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Friday, September 30, 2011

Life Lessons Friday

1)  I made a promise to myself, to always believe in and be supportive of my daughter's abilities.  Yet many times she has proven herself in ways that made me realize just how often I had unintentionally underestimated her.

2)  God's timing is always perfect.

3)  There are actually people out there, 'friends' I've never met, who would go out of their way to help me out.  Time and time again I was rendered speechless by the level of kindness and sincerity they've shown me.

4)  It sucks to find out, that even on those rare occasions when I successfully deluded myself into thinking that I was a good writer, there was always somebody better.  F*cking hell.

5)  Just when I thought blogging was such hard work, I found out that it's actually... even harder.

6)  The other day I complained to Mr. LA about how much I hated all the blatant sucking up that some bloggers (don't worry, it's not you) were doing, and how differently they treated the big names from the little names.  Mr. LA said, "Guess what?  That sounds like life to me."

Ah, maybe that's why I don't have a life.

7)  You don't die from a broken heart.  Or at least, not right away.

8)  It is possible for an almost-seven year-old to be the one to teach you how to play chess.

9)  There comes a point in your life when elastic-waist pants suddenly makes sense.

10)  Don't name your blog Do Sweat the Small Stuff with an equally long web address:

Why?  Try typing that 15-20 times.  Know what I mean??

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Milestones and Memories (Guest-Post by Angela of Tiaras and Trucks)

I admit that I have only known Angela for a short-time.  The first time I found her blog, Tiaras and Trucks, was through one of Write on Edge's writing prompts link-up.  What I didn't know at the time was that she is also the Assistant Editor at Write on Edge, as well as a contributing writer at Just Be Enough.
Angela with her two children
One of the first posts that I read in her blog was On Your First Day of School.  If there was such a thing as love at first sight, then that was 'it' for me.  Right there and then I fell in love with Angela's writing.  She wrote that particular post to her daughter, Abbey, the night before Abbey's first day of school.  

I still remembered how I felt the first time I read that post--I have never felt more affected and more emotionally engaged by a single post before.  Perhaps it was because I, too, am a mother to a daughter only a few years older than Abbey.  But I'm quite sure it was Angela's words--every single one of them mirroring my own feelings for my daughter--written so beautifully, that drew me in.  Words I've been wishing to tell my daughter but had never been able to (and probably never could) express so eloquently.

I was nervous to ask Angela to guest-post for my blog at first.  Not only have I just 'met' her, but truth be told, Sweaty is not (yet) a household name.  But I really felt that I had to ask her.  I admired Angela's works, and sincerely thought that my readers and I would not only enjoy, but also learn a lot from her writing.  When she replied and said, "I'd love to guest post at your place," I was blown away by how nice and helpful she was!     
Abbey and Dylan

Here is the guest-post that Angela has written for me.  I can't thank her enough for this!  In it are my favorite subjects, Abbey, Angela's three-and-a-half year old daughter, and Dylan, her one-and-a-half year old son.  She wrote about a moment in her life, ordinary in so many ways, yet made extraordinary by how she brought that experience to life before your very eyes.  
Milestones and Memories
by Angela of Tiaras and Trucks

It sits on a shelf in Abbey’s closet, its pastel graphics faded, its pages curling, small, square photographs tinged with the slight yellow signature of the early 1980s.  My fingers have slid over the pages countless times; when I recently wanted pictures of my first dance recital and my first day of preschool, I knew exactly where to look.

My baby book.

Neatly, methodically, lovingly penned by my mother, the notations are all in her even penmanship, the ink easily recognized as blue ball-point pen.

Not to be outdone, I eagerly began working in Abbey’s baby books.  That’s correct.


The first is a beautiful scrapbook, ready for photos and adorable notes about bathtimes and bedtimes and first vacations.  The second is a smaller, thinner version, meant to record dates and milestones.

Together, they sit on a shelf in her closet, close to my aging book.

In the baby basket.

A large, woven basket with a lid, it contains everything that should be in the baby books, including photos and cards and locks of hair and post-it notes hastily scribbled with milestone dates.

Dylan doesn’t have a baby basket.

He has a baby drawer, and even that is woefully unadorned, only a few errant post-its tucked between first birthday cards and hospital bracelets.

Guilt pokes at me when my eyes rest on the baby basket, or when I open the baby drawer to toss in something new.

Will Abbey wonder what gifts she received for her first birthday?

Will Dylan roll his eyes when he realizes I didn’t record when he got his first tooth?

Will I ever sit and organize the post-its and the pictures and tenderly fill the paper pages that now lay empty on her closet shelf?

For now, I can only close my eyes for a moment, and collect memories on my blog, capturing moments that aren’t so easily recorded on a list of milestones.

There’s not a line for the way Dylan carefully holds onto my hand as he walks down the stairs, pausing with both feet on each step and doing an excited little shuffle before walking down to the next.

There’s not a line for the way Abbey turns back to catch my eye and shake her head in exasperation when Ryan misses a word in any of her beloved princess stories.

Nor the way Dylan’s eyes light up when he runs past twenty similar leaves on the ground to choose one specific leaf to show me in delight.

