Friday, December 14, 2012

I'm at work

We're all in shock - disbelief -

Like so many people across the country, we've heard about the horrific, the tragic shooting in Connecticut

We're struggling to find words to express our feelings
We're struggling to comprehend, to understand, to wrap our arms, our head, and our hearts around how and why something like this can happen

On Facebook, on Twitter, on pick your form of social media, people are praying
People are expressing their disbelief and grief
Some are calling for gun control - some are saying let's not talk about that now, pray and grieve
Others are expressing their need to go and get their own children, to hug them tightly
Some are saying they can’t even imagine what those involved must be thinking and feeling
A few are saying thank goodness I don’t have to think or feel what those involved are

There are thousands of parents out there sitting at their desks as unfocused as I am because they can't fathom what it would be like to receive such a call
Because we can't reconcile in our mind why someone would do something like this to innocent children and adults
We're thinking if our children are not safe at school....

In the days to come, we'll hear all kinds of arguments for gun control
We'll hear arguments stating no amount of gun control could have or would have prevented this
We'll see an increase in the interest for home schooling
People will demand that schools be made safer, more security measures put in place
People will argue God can't exist if he allows something like this to happen
Someone else will argue God let this happen because we kicked him out of our schools and the public sector

My husband's reaction was of shock and grief
There was a lump in his throat as we talked and a couple times a catch in his voice
My husband is one of those people who jumps to gun control when he hears about things like this
Being English, he does not “get” the American Right to Bear Arms - it confounds and confuses him and frankly, just does not make sense to him
Nor does it make sense to so many of his countrymen we speak with
To Americans who believe in it, it's a constitutional right and sacred
My husband is not wrong
Nor or those who believe in their right to bear arms

A work colleague made the observation this is how he knows God does not exist
He's also one who criticizes organized religion (especially “those” Catholics) on a regular basis and thinks any "religious" holiday is just an excuse to not work
He’s not wrong

My cousin, who has a heart as big as Texas, is asking for prayers for the children, the teachers, the families and friends
She’s not wrong either

My boss, who as he has gotten older has gotten more sensitive, is just in shock
He just keeps shaking his head and asking why - he wonders what is happening in the world...and then muses about how hard raising kids is nowadays,....keeping them safe and sound, teaching them right from wrong...the world is not the way it used to be he used to be easier
I don’t think he’s wrong

A woman I work with had to walk away from her computer because she could not stop reading about it and watching the live news feeds
She called her husband just because...and had that pull to go and pick up her daughter.....and wondered aloud about home schooling
She's not wrong

When I saw the headline flash across my screen, I had to read it a couple times before I understood what it meant

I read as many news feeds as I could find in a five minute window
I watched Lester Holt deliver a live report from the anchor desk about what was going on
And then I fled to Facebook to see what was being said

And I prayed
And I had an overwhelming urge to go get Lucy
And call my Mum and Dad

I thought about my nephews in Oklahoma and wondered what his parents, my brother and sister-in-law must be thinking at this moment

I wondered if my nephew in Maine, who is home sick today, would see this on the news and what he would think - and I wonder how tightly his Mum, my sister will hug him tonight

I thought of my sister who is a teacher at an elementary school - I can only imagine what is running through her mind...and I wonder if she ever thinks about something like this happening

I thought of Lucy - of how...of how my world would be without her...of what I would do if ever....

And then I cried
I sat at my desk and let the tears run down my face
I cried for the same reason everyone else is crying, demanding gun control, questioning the existence of God and hugging their children
I cried for the kids, for the parents, for the families whose lives have been devastated, forever changed on what was seemingly a normal Friday morning as they dropped their kids off for school
And I wasn't wrong either

When I picked Lucy up the other day, I was talking to Barbara about some of the lesson they are working on in class right now - being polite, showing respect and being kind
Miss Barbara said to me she thinks being kind, raising a kind child, is one of the best things we can do as parents

If we were more kind to one another, Miss Barbara said, the world would be a better place

Truer words have never been spoken - they've been spoken before and will be spoken again
Someday, maybe we'll listen and actually be kind

In the meantime

Fight for gun control
Fight against gun control
Think what if
Forgive if you need to forgive
Hug your children
Let them stay up a bit later tonight and have dessert before dinner
Linger in the doorway as they sleep, or better yet, let them climb in bed with you tonight

Do whatever you have to do to deal with whatever it is you're thinking and feeling and let everyone else do the same

In a week or two, the headlines will start to fade

For some, it will be over - now and then a passing thought will be given to today's tragic events but they'll move on

For some, this has forever changed their life......their family, the very essence of their beings have been rocked to the core
Normal will never be normal for them again

For others, they'll struggle with coming to grips with it - struggle to understand and explain to their children, to themselves, why something like this can happen in this world

And some people will learn from this
They'll be kinder
Say please and thank you a bit more
They'll have more respect for one another
They’ll have more respect for this gift of life
They'll cherish their children a bit more than they did yesterday
They'll do what they can to keep themselves and their loved ones safe

And then maybe the world will be a kinder place..................

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa is out of Control

Last night, Lucy dictated her letter to Santa
As I was putting her to bed, she realized she forgot to include Clifford the Big Red Dog in her letter

I assured her it was not a big deal, Santa would know she also loves Clifford
'Casue Peter (her elf on the shelf) will tell him Mama?
Yes honey, Peter will tell him and sometimes, Santa just knows stuff
Oh, okay, that's good

And she snuggled down and closed her little eyes and drifted off to sleep
(read she tossed and turned for ten minutes, fidgeted for 5, flopped for three and then finally drifted off only to wake up when I opened her door and then flopped back down, coughed and fell asleep for good)

For some odd reason, I have been laboring and lamenting with Santa over this Christmas and what Lucy should be getting

In 2009, Lucy's first Christmas, Santa went a bit bonkers - but it was a first child's first Christmas
Frankly, there was so much between Santa and all the family and friends that I'm not even sure I could remember what was under the tree

In 2010, Santa calmed down a bit - you know, as much as Santa can calm it down in a year's time especially when he realizes that this first child is probably going to be an only child

And last year, Santa reeled it in even more going with 4 gifts and a stocking

Lucy asked for a lion and tiger, which she received
Santa also brought her a trampoline...s/he made this call on his own - Peter reported back to him  Lucy had more energy to burn that the average child so I think this was actually a gift for us
Then s/he left her an alphabet zoo because s/he though Lucy would like it and she was totally down with learning the alphabet at that time
She also received some "bumpy" animals (as Lucy calls them) - this child loves PVC/plastic figures more than anyone I know - as part of her stocking

(and for the record, Santa got way better prices than what is reflected as I write a matter of fact, it was all done for a fraction of the prices two cases, the prices have doubled in a year)

Then Santa filled her stocking with a toothbrush, tooth paste, some socks, a bag of M&Ms and I think a T Short with a tiger on it spelling her name

And I know when I look at that list, there are some who would think Santa was still going overboard but I gotta tell ya, Santa and his (her) Head Elf/Assistant were pretty satisfied with the haul and felt it was quite restrained given what it could have been

But this year?

