This is as together as it gets, folks

Life truth: No one, and I mean NO ONE has all their crap together.

On and given day, people everywhere are losing that last marble, the thin and thready attachment to their wit and sanity is unraveling. There are dishes being thrown, shockingly delightful symphonies of curse words being hurled full bellied at dropped balls, people shopping for groceries in nightgowns and mismatched flip flops in winter because damnit that’s how it’s going down today. There are clusters of strangers drawn together to stare gape mouthed at some version of me pumping gas wearing only a tarp for reasons I refuse to supply you all with.

Let’s just say some days it’s all you can do to stay righteous with the lord. Being human is an awesome thing, but it’s also very hard. We may clean up nicely for out-of-towners, and going to work, church, synagogue, temple, mosque, play dates and most public outings, but not always.

I’ve hidden in the back row with a nest of squirrels in my un-coiffed and terrifying early morning straight outta bed hair for Mass while feeding a toddler annentire jumbo pack of gum one stick at a time to keep her quiet, and close enough to grab before she could slide on her belly under pews towards the front of the congregation. I’ll very likely do it again. She’s a teenager now and still attempting escapes that impress me with their creativity. Gum still works with her though so I have a sporting chance.

The victory in life is in the actual living of it, the compassionate self love you show yourself when you accept that perfect isn’t a word ever intended to apply to any of us. It’s meant to describe moments. Imperfect, catastrophically and disastrously messy and gorgeous moments. And possibly donuts. I love donuts.

I’m a mom five times over which means that at this stage of the game I have only so much put-togetherness I can pull together to pass as a functional adult. I have little to no control over what life throws at me.

I prefer pies to the face, but fate chose a tree to plant in the engine of my car a week ago. Bruised ribs, broken clavicle, a totaled vehicle. That was the party favor bag of surprises that day. I let myself be as sloppy as I needed to be at first, and then I turned my attention to my healing, and figuring out a new strategy for moving forward since the original plan is clearly scrapped. Fare thee well Ruby my dear (my beloved minivan), our time here apparently was meant to be brief. Think fondly of me in your next life as a toaster or garden rake.

It’s messy in my body right now, and it’s messy in my life but it’s mine and it has beauty and poetry I never noticed until my plan fell away. So take a long breath with me and pause a bit before charging on. This is as together as it gets folks, and I’m so glad we’re all in it together. Now stand real close for the group picture. It’s the one they’ll be using for our commitment hearings some day, so let’s make it count!

The idiot on the fence

I’m the idiot on the fence. Not ideologically speaking, literally speaking. I mean seriously, I don’t think anyone is on the fence these days if my news feeds are any indication.

This has absolutely nothing to do with politics, fence sitters or world burners alike. This is a little story, a true story, of a girl (that’s me) and an idea (a bad one) and a fence.

I had surgery on my left shoulder less than a month ago. This is no secret. I have in fact detailed my journey for the sake of being a cautionary if humorous and foolish tale. Learn from me or take comfort in my company of bad decisions. The choice is yours.

When my body holds me hostage I try to both care for and challenge it a little each day. I don’t like sitting still and sitting still is something I have to do a lot. At the first signs of healing or strength returning I start pushing myself and napping in turns like those workouts that cycle through various things with increased reps as you build. The challenges are my reps, the naps are my rest periods. Sounds smart and sensible, doesn’t it? What could possibly go wrong?

So many things go wrong. If I am involved, so very MANY things can go wrong. I am impetuous. I am impulsive. I mix recipes before checking to see if I even have all of the ingredients. I start hammering things together without having a blueprint to work from or a list of needed items. In other words, I jump into pools without bothering to check for water.

As soon as I started feeling a little decent that first post surgery week I began talking walks, moving my arm carefully using the printed out therapy exercises the nurse stuffed into my bag when they discharged me in a boozy drugged state packed in ice.

So here we are, almost a month later, Christmas in the air, and lots of unsupervised time on my hands. A dangerous combination if ever there was one.

Hubby and the kids were all out for the afternoon and evening at various meetings and activities. I had distracted myself as much as possible without doing a single dumb thing all day. It was a good stretch. A personal best.