Nor the way Abbey confidently carries my old purse through Costco, pulling out her little notepad to consult her list as we gather items into the cart.

There’s not a line for the healing power of their hugs, the way their ferocious clasps around my neck at night calm my soul better than any run or glass of wine or piece of chocolate.

As they grow older, the exact dates of their first steps may fade in importance, but I can’t imagine the day I won’t cherish the memory of their still-damp after-bath kisses.

If they don’t feel the same?

There’s always the baby basket. 

I think you know now why I fell in love with Angela's writing, right?  She definitely has a way with words, one that allows you to fully experience a range of emotions as you are reading it.  Here are a few recent posts by Angela that are my favorites:
  • Mind Games Here she described her struggle to believe in herself while training for her fourth marathon, despite physical and circumstantial limitations.
  • Moving Past Regret Again, here Angela wrote about remembering the past and dealing with regrets that came with it.  I could almost 'feel' her mind churning with memories and all the 'what ifs.'
  • Slow Down The post that earned her a syndication by BlogHer
  • Wrapped in an Afghan  Here she wrote of a memory she would rather forget; I had goosebumps reading it.  
If you have not followed her already, I urge you to do so.  You can find Angela:

Thoughtful Thursday and Other Thursday Hops

Link Up With Us Every Thursday on 
It's So Easy:  
  1. Follow the hosts: Look who Found the Marbles, Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool.  
  2. Link up your favorite post from the past week and check out some of the other great sites in the linky.
  3. That’s all there is to it!
Hosted by Look Who Found the Marbles , Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool

Also linking up with:
Hosted by Obviously MARvelous and SmookieStyle

Hosted by hosted by Rondi from WAHM Resource Site and Crystal from My Life as Mom and Wife.  This weeks guest host for the #3 spot is  The Spring Mount 6 Pack

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweaty, the Mama Bear.

Yesterday night, I was in Miss Chatterbox room when I found this note on her desk.  It was a note addressed to her friend, Chloe.  Miss Chatterbox and Chloe have been friends since they were in preschool together three years ago, and my daughter has always considered Chloe her 'best-friend.'  

Until now, that is.

Dear Chloe, 
I am sorry.  But I know you like Annika, okay?
I will let you play and be her best friend.
I will find another be[st friend].

I know that I'm the Mommy, and I'm supposed to be all mature, level-headed, and all that.  But boy, did I want to kick Chloe's butt right that instance for hurting my little baby's feelings!!!  (Yeah, real mature there, Sweaty).

While my head realized that this was just a fact of life that my almost-seven years old daughter needed to learn to accept, my heart couldn't help but be broken for her too.  My 'mama-bear' instinct automatically kicked in... I wanted to protect her from anyone who hurt her, even if that someone was just another almost-seven year old pooper booger minx bumbledom little girl.  Knowing how children are, for all I know they're probably already back to being best-friends again by now.  But still...  it's difficult to see your child's feelings being hurt.

Well, as Mr. LA always said, he better get that shotgun ready because the day when I would tell him to shoot some boy's ass might come a lot sooner than I thought.  LOL. 

Linking up with:

Live and Love...Out Loudparenting BY dummiesPhotobucketbabybabylemon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How It All Began: Screenplay

This week's RemembeRed prompt:  Congratulations!  Your best selling memoir has just been optioned by a major motion picture studio, and the producers want you advising on the script.  Write the opening scene for the movie.  Would you begin with a visual montage?  Voice-over?  Flashback or forward?  A conversation?  The trick here is to look through a lens. The camera needs to tell the story through visuals, action, dialogue.  
*Editor’s Note: Let’s keep it under 500 words. Economy of words is crucial when writing for the performing arts!


A child’s bedroom dominated by the color pink. A single bed lines up one side of the wall.  Next to it, a small desk, on which sits a pile of textbooks and scattered hand-written papers.  A single pencil and an eraser with dark, rounded edges lie abandoned on top of a half-filled paper.

7 year-old SWEATY sits on the edge of the bed.  Tear-marks streaked her reddened cheeks, where her MOTHER had repeatedly slapped her earlier. Her head bent low, she tries to stiffle a cry and avoid her mother’s eyes.

She tries to stay as still as possible.  Her stiff arms glued to the sides of her body, palms tucked in underneath her bottom in an effort to stop herself from shaking.  The fistful of hair that her mother had yanked out lay tangled, awkwardly separated from the lopsided ponytail that now hangs low on her back.

Mother stands a feet away from Sweaty and looms over her.  Her left hand is on her hip, while she waves her right hand in the air as if trying to make a point.  One sees anger blazing in her eyes, the muscles in her neck and face bulging as she shouts every word.

How many times do I have to tell you? Which part don’t you understand?? What are you, a stupid idiot???
You know what you are? A stupid, inconsiderate, spoiled little brat!!!

Sweaty bends her head even lower as Mother leaned closer. Her body stiffens up even more, preparing for more blows that are sure to come.

Why you, ungrateful child!  Isn’t it enough that I work day and night for you, while that bastard you call Papa is out there having the time of his life, dating different women... not giving a damn about earning enough money to help me raise you!  You still have to give me this crap at the end of the day??  When are you going to start thinking about other people instead of yourself?!?

