“Give yourself a wedgie,” the card reads.  “Keep it for two turns, or move your piece back 10 spaces on the board.”

I stare at the card in disbelief.  REALLY?!  The first card that I get in this crazy, truth-or-dare-like game, and it wants me to pull my underwear into my butt crack?!

My boyfriend looks over my shoulder, reads the card, and shrugs.  “Do it,” he says.

I sigh, and turn to whisper in his ear.  His twin brother shouts from the other end of the table, “We don’t have any secrets!  Say it loud enough for all of us to hear!  Otherwise, he’ll just tell us later!”

I am already weirded out about meeting my boyfriend’s twin brother.  I mean, I dated a twin before, but it’s still weird to look at someone who resembles your lover, but isn’t him.  ESPECIALLY when that man (the twin) is married to someone else, who is also at the table.  Along with the boyfriend’s sister, other brother, and his girlfriend.

On top of meeting all these people at once—and, oh yes, this is our first meeting—we’re playing this outrageous board game.

The girlfriend excuses herself from the table and waddles to the couch.  She’s five months pregnant, with her sweatpants rolled down under her baby belly and a tight tank top straining over the top.  She picks up her Kindle and starts reading.

The wife asks her, “What are you reading?”

“50 Shades of Gray,” she answers.

Everyone at the table laughs.  Leave it to the fourth time single mother to read a bondage and domination sex novel between cigarettes at a family gathering.

Though she provided a momentary distraction from the game, it couldn’t last.  All eyes turn to me expectantly.

“Well?” someone asks.

“Do it,” Boyfriend says.

My cheeks burn; they must be blazing red.  So much for charming his family, I think.  So much for making a great first impression!  I FINALLY meet a great guy, and when I get to meet his family, I get THIS card!  FML!

I read the card aloud, “Give yourself a wedgie.  Well, I can’t, because I’m wearing a g-string,” I tell the table.  Literally.  I am facing the table, talking to it, because I cannot look at his sister, sister-in-law, brother, or especially not my boyfriend’s twin!

The twin laughs!  “Show me!  I want proof!!” he says.

I turn to my boyfriend, silently begging him to stand up for me.

Boyfriend says, “Show them.”

So I stand up, turn around, lift the hem of my shirt, and pull down the top of my jeans, revealing the top of my hot pink, satin g-string underwear.

That’s right: hot pink.  Satin.  G-string.

“Show me the rest of it!” Twin said.

“Shut up!” his wife said.

And THAT was how I met the family.


This has been a throwback to 2011. 

PS. The same boyfriend is featured in “24 Ways to Ruin a Romantic Vacation” and “Don’t Speak to The Norms That Way.”

Princess Strawberry Turns 19



“Can I read this book?” 8-year-old Sally Strawberry asks me, holding my Astronomy 101 textbook.

I glance up from the fluid dynamics problem that I would, eventually, solve (damn it!) and say, “Sure, if you read it in the living room or the dining room; don’t take it to your room, I need it for class.”  I figure that she wants to look at the pretty pictures of the galaxies and nebulae.

“Mom?” she asks a few minutes later.  “I want to study the stars when I grow up.”

“Do you want to study the stars or learn how the universe works?  Do you want to record the positions of the stars and take pictures through telescopes, or do you want to dig deeper?” I ask.

“I want to know everything!  I want to know why the galaxies swirl and how they were created,” she tells me.  “I already memorized the hydrogen fusion cycle!”

A little stunned by this announcement, I tell her, “Sounds like you want to be an astrophysicist.  Unless, you want to study the planet and how life forms?  Then you might want to be a cosmologist.”

“No, the stars!  I’m going to be a—an—astrophysicist,” she says.

“Are you sure that you don’t want to be an astronaut?” I ask, feeling her out.

“No!” she says quickly.  “I want to study the stars!”

The year was 2004.  After I completed my final exam in Astronomy (I made a B in the class), I gave the book to Sally; it was the first of many astronomy books that she would collect over the years.