And then I found the Christmas lights. What follows is not for the feint of heart. If you have a low to zero tolerance for jackassery, turn away. Or at least down a shot or two before reading on.

It was 7pm. I like to line the four foot space picket fence that runs around our yard with white lights each year. It’s cheery and welcoming on cold, dark nights. There is a gate that hangs between two tall ten foot high posts with a broad, flat board across both posts, a sign welcoming friends .

When I reached the gate with the string of lights I knew I needed a ladder to go up and across the welcome sign before I could continue along the fence. Who has time for that when a perfectly good peach tree is so close to the fence and your shoes are narrow enough to slide a foot between pickets?

“Not me!” said the fool.

And so I, feeling proud for using only my good arm, swung a leg up into the tree and wedged myself between the two pickets closest to the gate and the first tall post. I was allll up in that peach tree like a one armed village idiot trying to get a better look at the circus. So far, so good. I looped the lights (balled up like a monkey fist for distance throwing) over post number one.

The opening of the gate was too wide to reach the balled lights now dangling from the middle of the sign so naturally I wedged a second sneaker between pickets, moved my good hand to brace myself holding on to the top of the sign, and started to transfer my feet so that one was balanced on top of the gate.

And that’s where everything started to go wrong. FAST.

The gate swung open and away taking my weight bearing foot along with it, and leaving an empty sneaker still stuck between pickets on the fence while I sailed forward with the gate hanging from my one good arm (or rather hand) for a solid six seconds (because I have very little upper body strength and quite a bit of “body”…) before falling to the pavement on my back.

Not my finest hour. I did manage to keep my head from hitting the ground but the rest of my body aches like, well like it fell to the pavement from four feet off the ground. Because, oh yeah, it DID. My husband and children are less than thrilled with me and have placed me on “restriction”, assigning friends to check in to make sure I’m staying grounded or run the risk of being bubble wrapped to the bed. That’s a direct quote from hubby.

My parents are frustrated with me too, but I am my mother’s daughter. She has impetuously climbed wet bulkheads, trees with grandchildren, house painting fences to “touch up the trim”, and all while my long suffering father has begged and implored her to use common sense. What can I say except I learned from the best. She, however maintains she did each of these things in daylight and mostly with a spotter (my long suffering, imploring father) on the ground to catch her.

For the record, you can’t actually see anything at 7pm in New England in November except the error of your ways.

Still, the lights do look awfully pretty….

Homegirl cooking

Baking koosa tonight. A little homegirl cooking with my Sitto (Arabic for grandmother) and mamma beside me in spirit. ❤️

Koosa is a squash with a mild flavor and a very tender skin that is delicious.

I can’t find these at the usual stores so I rely on my parents to supply me when they make runs to Arabic markets. My brother brought this lovely batch to me at Thanksgiving and so he is wrapped in my thoughts as I prepare this dish.


The tool I use to core it is called an “Udah-Ouda”. That’s my best phonetic approximation. It was given to me by my parents and I always hear my father’s voice in my ear making the same bad jokes about proctologists when my mamma or I use it. I will never tire of either my father or his irreverent humor.

positive that my Sittu is rolling in her grave right now at my horrendous and public spelling fail.

My mamma is very generous in her compassionate view of my traditionally poor grammar. History with me and deep fondness has worn her down.

At any rate, I am certain they're each feeling the love that goes out whenever their recipes and stories are shared as much as I feel theirs when my hands begin to work. 😄







…and lo the gentle nurse beckoned this weary and one armed train wreck of a woman forward, saying:

“Climb thou upon this measure of weights that I may record for posterity the hugeness of your ass.”

And the weary and one armed train wreck of a woman held up her hand and said:

“Back thine own ass up for this day shall not end in tears. Let me pass unweighted or I shall smite thee.”

And the nurse backed her own ass up.

And the weary and one armed train wreck of a woman walked past her, into the examining room where she proceeded to calm the hell down and not smite a single soul.