This year, Santa is out of control
And I mean out of control in capital letters, like this:

When I say out of control I mean Santa should be placed somewhere (an island) where there are no stores, wi-fi networks or computers/tablets/smart phones

Santa is spending money like a drunken sailor
Santa is filling up carts left and right
Santa is acting as a fulfillment center for a small country right now

I'm not sure what is going on with him (her)

Lucy will say something and Santa is fixated on it
Sometimes spends hours searching on line for it and then is willing to go to some pretty crazy and expensive lengths to get it

Last year, Santa was pretty chill about the gifts
All were picked out and ready for the tree by the first of December

This year?
This year Santa is trolling around looking, yes looking, for more

Why you ask?
I don't know
And when I ask Santa I get no reply, just a vacate stare which tells me Santa is not listening, he (she) is going through a mental checklist in his (her) head

Is this something Santa goes through every other year?
Like does Santa just lose control of his (her) senses and just go crazy?
Can any other Santas relate?
Is it because Lucy is an only child?
Is it because Santa is short? Plump?
Is it Santa trying to make up for something?

Santa thought he (she) was on the ball a month ago
Submitted a proposal, it was met with agreement and approval from the Head/Assistant Elf and the order was placed and fulfilled

And then Santa just plain old lost it and has packages flying in from all over the place
Santa has not only lost "it," Santa has also lost track of what has been secured for Lucy
Santa has a screen open with a pending order on it as we speak

Well, Santa, let me just say this to you(rself), it is Christmas indeed and as much as you love showering people, especially little 3' blond haired blue eyed people with an infectious laugh, an impish smile, a quick wit and a voice that warms even the greenest and grinchiest (I totally made that word up but I think you get it) of souls, with gifts, you do not need to do so

What you need to do is take a deep breath and remember this:

No mater what that little person asked for,
No matter what is on her list,
No matter what you give her,
At the end of the day,
All she wants is for you to love her
All she wants is for you to play with her, laugh at her jokes, color with her, let her watch something and snuggle her when she needs it most
All she wants is you to be there when she needs you, when she calls your name

Yes, part of Christmas is about giving gifts......

But remember this, your gift can be a drive through the neighborhoods to see the lights
Your gift can be teaching her the right words to Frosty the Snowman
Your gift could be sharing with her your favorite Christmas Special
And then letting her discover her own
Your gift could be baking cookies together
Letting her help you wrap presents
Reading stories
Your gift could be picking out the tree together then decorating it
Your gift could be letting her choose the cake for Baby Jesus
Taking her to Mass to celebrate the season
Praying with her before she goes to bed

No matter what is under the tree Santa,
No matter how many (how few),
No matter how expensive (or inexpensive because you waited until Amazon dropped the price),
No matter what Santa, Lucy will wake up Christmas morning and shriek with delight because you will have been there
She will shriek with delight because you left her something,
Because you ate her cookies and drank the milk she set out
And though she may ask where something is that she wrote to you about, her Mum and Dad will be there to remind her what it is really all about:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, 

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

LUKE 2:8-14

It is about the birth of Baby Jesus, the magic of Santa, and the unconditional love of a Mum, a Dad and a Toddler

Merry Christmas Lucy

Maria the Mum

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dear Santa 2012

Yes Lucy
I'm ready to write to Santa now, can you help me?
Sure Lucy, what do you want me to do?
Write what I say please
Ok Lucy, I'm ready....

Dear Santa:
I don't know if you know this but I love Mike the Knight
I also love Lady and the Tramp, Lion King, Dinosaurs, Scooby Doo, Jake the Pirate, Martha and I think that's it
Oh wait, I also like to color and paint
Could you bring me some of those things?
I also like does Baby Jesus
I've been pretty good this year but sometimes I forget my words and push but I'm working on it
And I'm not having accidents anymore
I'll leave you cookies and milk for when you come
Love Lucy xxoo
PS Peter is fine

Mama can you read it to me?
Sure Lucy

So I read it back

How's it sound Lucy? Did I miss anything?
No, I don't think so Mama...did you get Lion King?
I did Lucy
Do you know where to send the letter Mama?
I do Lucy, to the North Pole
Did Noni tell you that?
Yep, she sure did Lucy
Ok well, I think that's it Mama, thanks for helping me
Sure Lucy
Oh Mama?
Yes Lucy Why don't you just give the letter to Peter since he goes back to the North Pole every night?
Hmm, good idea Lucy
I know Mama but thanks for telling me

Maria the Mum

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Snippets from our time in England

Hey Lucy, what's your favorite thing about England?
When we have tea, 'cuz we get to have chocolate cake or biscuits (cookies of course) Mama! I love biscuits in England! Can we get England biscuits in Boston.....?

Right after I fed Lucy dinner...
Mama! England hot dogs are not good! And don't even (with a hand wave) get me started on their ketchup!

Riding in the car through the Dales
Lucy, look at all those sheep!
Holy Crap! That's a lot of sheep

Lucy, it's our last day in England, what would you like to do?
I dunno know Mama....maybe just have chocolate cake....

Feeding the ducks seems to be a past time here in England
We've fed the ducks at least 4 days that I can think of
On our last day in England, we went down to town and fed the ducks (and the crows and pigeons)
A duck nipped Lucy in the finger
Lucy, before she burst into tears declares
Damn Duck!

