I once spent a month in Alaska during the summer, and while there was much hiking and playing and loving the outdoors, we also had a great time coming home and watching long winded dramas. In honor of that I would like to share with you my 2017 list of things to watch when the cool romance/funny drama mood strikes

1. North and South

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(Currently streaming on Netflix)

North and South is a miniseries based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell. It covers a large span of time. The character of Margaret is always recalling fondly her memories of warmth and beauty of her homeland. It is the summer of her mind. She starts a journey and winds up in a completely different place than she thought she would. In the end Margaret is empowered and she has grown far beyond where she started. It is worth the fours hours that you will sink into watching it. I suggest scones and coffee on a lazy or rainy or simply too cold to get out, Saturday.

2. Love & Friendship

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(Currently streaming on Amazon Prime)

This gem of a movie, while not as long as North and South is much more funny and light hearted (and less realistic). It center around Kate Beckinsale’s, Lady Susan who flits from household to household after the death of her husband wreaking mayhem wherever she goes. Her daughter is long suffering and usually embarrassed by the antics of her shameless parent. Its much like what might happen if Mrs. Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) had lost her husband and been a bit more intelligent. Most of the drama takes place in the residence of Lady Susan’s deceased husbands brothers home (confusing isn’t it?). Its light and funny and irrelevant. Go Enjoy.

 

3. Barefoot in the Park

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(Currently streaming on Netflix)

If you are looking for an oldy but a goodie this is your movie. It was the first movie that Robert Redford and Jane Fonda did together and it was rather magnificent. They play newlyweds in New York. Jane is the overly clingy Cory who has newly discovered the concept of romantic love and hasn’t quite reconciled that with the reality of every day life. Redford plays her straight laced new husband Paul, who hasn’t quite figured out how to deal with his charming if batty wife.

4. Sabrina

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(Currently streaming on Hulu)

Sabrina is one of those interesting movies with a narrated introduction. Sabrina tells us a “Once upon a time” sort of story as an introduction. She grew up as the daughter of a chauffeur living on the property of his employers on one of those complexes that normal people don’t visit much less live on. Sabrina watches the parties from afar and dreams of one day catching the eye of the younger son whom she fancies herself in love with. After a growing up period in Paris as a fashion intern she comes back home where she does catch the eye of both brothers and the story weaves its way into your heart with the charming older brother Linus and his need to really start experiencing life. I enjoyed it immensely.

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Spontaneity and all that Jazz

I’m not a particularly spontaneous person. Actually I am so far the opposite of spontaneous as to be insanely partial to planning every detail of every little thing…pretty much ever. I plan grocery shopping trips, work events, birthday parties and pretty much every other thing down to the minuscule details. I write lists with stickers and flags and sticky notes. Its a bit insane. Sometimes when I am planning a vacation I even hand draw maps of the place I am going. Which makes what I am about to do all that more nutty. Last week I started to consider what I might want to do with Carl gone to Disney World with his dads family for a few days.

My first thought was a road trip. The more I looked at places to go the more I realized I’ve already traveled almost everywhere I can get by car in 12 hours or less. After I realized that I started to look at flights. Most of the cheap flights were to places like Texas and I’ve already been to Texas several times. Finally I decided to look into a flight that was cheaper than almost any of the others to a place called Billings, Montana. Billings is the biggest town in Montana with 100,000 people. Its located in the southeast corner of the state close to the border of Wyoming. From there I started looking at what there is to do nearby. I found several places but the neatest one seemed to be a little town called Red Lodge an hour south of Billings. Less than 12 hours after finding the flight I had booked it. With no real prior planning. I feel much like a ship set out to see with no destination. I’m excited to see where this leads me. I’ve done a bit more planning. Enough to know that it is going to be closed for a lot of fun Yellowstone events, but open for skiing and maybe walking around in the snow and exploring some museums. I’m pretty excited even if this does register as the craziest thing I’ve ever done on the fly.

Maybe I will even learn to ski

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Reflections on how far I’ve travelled

Two years ago I was struggling, not yet divorced and I hadn’t yet decided I wanted to get a divorce. This is a reflection from that point that I never finished.

 

I try to only write positive things, which is probably some part of why my writing has been so sporadic in the last few months. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of happy to be thankful for. Carl is an adorable little bundle of sweet cuteness but I’ve had a really hard time dealing with the dry and barren wasteland that my marriage has become. I don’t talk about it, because who really wants to hear that stuff and the people that would listen are a little too close to the situation. Its hard to think that someone you made a kid with only wants to talk to you when it comes to how work was (strictly over the phone), how his dog is (that you are somehow still keeping because, hey, why not), or of course how Carl is.

And I get it. Carl is cute. It is much easier to talk about Carl than about the fact that we haven’t lived together in over a year and our only interactions are at the once, sometimes twice weekly pick up and drop offs. Maybe its my fault. I mean I certainly don’t initiate a lot of conversations about how I’m feeling. I rarely ever even comment when he says something I disapprove of and he does the same thing I think. It just sucks. Like majorly sucks. I never wanted to be in this position. I never wanted to have a baby and be the only one around when he is teething in the middle of the night or hungry or cranky or refusing to go to bed. You know who puts him to sleep every single night…Me. Who stays home with him when he isn’t feeling well? Me. I mean I really begin to understand the struggle of moms worldwide because god forbid that dad should take a break from his busy career and clean up after a drooly, snotty, demanding little baby, or older kid.

