I really did enjoy being a backstage mom. So yes, I'll do it again. And again. And again.

But right now I just need a nap.
For about 12 hours.


Adventures in Alopecia - The Ballet Bun

You guys.

I seriously almost cried today when I was doing Olivia's ballet bun for rehearsal. And no, it wasn't because ballet buns stress me out - I'm WAY past that stage of being a dance mom.

It was because her hair looks SO. FREAKING. AMAZING.

If you're wondering what the heck I'm babbling about .... long story short: Olivia was diagnosed with alopecia back in December and we're seeing a lot of growth of new hair and it's totally amazing!

Wanna see what I mean?

This photo was taken in early December before we knew what was going on. At this point Liv had lost a good 2-3 inches of her hairline and I was chalking it up to "ballerina alopecia" which just means "wearing a bun too often."

Um, hello? Look at the hair loss. I still feel horrible about this and the fact that I didn't realize sooner what the hell was happening.

But we've been applying topical steroids since JANUARY and Olivia is taking Biotin and we're trying to alleviate stress. And she's eating yogurt (to help her gut - which is where healing needs to start with auto immune disorders like alopecia).

And today? I've been worried about her ballet bun for the performances of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for months. What if her hair wasn't growing back? What would her bun look like? How would she FEEL about this?

Houston, we've got hair! Dark, gorgeous hair! Look at that smile - this girl KNOWS it looks good.

And I know this is a good hair day and we could be facing more bad hair days. But for now I'm marking this in the 'win' column.


Ramblings on Music

Yesterday I finally got around to setting the "preset" channels on my Sirius radio in the good ol' minivan.

90s on 9 is the first station. 80s on 8 is the second. I also added a Margaritaville channel, MSNBC news, Entertainment Weekly, and "adult pop songs." [Yes, Radio Disney is also in the mix for the kids].

As I was driving home from the grocery store last night, I realized that I was officially "old." No, I don't mean walking-with-a-cane old but more like "I'd rather listen to the 80s on 8 than any regular modern day pop radio station."

I would rather listen to the songs of my youth and the 90s on 9 (high school, college, and law school) than any of the crap on the top 40 radio of today.

I remember when I was a kid and my parents listened to the "oldies" station and I couldn't understand why.

I totally get it now. I want to listen to the 80s and 90s because that's who I am. Those are the decades that made me who I am.

And now today, Prince is dead.

Everyone on Facebook and Twitter is mourning the loss, the passing of a musical genius gone too soon. The talking heads on cable news are doing their best to sound hip while covering the news.

I'm going to admit right now that I just had to turn off CNN - not because of Wolf Blitzer (although that is usually the reason) but because I couldn't watch anymore without crying.

I was standing in my kitchen, eating chocolate chips out of the bag, crying about Prince.

I never owned a Prince album. I think I might have watched Purple Rain at some point when it was on TV. But damn it all, I know all the words to all his hit songs. Purple Rain, Let's Go Crazy, Little Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret, Kiss, 1999, When Doves Cry ... the list goes on and on. If any of those songs come on the radio you can bet your ass I'm singing along with the volume cranked up.

I never bought any of his music and I never saw Prince in concert. But I knew he was a musical genius. He was pure talent - a far cry from the manufactured crap pop of today. He was the real deal. He was part of the soundtrack of my childhood and it really f*cking sucks that he's dead.

When Michael Jackson died it was surprising but not THAT shocking. Same thing with Whitney Houston. But Prince? Nah. This goes beyond shocking. I'm seeing my friends post that they can't concentrate enough to work, that they're numb from the news.

Me? I'm eating chocolate chips out of the bag. With a spoon. Because this is all just too weird to process it. Because in my mind, Prince wasn't 57 years old. He was still Prince from the 1980s and 1990s. Younger, healthier, vibrant. Not dead.

How is one supposed to feel when the musicians and actors they grew up with start dying? It's just so f*cking bizarre ... because that means we're all getting older. And maybe that's the rub. We're all getting older and our artistic heroes and icons are getting older too.

That's a tough pill to swallow my friends.

Now it's time to party like it's 1999.


Adventures in Alopecia - Now You Know

Well would ya look at that?

It's freakin' April.

Yes, I sucked at blogging for a couple of weeks (again). I blame spring break.

Because, ya know, I was SO SUPER BUSY doing nothing here in Ohio.

I'm back now.
You know, back from being lazy.
And not caring if I blog or not. ;-)

So today was a big day. It was the first time SINCE JANUARY that Olivia went to school and didn't wear a headband. [and at this point you're probably sitting there like 'huh?' and wondering what the hell I'm talking about].

Here goes....

Olivia has alopecia.
There now that cat is out of the bag.

This means she has bald spots on her scalp where the hair has totally fallen out. We found out about it back in December and we've been doing our best to hide it since then. And for a 12-year-old girl "hiding it" means wearing decorative stretchy headbands every single day when you go to school so no one can see the bald spots.

Lately though Olivia has become more comfortable with her hair - probably because some of the spots are starting to regrow hair (!!!!) and she's been ditching the headbands at home and out in public. But today was the very first time she's gone without one to school. I put braids in her hair this morning (her new style choice of late) and she looked in the mirror and said "cool."

It's a big freaking deal, trust me.

I never thought I'd celebrate something like hair growth but every time we notice that more hair is growing in we do a little happy dance.

So yeah. It's a big hair day around here.



My current mood:

I'll spare you all the gory details behind my mood.
Suffice it to say...I need (a) to win the lottery and (b) a vacation.

That's all.


Politics on a Monday

Tomorrow is the Ohio Primary.
It has been non-stop politics here for a good two weeks.

Every ad on television is a political ad.
It is total insanity.

Last Friday I went downtown to hear Senator Bernie Sanders speak at a rally. It was in a word, awesome. The crowd had so much positive energy and Bernie had a lot of great things to say. I left the rally feeling excited and ready to vote in the primary tomorrow.

I'm sure you can figure out who gets my vote.

This guy:

Oh yeah, I also got to SHAKE HIS HAND on Friday. That was pretty epic. Of course, I was almost crushed to death in the process - it was like being at a rock concert. Seriously, the crowd was insane....but in a good non-Donald-Drumpf way.

Speaking of He Who Shall Not Be Named, I watched the nightly news last night and was floored by how ugly this presidential election is becoming thanks in very large part to Voldermort Drumpf. As I sat there watching Americans beat the crap out of other Americans at a freaking political rally I thought "this can't possibly be my country."

It was sad. And disheartening.

And I really, really, really hope that our governor wins Ohio tomorrow in the Republican primary. And that someone other than Darth Vader Drumpf wins Florida.

So here's the thing Ohioans: Your vote can be a vote AGAINST Drumpf. If you're going to vote Republican on Tuesday give your vote to anyone but him. Make your vote count against him.

Me? I'll be feeling the Bern.