We've been driving all over the country side and it really is quite gorgeous up here
And no matter where you look, there are pastures of sheep, cows and horses
For the first few days, we felt compelled to yell out
Lucy! Look sheep!
Lucy! Look, cows!
Lucy! Look, horses!
Yesterday, as we were driving, I again said
Lucy! Look...
Yeah Mama, sheep, I know (in her bored teenage voice)

Driving on the opposite side of the road here really messes with your head (and eyes) as a passenger
Every time Sean went to make a right hand turn, Lucy would pipe up and ask if he went the wrong way as she thought he was turning around
After the fourth or fifth day, she commented under her breath
Daddy sure goes the wrong way a lot

Someone asked Lucy if she wanted chips and when she she was given french fries and not potato chips, she was so upset
I tried to explain to her that in England, potato chips are crisps and french fries are chips
She laughed and declared
England is so silly Mama!

Here, dessert is called pudding (no matter what it is) and when Lucy was asked if she wanted pudding then handed cookies, the poor kid was so confused
She looked at her Uncle and said
But I wanted pudding
Her cousins said that what's for pudding
Poor Lucy was so frustrated
I just want pudding please!!!!!!!!
Fortunately, there was a leftover pudding from the previous day's pudding
When John handed it to her Lucy looks at me and says
Was that so hard to give me a pudding?

One of her cousins kept asking her about her trousers and poor Lucy had not a clue what she was talking about
I no have trousers she'd reply
And my nieces looked at her quizzically and then looked at me
My oldest niece said to me
You don't let her have trousers? Than what does she wear?
Well, honey I do give her trousers to wear but we call then pants
Yes, and when you are asking Lucy about trousers, she doesn't understand what you mean
Oh, says Lauren, well, I'm glad you let her wear pants then

The iPad has come in handy this trip
It's kept Lucy occupied on the plane and some of the long car trips
Sher's been watching Ice Age (the first one) over and over over
The premise is the animals (Sid, Diego and Manny) find a human baby, rescue said baby and then set out to return the baby to his family
Sean went out for drinks our last night with his parents and I was packing while Lucy watched Ice Age for probably the 52nd time in the past week and a half
When the film ended, she padded into the bedroom, stretched out on the bed and said
Mama, instead of a dog, can I get a baby brother?
I never said you could have a dog Lucy
Daddy did.....but instead can I have a baby brother?
A real baby Lucy?
Yeah Mama
A baby brother?
Yes Mama, a baby brother...can I get one?
You mean like a real baby that cries?
Yeah...but if it does not cry a lot that would be better
A baby that comes from Mama's belly?
Yeah Mama, from your belly, where did you think babies come from?
Yeah Mama
I never said you could have a dog and neither did Daddy
Ok fine Mama! So can I get a baby brother?
Are you sure you want a brother?
Yeah Mama (as she rolls her eyes)
Ok, well, would you rather have a baby brother or a baby sister
A brother
Ok, would you rather have a baby brother or a dog?
Hmmmm.....that's hard Mama....I guess a dog
Great, we'll get one when we get home

Lucy misses Ziggy terribly and will occasionally ask me how I think Ziggy is and if he misses her
I assured her Ziggy is being well taken care of and I'm sure he misses her and much as she misses him
I asked her on our last day if she was ready to go home to Ziggy and she responded
Mama, I thought you would never ask!

Maria the Mum

Thursday, November 15, 2012

High 5

This post brought to you by Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop and Prompt #3:

List 5 Things that Bring You Comfort

I love lists
I really do
I could make lists all day long

Lists like:

To Do
To Buy
Gift Ideas
Get Rich Quick Schemes
Cards I Need to Buy 
Books I Want to Read
Places I Want to Visit
Laws I'd Like to See Passed
Laws I want Repealed
Possible Careers
Plot Ideas for my (Fake) Movie
Cast Ideas for my (Fake) Movie
Possible Pen Names
People I think would be fun to have as our POTUS

I like list so much that sometimes, I'll make a list of thing I've already done just for the sake of making a list.......and crossing things off so I have a sense of accomplishment

I  make the best list when I'm in the shower or driving
Which means I have no pen, no paper and that I'll forget the list by the time I remember to write the list.......I bet I've lost millions of dollars as a direct result of this

Today, a new list: 5 Things That Bring Me Comfort

Things - not people, not places, but things

And given I'm a pretty literal kind of girl, thing is

  • object: an inanimate object
  • unspecified item: an unnamed or unspecified object
  • occurrence: something that occurs, or something that is done

  • I find comfort in my 10+ year old grey sweatshirt...think Jennifer's my woobie
    I wore it when I was really fat, after I lost all me weight, all through my pregnancy and still wear it to this day
    I wear it around the house, to bed and yes, I've even worn it in public
    I love my grey sweatshirt and its worth all the heckles and comments from my siblings and husband
    It's comfortable
    It knows me
    It appreciates me
    It's forgiven me for the food and drink I've spilled on it, the bodily fluids its been covered in (Lucy's) and think I may have even thrown up on it myself
    It's lasted longer than any relationship I've ever had with a man....including my husband
    My grey sweatshirt brings me the comfort of a hug

    I find great comfort in Mass
    As I've said before, I go for me
    Not for anyone else 
    Not because I was raised to go to Mass
    Not because I'm, trying to impress anyone
    Not because I'm trying to secure a spot in heaven
    Not because someone told me I have to go
    I go to Mass because it grounds me
    It restores in me humility, fortitude, patience, love, and acceptance
    The music soothes me, the readings inspire me and the homilies challenge me
    Mass, prayers,'s been a bigger comfort than I ever thought it could be

    I find great comfort in the law
    I like knowing there are laws to govern our land - saves us from Chaos
    This is not to say the people making the laws, passing the laws, enforcing the laws are necessarily a comfort
    But the laws themselves, the rules, even the ones I may not necessairly agree with, are comforting
    And just because I like laws and rules does not mean I can;t think for myself
    It does not mean I'm a sheep
    It does not mean I am against free will
    It means I find comfort in order
    It means that I find comfort in knowing that there is a certain level of respect being afforded to all of us
    And it means we're all on even footing because the laws, like it or not, apply to all of us regardless of anything or anyone