Mother points towards the papers on the desk.

I hate it when you put me in this position!  It’s late, I’m tired, and I still have to teach you this how many more times? Think!

At her mother’s scream, Sweaty starts to tear up once again, but quickly bites her lower lip to quell her sobs.

Mama, I’m sorry...

Mother points her finger, and uses it to push Sweaty’s head backwards.

Sorry? Sorry?? Bullshit!
Let me tell you something, Sweaty, and you better listen.
(speaks loudly)
There are only three kinds of people who makes it in this world. Those who are rich, those who are beautiful, and those who are smart.
You are not rich, and most certainly not beautiful. That leaves you with smart. So think, Sweaty, what’s left for you if you’re not even smart?

CLOSE UP, Sweaty crying and shaking with sobs.

I submitted this post for's Lovelinks # 25
If you like this post, would you kindly vote for me by clicking on the star underneath Sweaty's Avatar here? (Voting will be from Thursday 6:30 am to Friday 6:30 am. All times U.S. eastern daylight, -4 GMT)

Want to win ad space on The Bloggess? Link up your best post at lovelinks on free fringes like I did!

Win-Win Situation

I took a little break from blogging this weekend to reconnect with my long abandoned Kindle.  Apparently my slow brain thinks it's still the weekend, so I find myself post-less for today. 

Then I remembered that I still have some unfinished business that I need to take care of.  So what better time than today to catch-up on those few things.

A while ago, my friends Kid Id of From Diapers to Diatribes and Jessica of Look Who Found the Marbles, had kindly passed these two awards to me: Versatile Blogger Award and Kreativ Blogger Award.  Thank you Kid Id and Jessica, for thinking of Sweaty and her little blog!  How did you know I'm such a sucker for awards??  In fact, I can never get too many of them.  So if you have some more coming your way and don't know what to do with them, send them my way, alright? ;)

The Versatile Blogger and the Kreativ Blogger Awards also come with a set of rules that the recipient must follow.  Lucky for me, the rules are the same for both.  Here are the rules:
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 7 recently discovered/other blogs.
Sooo... here we go....

2)  7 things about myself:
  • I am extremely introverted.  I feel most energized when I'm at home.  Being too long in a crowded place exhausts me.
  • I am scared shit of lizards.
  • I have a soft spot for love stories.  I heart them!
  • I'm obsessed with angels' wings.  They fascinate me.
  • I had Postpartum Psychosis shortly after the birth of my daughter 7 years ago.
  • I have a very high tolerance for alcohol - I don't get drunk easily.
  • I have an affinity to handbags.  Not clothes, not shoes.  Handbags.
3) Hereby, I am passing the awards to the following 7 recently and not-so-recently discovered blogs:
  • Tiaras and Trucks  Angela's posts, in particular those that she wrote to express her love for her daughter, Abbey, are incredibly beautiful and emotional.  As a mother to a little girl who's about the same age as Abbey, I really appreciate every word that Angela's written... every time wishing that I could write just as beautifully about my love for my daughter.
  • C.Mom Elena is one tough cookie!  She has had her share of trials and tribulations, and yet through it all, she remains positive, always moving forward.  What's incredible about Elena is that she wants others to enjoy a fulfilling life too.  She's behind the Just.Be.Enough campaign, encouraging others to look deep into themselves and see the goodness that exists in each and every one of us.  Truly an inspiring woman!  
  • Chicken Noodle Gravy  Katie's honesty and vulnerability are always apparent in each post she wrote.  She's really sweet and an avid cook who likes to share recipes with other bloggers.  But she can also be feisty and stand for what she believes in.  I find it easy to relate to Katie and her experiences. 
  • Resonance  Jenna's love of great literary works is well reflected in her writing.  Her posts are insightful, well-written, and always so poignant.  True to her blog's title, what she says in her posts tend to resonate and stir so many emotions in me.  She has a way with words; a word-weaver, I'd call her.
  • Move Over Mary Poppins!  Cameron is simply 'brilliant.'  She's extremely talented, witty, and writes beautiful gorgeous posts.  Her posts had me turning green in envy on more than several occasions; she writes with ease, humor, and many times sarcasm (ahem) but always, always spot on.  Really, I consider her a 'gift' to the blogging world.  And I know that she's loving every praise I bestowed upon her right now ;)
  • Time Out for Mom  Les is one of the rare bloggers out there who has consistently shown me support and love no matter what.  I hate to admit that I feel like she's found me first before I found her.  Reading her posts is like a chat with your best friend.  She's sincere, loyal, and perfect in all her imperfections. 
  • Exiting Lover's Lane  Kadie is one heck of a fun girl to have around!  Her comments always made me laugh out loud, and her tweets brightened my day.  It's too easy to forget during our easy banter that she's had her share of pain and heartache, because she really is that much fun.  I love her spirit.  Also, her writing still leaves me in awe every time; she writes amazing posts... the kind that made me pause and think, "Shit, that was really something." ;)
And I can't help but passing the awards to two of my all-time favorites:
  • The Kir Corner  Kirsten, as I've told her a few times already, is my sunshine on a rainy day.  I treasure her friendship every day.  She's really made my bloggy world a better place.
  • One Mixed Bag  Words can't express just how much I love my friend, Bernie.  I've never met her, but I know with all my heart that she is a true friend with a big heart, who would be there for me when I need her.  And did I mention that she's hilarious?? 
If you haven't followed those bloggers I've listed above, I encourage you to follow them now.  They are truly exceptional.