“Would you like to visit the McDonald Observatory on our way to the Grand Canyon?” I ask Sally Ann.  I’m kinda teasing her; I know that any astronomer or astrophysicist would LOVE to see the big telescopes in west Texas.

“NO!” she immediately replies.  “McDonald’s is bad for you!  I’d never eat there!”

I snicker.  She obviously didn’t understand.  “The OBSERVATORY is owned by The University of Texas at Austin; it’s their research facility and has some very large telescopes.  Since it’s in the Fort Davis Mountains in the middle of nowhere, there’s no light pollution from surrounding cities.”

She cuts me off before I can finish my first sentence.  “YES!  Yes yes yes yes!  Oh, Mommy, I really want to go!”

She only calls me, “Mommy,” when she really wants something, so I know she’s extra excited.

The day that we visit, we look through big telescopes to see the sun.

“Look!  Wow!  Look at those sun flares!” she said, then asks the astronomer who is manning the telescope a ton of questions.  He answers them politely and smiles; he obviously respects her knowledge at such a young age.

We walk away and I say, “Are you having a good time?”

She bounces and says, “It’s so COOL!”

I point to a building and tell her, “That’s where the astronomers sleep during the day, so they can work all night.”

Her eyes enlarged.  “Wow!  I wish they were up, so I could meet them!”

Inside the main building, we sit and listen to a presentation on astrology and constellations.  Afterward I ask her, “What did you think?”

She shrugs.  “I knew most of that already.”

“Let’s go talk to the astronomer who presented.  You can ask him how he got to where he is,” I told her.

Shyly, she walked up to the man and told him, “I want to be an astrophysicist.  How did you get this job?”

“Oh, I kinda lucked into it, you know, I knew someone and they had an opening here.  You don’t want to be an astronomer, really.  You have to be one of the best to make good money; most of us, well, the pay isn’t that great.  You should attend UT, become a mechanical engineer, and design the telescopes,” he told her.

Sally’s face scrunched into a determined stare, her hands curled into fists, and she stomped her foot.  Her entire body was tense as my sweet little blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby doll announced, “I DO NOT want to be my MOTHER!”

I laugh!  “I swear, I’ve never met this man before!  We didn’t plan this!”


“Attached is the calibrated image that I TOOK, of M81 and M82 galaxies, taken by the 30-inch telescope,” Sally writes in an email to me.  “Holy shit. This stuff is SO COOL.”

I smile.  I wonder, what I had dreamed of being at 8 years old?  I have a vague recollection of writing in one of my books, “I want to be a rocket scientist or a house wife.”  I wrote “house wife” so that Mom wouldn’t feel bad that I didn’t want to be like her.  I didn’t really want to be married, ever.  Or have kids.  Plans change, life happens.

But my baby knew what she wanted to be 11 years ago!  Over half of her life!  I’ve met 45 year-olds who didn’t know what they wanted to be!  Heck, I went back to school at age 20, 25, and again at 35!

“Now I know for sure that research is for me, and that I’ve found my calling,” Sally emailed me later.

On Facebook, I posted, “I love that you found and are following your passion!!”

She responded, “I love that you’re doing the same!!”

I love you, Baby Girl!!  Happy Birthday!!   Cheers!


Chapter 4 ~ Play Date

CAS and CJS 19951101

“Squash bug!” Kenny says.  At two years old, he clumsily stomps on the concrete, missing the pill bug completely.  Excitedly, he runs in place, then tries again.  His baby fine, thin brown hair is chin length.  His eyes are big and brown, like a puppy, with beautiful long eyelashes.  He is simply adorable.

“Thanks again for inviting us over,” I tell Logan.  I stand holding baby Jack.  At 7 months old, he can crawl, but I don’t want him crawling on the apartment complex parking lot.  He watches Kenny, fascinated.  Inside, he had crawled all over Darrell and Logan’s apartment, so he is content to let me hold him; for the moment.  He’s heavy, so I stand with my hip popped out, leaning away from him.