    I find comfort in writing, music, and art
    Books, poems, songs, stories, portraits, paintings, letters, jokes, editorials, letters to the editor, diary entries, scripts
    Without words, we'd have no history, no future, no Harry Potter, no Shel Silerstein, no US Weekly
    Without words, you'd never have known about the time I had a moth caught in my bra and I thought I was having a heart attack, or about the time I went to work with my pants on backwards, or how Lucy took comfort in knowing Jet is in the stars with Mufasa
    Without music, there would be no dancing with Lucy, no hearing her sing, no singing with her
    Without music, there would be no John Williams, no Tears for Fears, be no loving a rainy night thanks to Eddie Rabbit
    And where would The Gambler be but on a train bound for no where....
    Without art, we'd never know Mona Lisa has a secret or how beautiful a Starry Starry Night is and we would have missed the Cornonation of Napoleon
    Without the arts, all the arts, the world would be a bit duller, a bit darker and a whole lot less entertaining
    No movies to get lost in, no books to travel in, no songs to commemorate that special day, no photos to capture the love in a mother's eyes for her child

    Lastly, I take comfort in this unspecified, unnamed thing, this object I can't quite identify....
    I think it's a role I play...
    Sean's wife
    Lucy's mother
    My parent's daughter
    Sister to my brother and sisters
    Aunt to my nieces and nephews
    A daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, a cousin
    A friend to people who have chosen me to be a part of their life
    I take great comfort in knowing there is a purpose to my life - a purpose that though I may sometimes lose sight of always shows itself when I need it most
    I take comfort in knowing that I'm needed, and knowing I need others as much as they need me
    I find comfort in giving love, hugs, kisses and band aids whenever any of it is needed
    I find comfort in making other people smile, making them laugh, making them forget for a few minutes about their shit day or their sick Dad or their ailing sibling
    I take comfort in knowing that my bad day is just that, a day
    And tomorrow I have a chance to do it again
    And even if I don't,
    I find comfort in knowing the world is a better place because I was here long enough to give it Lucy

    And chocolate
    I find a whole lot of comfort in any form of chocolate

    Maria the Mum

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Boy Was My Face Red!

    From Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous World Famous Writer's Workshop

    5.) Share an embarrassing moment (these are always fun to read)

    I'm pretty sure my life is just one big embarrassing moment.....which means I don't get too embarrassed though I do from time to time feel badly for doing whatever it is I've done

    Like last week when I introduced a Mom at daycare to my husband and used the wrong name for her (I used the name of another Mom I met at the same time)
    She graciously corrected me and said don't worry, it happens all the time...
    Which I'm not sure how given that the other woman is Indian and she is not

    Then there was my very first job interview ever
    I stepped into the filled to capacity elevator and asked someone to press floor 15...I was going straight to the top!
    I decided to make small talk and said to the fellow next to me,

    You're headed to 15 too?
    Yes he sort of grunted
    Hope it’s not your job I'm interviewing for (har har har)
    Your skirt is caught in the door he replies
    What? I yell, Oh my God! Shit!!!

    Now instead of just giving the skirt a gentle tug, or possibly just letting it stay there, I drop two more expletives and nimbly slip out of my skirt and let it fall to the floor

    And by nimbly I mean yanking it down as fast as I could thereby ripping off the button while falling into the man beside (me whose job I had just threatened) because my shoe got caught in the skirt as I tried to yank it off

    He fell into the two men in very expensive suits next to him who pushed the woman next to them backwards who fell on top of the woman next to her who turned out to be the Director of the Center

    I did all this to avoid being pulled up off the elevator floor...which in hindsight I'm sure probably would not have happened

    I had to go through my interview with the top of my skirt rolled down into my underwear so it would not fall off and then, I was sent down the hall to take a competency test administered by the woman who was pushed by the two men into the Director
    Then, I had to go to HR and was paired up with the guy whose job I threatened

    I got the job and on my first day, during Orientation, the Director came in to address the class of recruits and she did a double take when she saw me in the third row

    At lunch, the class decided to all go out together
    We were standing at the elevator when the Director walked out with two other people

    She said hello to us and when the doors opened, we waited for her to get on the elevator before we moved

    Instead, Rita turned, looked at me and said

    I really think it would be best if you get in first......

    Then there was the time I rammed (accidentally) my grocery cart into a display of gravy jars which of course fell over breaking at least 7 jars....of maybe 10
    Gravy splattered everywhere and at least 6 or more jars rolled down the aisle
    When someone from the store came over, I blamed the kid who had just gone running out of the aisle laughing at me as I slipped through the gravy trying to hold up the rest of the display

    Another time, I farted in front of my co-workers (and by another time, I mean like two weeks ago) while I was imitating the way someone in our office comes bounding down the hallway

    And then there was the time I had just given birth to Lucy
    I invited a friend and her husband to come to the hospital to see me (which I don't remember doing, I was pretty out of it)
    At some point, I have no idea how, I accidentally flashed my friend's husband - he still can't look me in the eye
    I however have no recollection of it happening so I'm good

    Not too long ago, I wrote a heartfelt post about going to England and how much I enjoyed this one particular place....and I spelled the name of it wrong in my post....and published it......

    And here's why I was single for so long:

    One time, I went out with this guy like 3 times - and really liked him - I thought it was going well

    He lived in my apartment building in Naperville
    We met when he helped me with a bag I had dropped down three flights of stairs - nothing says Hey! Wanna go out with me?!? like a box of tampons, new underwear, a scale and a bag of snack size Snickers

    On our fourth date, I thought hmm, he really likes me - he laughs at my jokes, we like the same books and movies....this has potential

    After dinner, he walked me back to my car
    I thought he was going to come in for a kiss but instead he says

    I'm not so sure I want to keep seeing you

    Oh, okay....I say and just sort of trailed off because really, what was I supposed to say

    Look, you make me laugh, you are fun to be with and it doesn't even bother me our politics are way different......well, it’s just that we've been on 4 dates and had at least a dozen phone conversations and you're still calling me by the wrong name and when I correct you, you still call me by the wrong name

    Wait what? You're name isn't Tom?

    No, it's Noel

    Oooohhh, I thought you were saying No well....I wondered why you kept saying No, well after I said something but then never followed up with anything...
    Like I was waiting for you to make your point about No well what...... but you never did -
    So your name is Noel?
    Shit...who's Tom?
    Why was I calling you Tom?

    I have no idea

    It's not your last name?

    Uhh, no

    Oh shit, well  look, I am so sorry..... maybe someday we can laugh about this?