Last but not least, on Wednesday last week, I mentioned in one of my Miss Chatterbox's posts, Open to Interpretation, that I would do something special for those whose interpretation rocked my world ;)  I'm not a giveaway kind of gal (sorry...), so I'd like to invite each of you to host my Wordless and (Not So) Wordless Wednesday post.  Just let me know which date you'd like, and on that Wednesday, I'd feature your Wednesday post and link back to your blog (that way you would still post on your blog, and at the same time, it will be posted on my blog as well).  Sounds good?    

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite interpretations to this one-of-a-kind, masterpiece drawn by my almost-seven year old daughter:

Kadie (Exiting Lover's Lane):  It seems to me that she isn't really thinking daddy is part of the group anymore....what I'm left wondering, though, is....did she draw him falling off the boat??  Lol.  Does she want you guys to sit by and smile while he falls off the boat?  Kids are interesting..
My reply:  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA seriously, girl, you're hilarious!!! THAT would make a very interesting post, wouldn't it??  I don't know whether I'd laugh or cry if she did intentionally draw daddy falling off the boat and smiling about it. ROTF

Kim (Mama's Monologues):  Is Daddy jumping ship while she stays safe with you??
My reply:  Whoa, that's a pretty sophisticated interpretation there, Kim! I got goosebumps from your comment!

To Kadie and Kim, thanks so much for participating!  You are awesome!

Whew... I've never felt more like Santa after writing a post... lol

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Personal Ad

    This week's Red Writing Hood prompt:  We want you to write a personal ad for your character, like one you would find on a dating site.  Make it interesting, unexpected.  Is there something your character is trying to hide that you can tell by reading between the lines?  Would we know which character it was (if you have a recurring one) by reading the ad?  Will something be revealed?  If you are going to do creative non-fiction, write an ad for a friend – or an enemy.  And we’d like you to do it in 300 words or less.

    Okay, so obviously (and I do hope it's obvious) I'm NOT writing about myself here.  I chose to write a personal ad for 'an enemy.'  While the above character was inspired by someone I know (yep, I'm evil), please note that this personal ad is purely fictional.   Please don't hold me liable if for some reason you think it's you.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    The Most Horrific Childbirth Story Ever! (A Guest Post by Kid Id, From Diapers to Diatribes)

    I don’t remember exactly when was the first time Kid Id and I made contact.  I believe it was over a post I did on 'This is Me' meme (correct me if I’m wrong, Kid Id).  So inspired was Kid Id by my brilliant post, that she felt compelled to write a similar post on the same subject.  Upon reading it, I found myself fascinated by the workings of Kid Id’s mind, although I admit I was also slightly annoyed that she did one heck of a better job than me in writing that post. Grrr.
    Kid Id
    Since then, I tried my best to visit her blog, From Diapers to Diatribes, and read her posts regularly.  My visits led to the discovery that Kid Id and I shared many similarities.  Among many:
    • our tendency to over-analyze EVERYTHING,
    • our ability to find the most random and weird stuff amusing,
    • our perpetual failure to do reverse (or ‘paradoxical’ as Kid Id liked to call it.  See??  Why called it 'paradoxical' when you could just use the word ‘reverse,' right?  Well, that’s Kid Id, for ya!) psychology on our freakishly canny children,
    • our usage of psychobabble, more often than not to cover up our incompetency as mothers,
    • we have zero cooking skills and almost burned the house down on the few times that we tried,
    • we both studied psychology (although Kid Id, the overachiever that she was, went on to become a shrink.  Me?  An unemployed housewife, thank you very much).

    I found myself drawn to Kid Id the more I got to know her, from what she’s written in her posts.  I’d like to think that it’s because great minds think alike (ahem).  But most likely it was because Kid Id is brilliant, and I found her posts to be refreshing, uniquely one-of-a-kind, and damn funny.  Of course the fact that I secretly think that she’s a bit disturbed and neurotic also added to her appeal, we of the kindred spirits and all!

    So it is to my delight that busy as she is, Kid Id has agreed to share more of her psychobabbles in my blog today!  I hope that you find her as ingenious, entertaining, and hilarious as I do.  Below is her guest-post:
    The Most Horrific Childbirth Story Ever!
     by Kid Id

    Well, that got your attention, didn't it?  If you're a mom, then you know that the one thing we like to share with each other most of all is a good childbirth story.  We like to one-up each other.  The unimodal normal bell curve would have us believe that most women experience an average run-of-the-mill childbirth.

    But my anecdotal research tells me that if we took the stories we tell each other at face value, the totality would be represented more as a bimodal distribution:

    That’s because the women on the right side are lying, and the women on the left side either don’t know what normal childbirth is (is there such a thing??) or love the attention they get from retelling their hyperbolic and overdramatic labor stories.