“Sure, glad you could make it,” Logan says.  He is more animated than the last time that I saw him, and more talkative.  There are still long pauses between sentences, but at least he’s making an effort.  “Have you heard from your ex?”

I shake my head.  “There was a prank call to my parents’ house, and they think it was him.  They won’t tell me what he said, so it must have been bad.  But the point is, he knows where we are.  He hasn’t tried once to contact me.  I thought for sure that he’d want to see Jack.  How can he stay away from his son?  Seriously, I thought that I’d have to fight him for custody.  Instead, he just—disappears.”  I am still having nightmares, but I don’t mention them.

Logan shakes his head, too.  “I don’t know.  Nothing is going to keep me from seeing my boy.  Yes, that’s right, Kenny, squash them bugs!”  Logan stomps the ground next to his son, sending him into a giggle fit.  I laugh, too, because he is so darn cute!

“I’m quitting my second job,” I tell him.

“Waitressing?  But I thought you made, like, $300 a night?” he asks.

“I do, but…everyone has a sad story.  The customers complain because they’re not in relationships, or their relationship is bad, or work sucks.  They come in to, you know, feel better.  Sure, there are some bachelor parties, but even with those, there are some guys in the group that are jealous that they aren’t the groom.  And then there are the dancers, who are working hard to earn money for their kids, or drugs, or college.  So many of them just hate men now, because of how they’re treated at the club,” I says, pausing to gather my thoughts.  “I don’t want to be like that.  I don’t want to have to drink or, do drugs, to get through the day.”

“Ya, I understand.  Are you going to be able to pay your bills with just your cashier salary?” he asks.

Surprised, I realize that he cares.  I feel like I am talking to a real friend and I am touched.  “Ya,” I says.  “I have some money saved up.  Still, I’m looking for a new job.  $5.25 per hour sucks.  I’m going to take some classes at the community college to become a paralegal, you know, a secretary for lawyers.  They make decent salaries, and it’s only a two-year program.”

“So you’re replacing your second job with school,” he says.

“Ya.  I’ve gotta do something, so that I can take care of my baby, here.  Maybe one day I can afford daycare, so that Mom doesn’t have to watch him,” I say.

“I bet your mom loves keeping him,” Logan says, then smiles at Jack.  “Your grandma loves you, doesn’t she?  Yes, she does.”

That is the first time I’d seen Logan smile.  He really is ok looking.  I mean, not gorgeous, but definitely not ugly.  Maybe like John Travolta, but with a smaller chin.

“What are you going to do?” I ask.

“I quit school.  I mean, I would have completely failed this semester, because of what happened,” Logan says, referring to the whole cheating wife fiasco.  “I had an interview at IBM to work in their tech support department.”  He shrugs.  “It’s kind of easy work.  I mean, most of it is telling people to reboot their computers, or download a driver.  But it’s good money.  Hey, would you want to work there?”

I laugh.  “Computers are not my thing.  I’ll stick to secretary school, thanks!”  I smile at him, then say, “I hope you get it.  I mean, it was great of Darrell to let you stay here with him, but I bet you’ll be happy to get an apartment of your own, right?”

Logan says, “Actually, I really like living with Darrell.  He has all the kitchen stuff and couches and…you wouldn’t believe how much it costs to buy all that stuff.”  Then he glanced at me and said, “Maybe you would.  Anyway, I’ve got to finalize the divorce and save up some money.  I’ll be living with Darrell for a while.  It’s ok, he’s a pretty good roommate.  He’ll buy the steaks if I cook ‘em, and that works for me.”

“Oh, you cook?” I ask.

“Yep.  Just a few easy meals.  My mom had three boys, and she didn’t want us to starve as bachelors, so she taught us all the basics,” he says.  “I actually don’t mind doing it.”