    No I don't think so...I think it just means you aren't a good listener....and that's sort of important to me

    True - fair point - you're right.....
    Are you sure your name isn't Tom?


    No well what?

    Maria the Mum

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012


    Wrote this last week, never posted...
    Friday, November 2:

    Miss Barbara, Lucy's teacher, is on vacation
    She left today for Aruba

    Barbara has been telling the class she is going on vacation and will be gone today and next week in an effort to prep them for her absence

    Lucy is terribly fond of Miss Barbara and I'm not sure how the week will play out.......

    Especially after this conversation in the car on the way home last night:

    How was your day Luce?

    I hear her exhale and adjust my mirror so I can see her
    She is looking out the window and sort has her bottom lip poked out as one does after they've exhaled a deep sigh of...defeat....

    Well Mama, Miss Barbara is leaving me tomorrow, how do you think that made my day?

    I coughed to cover up my laugh and said

    You mean for vacation?

    Yeah Mama, for vacation!

    Well, Miss Danielle will still be there and Miss Barbara told me Miss Sarah will be helping out - and you met Miss Sarah this week...she's nice yeah?

    Yeah Mama, Miss Sarah is nice and I like Miss Danielle.....

    She pauses for a moment and looks in my direction, makes eye contact and raises her arms and says

    But they just aren't Miss Barbara....and what if Miss Barbara likes vacation and Aruba so much she never come back to me?!?!??

    Oh honey, she'll come back.....

    Why did she go on vacation?

    Vacation, Lucy, is when people take a break from their job or from school to rest and relax so when they come back, they have lots of energy and feel good

    Oh, Miss Barbara needs to relax?

    She does honey, she just needs to relax and get some rest

    But Mama, she does yoga….’member she showed me how to do yoga? That’s how you relax…with a yoga breath!

    Well, sometimes Lucy, people need more than yoga…they need more of a rest

    'Cause I make her crazy Mama?

    At this I did laugh aloud

    No honey, you don't make Miss Barbara crazy! She loves you very much

    Mama, you love me and you told me the other day I was makin' you crazy........Mama, you can make me crazy, can I get a vacation from you?


    And if I do go on vacation, can I take Miss Barbara and you and Daddy just go somewhere else? I don't want her to miss me while I on vacation like I'm gonna miss her on vacation - when you miss someone, it hurts

    Umm….wouldn't you miss me and Daddy?

    No Mama! You two are making me crazy!

    We are?

    I don't know Mama! I just said that 'casuse I miss Barbara so much!

    She threw her head back in her seat and closed her eyes

    Honey, we just left Miss Barbara.....she's not even gone yet....and when you said good bye you sort of dashed didn't even give her a proper good bye

    I didn't want to make a scene Mama!!!!

    How I don't drive off the road sometimes amazes me...and where she gets this stuff amazes me even more

    We pulled up to the house and Lucy informed me if we could go see Hobson (the neighbor's cat we've been cat sitting) she'd feel better

    As we walked across the Circle, Lucy tugged my hand


    Yes Lucy

    You're not making me crazy

    I'm not?

    No Mama - I sorry I said that

    Is Daddy making you crazy?

    No Mama.......I just said that 'cause I think I'm really going to miss Miss Barbara and I'm going to be sad

    We stopped and I knelt down in front of her

    I'll miss Barbara too Lucy

    Yeah....she sort of swung side to side

    Come on Luce, let's go feed Hobson

    We started back off across the Circle with Lucy sort of skipping along and me waiting for her to fall

    She stopped in her tracks, turned around and yelled out to me

    You know what would make me not be sad Mama?

    What's that honey?

    If we got a dog.......

    Maria the Mum

    Oh Lucy

    A few nights ago, as I was putting Lucy to be, she snuggled up against me and I said
    I love you Luce Goose
    I love you too Mama
    Well I love you three!
    She giggled and said
    I love you four!
    I love you five! I shot back
    Mama I love you SIX!
    She giggled again
    We made it to I love you 15 (me) without any problems when she hesitated
    Mama, I love you .....Mama, I forget, what comes next but whatever it is, I love you that much!

    Last week, at bed time, I told her to close her little eyes
    She turned, looked at me and said with a hint of a challenge in the balance
    Close your big eyes and I'll close my little eyes

    I was in a rush the other night, as I often am, and knocked over the bowl of vegetables I had just made for Lucy's dinner
    Lucy rushed over to see what all the noise and my expletives were about
    Mama, you OK?
    I am honey, I just knocked over a bowl
    That one Mama? she asked pointing to the floor
    Yeas honey, that one
    Was that my broccoli and cauliflower for my dinner?
    Yes honey, it was
    Ohh, well......that's disappointing......

    Lucy was a tiger for Halloween
    At one point, I said something to her about looking like Tigger
    She corrected me
    Mama, I'm not Tigger, I'm a tiger, a Bengal tiger
    Sorry Luce!
    Just don't call me Tigger Mama! I'm a BENGAL TIGER!!
    On Halloween, a couple we know came down with their kids to Trick or Treat
    Jay said something to Lucy about her looking like Tigger
    I said to him don't call her Tigger, she's so not Tigger....
    She's not Tigger?
    Nope - she's a Tiger - not a Tigger - like a Siberian tiger or something....
    Aren't those the white ones? he asked
    I don't know....I can never remember......just don't call her Tigger!
    When I was putting her to bed that night, Lucy says to me
    Oh Mama, by the way...
    Yes Lucy?
    Mama, you told your friend I was a Siberian Tiger...and I wasn't.....
    You weren't?
    She put her hand on her hip and said to me in quite an exasperated tone
    Mama! Siberian Tigers are white, was I white? No I was ORANGE......I was a Bengal Tiger!
    Oh, sorry Luce, how come you didn't tell Jay that?
    I didn't want to make you look bad Mama.....