    I should also say that women who have given birth seem to relish sharing their horrible childbirth stories most often with women who have never given birth.  It's especially cruel when birth-experienced women share their horror stories with naive 9-months-pregnant women.  It's even more uncool to tell women who have never given birth that it will be a wonderful experience.  It won't.  Like I said, they’re lying.

    Moderation is the key to sharing just enough but not too much.  Let me use my example and show you how the story must be retold to the innocent.

    My first childbirth went fairly smoothly.  Why?  Because I asked for an epidural and I got my epidural, that's why.  And because a magical midwife contorted me in various positions to get the baby out faster.  And because I was lucky enough not to have any complications and not to have to push too long (remember the midwife magic?).  Consequently, I ran around informing any future women-to-birth that once I got my epidural, I put my hands behind my back, chillaxed, and waiting for the birth to occur with very little pain.  So not cool considering I had a number of friends who later dealt with scary complications.  And this is from someone who is known to be very sensitive to others' feelings!

    I wanted to have the same experience with the birth of my second child (I can already hear laughter from the experience mothers out there who have had multiple births).  During my second pregnancy, I informed my OB/GYN that I wanted an epidural and looked over her shoulder to make sure she wrote it down in her little chart.  Right next to her notes about my concerning obsession with the epidural.  I checked in with her several times again during future visits to make sure she was clear that I wanted my epidural.  She was clear.  Though I'm not sure it was a very convincing confirmation on her part.

    I told my husband to make sure that regardless of anything that happened the day I went into labor, his only job was to remind the doctors and nurses that I wanted an epidural.

    Perhaps I should insert here that I have a very low pain threshold.  I DO NOT enjoy pain.  I do not welcome pain.  I do not embrace pain.  I do not tolerate pain well.  I have a very low tolerance to pain.  My husband tells me it must be because I never get sick, so physical discomfort must be completely alien to me.

    Some women actually look forward to tolerating childbirth pain.  They actually want a "natural" childbirth.  I'm not sure why they even go to the hospital to birth children, then.  The hospital is associated with modern medicine for those of us who welcome medical intervention to treat painful diseases.  Like childbirth.

    Now, don't get me wrong.  Women who want a natural childbirth are literally amazing people with amazing strength, endurance, and will.  They enjoy facing adversity and punching it in the mouth.  I enjoy facing a physically-comfortable life.  Which is why my lack of exercise will ultimately turn me into a jellyfish in a few years.

    As a psychologist, I welcome emotional pain - bring it on, I can take it.  But physical pain?  I will avoid at all costs. [insert a good transition by a better writer here]  So, my water breaks at home and I calmly alert my husband: "Darling, unless I've lost complete control of my bladder, I think my water just broke."  The Hubby responds tactfully, "Really? My dearest lovely wife, instead of standing on our carpet leaking, would you perhaps mind moving to the tiled floor?"  He's very considerate of both our furnishings and my emotional state.

    Now, this is the part of the story where, to the childbirth-naive, I would complete my story with: "Two and a half hours later, A-Lo was born!"  What I don't insert is the following:

    After my water breaks, we call the on-call OB about 5 times over the course of a half hour before we realize no one is going to call us back, at which point, I was no longer feeling just dandy.  My husband drives me to the hospital as the contractions are getting worse.  I remind my husband clearly and calmly in the car that his only job is to get me my epidural.

    We get to the front desk.  Before my husband can say anything, I state clearly to the clerk, "I'm going into labor.  I want an epidural."  I am feeling a little irate that I forgot to order the companion T-shirt:
    We go into an intake room.  I wait like 10 minutes - way too long.  The young resident informs me that my OB is out of town and that I'll be treated by a different OB.  I am in active labor and I state through a gritted-teeth half-smile, "Okay, as long as I get my epidural."  We are escorted into the birthing room.  The nurse introduces herself.  My husband does his one major husbandly duty and informs her that I want an epidural.  I wait like 15 minutes (!!!!) before the anesthesiologist finally comes in.  I state loudly, but not completely unpleasantly, "FINALLY!"

    The nurse pokes and prods my arm with a large needle for a half hour, eventually announcing that I am dehydrated and that she can't find a vein to stick in an IV in order to allow the anesthesiologist to even start an epidural.  They can't give me water but are willing to give me ice chips.  I devour the ice chips hoping to hydrate myself and the nurse continues to work on poking me for like AN HOUR!!!  Did I mention I hate needles???  I hate needles.  But I’m willing to beg for an epidural.

    She finally gets an IV in.  My uterus is seriously contracting like every 2 minutes now.  I’m sitting on the edge of the bed holding another nurse in a headlock, shaking from pain so bad I want to vomit, while the anesthesiologist starts to try to stick the epidural in my back.

    Now here’s how much I want an epidural:  The anesthesiologist asks me to keep as still as possible.  He is somehow expecting me to keep perfectly still bent over on the side of the bed while shaking violently from the pain of something constantly trying to rip out one part of my body, while he tries to insert another painful object on the other side of my body.  And I absolutely comply with his request and do it.  Because I WANT. MY #$%^&*. EPIDURAL!!!