“Cool.  I avoid cooking, myself.  It’s like, a necessary evil.  Gotta eat, right?” I force a laugh.

“Ya, gotta eat,” Logan agrees.  He looks at his son, then his face hardens.  “Jodi and I are writing our divorce decree together, using a template we found online.  We’re going to try to do it without a lawyer.  Should be easy, we don’t have much to fight over.”  He clenches his jaw; he is obviously still hurting badly.

I didn’t know whether to console him or what.  So I offer news about my own divorce.  “Mine is final.  I had to hire a lawyer for my ex, since he’s vanished, and pay to have a summons put in the newspaper.  Had to pay a detective to try to find him, too—even though I’d rather he stay gone!”

“That sucks,” Logan says, still looking out into the distance and clenching his jaw.  He is a million miles away.

“Ya, at least it’s over.  Well, this guy looks sleepy.  Maybe he’ll fall asleep on the ride home,” I says, nodding my head to Jack.  He put his head on my shoulder and his eyes were drooping.  His chin is slack, too.  Yep, he’s ready for a nap.

“Yep.  I’ll grab your bag.  Kenny!  Come on, let’s walk Jack to the car!” Logan says.  Kenny looks up and squeals with delight.

“BUGS!” he says.

“Yes, we can look for bugs while we walk,” Logan says, grabbing my diaper bag and purse from inside the apartment and then taking Kenny’s hand.

I buckle Jack into his car seat, then give a brief hug to Logan and Kenny.

On the drive home, I wonder what today meant.  I mean, it wasn’t a date.  We are just two friends watching our kids play.  Logan didn’t try to hold my hand or kiss me goodbye.  But do I want him to?  Seems like he still needs time to get over what happened.  Maybe he just needs a friend right now, someone who’s going through a divorce, too.

I sit a little straighter.  I can be a friend.  And I like having one, too.  As said in Casablanca, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

I haven’t heard from Mike.  That’s not surprising, considering how terrible our date went.  Still, I did everything he wanted.  Why hasn’t he called?  Should I call him, to make sure that he has my number?  He was the instructor of my class, which meant that he had access to the paperwork with all my registration information: address, phone number, and email address.  If he isn’t calling, it is because he doesn’t want to see me again.  Sigh, why can’t I have a normal relationship for once?


This chapter is part of the continuing romance novel, How I Met Your Father; the next chapter is here.  In case you’re new to my site, I recommend that you start reading at the intro, here.  I’ll be posting a chapter a week on Mondays (although I’m a day early this week).  Since this is my first love story, comments and suggestions are welcome.  I rewrote chapter 2 based on reader feedback, and it was much better.  Actually, one of the reasons that I’m writing this book is to improve my writing skills.  Let me know what you think.

In other news, I go into surgery tomorrow, and I have pain meds for after.  Then I’m slacking the rest of the week; just chillin’ out at home with chipmunk cheeks and Netflix. I stocked up on Jello, pudding, and bananas, so I’m set!  I’ll take some selfies and post them on Facebook for you.

I hope 2016 is treating you well!  Stay warm!


Flies and Frogs


Jack and Sally 11/27/15


“I was just a fly on the wall in that meeting; it was too far over my head,” said Ryan.  He plays softball with me on the company team, so I know that he has a longtime girlfriend.  Between that and the fact that we work together, I try to ignore the fact that he’s a hottie.

“You should work harder to be a frog,” I said.  Before the words came out of my mouth, I meant that he should try to participate in the meeting.  After I said them, though, I realized that I was telling him to eat the flies.  Uh, could that be taken as a sexual innuendo?

Damn it.  I haven’t been sent to HR yet.  All it would take is a little slip of the tongue—frog-eating-fly pun intended.

Picking up on the frog reference, another co-worker flew in with, “If he’s a frog, then you should kiss him and make him a prince.”