    Maria the Mum

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Introducing Mr and Mrs Baro

    In 2004, I hired this woman called Donna to work for me
    I knew I wanted to hire her within the first ten minutes of her interview
    By the end of her second interview, I felt like I had known her forever - and I knew all about her sisters, her children, her nieces, her husband, her son's upcoming wedding and her Mum

    So Donna came to work with me and over the years has become a pretty important person in my life
    She has seen me through some of my happiest times and she has seen me through some pretty tough times
    When Donna left the Company, I was devastated
    Thankfully, she stayed in my life
    And she has never once not been there for me
    She's been there for me when I did not even know I needed her

    As the years have passed, Donna's family has welcomed my family into their mix

    We've been there for cookouts in the backyard, Weddings, baptisms, and sadly a memorial mass
    We tried to cheer Donna up when Dawn left for Texas and spent as much time as possible with Donna and Rick when Lucy was born so they would not miss their own grandkids

    Donna and her family are some of the warmest and inviting people you will ever meet
    They will make you laugh until you pee
    They'll make you hoot and holler just to be heard
    And they will jump to your defense before the other guy knows what's hit him!
    They are just what a family should be: unconditional with their love, fiercely loyal, a little crazy and a whole lot of fun

    One of my favorite family members is Courtney - she's Donna's niece (her Mum is Donna's younger sister)

    Courtney is, simply put, one of the most genuine people I have ever met
    She is loyal, loving, forgiving, accepting and more mature than I could ever dream of being at such a young age
    Her wit and humor are formidable
    With Courtney, what you see is what you get.....that is my favorite thing about her
    She is who she is
    She is what she is
    And she is proud and confident of that - and even if she's not, the rest of the world would never  know

    Courtney has been with Eddie for years - like since high school

    Eddie is my second favorite "family" member (another thing I love about Donna's family - if they like you, if they love you, you become their family......)

    One time we hired Eddie to do some work for us at my Company - like 5 years ago now -  and we still talk about him and how great it was having him around

    He is a hard worker, devoted to Courtney, to her family and to his family
    He is the kind of guy you hope your own daughter will one day bring home as you know she will be well cared for a loved as she should be
    Eddie is who he is
    He is what he is

    Together, Eddie and Courtney rival the greatest love story of all (I am of course referring to Tori and Dean......)

    This past Saturday night, Sean and I were honored to witness their marriage

    Just before the music started Eddie stepped out with his groomsmen and lined up at the front of the Church

    As the families and the bridesmaids were walking in, I kept glancing back at Eddie who was craning his neck and trying to see if it was Courtney coming down the aisle yet
    Every person who walked down appeared to get a smile and a nod from him
    He looked like he wanted to yell at them to hurry up so he could get to the best part
    Yet at the same time, he looked at ease, happy, content and as in love as any one person could hope to be

    The doors opened and Courtney made her way down the aisle with her Mum

    Eddie's face lit up
    I think his jaw dropped 

    And then when I turned and looked at Courtney, I literally gasped - not only because she looked radiant and gorgeous and prettier than any bride I have ever seen (including myself and as I've said before, I was totally rocking a bedazzled headband)
    I gasped because she looked so serene (though inside I'm sure she'd say her nerves were shot)
    She was content
    She had the biggest smile on her face and,
    She was steps away from her happily ever after beginning
    Courtney was the picture perfect image of being in love and being loved

    And when she and Eddie finally joined hands, the tears slipped down my face because I got to stand there and watch them in front of their families, friends, God and Irene, become Husband and Wife

    I don't even know how to put in words what it is honor it is to be part of something that is so special to two people - really this stands true for any wedding I've ever attended

    I think it is an amazing and selfless sacrifice to promise yourself to one person for the rest of your life, and the rest of his or her life

    I think it takes a lot of courage and pride to stand before family, friends and God and pledge to not only love one another and take care of one another but to grow together, to communicate openly and honestly with one another, to possibly bring children into this world and raise them together...leaving the world a bit brighter than the way it was when you found it....

    The Reception was as fun as any family gathering - good food, lots of laughs, music, dancing, glow in the dark necklaces and was just what a reception should be...

    Eddie's mother and brother, and Courtney's cousin Alison and her Mum Robin gave four of the best toasts I have ever heard
    All four toasts were humorous, heartfelt and honest....just like Courtney and Eddie
    And all four toasts made us laugh, made us smile, made us cry and made us realize how special these two young people truly are

    Courtney and Eddie:
    To you I extend a heartfelt thank you for wanting us, allowing us, inviting us to be a part of your day
    I hope the years to come are filled with love and laughs, health and happiness, and family and friends
    I hope that your happily ever after is everything you dreamed and hoped it would be

    I'll think of you every October 6th and share this Irish Blessing with you as I've shared with others I love, adore, respect and admire:

    Happy is the bride that rain falls on
    May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
    May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
    May the saddest day of your future
    Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
    May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
    And your hearts joined forever in love.
    Your lives are very special,
    God has touched you in many ways.
    May his blessings rest upon you
    And fill all your coming days.

    Donna, thank you for becoming my friend, for being my friend and thank you for sharing your family with me, Sean and Lucy
    To Donna's whole entire family, thank you for sharing Donna and Rick with us, thank you for accepting us and thank you for reminding me what Family is all about
    (Side note and a shout out: Courtney's cousin Dean sang a beautiful rendition of Ava Maria
    It made me think of her grandmother Irene who I am sure was not only looking down with love and pride but was also probably telling me to stop fidgeting and the girls in the pew in front of me to stop chewing their gum in Church! Dean, it was beautifully sung.....heartfelt and a great gift for not only the Bride and Groom but this guest as well)

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Mr and Mrs Edward and Courtney Baro.......and happily ever after

    Maria the Mum

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Hit me with your best shot

    When I picked Lucy up from school Tuesday, Miss Barbara and I were chatting about the latest trend with the kids in the class

    The trend?

    Not hula hoops
    Not Swatches
    Not piercings or tattoos
    Not even those silly rubber band bracelets that were all the rage a year or so ago

    No, the latest trend with the kids is to only have one friend, maybe two, at a time

    Like Lucy and I will be talking and she'll say

    Jack is my friend, not Justin, just Jack
    But Lucy, I'll say, when I picked you up, you were playing with both of them
    Yeah but only Jack is my friend, tomorrow Justin can be my friend

    Two days later, she'll tell me Mia is her friend and so is Kaia but not Jack and Justin

    Barbara was telling me she and Danielle have been talking about this with the kids and in fact today, read a book to the kids about having more than one friend

    She was summarizing the story for me and asking the kids, including Lucy, questions about the story coaxing them to tell me what happened

    She kept trying to highlight the lessons of having more than one friend but the kids just kept giggling and telling me the brothers were throwing snowballs.....and then they'd start laughing even more and talking all at once trying to tell me what was going on.... but I had no idea what they were even saying as their giggles kept overtaking them

    I looked to Miss Barbara for an explanation and with a loving roll of her eyes, she explained at some point in the story, the brothers were throwing snowballs at their sister and that was what the kids took away from the story more than the lesson of having friends (as opposed to A friend)

    Barbara said the kids thought it was so funny the brothers were throwing snowballs she was not convinced the kids even remembered anything else about the story.......