Blessed in small moments

Blessed in the small moments. 
I feel as though I should be doing more. I spend quite a fair amount of time sleeping these days. My great accomplishment to date is a shower. A heavenly, painstaking shower. 
I know my body is doing big things inside and I’m trying to be patient since it is hard to see these achievements. 
It’s hard to fight the urge to define my worth by outward accomplishments.
Yet every day I am a little stronger. Every day I am a little closer to my goal, and every day I am reminded of how blessed my life is. 
Blessed that I have so much love surrounding me.
Blessed that I can heal.
Blessed that I have the time and the support to grow stronger, even if I resist and fight it in low moments.



You should see the other guy: post surgery healing and other glamorous delights

It’s been less than a week since surgery and Hurricane Elizabeth is winding up to a be catagory five natural disaster. Anyone within range of my emotional storm is encouraged to tape windows, gather batteries, and seek shelter. Fast.

I’m glaring tearfully  and angrily at my hostile and traitorous reflection, in a paused moment attempting to dress myself. I have one good arm and one surgically enhanced, painful and stupid useless one that I am trying desperately not to move even a smidgeon as I pull and tug at articles of clothing.
 Even the tiniest tremor sends sweeping nausea, electric pain and a cold, clammy sweat through my body. I’ve been at this for what seems like thousands of agonizing minutes and I’ve had it.

“That’s IT! I’m DONE! I hate this stupid arm, I hate these stupid clothes and I hate, hate, HATE EVERYTHING!” 

I want to scream and cry and give up but the socially agreed upon minimally acceptable standard of attire for  walking about outside of your home precludes me from leaving like this.

Wearing only my yoga pants, old flip flops, and a sling might get me to the front of the line at my local pharmacy super fast,  but it will also get me a super fast ride in full restraints to the lock down ward at the hospital. As much as I would love to circumvent a long wait to pick up my medications, I do not relish a story of me losing it, loudly accompanied by a picture of half naked me going viral on social media. Not after last years Christmas card photoshoot. The kids are still trying to live that one down and there’s still a glossy poster size autographed one on display at the DMV.

(*note to self: swing by DMV for new ID picture)

This healing thing is frustrating and hard. I’m covered in bruised flesh and stitched together incision sites. A Rorschach series of blues and reds and purples covers my shoulder, wraps under my arm and across part of my back where a talented surgeon dug in, shaved bones, cut frayed tendons, mended tears. 

I look like I lasted a few rounds with a prizefighter and lost. Still I am amazed at what doctors can do and what bodies can withstand in the name of healing.

It’s always been tough for me to admit I need help. It’s humiliating to have to ask someone to pull on my pants, to fix my hair, to help me lay down and sit up. It’s frustrating and humbling. It’s hard to let others love me in DEED. I would rather be the one in the red cape and bulletproof jammies, than the other guy any day of the week.

The reality is that we all struggle with this, but the truth of the matter is that we are meant to live together, to be in community. We are meant to help. It’s challenging and rocky and truly beautiful to learn to trust and fall knowing that you will be safe and lifted until you’re ready for the ring again, ready for the next round.
 Healing takes the kind of time you can’t hurry along to suit yourself. It’s the body’s time to take the broken pieces, the worn out parts and rebuild. It’s exhausting . It’s necessary. 
I’ll get my cape and super-suit back in good time but for now, I have to focus on the task at hand. When that day comes, I’ll be ready to take on the world and if you think I look bad right now, you really should see the other guy…

Baby steps

Baby steps. Ugh. Home from seeing my surgeon just now. It was incredibly painful being manipulated and having all of the stitches removed. I was slaked in sweat and the room started spinning. The next thing I knew they had me lying down with a damp towel on my neck and a bucket beside me. Talk about crazy college flashbacks…😳😉

I’m now sporting an attractive bracelet that warns you I’m a “fall risk” which I’m pretty sure I’ve been most of my life, along with being a flight risk too. My mom often remarks “I didn’t name you ‘Grace’ for so many reasons….”

I’m just happy to be back at home and wearing my own panties again. The “Nashoba Valley Secret” sexy assed hospital ones went up to my clavicle. 
If I’d only been feeling better I’d have tugged them even higher over my head and robbed a bank or two. I’m a practical gal that way.