Ryan blushed.  And since he has fair skin, his cheeks were a bright red.  And damn it, from the sudden heat in my fair cheeks, I’m sure that I looked similarly sunburnt.

I don’t have much of poker face.

He replied, “Don’t let HR hear you saying that!”

Whew.  He was talking to our coworker, not me.

We laughed it off and went our separate ways.

Speaking of things for which I am thankful…


Thanksgiving was delightful!  I enjoyed a nice, lazy run in the morning (5 miles).  Then I took my time eating breakfast and getting ready.

I’ve discovered the TV show, “Lost Girl.”  It’s a lot like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (books), to the extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim were writing for the show.  Except that the Lost Girl has a lot more sex than Dresden.  I’m talking, every episode she has sex, and she switches partners an average of every episode.  I say, “average” because sometimes she stays with the same guy for 2 or more shows.  But then she has a three-some to make up for it.

I watch the show for the plot.

Ya, like some people read Playboy for the articles.

Anywho, Jack and I attended a Thanksgiving feast at Elizabeth and Daniel’s house.  They are the best of friends.  They had taken pains to provide gluten free side dishes for me: steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and a crustless mini-lemon meringue pie.  Now that’s friendship!

I dropped Jack off at home and went to another friend’s feast.  I nibbled on salad and a small piece of turkey, which was perfect after my huge lunch.  I had told my hostess that I wouldn’t be eating at all, so I made up for it by being helpful: serving pie, clearing the plates, etc.  I’ve discovered that the more helpful you are, the more likely you’ll be invited back.  And just to be sure, I had brought a couple of bottles of wine with me.

Hey, I’m like NASA: I believe in redundant systems.  If one doesn’t work, the other will.

And as an extra back up, I brought the charm.  Who can resist me when I’m being cute?

Reality check: I’m still single.

Damn it.  Good thing I brought wine!

Before and after dinner we played the game, “Code Name.”  One person is the spymaster and he has a team of spies.  He can’t tell us who else is a spy directly, but instead gives us a code word which will lead us to one or more spy.  That is, he/she says a word and number like, “Peter, 3.”  There are cards with words on them, and the spies (team members) look at the random nouns and pick out 3 that connect to Peter somehow.  When I said that clue, I meant for them to pick out Pan, Kid, and Theater.  I had to be careful that they didn’t pick out something unintentional, like “Peanut Butter” or “Penis.”

Ok, neither of those was on the board, but unintended connections can and do happen.

We took turns being spymaster.  I was happy to be part of the team guessing what the clues meant, but I warned them that they didn’t want me as spymaster giving the clues.  My brain makes obscure references.  For example, when the spymaster said the word, “Monster,” I pointed to the “Rabbit” card.  Everyone was confused, until I referenced Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail.

“Bring the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch!” I quoted.

The peeps who hadn’t seen the movie were still confused.  Ya either get it or you don’t.  Like I said, my mind has obscure references.

This became even more apparent when I became spymaster and used the clue, “Q.”  My team looked for Star Trek nouns: Bridge, Space, etc. which connected to the character of Que, who was an omniscient being who liked to make trouble.  Like the Norse god Loki.  There weren’t any cards like the ones that they were search for.  When I said, “Q,” I meant the scientist who made gadgets for Maxwell Smart in the old television show, which was a parody of James Bond.  I was hoping they’d choose “lab,” “scientist,” and “research.”

Ya, no one got that one.  I may be smart, but that doesn’t mean that you want me to hand out clues!  Plus, I was so busy thinking of connections that I neglected to notice that “Peter” led to spies for the other team.  Oops.

I’m super glad that I brought wine!

Thanksgiving Part II

My darling daughter Sally and her girlfriend of two years (!!), Penny, visited from Austin the next day.  I am ALWAYS glad to see my mini-me!  This year, her blue-purple hair matches our Christmas tree.  How many proud mamas can say that?

Um, how many proud mamas want to?