    Oh the patience these women have with our children!

     I like to reiterate with Lucy what I know she is learning in school, be it numbers, letters, or behaviors, so on the way home, I asked Lucy about the story Miss Barbara read to the class

    Lucy, I asked, what did you think of the story Miss Barbara read today, about having more than one friend? Did you like it?

    Yeah Mama, it was a good story.....but did you know the brothers threw snowballs at the sister?!?!

    They did???

    Yeah Mama, that was not nice, to throw snowballs at the sister!

    No, it wasn't now tell me again, the bear was hibernating and which friend was sad because she thought bear was her only friend?

    Mama! Wait! I just need to know, can you make sure I no have any brothers 'cause I don't want to get hit with any snowballs...and if sisters throw snowballs I don't want any of them either......I'll just have Ziggy Boy......OK Mama?

    Uhhh, OK Lucy

    Mama! Promise! No brothers and no sisters! I no want to get hit with a snowball! OK Mama?
    Who wants to get it with a snowball?

    She shakes her head in disgust

    Hey Mama?

    Yes Lucy

    You have a brother?

    I do honey, Uncle John

    And you have sisters?

    I do honey, Auntie Lulu, Auntie Flea, Auntie Lis, Auntie Cheetie and Auntie Mike...Mummy has 5 sisters

    Lucy processes this for a minute and finally, with her head cocked to the side and a somehwat sympathetic look on her face says you got hit with a lot of snowballs huh Mama?

    I sure did Lucy, I sure did....

    Maria the Mum

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    I Feel Turned Around Today.....

    I’ve been walking around since I got dressed this morning feeling a kilter

    Like I wasn’t walking right or that something was wrong with my lower body

    I’ve been jiggling my legs trying to shake the feeling

    Sitting down and flexing my calves to work out any cramp I may have

    Even took my shoes off and stretched my feet

    I’ve been fussing and fidgeting with my pants thinking maybe I had some static cling

    I even sprayed myself down with Static Guard

    Just stood up to adjust myself again

    Turns out I put my pants on backwards this morning...................

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

    Teacher AND Saint

    A few weeks ago, I started noticing signs along the roadside for a Festival at St Barbara's Church

    In the back of my mind, I made a mental note of the date thinking it might be fun for us to check it out

    The week of the Festival, I said aloud to Lucy as we drove home

    Lucy, what do you think of going to St Barbara's Festival this weekend?

    I watched her in my rear view mirror waiting for a response

    Lucy, who had her nose buried in book, lowered it down onto her lap in slow motion and looked at me with her mouth agape and after a few seconds of silence said in a mixed tone of disbelief and amazement

    Mama! Miss Barbara is my teacher AND a Saint????

    Yes Lucy, yes she is......

    Maria the Mum

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Wanted: Full Time Administrative Assistant

    We posted two weeks ago a job listing for an Administrative Assistant
    To date, I have received almost 400 inquiries
    It’s tough out there
    I’ve had resumes from all kinds of people with all kinds of professional backgrounds
    When lawyers, nurses, and teachers start applying for an Admin job, you know times are tough
    I empathize with the folks out there pounding the pavement looking for a job
    I really do
    Which is why I feel like it’s my civic duty to provide you with some unsolicited, and possibly kind of mean, and borderline offensive advice
    1.      Everything is electronic nowadays, this should be no surprise to anyone

    Do yourself a favor: get a grown up email address

    I will not respond if your email is anything like any of the following:

    joeyshotmama, hotbod69, slippylippy, puckerupswak, sweetiepie, sexygurrl, dreamweaver, injunjoe, hottiepatotea, hunnybunny, honeybun, babygirl, dippydoodoo, 2on1isfun,

    If I am embarrassed to email you because of your address, I’m guessing that other perspective employers are as well
    Really…you want me, a perspective employer to know that you think 2 on 1 is fun? Even if I agree with you, that is not something any employer should know about you
    And Joey’s Mama? You are a Mom know, have some respect for motherhood will you?!? I don’t care if you are a cougar or a MILF, you are a Mom – and I am a perspective employer
    How can I respect you if you don’t respect yourself?
    Your email address is who you are – I get it – I get that you want people to know you are sexy and a dreamer and a real sweetie pie – but reserve that email address for your family and friends (although 2on1is fun, for your parents’ sake, give them your other email address)
    Your name@whatever domain, your first name.last name@whatever domaion
    And if your name is taken, throw a number in the end of it; but stop with the goofy, semi-erotic, slightly pornographic and terribly suggestive email addresses

    2.      Look, I get that times are tough out there but are you really going to drive 50-75 miles for an Admin job?

    Gas is $3.89 a gallon
    Winter’s can be a bitch here
    And traffic – forget it
    75 miles one way for an Admin job?
    Are you really going to make the drive in your SUV for $18-$21 an hour?


    Every morning?
    In the snow?
    In the rain?
    Every night?


          3.    This is pretty basic but, when you come in for your interview, NO PERFUME!
    I’m not usually bothered by perfume but when you come in smelling like a whore on payday, well, all I want to do is end the interview as quickly as possible in order to hook myself up to an oxygen machine to return my lung capacity to normal
    I should not have to wear a Level 1 HazMat suit for an interview
    Easy on the toilet water ok?