On the other hand I suppose I am just jealous. There were moms at a support group meeting I went to this week who’s husbands sleep on the floor because they aren’t safe sleepers for the baby that is still in the bed but they still want to be there in the middle of the night if baby or mom need them. I hate to think about how I cosmically fucked up somewhere along the line to deserve this particular lot in life. I love my baby but I know it isn’t supposed to be this hard and it certainly not supposed to be this damn lonely.

But on the positive side I have a good support group. There are a lot bigger problems in life, these are just my biggest problems. And do they have solutions? Maybe. Have I found them yet? Nope. That’s life I suppose. Next year I will have an entirely new set of  problems… Lets at least hope they are different.

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Tucking ones hair behind the ears, or putting pants on before socks or having tea vs coffee in the morning are all habits we form almost subconsciously. Everyone has at least one little habit, even those that find making habits to be a hard task. I have a ton of weird habits. I tend to put a record on after breakfast while I answer emails and write. I check the mail obsessively every time I come home from anywhere even if its just the grocery store. I obsessively put commas and apostrophes everywhere when I am writing. I like to read from the same chair every night to Carl. And I put expiration dates on relationships. Once I had this marvelous revelation when talking to a friend of mine I can’t help but see it in every relationship I’ve ever had and apparently it isn’t unique to me.

My first real boyfriend came along when I was 15-16. We dated for about six months. He was sweet, if a little too emotional for my comfort. He was my first in many ways. The problem was I didn’t like the way his parents ran all over him or the way he would back down every time his stepfather was a douche bag to one or both of us. About two months into the relationship I decided if something didn’t change in six months I was going to break up with him. This was June. At the end of December, sometime after Christmas but not long into the new year, even though this poor guy wanted to marry me (looking back I realize that should have been a sign at 16 but I was 16) I broke up with him..It was almost like clockwork and of course he had no idea why we were breaking up because I didn’t bother to tell him he was on an imaginary time table.

Fast forward several years later and when I decided to move out and leave my ex-husband it was only after setting yet another imaginary time table for change, which in a few months he had failed to meet, so much like clockwork again I looked at apartments, and within two weeks I had moved out. Since the house we were renting was in my name and our roommates name he had to move to without all the mental preparation I had been a privy to with my mental time table. Even the last two relationships I’ve had were only 4 and 6 weeks respectively. I basically went into them with the idea that it wasn’t going to work but I would give it x amount of time to see how I felt about it. Again the other party in these relationships had no idea.

I realize this is a pretty deep psychological failing on my part to do with fear of commitment and abandonment, I should probably work on being more vulnerable to hurt that comes with not knowing when something is going to end or with enjoying something while it lasts but I am 28 and I have been operating this way for over a decade. I’m not sure I want to change now. Being alone is so much better than we realize it can be when we are teenagers driven by the fear of being alone and forgotten. I see so many recently divorced moms jumping from one relationship to another and every time that guy is the guy of their dreams that they have been waiting their whole lives for….until he isn’t a few months down the road. I don’t want that for myself and I am certainly not about to introduce Carl to a string of goofballs I think I’m in love with because of loneliness and pheromones.

What do you do with a deep self realization then? I guess you have a cup of coffee and keep on chugging cause that’s what I am planning on doing with this one.

Happy Halloween! (belatedly)

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Yeah, the only person in focus is Faith but this was still the best picture from the party.

Happy Halloween! We have managed to squeeze a lot of fun into this season of frights! We have partied a Fall Festival at the Zoo in Memphis. Zoo Boo was a ton of fun. Carl got to have his first, second and third hayride there. We threw a Halloween party this year which was really the best and also where this picture came from. We partied at the library for their fall story time event which was admittedly crowded but still fun. I did not try and squeeze as many events into the holiday as I have in the past but I still feel like we did a good amount of partying like rock stars.

Renascence Faire was the weekend before Halloween and as had become something of a tradition my parents came in full dress and Carl got to dress up as well. This year he was Carl the Slayer. He ended up in the paper which was pretty neat.

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On Halloween Eve I volunteered to hand out treat bags the kids made for a Trunk or Treat at Carver Heights. It was my first Trunk or Treat but I think the trunk looked pretty cute and I survived it.

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For Halloween itself we trick or treated around our little neighborhood (the two houses that were giving out candy). I honestly didn’t have a plan for trick or treating which is really not like me at all. After a great deal of co-oercing, Carl decided to go as Scooby Doo. He was pretty freaking adorable.

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Usually I have a full map drawn up for any adventure and a point by point plan. This year I decided to wing it. On the way to see Carl’s dad at UNA I saw some trick or treaters on walnut st. and decided to join them. Let me just say, Thank you people in nicer neighborhoods for providing a safe and happy experience for my kid. I really appreciate it and maybe one day there will be more kids on my street. We also stopped by a friends house on the way home. It was a really great, if really unplanned Halloween. I feel good about this year and I am excited for all the Halloweens we will have here in this house.

Now if I can just get the living room painted….and the Christmas tree up.

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