At any rate, we watched Hot Fuzz and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, followed by How I Met Your Mother Thanksgiving episodes.  We decorate the tree and hung stockings on the mantle.  I used to wait for December 1 before decorating, but since Sally drove back to Austin the next day (today, Saturday), I took advantage of her presence.  It feels more like the holidays with her here.  She and Penny decorated my study with silver mesh fabric, too.  The place feels absolutely ready for Christmas now!

When we were making plans for her to come up, she said, “I have three Thanksgiving dinners on Saturday.”

I answered, “I’ll make homemade pizza.”

She said, “Mom, I love you!”

While here, we told Penny funny stories: why I don’t have a tattoo came up, as did the Greek tale of Oedipus Rex.  The last was mentioned on How I Met Your Mother, so I paused the show (at Sally’s behest) to tell the story.  That led, naturally, to one of Sally’s own.

“Mom and I were about to watch this show,” she said, referencing HIMYM, “And Mom said, He’s going to talk about how he met YOUR mom!  Not MY mom, but YO mama!  So I looked at her,” Sally nodded at me for emphasis, “and said, He’s going to tell me how he met YOU?!”  She LAUGHED!  “I had to remind her that I’m her daughter, and she’s my mom!”

True story.  I have so much fun with Sally Ann that she feels more like a friend than family.  I love you, Baby Girl!

Now, go out there and be a frog, not a fly!

Uh, still not the best metaphor.  I mean, go get ‘em!



Jules Rules: A Single Girl Gives Thanks



Strawberry Pie!  By Sally Strawberry, 2011

Let us take time to rejoice that we are single!

  1. I’m thankful that I’m not getting laid on a regular basis. Sex can result in soreness, walking funny, and UTI’s.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  2. I’m thankful that I’m not getting married. I’ve seen Bridezillas, and I don’t want to become one, no siree!  I’d rather NOT obsess over place cards, the perfect dress, or why some people are so inconsiderate that they won’t return the stupid RSVP cards, which were self-addressed AND stamped for GOODNESS SAKE!!  (Don’t get me started on the seating chart – which uncle is an alcoholic and should be sat furthest from the bar?  Which cousin is mad at which aunt?  And where the hell will we sit Naughty Nadia, that she won’t steal someone’s date?!)
  3. I’m thankful for friends that cook. I was invited to two friends’ homes for turkey.  TWO!!  That means that I buy a couple of bottles of wine, and I don’t have to do a damn thing: no cooking, no cleaning, no dirty dishes!  Seriously, my friends are all like, “No, you’re the guest.  Please, sit.  We’ll do the dishes later.”  And, “We have a ton of food.  Please, just bring yourself!”  SCORE!
  4. I’m thankful for a paid holiday. My company wants to pay me to not work?  Yes, please!
  5. I’m thankful that I don’t have to shop for The Perfect Gift for a boyfriend. “Is it too soon to get him something really nice?  If not, what should I get him?  If he was a girl, I’d just buy jewelry.  A stuffed animal is so junior high.  A nice shirt says that I don’t think his wardrobe is good enough; and what if he hates it?”  Ha ha, none of that drama for me!

But in case you’re curious, I adore earrings for any holiday.  I could use some diamond studs.  And a matching tennis bracelet.  And a necklace would be nice.  Ya know, nothing too expensive.

