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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 1+2 Re-Releases Save The Day!

I received the product reviewed below for free (minus the Blu-Ray), but all opinions contained are my own.

It was a whirlwind when a copy each of Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 arrived at my home. My grandfather had just passed, his funeral was impending -- and unbeknownst to me at the time, right after that funeral I would become terrifyingly ill, it appears, thanks to listeria-laced salad mix.

Seriously. A salad tried to kill me. It came too close for comfort.

Anyway, So I wasn't able to be there when my kids discovered the newly re-released Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Copy boxes of Jack Black-laced awesomeness, as I was burying my grandfather and then in bed with a 103.5 degree fever, then the emergency room, then on bedrest for four days.

I do know that my son excitedly told me about the panda movies, and my daughter would ask "But where's Number Three?" because somehow, they always know, don't they? (It was probably the brand new animated short, The Secret of The Scroll, which is a teaser for the third movie, included on these re-releases.)

What I really like about this combo is the digital copy addition -- I can download it and have it at the ready on my phone or iPad for those times, say, like this week when the kids have an early dismissal and, as they are everyday, will be dropped off at my work -- but instead of just 30 minutes before closing, it'll be two and a half hours they're stuck in a cubicle with me.

It's also been great to have new, yet familiar stories to watch as a family while they've been recovering from upper respiratory issues -- basically 2016 has been a peach for us, if you haven't been able to tell. I'm three weeks out from my birthday and am yet to have a weekend where someone hasn't been sick or dying since New Year's Day. They learn the lessons I'm always trying to reinforce -- to be true to yourself, that you are capable of anything you put your mind to, that family is what you make of it -- in a new way, thanks to a bevy of relatable and lovable characters.

And when we're all on the mend *FINGERS CROSSED* I fully plan on taking them to see Kung Fu Panda 3 in the theatres ... so of course a preliminary viewing of the first two movies will need to happen. It'll be a whole event.

Thanks to Dreamworks for yet again helping me spread joy in the lives of my children, especially while we've been dealing with Really Hard Things on top of the already present slow discord that is divorce.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Patience, and The White Cat.

An all-white cat shows up on my front porch every morning.

His meow sounds almost exactly like Roxy's, so it always takes me a minute to realize the call is not coming from inside the house, so to speak.

He is gorgeous. Friendly. Mouthy. Unneutered.

I'd seen him before, at some point. I remember sitting on my front porch and having him appear long enough for me to send a picture to Matt (and later, to Instagram it, as really the majority of my feed in the last half of 2014 and the first half of 2015, selfies or no, originated in messages to him. Y'all watched my side of that relationship for a year and you didn't even know it.) to prove my unintentional cat-whispering abilities, and then he disappeared again.

I told myself if he returned, I'd name him Olaf.

And returned he has. His coat slowly grows greyer as it fleshes out for winter, flea dirt more evident at an arm's length. (He only minimally fought me as I applied topical treatment to him while he ate. He flinched when I reached out to him right after, but thought the better of the hand that feeds him and he head-butted my palm after that pause.) His cries for food each morning and some evenings are growing more insistent, less playful and social. He is still quite social himself, after he eats.

I saw him one night, limping, down the sidewalk several blocks from my house. I was a passenger in a car on it's way to a scheduled event, and though the driver sensed my distress we did not stop. I was reassured it appeared minor, nothing broken, and I fought to quell the urge to tuck and roll out of the moving vehicle to tend to the creature.

It was three days until he reappeared. And in that time, I couldn't forgive myself for not stopping, for not being there for him at a weak moment.

He's not even my cat.

But I'm not so sure he's anyone's cat, anymore.

I put out Sylvester's old cathouse back onto it's place on the front porch, though neither he nor the young male long-hair tuxedo with the two white back toes who stops by about weekly enter it. To be fair, I haven't cleaned it out from when it was Sylvester's, as I couldn't bear to wash what was left of him away. So it probably smells like a mix of 18-year-old tomcat, stale markings, and illness-death. I wouldn't want to enter that, either.

There isn't much superstition I could Google on white cats. Black ones obviously are found to be foreboding, though Nubs is probably the closest to my spirit animal out of the whole pride. (I mean, when I came back from Belgium he ran up to me and gently rubbed his face with his paw, where I usually do, as if to ask me to please pet him now. That cat. That cat gives me life daily.)

But I can't shake that he's a sign, somehow. Of what, I'm just not sure.

Everything lately has been a whirlwind of chaos, both good and bad. I started a new job with the same organization, and a month in it appears to already be evolving into something else, perhaps. I went overseas for the first time (for business, no less), to Belgium and France, and fell in love with Paris and Antwerp in ways I didn't know you could love a place you don't speak the language. I laid another college friend to rest, and got too drunk and a couple tattoos to prove it. My divorce has turned ugly, contentious, and I feel left powerless to stop it. I am handling single motherhood with the grace of a wounded water buffalo but at least my damn eyebrows are on point, or so say the interwebs.