    He finally got the epidural in just in time for me to say, "I think I need to push."  They check and sure enough, that baby is ready to come out.  The nurse calmly but firmly says, "Sorry honey, but you are going to have this baby before the epidural can kick in."  I replied with shear terror in my voice, "WHAT??!!"

    And then, I felt the most horrific pain of my life and screamed at the top of my lungs like someone was trying to kill me.  And that effing nurse actually whispered in my ear to quiet down because I was scaring the other birthing mothers!!  As if I had any control over my response to someone trying to rip my body inside-out!  It's like a cop walking over in the midst of a murder and asking the victim to please keep it down because other victims might get scared.  No wait – even better: it's like the victim begged the cop to at least shoot her before the murderer got to her and the cop saying, "Sorry, I'm fresh out of bullets.  It's best if you endure the agony quietly and with a little dignity."

    During this time, they gave me a mirror.  A MIRROR!!  If I want an epidural and I’m screaming my freakin’ head off, do you think I really care much about seeing how amazing and wonderful and natural this all is and that I want to witness a miracle happen??  Okay, some people would, but I absolutely did not want to witness how something inside of me was turning what was once a delicate flower into something that probably looked more like a blowfish under attack.

    And 20 minutes and 2 pushes later, that little murderer was finally out of my body.  I might have also subsequently screamed, "Where's my g-ddamn ice pack?!" but I don't quite recall much after that.

    Also, seconds later, the bottom half of my body finally went completely numb from the epidural. Thank you very much.

    You all still with me here or have most of you passed out?  The fact is that this story is by far not nearly the most horrific childbirth story ever.  Amongst my friends, it probably falls somewhere in the middle and I am extremely lucky that it actually went so smoothly with no really complications.  But to those who plan to give birth, it is not a story that really needs to be told in that much graphic detail.  Mostly because it really won't tell them anything about what their own experience will be like.  Instead, I give them an answer that is completely honest without being traumatizing:

    "No real complications - my water broke around 8:30pm, got to the hospital, really really wanted an epidural, told everyone I really wanted an epidural, but by the time they got it in, it was too late so I had to have a 'natural' childbirth, which I really didn't appreciate.  Was it painful?  Yes, yes it was.  But luckily for me, it was over fast and it went fairly smoothly.  And thinking back on it now, it was certainly an empowering experience to know I did that.  But every childbirth is really different and my experience probably won't reflect your own."

    It usually receives a response like: "Ugh, you are SUCH a psychologist."

    Have you fallen in love with Kid Id yet?  I thought so.  I urge you to follow her where she resides:
    Blog: From Diapers to Diatribes

    Here are also some of my personal favorites from Kid Id’s archives:

    Thoughtful Thursday and Other Thursday Hops

    Link Up With Us Every Thursday on 
    It's So Easy:  
    1. Follow the hosts: Look who Found the Marbles, Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool.  
    2. Link up your favorite post from the past week and check out some of the other great sites in the linky.
    3. That’s all there is to it!
    Hosted by Look Who Found the Marbles , Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool

    Also linking up with:
    Hosted by Obviously MARvelous and SmookieStyle

    Hosted by hosted by Rondi from WAHM Resource Site and Crystal from My Life as Mom and Wife.  This weeks guest host for the #3 spot is  Good Girl Gone Green

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Open to Interpretation: Wordless and (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

    It's Wednesday!  And we all know that Wednesdays here at Do Sweat the Small Stuff is Miss Chatterbox's (aka my almost seven years-old cheeky monkey) day.  This week's WW is a drawing she made recently.

    The moment I saw it, I had to laugh.  Blame it on my overactive imagination or my psych background--whatever--but THIS drawing would make one heck of a psychological assessment.  For those of you who had no clue of what I'm talking about, I encourage you to interpret the following drawing.  Who knows, maybe I'll decide to be nice and reward ones that I found to be, ahem, amusing ;)
    Linking up with:
    Live and Love...Out Loud


    Tuesday, September 20, 2011


    Note: I chose this post for the final (Week 4) voting at Lovelinks #26, because it speaks of someone who held a very special place in my heart.  If you enjoyed reading this post, would you please vote for me here?  Thank you so much!!

    For this week’s memoir prompt, we’re going to let narrative take a backseat.  Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail.  Describe it to us in rich, evocative details.  Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.  Let’s keep the word count to 500.

    It was long past midnight.  The light from the street lamps formed halos against the night sky.  The light turned green, and once again we were moving.

    “Please, stop,” I silently begged to the ticking clock, to the moving wheels.  When they didn’t stop, I wished the road would grow longer, farther, endless.

    Our easy banter earlier had ceased, now replaced by an uncomfortable silence.  It was a song that saved us.  A song which you had put on repeat and had been playing for three or four times when I finally realized it.  Giggling, I asked you if I had heard correctly, to which you answered, “And you just realize this when?”  Then you burst into laughter.  I loved that laughter.

    “You’re so lame,” I said, but it wasn’t long before I laughed too.  You started making funny faces and soon we were laughing like nobody’s business.