  1. I’m thankful that I don’t have to juggle time with relatives. One of my coworkers said, “We alternate years.  This year, we’re spending time with my family.  I have five brothers and sisters, and between them, they have 20 kids and step-kids.  My wife and I don’t have kids, so we’re really not used to all the noise and activity.  It’s a little much.”  Uh, ya!  Like, the state fair is just a few rides!
  2. Along that same line, I’m thankful that I don’t have to make small talk with relatives. Seriously, have you tried talking to someone that you only see once a year?!  “Are you still working at that dead end job?  Oh, you were laid off.  Sorry to hear.  Oh, you have a new dead end job, and you hate this one worse?  Oh, sorry to hear that.  I mean, I’m glad you’re employed.  Excuse me, I have to go top off this glass of wine.”  Then I throw back my head and drain the mostly-fully glass.
  3. I’m thankful for time for bubble baths and chick flicks. That is, I’m thankful that I’m not forced to watch action movies in exchange for watching chick flicks.  Although I really enjoyed, “Shoot ‘Em Up.”  OMG, there are some AWESOME quoteables in that film!  “Bring me every lactating whore in this city!”
  4. I’m thankful that I can check out any cute, hot, single men that happen to show up to any soiree I attend. Which is to say, I’m thankful for my over-active imagination.

I am a writer, after all!  It could happen – we see each other across the room, and my friend says, “Have you met my brother, the incredibly talented neurosurgeon?  He’s been single for about a year now, and is ready to get back into the dating scene.  Maybe you could give him some advice.”  And that’s the story we’ll tell at our wedding the following year, around this same time…

Wait, what was the question?

  1. I’m thankful that my friends have plenty of good wine, and aren’t afraid to share it!

Seriously, though, I am thankful that I get to spend time with friends and my two darling children.  We’re going to get together after Thanksgiving and put up the Christmas tree, which is blue with purple lights.  Nothing about my holidays are traditional, I’m happy to say.

I hope that you have the very best holiday, whether it’s with family or without.  Whether it’s with a significant other, or without.  And most of all, I hope your face is sore from smiling, and your stomach is full of good food, at the end of the day.  And may you have a long list of things for which to be thankful!


Long Lost Brother (And Sister)


Jack, Dawn, & Crispin

When I divorced my 1st husband (aka my 1st ex-husband, aka 1EH), I quit worrying about him.  He was on his own.  As long as he didn’t bother me or try to take my son, he could do as he pleased.  I didn’t care if he paid child support or not, as long as he stayed away.  I care so little about that compulsive liar, that I won’t give him anything, not even a nickname.

That was head-in-the-sand thinking.  Of course his actions affected me, in that it affected my son, 1EH’s biological son.  When 1EH has a daughter, then a son, with his second wife, my child gained a sister and brother.

I’ve taught my children that “half” and “step” are legal prefixes that don’t need to be said.  Your brother is your brother, period.   Family is family, regardless of legal designation or blood relationship.

I am especially adamant about this, since I love my 2nd ex-husband’s family.  Alan adopted my son and is Sally’s biological father.  I love Alan’s son Joseph, who is my daughter’s half-brother and my son’s stepbrother (and brother by adoption), even though legally he is legally nothing to me.  That is, legally, he is my ex-stepson.  Realistically, I didn’t stop loving him the day that I divorced his father.  Likewise, I love Alan’s mother, my ex-mother-in-law.  She’s still my MIL, as far as I’m concerned.  We’re friends on Facebook and I see her when we’re in Houston.  After all, she’s still the grandmother of my children.

Confused? Here’s a family tree.  I hope that it helps!

Jack_Family Tree

When my son, Jack, was 18 years old (three years ago), he learned that Dawn and Crispin existed.   That’s big news!!  Because they lived far away in the land of Missouri, Jack established a relationship via Facebook, email, and phone calls.  About a year ago, Dawn came through Dallas with her friends and we met her in person.  Jack and Dawn are both rather hyper, love video games, and are awesome people.   I liked her immediately.

Crispin was only 11 years old, so he didn’t come down with Dawn(18 at the time).  Jack waited patiently until this weekend, when I could drive him to Missouri to meet his brother.