I mourn the what ifs, the could have beens, unable to get angry for the first time in my life. I place hands on a stomach that should be rotund and heavy, by now, brimming with yet another unexpected life, but instead comes as close to flat as it ever does, weight melting off as I am prone to do while living in constant fight or flight.

I am haunted by blue eyes, both the ones that held me captive and the ones I am convinced I would have produced, a mirror image of his father's in a face probably bearing more of my resemblance than any other, just like his older siblings. I feel phantom kicks and rolls and I remind myself of all the mindful mantras that mean jack shit when dreams you didn't even know you wanted are snatched from you unceremoniously and you are left with nothing to show but the screenshots of memories of a life you'll never know, now.

Every last thing in my life is changing without much of my own intervention and I don't know what to embrace or what to discard and here comes this white cat, trying to dart into my home every morning as I take the kids to the bus stop like he's always been here, been the token one that gets to come and go as he pleases.

I don't know where I'm going from here. Hell, I don't even know where I'll be living next month.

Meanwhile, Olaf cries with his nose pressed against the front door at it's casing, begging for kibble and affection, reminding me that patience has never been my virtue when it comes to the unknown and the unseen both tangible and philosophical.

After all, he is just a stray cat who wants to be fed.

And I am just a woman in transit searching for the meaning in, and of, it all.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Misery Business, The Vlog Series.

Featured on

I'll be honest, when the first reports that the group that hacked Ashley Madison did, in fact, release the user data, I was downright giddy. Having watched my own marriage fall victim to the site and it's purpose (though, honestly, it would have fallen sooner or later as obviously things were not as fixed as I believed and no website or lack thereof was going to replace the work needed from both parties) I felt slightly vindicated all these years later.

And for the record, yes, I checked for his email. It's there. So I'll suppose his payment information is as well and ... it's really not my problem anymore, now is it?

Anyway, so for about a full day, I was as self-righteous as ever as reports of minor reality stars and other creeps were revealed and I could nod my head knowingly and give thinly-veiled comments and responses on my friend's Facebook walls and so on.

But the next morning, I saw a marked increase in self-help-like articles not directly about the data breech, but more about things such as how to handle being cheated on, how to survive a sudden break-up, when do you know it's time to get a divorce, etc.

And my heart sank into my stomach as I realized I was being triggered not only by my own memories of discovering an affair twice over, but by the realization that the world over, so many women's hearts and lives were being shattered to bits, the rugs pulled out from under them so suddenly, their dreams obliterated with little to no warning.

And then.

Then the messages came. The emails, the texts, other private notifications from people wanting me to tell them what to do, now. Because I talk so publicly about being cheated on in my marriage, and now about being the third person in someone else's marriage, I must look safe. My smugness must have come across as confidence and now, there are real faces with heartbreaking questions looking to me for guidance, the ones brave enough to speak, at least.

But what about the ones who don't feel that brave? Or the ones who feel they have no one to talk to?

I was lucky, forever ago, to find women going though the same things. Not everyone is or will be as lucky.

And in talking with someone of those women, who are the fiercest #squadgoals you could ever aspire to, we realized that we all had things we wish we could say to our former selves, to help us through the moment. We all had the advice that was handed to us by someone who had walked the path before, told in hushed whispers behind closed doors, that we wanted to impart upon the thousands of women now treading that same path behind us.

We all never wanted anyone to feel as alone as we did.

And so, I decided to start a vlog series on, essentially, surviving infidelity from a real, gritty point of view -- and doing so without losing your sanity. At least as much as possible.

And here's the beginning of that.

There are three more videos over on the YouTube page, with a couple more in the pipe when I can get to them. I know it's not uber professional looking, but the point isn't how shiny it is. It's about helping people facing some tremendous and terrifying circumstances to do so with some grace if at all possible.

I don't have a schedule yet on how often I'll be able to post, but hopefully pretty regularly. In the meantime -- I don't usually ask for shares and likes on things, but if there's anything I know, it's that for every singular person who speaks out, there are five more suffering silently due to shame, fear, lack of resources, what have you.

So if you are willing, please share the videos or this post where you think it might do the most good. And please, keep sending people my way -- I'm always up for answering questions, talking more specifically about certain topics, and virtual hand-holding. Just remember I'm not legal or psychological counsel -- just another lady who's seen both sides of this coin and lived to tell about it and hopefully help others limp through it slightly less damaged.

We'll all make it through this. It's just easier when we can do it together.