    I was still laughing, happy inside this little time bubble, when I turned to look at you and saw you smiled.  There was no doubt this time; it was a smile meant only for me.  I could feel your eyes beckoning me... our eyes locked, and in that fleeting seconds, your eyes said it all.

    Gentleness.  Love.  Desire.

    Without looking away, you moved closer, your eyes holding me captive.   Everything else ceased to exist; except you.  My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears.  My chest felt as if it would soon explode.  Flowing outward from my core, through my veins, filling up every corner, every crevices, was a languid warmth that quickly turned into scorching heat.  My body shook, as if in fever.

    I could smell your warm breath on my face.  It smelled like your favorite peppermint gum laced with the sweet smell of liquor.  So close... but not close enough.  The mere inches between us became intolerable.  I shut my eyes.  “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me...” my heart chanted, keeping my brain under its spell, forcing it to abandon all reasoning.  My heart had always been yours and it was now begging me to hand it over.

    Then I felt it.  That first touch when your lips met mine.  It felt like home.  My heart was bursting with so much love and hope, it hurted.  As our kiss deepened, our bodies started to mold into each other.   My hands found their way into your hair, where they lingered to caress, to feel, to remember.  I could feel your hands on my face, holding me tight as we kissed ourselves into oblivion.  And then your hands were all over, exploring, grasping, squeezing and stroking.  My body felt like it was on fire.

    A series of tap finally made their way into my consciousness.  I realized the car had stopped moving.  We must have arrived at my parents’ house.  “Ma’am, we’re here,” told the driver.  Too embarrassed to reply, I softly whispered in your ear, “I have to go.”

    You looked up from where you were kissing me on my neck, eyes all hungry, hair tousled from my touches earlier.  Without saying a word, you cupped the side of my face and you gave me the most gentle kiss.  We smiled at each other and said our goodnights.  You waited until I got through the door before you left.

    That morning you left me a text message.  You had decided to go back earlier to the city where you were studying at the time.  The last few words were blurred by my tears: “I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  I can’t.”

    A prompt by

    You can vote for me at Voting opens Thursday 12:00am to 12 midnight.
    Linking up also with Lovelinks #26 by
    Click here for a chance to win a slot in The Bloggess sidebar for a month sponsored by

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    A Thing of Beauty

    One of the downside of having beautiful-looking parents is unless you’re more beautiful than them, you’re going to look bad.  Doesn’t matter if you consider yourself of average or above-average look; it is as if people apply a different beauty standard when judging children of gorgeous-looking parents (Shiloh and whatever-your-names-twins of the Pitt-Jolie clan, here are two words for you: good luck).

    Well, it just so happens that I have beautiful-looking parents.  Uh huh, good life.  Unfortunately, in my case, their combined genes failed to produce a spectacular outcome. I’d like to blame it on the incompatibility of their genes.  My parents’ divorce when I was three years-old seemed to confirm my theory.  I just wished they had realized it earlier; I could have been waaaay better looking (I hate to think about the other possibility).

    Sooo... ever since I was little, I was used to hearing people talked about how good-looking my parents were.  And, how “not-as-good-looking as my parents” I was.  You wouldn’t believe how many times I heard people say, “How was it possible for Frank and May* to have a child who looked like that?” or “You don’t look anything like your mother or father.”  Ouch.

    I took it all in stride though. I was proud to have gorgeous parents (No offense, but not many of my friends could say the same).  Besides, my parents had told me a number of times that I was smart.  That was good enough for me.

    Then I hit puberty and all the shit hit the fan.

    Already going ape with all those hormones, the comments I heard when I was little came back with a vengeance.  They wreaked havoc on my conscience.  Needless to say, I had a self-image crisis meltdown.

    To begin with, my parents weren’t big on compliments.  The few that had ever come out of their mouths were always academic-related.  Yes, I aced all of my school subjects, was the President of the Student Council, won many awards and tons of achievement certificates... basically Nerd of the Year.  

    But I was also a girl.  A teenage girl.  Suddenly, being told I was ‘smart’ didn’t sound so appealing anymore. I wanted to be called ‘beautiful.’  Problem was, nobody had ever called me that.  ‘Smart,’ ‘Dedicated,’ ‘Hard-Working,’ yes.  ‘Beautiful’?  Never.

    It wasn’t that I was hideous-looking or anything.   I knew I wasn’t ugly.  I probably looked just like every normal non-Gothic teenagers out there.  But I knew wasn’t beautiful either.  I’m sure the desire to be seen as a thing of beauty was not unique only to me (cue in the amount of time teenage girls spent primping themselves).  In my case though, the issue was one that hit very close to home.  I didn’t have to go far to confirm I wasn’t beautiful.  All I needed to do was looked at my parents.

    Now that I’m older, I no longer felt bothered by the comparisons to my parents. Being an adult with accomplishments and a family of my own weighs more heavily on how I define myself today then the connection to my parents.  However, the need to be desired, to be seen as ‘beautiful’, has never really gone away.  It doesn’t help that the society where we live in place so much importance on ‘looks’ and physical appearance.  And I believe it is even more so for women than for men.