Jack’s Summary of This Weekend (As Told by Jack)

The trip to Missouri was fulfilling. Not much more, and not much less. It was a short trip; about a day’s worth of hanging out, and upwards of sixteen total hours spent driving. Luckily, my dear mother volunteered to do all of the driving, as I lack both a license and a car. But I digress. Meeting my little brother was not what I expected; I expected him to be hip, and cool, and totally in sync with me – much as my little sisters are. But unlike the rest of my family, he is quite young, and acted much the part. An awkward tween, Crispin has not yet fully learned how to socialize with people, and it shows. He talks with an air of importance, as if his emotions and considerations are worth their weight in gold, and he didn’t seem to understand the importance of letting others say their piece. But we did share similar interests, and I believe that once he overcomes the thousand-yard-hurdle that is puberty, he will make for a fine young man. Dawn was, as always, youthful and bubbly, and meeting her boyfriend was an interesting experience. He reminds me quite thoroughly of my brother Joseph, from the hair to the occupation to the mannerisms. He was an upstanding young lad, and our visit was right rowdy, to say the least. Overall, they were fun and a joy to behold, and I would love to do it over again.


My cousin invited me to swing by her place, since we’d be in Kansas.  Her place is in Wichita, which was over an hour out of the way; but hell!  What’s one more hour when you’re driving 16?!  I hadn’t seen her in years so I was delighted to catch up with her.  Like the rest of the trip, our time together was too short.  I hope to visit her and her charming husband soon.

As for meeting Dawn and Crispin, well, that was interesting.  I felt a familial bond toward them, even though I have basis for that.  Like hell!  Of course I do!  These people are my son’s sister and brother; that makes them something to me.  The courts may not recognize the bond, and there may not be a word for it, but they’re family as far as I’m concerned.

And now, I’m going to look up that old country song, “I’m my own grandpa.”  That’s the one where the singer married his mom’s new husband’s mother.


Mom’s Most Outrageous Moments

Mom and My Baby (Sue and Sally) 1997

Mom and My Baby (Sue and Sally) 1997

“Let me get my panties on,” she told me one morning.

“MOM!” I said, embarrassed.  “You knew that I was dropping the kids off.”  This was about 10 years ago, when the kids were still little and still needed supervision.

“Hey, you’re early,” was her response.

My mother was very active in her church and a good person by nature.  She didn’t cuss, drink, smoke, or have any other major vices.  She worked briefly at a real estate broker’s office, and refused to lie even to say, “Shirley isn’t here.”  In short, my mother was the closest thing to a perfect, Christian, stay-at-home mom that you’d ever have the pleasure of meeting.

Which is why her outrageous statements were so unexpected!

Another day, about 20 years ago, we were watching a movie with one of my guy friends.  We had told him, “Bring us some chick flicks.” He had dutifully gone to the local Blockbuster, asked for a couple of romantic comedies, and delivered them.  Unfortunately for him, the first movie that we popped into the DVR (or was it a VCR?) started with a raunchy sex scene.

I averted my eyes, embarrassed to be watching smut like that with my Mother in the room.  “People don’t make noises like that in real life,” I said.

“I like to be loud.  Why do you think that I was so happy when you moved out?” Mom said.

“Wow, Mom!” I said, turning beet red.  I couldn’t even look at my date; I didn’t know if he was laughing or dying from embarrassment, like I was.

I do know that he never, EVER brought us movies again.

Come to think of it, the second movie was one where Richard Gere, the main character, died at the end.  We gave my poor guy so much grief between the sex scene and the death that he swore off watching movies with us at all.

Another day, Mom was remodeling her bathroom.  The workers had removed the big mirror, about 10 foot by 5 foot, which had covered the wall and were replacing it with mirrored cabinets.

I looked at that big mirror and said, “This mirror would go great over the bed.”  I expected my virgin-when-she-got-married mother to be shocked.  I should have known better.

“Your dad and I already thought about that.  The ceiling is slanted, so it wouldn’t work,” Mom said.

“MOM!” I said, feeling scandalized.

“Well, you brought it up!” she said.

That’s true.  My comment had backfired; I was one that was shocked!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  Jesus, give her a big ol’ hug for me.  And when you’re hanging out with her, be careful which movie you pick!