    4.      I get that America is the melting pot
    And like you, I am proud of my birth name
    But I also recognize and acknowledge that sometimes, people can’t pronounce my name and sometimes, may not reach out to me because they can’t say it
    So, I try to make it easy for them
    So if you are 2 and can’t say Maria, as, most two year olds can’t, call me Rere or Ria
    So if your name is Suthewastagytywsherqkhqaaawgwt, how about you throw the people reviewing your resume a bone and give us a name we can pronounce… Sue
    I’m not saying you have to let go of your ethnicity or heritage or lose your identity but think about it, if I can’t pronounce your name, what are the chances of me calling you?
    Especially when you get all pissy because I mispronounce your name
    And I know this may be offensive to some but think about this:
    When you call your credit card for customer service, really when you call anywhere for customer service, we all know and secretly complain about the fact we reached some call center in India and we can barely hear and or understand them…
    But have you ever noticed they say "Thank you for calling ABC Company, this is Bob, Mary, Jenny, Sue, Mark…..." I mean really, how many Indians do you now called Jenny? They Americanize their names for their audience – do the same here
    And if that is so terribly offensive, I hate to tell you this but I’m not calling you

    5.      This is pretty basic and fundamental but it bears repeating:
            Do not, under any circumstances, trash talk your past or current employers, co-workers and/or bosses…and certainly don’t do it using full names!
    One of the questions I ask in an interview is Who was your favorite boss/manager/supervisor and why? What characteristics or behaviors did they display that made him or her your favorite?
    I then ask, What are some characteristics of your least favorite boss/manager/supervisor?
    Notice I change the wording and do not ask WHO rather I ask for characteristics - and I even say, you don’t have to name names, I’m just looking for characteristics and traits
    I am shocked at how many people told me the boss’s name, company
    And then, proceeded to really rip into said boss along with co-workers, company owners and once, the boss’s wife!
    This is interviewing 101 folks, do not, ever, no matter what, trash talk someone you worked for in an interview
    Find a constructive way to say they were total micromanagers:
    I thrive best in an autonomous environment - I perform best when left to the task so I would have to say a characteristic in a boss that is my least favorite would be someone who micromanages me. It adds stress to the day and I find I don’t perform as well as I normally would
    Find a better way to say she was a total bitch and shit on everything I did:
    Sometimes, my boss would lose her temper and handle things in a way that was not appropriate for the work place. I find I don’t react well to insults, yelling and sarcastic comments muttered under one’s breath. I also know that when I work hard on a project and the first thing I’m told is that it’s wrong with no explanation or justification as to why, well, it breaks down my moral and makes me not want to do better but instead, I shut down
    And don’t use names! You never know who I know or who someone else might know

    6.      I called someone to come in for an interview and the second question out of her mouth, after telling me she would only come in at one time because that was what worked best for her, was how much are you going to pay me? I want to  make sure this is worth my time

    My instinct was to tell her never mind – her tone and her demands for a time that worked around her schedule and wanting to know the salary were off putting

    But I gave her the benefit of the doubt

    She showed up for her interview driving a luxury car (the same vehicle one of the owner’s here drives)

    Her interview went downhill primarily because her first statement to me was
    Well, you must be willing to pay me at least xx number of dollars as I drove out here to meet with you

    I know that salary is important – I do – I realize the important of mine every day
    But do not bring money up – let the employer bring it up

    And when I tell you the hours are Monday-Friday 8-5, don’t try to negotiate
    If I wanted to negotiate, I would have told you that up front….as a matter of fact, I never would have you given you days and hours

    So when I say Monday through Friday, 8-5 and yes that include the summer, I’m not kidding

    And for the record, you are the one looking for work, not me
    You are one of 387 resumes I received
    I have 386 other people I can call
    Do not start making demands of me because I will call all 386 other people even if I think you have the perfect skill set for the job

    7.      One time, in an interview, I had a woman stop me and ask how old I was

    This was quite a few years ago……it may have even been the very first time I conducted a job search

    I was so caught off guard, I answered the question

    Her next statement was she could not work for someone who was younger than her own children as she did not think someone so young could even begin to know how to manage someone or run a department or “be in charge”

    She could not have respect for someone so young

    I quite possibly could have agreed with her….hell, I’ve met people older than me I would not dream of working for because being managed by them would be a joke

    But here’s the thing: In an interview, you should never ever, never ever, ever under any circumstance shit on the company or the person you are interviewing with

    If you do not like me, do not like the company I am describing to you, do one of two things:

    Let the interview come to an end and if I ask you back for a second interview, politely decline


    Stop me in the interview and tell me you do not feel this job right is for you – but do it without being condescending and judgmental
    Say something like
    I appreciate you asking me to come in and interview for the position but, the more we sit and talk, the less I feel that I am the right person for this job – and I am not so sure this job is for me…but again, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me

    I’ll have a lot more respect for you if you do that than if you tell me you can’t “take orders from someone younger than my own child”

    Same goes for the woman who, when I asked her if she had any questions for me about the job or the company responded by saying

    I heard you’re tough to work for, is that true?

    She did not make the second cut either

    8.      Do not lie on your resume
    And if you are going to, do not tell me in the interview you lied on your resume
    And in this scenario, exaggerating is the same is lying

    9.      I can’t tell you how many times in interviews people tell me things that have nothing to do with the job or the company

    I had one woman tell me about her ailing mother –in-law

    Another woman broke down and cried for ten minutes as she told me about her 90+ year old Dad

    Another woman shared with me how having her daughter was by far the greatest gift she has received

    The other day, I had in interview and by the time she left, I knew her husband’s name, his occupation, how they met, all about their wedding and reception and, names of all four cats!

    I’m glad these people feel like they can open up to me and tell me things; it gives me a better idea about who they are as a person

    However, know where to draw that line

    Don’t share too much too fast, it can really turn off an employer

    I don’t want to hear the details of your bachelorette party or you drunken escapades from last night which explains why you seem a bit out of it today

    I do not need to know how and why your marriage ended or what you caught your ex husband doing with your neighbor’s husband

    I like that people open and share – just be sure to edit a bit more

    10.   My final piece of advice is this:

    Those of us doing the interviewing do not enjoy it anymore than you enjoy being interviewed

    Sit back and relax

    Try not to shout at me during the interview
    I know you were not yelling at me you were just excited but tone it down

    Plus, you scared me

    Also, even if you think you know me and my type, do not, in an interview, try to make any speculations or guesses about your perspective employer…professional or personal

    I may bear a slight resemblance to Rosie O’Donnell and I may have set off your gaydar but it is not ok to ask me if I am on your team

    And you may think by looking at me that I am a hard ass but do not make that observation out loud

    You just end up embarrassing everyone involved

    Good luck out there people
    Best foot forward
    Maria the Mum