    I’ve noticed that for many men, their self-worth and definition of success tend to be largely related to what they’ve accomplished in their career or how much money they’ve made.  For women, it’s far more complicated than that.  The feminist movement and fights for gender equality have made it possible for women to pursue new heights in their career and earning capacity.  Women are praised for their leadership qualities, influence, and various contributions.  But dig deeper, and you’d find that despite all those things, there is still the longing to be perceived as desirable.

    Soo... have I made peace with the fact that I was never going to be as beautiful as my parents?  Absolutely.  Have I made peace with how I look?  Well, I could benefit from losing a few several pounds... and of course the fact that my husband no longer loves me isn't helping boost my confidence, but yes, I’m okay with how I look.  But am I going to stop worrying about how I look?  Hell no!  At my age now, I’ve got this thing called ‘aging’ to worry about.

    And please, don’t give me that crap about aging ‘gracefully.’

    Linking up with

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Most Likely To... Fall Head Over Heels (Red Writing Hood version)

    This week's prompt: to explore romantic heartbreak. For you fiction writers, here’s a chance to really delve into the psyche of your character. For you non-fiction folk, well, maybe it’s into your psyche you must delve. We all remember that first love, just like we all remember when our hearts broke for the first time.  Write a piece – 600 word limit – about the first heartbreak your character or you experienced.

    Note:  A short while ago I wrote a post, titled Most Likely to Fall Head Over Heels, which is part of a series of posts titled Most Likely To..., that tell the story of my life.  When I read this week's prompt, I wanted to write a new post, but at the end, I chose to submit a revised, shortened version of Most Likely To Fall Head Over Heels.  I thought, not only would it be repetitive to write about the same subject (my first heartbreak, that is) twice, but the original post described what I felt perfectly and I would not have it written in any other way.

    Leigh and I were the last to arrive at the meeting place. I literally had to keep biting my lips to keep myself from blurting stupid things like, "I love you, Ash. Will you be mine??" Right away I knew where he stood in that room. I could've spotted him from a mile a way, in a sea of a thousand other faces. I felt a smile escaping from my lips when he finally saw me.

    And then I saw his hand. It was holding someone else's hand.

    I wanted to hate her, but damn it, she was so nice. Truly, sincerely nice. And it wasn’t her fault I fell in love with her boyfriend. Still, it felt like somebody ripped my ribcage open, threw my heart on the floor, then stomped it to pieces.

    I couldn't believe Ash had a girlfriend.

    What hurt the most, was that I actually got to talk to Ash that night. Really talked. About nothings and everything. We sat next to each other on the bar while everybody else were on the dance floor. The loud music meant we had to whisper in each others’ ears so that the other could hear.

    Being that close to him took my breath away. I noticed how his eyes crinkled at the ends whenever he laughed. How his voice reverberated in my ear and how his lips were only a few inches away from mine... How I caught him looking at me and then looked away as soon as our eyes met...

    And so I fell even deeper. Even though I didn’t want to. I couldn’t help it. I wanted that voice, that laughter, that person who listened and told me stories as we sat there just the two of us on that bar. I wanted him. I didn’t want that night to ever end.

    But it did. We were still talking, oblivious to the world around us, when Ash's girlfriend suddenly came into view. I had forgotten about her, and now she’s back from the dance floor, reminding me all over again that I was intruding on someone else’s territory.

    We all went home shortly afterwards; most of the guys were already trashed and the girls were complaining that their feet were starting to hurt from all the dancing on killer heels. I could see that Leigh was in her happy place: sober enough to behave, but not likely to notice my absence from the dance floor earlier.

    Good, I wasn’t in the mood to explain anyways.

    Just as I was about to climb into Leigh’s car, I saw that Ash turned his head around and looked in my direction. My heart did a little flip, but the sight of his girlfriend walking alongside him blew me back to reality. I quickly averted my eyes and went inside the car.

    I told myself I wasn’t going to see him again. Seeing him would only hurt me more because I knew I would fall deeper in love the more I knew him. Could this 'love' be any more one-sided?!? Afterall, Ash had a girlfriend, and I didn’t see him dumping her anytime soon. Especially for someone like me.

    I cried when I got home that night. I cried for days after that. I kept telling myself that I was an idiot of the highest caliber, because why cry for someone whom I had only met twice, talked for a total of three hours at most, and had a girlfriend!

    Leigh asked me to go hang out with Ash and his brother again a few more times after that night. I always came up with some excuse not to go. She started to give me these funny looks, but I didn't care. My heart was broken. I felt broken.

    Then, three weeks later, I got a phone call.

    It was Ash.

    **You can read the original, extended version of Most Likely To... Fall Head Over Heels here.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Thoughtful Thursday and Other Thursday Hops

    Link Up With Us Every Thursday on 
    It's So Easy:  
    1. Follow the hosts: Look who Found the Marbles, Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool.  
    2. Link up your favorite post from the past week and check out some of the other great sites in the linky.
    3. That’s all there is to it!
    Hosted by Look Who Found the Marbles , Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Rock and Drool

    Also linking up with:
    Hosted by Obviously MARvelous and SmookieStyle

    Hosted by hosted by Rondi from WAHM Resource Site and Crystal from My Life as Mom and Wife.  This weeks guest host for the #3 spot is  Good Girl Gone Green